Good Tidings of Great Joy

Christmas can be a difficult time of year for lots of people. Grieving the loss of loved ones, family conflicts, depression, anxiety, and financial hardships pile up on an already busy, hectic, and stressful time of year. For many, it can seem like everything is ok on outside while it feels very dark and lonely on the inside.

That’s where the final week of Advent can really help us through the Christmas season. Today, we celebrate Joy!

Joy gives us the strength to keep going.

The cares of this world suck the life right out of us. The worries of life weigh us down. But, the joy of the Lord gives us strength!

Psalm 30:11-12 says “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”

We all know that if we are mourning, we’ve got no strength for dancing. I’m just too tired! But God promises to turn our mourning into not just dancing, but joyful dancing. That means, He gives us the strength to dance!

As we look back over the weeks of Advent, we see how the gifts of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy sustain us through our day to day existence. We look back at Jesus’ first coming and wonder at the marvelous miracle of it all. As a result, we are filled with Hope, Peace, Love and Joy so that we can keep going as we wait for the Second Coming!

Hope keeps us eagerly waiting for eternity. Peace keeps us walking steadily in this unpredictable world. Love is the driving force that fuels our purpose. And, Joy gives us strength to keep going.

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Just as the angel proclaimed to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”, may you be filled with Joy as we share in celebrating the Good News together today!

~Amy

You can still keep meditating on Advent, even though Christmas is here! If you need a devotional to help, sign up for “A Season of Advent” here! 

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Make Room for God’s Ultimate Revelation

Throughout history, countless stories, poems, songs, plays, and books have been created to depict the human experience of love. As the greatest of all feelings and emotions, we have this strong desire to express how deeply and how powerfully we are affected by love.

Of all the characteristics attributed to God: faithful, powerful, glorious, merciful, all knowing, good, beautiful, and on and on, there is no other characteristic more essential to describe God than Love.

close up of heart shape
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

God is love.

He is, at His essence, Love. He doesn’t merely exhibit love to us or show us love or share His love. He is Love.

God’s highest purpose is to show us how much He loves us. He longs to communicate just how deep His love is for us. Throughout Scripture, God describes His Love for us through a variety of ways. He reveals Himself to us through relationships that we can understand from a human point of view and experience:

God’s love is like a Father waiting for His prodigal son Luke 15

God’s love is like a Mother hen gathering chicks- Matt 23

God’s love is like a Husband knowing his wife- Eph 5:32

God’s love is like a Lover in the Song of Solomon

God’s love is like a Rejected Spouse in Hosea

God’s love is like Shepherd finding sheep- Matt 18:12

God’s love is like a best friend- John 15:15

God’s love is like a Kinsmen Redeemer as in the book of Ruth

God’s love is like a Groom waiting for his bride in Matt 9

The possibilities are endless of how God reveals Himself in order for us to understand how much He loves us. There are no lengths He won’t go to communicate His love for us.

God’s ultimate revelation of Love.

The ultimate revelation of God’s love came through the advent of Jesus becoming human, as one of us, to reveal Himself to us. Then, He sacrificed Himself for us so that we could be restored back to a righteous status with God

In John 4:9-10 it says, God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

No song, no story could ever be enough to fully express the height, depth, and width of how much God loves us. The expanse of His Love reaches to the heavens and beyond.

As we light the candle of Love, this third week of Advent reminds us of the overwhelming love God has for each of us and to remember that God’s pure, passionate love was why He sent us a Savior.

GodisLove

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, we look forward to the time when we are in His Presence for all eternity and Love is made complete! Make room in your heart for God’s ultimate revelation of Love!

~Amy

Still catching up on all the Advent readings? Read them here: Prepare the Way,  HOPE, and PEACE

Want some more Advent devotionals? Sign up for A Season of Advent here!

 

 

 

Be At Peace

Last week, we discussed the gift of Hope as we lit our first Advent candle. This week, we discover the gift of Peace.

In John 14:27, Jesus said to His disciples, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Why would Jesus feel the need to give them Peace?

