Archive for August, 2022

Fellowship is Essential

JESUS SPEAKING

     “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mathew 18: 19-20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     The word ‘Amen,’ so commonly spoken at the end of most prayers, essentially means ‘I agree.’ Like so many Christian practices, prayer is meant to be exercised in community, as well as in solitude. In order to have a complete relationship with God, we must share Him with others. When two or more gather together to celebrate Christ, His Spirit is made manifest in their hearts; the feeble become strong and the empty are made full. An isolated Christian will eventually grow weak and become more vulnerable to attack.
     Some time ago, I regularly answered the prayer lines at my local church. After gaining some experience, I was able to make some profound observations. Those who were not involved in a church fellowship, or a small group bible study, suffered great difficulties. Many isolators were addicted to drugs or struggling with some other terrible sin; most of these detached souls were stuck in a continual state of crisis. On the contrary, those who expressed a spirit of joy were actively involved in service work; they usually attended a small group fellowship also; and they maintained close friendships with other followers.
     As believers we need to be involved in some form of Christian fellowship. Our experience with Christ must be exercised in community, rather than complete isolation. If you are not actively involved in a fellowship with other believers, find a church near you and get plugged into the body of Christ. Endeavor to make friends with other followers and pray with them regularly; become a part of God’s family and be renewed by the Holy Spirit. Without fellowship, we cannot know the fullness of God’s power in our lives.
     “Lord heavenly Father, we come before You as members of Your body and ask for more of Your Holy Spirit. We desire to continue in fellowship with our eternal brothers and sisters. May we draw near to one another as we all draw near to You. If we have isolated ourselves, give us opportunities to fellowship with others, that we might grow stronger. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Loving Other Christians

JESUS SPEAKING

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Luke 13: 34-35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Despite being called to love everyone, a unique bond exists within the Christian community. According to Jesus, the manifestation of supernatural affection that occurs between believers is an enduring symbol of authentic Christianity. If we fail to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, then we have failed to accomplish the will of God, while also ignoring the desires of our Savior. May our hearts remain steadfast and never falter, as we seek to love every member of the ‘Body of Christ.’

Richard Wurmbrand was an Evangelical preacher who spoke up for Christianity during the Russian occupation of Romania. In 1948, he was thrown into prison by the communist regime, tortured, and harassed. Despite the atrocious conditions in which he was kept, he said that he and the other believers continued tithing. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soup every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took a slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brothers as our ‘tithe’ to the ‘Master.’

Even in the depths of despair, Richard had found a way to show affection for his fellow believers. His duty then is our duty now. We are called to be a part of a Christian community. And within the fellowship of believers we can accomplish Christ’s commandment to love our brothers and sisters. Our unique affection for one another is a symbol of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within our hearts. May we be the light that draws others to Christ.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we ask and pray for a deeper relationship with You. May we become part of a Christian community. Let Your Holy Spirit flow through our hearts, creating the desire to show affection for our fellow believers. May we care for our brothers and sisters, showering them with love in the light of Your majesty and grace. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You. And we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Compassion

JESUS SPEAKING

    And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”  As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.  Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”  Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the Spirit and was troubled.  And He said, “Where have you laid him?”  They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”  And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” (John 11: 28-37)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Upon arriving, Jesus observed Mary and Martha weeping over the loss of their brother.  He was immediately filled with compassion and empathy; His heart was so grieved that He began weeping with them.  And yet not one of Christ’s tears was shed for Lazarus (whom He would soon raise from the dead.) Instead, Jesus cried because He empathized with those who were mourning.  Concerning empathy and compassion, God has no equal; He’s filled with it.  Compassion is defined as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another person who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate their suffering.”

    One day, many years ago, I happened by a man named Eric.  He was seated outside of a coffee shop, slouching down in a chair; he looked more dead than alive.  His skin was pale and clammy and he was sweating profusely. His clothes were also old and tattered.  Upon witnessing his pain, my heart was moved with compassion.  I promptly sat down and began speaking with him.  He informed me that he was withdrawing from heroine and was very sick.  I took him out to eat and provided him with some clean clothes; I ministered to him as best I could.  As his condition worsened, I drove him to the hospital and sat with him in the emergency room for hours; I even accompanied him in to see the doctor.  After being treated he was released.  Before dropping Eric off, I paid for his prescription and made sure he had enough food for the evening.  Nearly a year later, Eric showed up at the coffee shop to say hello.  He told me that after our interaction, he had nearly died of a heart infection and was hospitalized for an extended period of time.  He thanked me for my efforts, and said that without my assistance, he might not be alive.  He was grateful that (‘even when his friends had abandoned him’) someone had cared enough to help.  Despite his personal gratitude, I reminded Eric that it was God who deserved the credit; for it was God who had filled my heart with compassion; and in turn, it was the Lord who had moved me to act.

     Because Jesus Christ is filled with compassion, His followers are as well.  In turn, He moves human beings to accomplish great feats of kindness and mercy.  The closer we are to God, the more compassion we will feel for those who are hurting.  When someone is struggling, God feels their pain and inspires others to comfort them.  Wherever mercy and love abound, the Spirit of God is at work.  However, where there is indifference and a lack of compassion, there is an absence of Godliness.  There are so many broken people in this world who need to be loved.  May God’s compassion lead us to act; may we feel what God feels; may we see with His eyes; may we be filled with the mercy required to relieve the suffering of others.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to know You and to be filled with Your compassionate Spirit.  Inspire us, that our hearts may be sensitive to those who are hurting.  Give us the strength to be kind when others are in need. May we love our families, our friends, and even those who are complete strangers.  Use us to express Your merciful benevolence.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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