Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We are not a stick!

Yep. That was the phrase I took away from time spent Sunday morning with fellow believers in Christ.

The topic of the day was about the importance of fellowship within the body of believers.

Acts 2:42-47
 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers.
43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.
44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.
45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need.
46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them  those who were being saved.

There are times when we want to go to a secluded place and just be, ourselves and God, and exclude the rest of the world.

One of the ladies in our group talked about this--our tendency to sometimes think our spiritual relationships are only between us and God.  She moved her hand up towards the ceiling and down to her heart, then said that our fellowship needs to also extend to those around us and moved her hand to the left and the right---very much as if she were crossing herself--and said "Hey, that makes a cross! So...we are not a stick!"

We need to be living "like a cross". True, there are times that we need to pull away from others and remove the interaction with others. Jesus did this in Matthew 14:22-23, for example.

Too often I think we find ourselves focusing on one mode of fellowship--focusing either on our relationship with God or our relationships with others.  Basically, we are acting like a stick.  To be more than a stick--to make our life look more like a cross--is a balance that is sometimes hard to keep, but that doesn't mean we don't continue trying to make that balance.

I am one who tends towards going off by myself and secluding myself from others.  Sometimes this is out of necessity and where I am at in various aspects of my life, and other times I just don't want to move outside my comfort zone.

Look at yourself. First of all, do you have a relationship with God? With Jesus Christ? Have you trusted Jesus to save you from your sin?
Secondly, do you  have around yourself a group of fellow believers that you can have fellowship with?

Are you doing your part to nurture these very real needs in your life?

Are you feeling like a stick? Do what you can to be living like a cross. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Habakkuk 3: Habakkuk's Prayer

In my last post, I shared how the LORD's main purpose in all that He does is to draw us to Him and for His glory to be praised.

Sometimes we refuse to glorify Him and look to other things for our fulfillment; we even go so far as to claim everything for ourselves, taking the credit for it all.  Now, before I sound like Obama, who was ribbed for saying "You didn't build that(insert whatever fits here).", it's not whose hands, abilities, or time was used to do said thing.

Rather, it's Who gave us the abilities, the hands, the materials, and the time to do said thing that is the point. The LORD has given us all of these things, and we should realize and acknowledge that fact.

How do you think your mom would feel if she made a huge, delicious Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and received no word of thanks? It's a similar concept.

In Habakkuk 3, Habakkuk responds to what the LORD has said in the previous chapter.  Regardless of all of the bad stuff happening to His people, and the evil running rampant throughout the world, He is still in control.

Habakkuk remembers God and all that He has done to care for His people. From a human perspective, much of it might be seen as cruel, but in reality, God was doing these things to rescue His chosen people (vs. 13).  It is hard sometimes to see the motive behind the action, behind the pestilence, the plague, the shaking earth, the mountains trembling....but the point is that God is All Powerful, even though we feel everything is out of control.

Where do we place our trust? In our earth (that seems to turn against us)? In our leaders? Or in the awesome, all-knowing, all-powerful LORD?

In verse 16, Habakkuk relays his feelings after hearing the words of the LORD about His motives behind the things he has done and things He has allowed to be done.

Although he started out in chapter 1 lamenting the evil that surrounded him, pointing out the many wrongs that were happening in his world, his focus changed by chapter 3.  His focus went from pointing parallel to what people were doing around him, to looking up and realizing the splendor and the power and the majesty of the LORD.  Habakkuk's attitude was transformed from one of despair to one of fear and reverence. He was downright terrified of the LORD! 

And his next response?
16b I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us (God's chosen people, His anointed ones, vs 13). 
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. (NLT)

In the volatile world that we live in today, know that the LORD still reigns on high. He is in control and more than worthy of our praise and glory.  May we rely on Him as our strength to get us through troubled times.