Because Jesus knew what was coming. He knew what He was about to endure in the coming days – suffering and death. He also knew what His followers would endure in the coming months and years as the Church was being formed. And yet, He didn’t just tell them, “it will going to be ok,” or that there wouldn’t be any trouble. Instead, He said, “In the midst of all that is happening, I give you my peace. No matter what circumstance you may face, my peace is with you.

In the beginning of John 14, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled”. In other words- Don’t worry, I’ve already got all your bases covered. Then, he began to give them these assurances:

I am preparing a place for you, and I will come back for you.

You may not know where I am going, but you know the way to get there . I am the Way to get there. In other words, there is more to life than simply what’s going on right now. What’s going on right now is temporary. There’s so much more! You can’t even begin to imagine how good it is going to be. So, be at Peace.

He also said, I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

As Christianity would develop and form over the next several centuries, there would be false doctrines and teachers who would attempt to warp the very identity of Jesus by saying that He wasn’t really God, or that He wasn’t really human. However, the disciples could remember back to Jesus’ words and be confident that He was both God and man. He was who He said He was. So, be at Peace.

Then, He told them, “You will do greater works.”

In other words, Jesus said, “You’ve seen me do some wonderful things. But after I go away, you are going to do even more amazing things. Just wait till you see what I can accomplish through you.  Your life here has purpose and meaning as you glorify my name and accomplish my will. So, be at Peace.

Then He said “The Spirit of Truth will be in you.”

After I leave You will have an Advocate, a Counselor, who will show you all things and teach you in all things. You won’t be doing this alone. The Comforter will help you. So, be at Peace.

You see, Jesus didn’t try to take away the trouble they would go through. He didn’t tell them it was going to be easy. But, He gave them His peace so they could walk in it, knowing that in the end, all things will be made right. Through these assurances, they were able to walk in His Peace because they could rest in the fact that His peace would carry through them through every circumstance.

PresencePeace

In Isaiah 26:3, We read this promise, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

No matter what circumstance you are going through, no matter what trials you face, no matter what task God has called you to carry out, He is faithful to keep you walking in peace as you stay focused on Him. this kind of peace can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ. Only He can give you this kind of everlasting Peace.

And so, through this Advent celebration, as we are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ, our King, Let us not be worried. Let us not be afraid.

Instead, let us be at Peace. Amen.

~Amy

If you would like an additional Advent devotional to deepen your walk this season, sign up here!

Eagerly Waiting for HOPE

During Advent, we remember the first coming of Christ while we are faithfully waiting for the second coming of Christ. In chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, we read about two living examples of faithful waiting  – Simeon and Anna.

 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.[a] She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Luke 2:25-38

In Luke 2:25-38, Simeon and Anna were eagerly waiting to see Israel’s Messiah. Their eager waiting was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Simeon was righteous and devout as he lived his life for God. He waited for the promise given by the Holy Spirit that he would one day see the Messiah. His relationship with God, and his faith that God would keep his promise kept his hope alive all those years until finally he saw it with his own eyes.

Anna lost her husband after only 7 years of marriage. She probably could have remarried, but she didn’t. She spent the rest of her life praying and worshipping at the temple. She pursued God with a fierce dedication. As soon as she saw the child, she knew the promised Messiah had come. She told everyone who had been expectantly waiting for the Messiah about the child as she declared this hope. Surely, God had kept his promise.

simeon

Simeon walked so closely with God that he was promised to see the Messiah. Anna walked so closely with God that when she recognized the Messiah, she told everyone about him so they could have hope too. They had waited all their long lives to see God’s promise fulfilled- salvation. In the end, It was their faith in God’s promise that sustained them during those long years of waiting which fueled their faithfulness, worship, prayer, and fasting. And in turn, their faithfulness, worship, prayer, and fasting fueled their faith as they waited.

While we are waiting for Christ to return, the season of Advent reminds us to be hopeful.

Hope comes from something more than just wishing for the best. “If I just keep hoping, everything’s going to work out fine.” No, rather Hope is connected to our faith as we eagerly wait.

We should not ask “what are we hoping for?” but rather “WHO is our hope?” Jesus is our Hope.

