The best that can be said for it is that the testing process will bring truth into the open and confirm it. – 1 Corinthians 11:19 (The Message)
Why does God let vibrant exciting Holy Spirit led local churches dwindle, die, and/or become hollowed out shells?
There is a tendency to look at the local church, any local church, as THE CHURCH; easy to pour our efforts into a group or building thinking we are doing God’s work; easy to think our group is different than their group.
It becomes easy to forget our connection to God is a faith and choice connection to Christ Jesus alone; easy to turn the encouragement of like-minded people into a dependence on like-minded people.
I think if God did NOT let churches die we would put our fellowship gatherings above him.
Just a thought.
Posted in Christ, Church | Tagged 1 Corinthians 11, church, local churches, religion | Leave a Comment »
More often than not, taking time out for spontaneous prayer is like opening the cap on a bottle of cola — disconnected ideas and concerns flitting from one topic to another without any real substance or peace.
But if I take more than just a few moments and let the “fizz” dissipate an inner calm makes real contact with my Heavenly Father.
How long does it take?
Depends on how shaken up I’ve been; usually not less than half an hour.
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Before meeting Christ, Saul (who later became the Apostle Paul) “breathed” anger and murder against Christ’s early followers.
When he had his own encounter Jesus told him an interesting fact still true today.
“I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” – Jesus (Acts 9:5b)
The word translated, “pricks”, literally means a “stinger” — like on a bee or scorpion.
Abusing Christ’s followers is seen by God as personal assault against himself and the one really getting hurt is the abuser.
Posted in Bitterness, Christ, Paul, Prejudice | Tagged Acts 9, encounter jesus, personal assault | Leave a Comment »
Simon Peter … to them that have obtained like precious faith with us … Add to your faith … virtue…knowledge …temperance … patience … godliness … brotherly kindness … charity. For if these things be in you … ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful … but he that lacketh these things is blind…” — 2nd Peter 5:1-10
Faith in Christ, alone, makes us his but it isn’t all he wants to accomplish. God’s intent is not to just take us to heaven, he wants to do something with us here.
There are several additives listed but one that gets easily overlooked is “Brotherly Kindness”. It can’t be done when alone. Being kind to brothers, sisters, neighbors, or anyone can’t be done from the prayer closet.
Isolation is the goal of our culture and time in history — living in our own world the way we want, content to be left alone, perturbed when others try to enter. That’s the flow of the river we swim in and the current carries us along without us realizing…its not spiritual it’s cultural, just going with today’s flow.
We must choose to come out and interact with people, especially people of faith.
If regular church attendance, mingling and interacting with people who are different, is not on the agenda; if letting people we don’t know well in is not our style then it will blind us to God’s purposes and stunt our growth!
Don’t let the stream of our culture prevent the embracing of God’s desires and blessing. Reach out and show brotherly kindness.
Posted in Christ, Faith, Maturity | Tagged 2nd Peter 1 | 1 Comment »
“…he [the Lord] be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” — Acts 17:27b-28a
There are times God feels distant. But the Bible tells us we live and move in him like a fish lives and moves in water.
John Ortbert in his little book God is Closer Than You Think says God sometimes plays a spiritual version of “Where’s Waldo”. Waldo is on every page but as those books progress he becomes more difficult to find. Why? The author, Martin Handford, never says but when Waldo is found there is joy and a sense of discovery. The experience teaches children to pay attention to detail and to keep seeking because they know his is there somewhere, the author promises that he is!
God never says why he is sometimes hard to feel, either, but I think it is to produce a similar response in his children.
Have you found Waldo on today’s page, yet?
Posted in Assurance, Christ, Faith | Tagged Acts 17 | Leave a Comment »
When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something” – Exodus 32:1
When you don’t know what to do, sometimes the very worst thing is to just do something!
Posted in Action, Bible Characters | Tagged Exodus 32 | Leave a Comment »
They were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. — Mark 16:2-4
With God, the things causing us the most concern in life’s journey turn out to be non-issues.
Posted in Christ, Fear, Obstacles | Tagged Mark 16 | Leave a Comment »