J.I. Packer says “The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity– hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory–because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.”

Just as Jesus fulfilled the promise of His first coming. We can have hope in the promise of His second coming. While we are waiting, we can be like Simeon and Anna living a life dedicated to walking with God in prayer and in worship. This kind of life fuels our faith to keep believing, to keep hope alive, like Simeon and Anna, until we see the Messiah with our own eyes.

What are you waiting for?

Fuel your faith to keep eagerly waiting through you prayer, worship, and faithfulness!

~Amy

Prepare the Way for Advent

Advent was not part of my church experience growing up. I really didn’t know what it was all about until a handful of years ago. Since participating in the observance of Advent in the last 10 years, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of this penitential season. Advent is a 4 week series of reflections that remembers the first coming of Christ through the Nativity story while it reminds us to stay watchful for the second coming of Christ. Advent calls us to slow down and to focus on why we are remembering and celebrating. Before we can truly appreciate the celebration of Christmas and Immanuel, God with us, we must prepare our hearts through the observance of Advent.

Even still, with the busyness of life around me, it’s hard to focus myself and give the full attention that Advent deserves. So preparing my heart to be ready to hear and receive the gifts of Advent are necessary.

Preparing the way for Advent leads me to think about John the Baptist in the Gospels. He was a voice calling out in the wilderness-

“Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all the people will see God’s salvation.” Isaiah 40:3-5

 

John’s mission was to prepare the people to receive Jesus. The Preparation he called them to was repentance.

I believe that’s how we prepare the way for us to receive God’s gifts during Advent. Preparing the way means repentance through examining our hearts.

This past week while at home for Thanksgiving break, one of the ways we prepared for Christmas was to clean out some closets for unwanted, unused, and broken stuff. We got rid of clothes that were too small and worn out, and we, well, I organized drawers and closets to straighten out what had gotten messy and out of order.

We got rid of several bags of stuff, and once it was over, I was able to take inventory of what kind of items were needed for these growing kids of mine!

John the Baptist is calling me to do the same thing in my heart.

Happy little girl
Getting up to the mountain to pray

What is it in my life that is unused, broken, needs throwing out so I can make room for what I need. I can’t see what I need when there’s too much spiritual or emotional clutter blocking the way. I can’t receive the gifts God is waiting to give me when my life is blocked by sin.

When John is quoting Isaiah to make straight the paths, for valleys to be filled in, mountains made low, and rough ways made smooth, he meant get rid of anything that is getting in the way of God’s revelation of Himself to you.

Is there anything that stands between you and God? Is there any sin?

Even more obscure and subtle, are there negative attitudes towards another person? Unforgiveness?  Unresolved reconciliation? Fear?

What are the quiet, unfinished issues that sit in the corner of your heart content to remain unmoved and undisturbed while they fiercely take root in your spirit?

Those are the sins John called the people to repent of so they can experience Jesus. Those same sins are the ones we need to repent of so that we can experience Advent in a fresh and meaningful way. Otherwise, we’ll be subject to another holiday season of shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping then rinse and repeat while not really experiencing the Hope, Peace, Love and Joy promised to us through Immanuel.

Won’t you join me in preparing the way for Advent this holiday season through repentance and self-examination?

Make ready your heart, make ready your home, make ready the people of God through repenting of what stands between you and Jesus Christ.

Father, I confess the sins, attitudes, fears and issues that are cluttering my life and creating obstacles between myself and experiencing the fullness of Your Presence. Please forgive me, and remove these obstacles from my spirit and my life as only You can do. Prepare my heart to receive your hope, peace, love, and joy in order to experience the fullness of Christ as we remember His First Coming and are eagerly awaiting His Second Coming. In Jesus Name, Amen

If you want some more encouragement through the Advent season? Sign up for the this *free* Advent devotional here!

~Amy

 

 

What will you do when there’s a Flood?

We’ve been talking about how God can use simple people to do great things for Him.

But, it seems like there is so much bad stuff going on. Persecution and suffering around the world seem like a flood. It feels like the enemy is in overdrive to bring as much evil and heartache to the world. You feel it too, right?

We must remind ourselves, however, of Isaiah 59:19….

When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of God will lift up a standard against it.

God promises that when the enemy floods our lives that He will lift up a standard against the flood.

What’s the standard? The standard is an opposing force that will stop the flood.

Who is the standard? Jesus Christ is the standard. God is promising that He will lift up Christ in the midst of this overwhelming flood from the enemy.

But How is God going to lift this standard of Christ? Through us. The Body of Christ. His Body- The Church. We are the ones who God will use to facilitate, administer, and activate the standard in the midst of the flood.

flood

God will use us to bring Christ to the world to stop this flood of evil.

But we aren’t going to infiltrate by marching in a parade wearing offensive hats?!? We aren’t going to be bossy, mean, demanding, or demeaning .

How are we going to do this? Only like godly women can!

Just like the Women of Courage from the Bible, we will lift this Standard with wisdom, love, the peace and joy of God, not by might or power but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) We will lift this standard against the enemy’s flood when we……

birth babies like midwives when Pharaoh tells us not to

when put that baby in a boat and send him down the river like Jochebed

when we become queen like Esther influencing the heart of the king from within the castle

when we plead on our husbands behalf like Abigail

when we submit to the angel bearing the Good News like Mary

when we tell those around us ‘I’ve just seen Jesus’ like Mary Magdalene’!

We will lift the Standard of Christ when we teach children to read and speak, advocate for abused and neglected children, support people with disabilities, meet the needs of the sick and elderly, raise your children and grandchildren, care for your parents or spouse, teach SS, or lead VBS or make meals or work in the nursery……the list goes on and on….

We are going to love, encourage, speak truth, share joy and peace. We are going to be Salt and make people thirsty for the Gospel, and we’re going to be Light and shine the Glory of God in dark places for the glory of His name!!!

That’s how we will be Women of Courage to lift up the standard of Christ when the enemy comes in like a flood to hurt God’s people.

The enemy may see it as small, but God sees our service as big, bold, mighty acts. When you are a Women of Courage like this, you are Big Giants of the Faith. God wants to use YOU to stop the evil flood in this world!

 

Let’s stand together as The Body of Christ. If you want some ideas on how you can “Be More Interdenominational”, I’ve got some great stuff for you! Sign up here.

~Amy

What Keeps Me From Loving Others Well?

Recently, the reality of my heart was exposed when God gently pointed out how I am not loving others quite as well as I could be. He revealed that my serving in ministry was more from my ability and skill rather than from an overflow of love.

So I asked myself another question: What keeps me from loving others well?

If Paul tells how ineffective my ministry is without love (I Cor 13), then John reveals to me what’s keeping me from loving well.

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17

The letter of the apostle John tells us over and over that we need to love each other. He tells us that loving each other is a pretty good indicator that we love God.

If I find that I’m not as loving as I should be, there’s a problem somewhere. In the 2nd chapter of John’s letter, I find that a love for the world is short circuiting my love for people and for God- “for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you”

How am I loving the world?

Craving for physical pleasure– Do I pursue what tastes good, what feels good, what looks good? Am I looking for instant gratification? Am I pursuing what will meet my physical needs over what is best for my spiritual needs? Is the pursuit of my physical needs keeping me from doing the things that will increase my love for God?

Pursuing physical pleasures includes the big, bad sins we think of at first. It’s easy to think of the ones that destroy your life in an instant and have drastic consequences ( affairs, drugs, stealing, etc) But what about the physical pleasures that are subtle and more socially acceptable? Too much shopping, Netflix binging, or emotional eating? How about gossiping or criticising or controlling? We get physical pleasure from these things because they feed our flesh. Anything that keeps us from pursuing God, even if it’s a good thing, is going to increase our love for the world.

Craving for everything we see– Do I want the latest gadget? Do I want the latest clothes and shoes? Am I keeping up with the latest social media trends? Is my pursuit of all things material and temporal keeping me from pursuing what will truly last forever in eternity?

The things we see and the material world we live in are not going to last forever. The old cliche is true- You can’t take it with you. What will last forever are things that money cannot buy: Love, joy, peace and all the fruit of the Spirit! But, we live in a world of instant gratification so it can be really hard to hold off on the newest thing we want now in order for something better, more eternal later.

Pride in our achievements and possessions– Do I take pride in what I do over whom I love? Is it more important for me to get something done, to set a goal and accomplish a task than it is to love someone? Is being successful and looking good in other people’s eyes more important than loving the person it benefits?

Believe me, it’s easy to fall into this trap. I can look back through the years and see how I’ve volunteered for stuff because I wanted people to think highly of me for all the great things I accomplished. I wanted the success and pat on the back for a job well done. The only reward I’ll get is the pat on the back and the applause I received in that moment.

That’s what Jesus said. Those who do stuff for the sake of men, for recognition and applause, that’s all the reward they will ever get. But those who work and serve with humility and serve without needing to be seen, their reward will be eternal.

If these motivations are what’s driving my ministry, then the world’s kind of love is the gas that’s in my tank. Having the world’s kind of love is ultimately self serving. It wants what’s best for me. It wants me to feel good and feeds the ego of my flesh. And that’s why if I love the world, the love of God is not in me.

Love for the world and love for God cannot coexist. They cannot occupy the same space.

Instead, how can we increase our love for God?

Love the Lord with all your heart soul mind and strength

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Follow His commands.

Feed His sheep.

Jesus Christ Monument
Jesus Christ Monument, Swiebodzin, Poland

These pursuits of True Love are not easy. We must fight our flesh and the temptations of the world the entire way. It’s worth it, though. It’s deeply satisfying. When we do these things, our love for God grows while our love for people grows with it.

Love for God and love for people can coexist. In fact, they must or our love isn’t real.

What’s keeping you from loving others well?

If you need a little inspiration for loving The Body of Christ, here’s a collection of resources that might help. I’d love to share them with you. Sign up here.

~Amy

 

 

 

Can you walk in someone else’s shoes?

Churches are like shoes. Everybody has a favorite pair that goes with just about everything, and they are broken in just right. You feel comfortable and confident in your favorite pair. If you are like me, finding and buying a new pair may take quite a long time because it’s so hard to find the right fit. Even then, a new pair can take a while to get comfortable.

Churches can be the same way. You attend the church that is comfortable for you- the music fits, the preaching fits, the style of worship fits you just right. For some of you, you’ve attended the same church all your life like a pair of shoes that never wear out. For others, you’ve tried on several different churches like buying a new pair of shoes with the changing seasons.

We get so comfortable with the way we ‘do’ church, we might have a hard time understanding how someone else could possibly attend another kind of church. We are so familiar with our prefered style of worship that we can’t possibly see how any other kind of church could ever be useful to someone else. And, we may not say it out loud, but we think, “that kind of church is just not of God”.

Hear me out. I know we have our denominational beliefs for certain reasons. I, too, have strong theological convictions. I believe, just like you, that some doctrinal beliefs are simply unbiblical. However, some of our perceptions of other churches are unnecessarily negative because we have a limited view of why they worship the way they do.

churcheslikeshoes

You take a sliver of knowledge about a church and let it shape your whole thinking. It could be from a movie or tv show or from hearing family members talk about other churches. Maybe you’ve actually been taught from your church leadership that the worship and beliefs of other churches are wrong. Catholics worship Mary. Pentecostals speak in tongues. Churches of Christ don’t use instruments. It may or may not be true, but your limited understanding is skewed because you often don’t get the full context and reasoning behind a belief or practice. A little bit of misunderstanding disqualifies them from any possible common ground as fellow believers.

No matter how you formed your perceptions, this lack of understanding causes you to step back from the people who worship that way. And when you step back, that creates a divide. It’s this division that separates us from unity.

Ok, maybe you’ve fully studied other churches’ theological and doctrinal beliefs, and you simply believe they are wrong. Still, if your study has led you to disassociate with other believers, then division still exists and the fullness of unity is not expressed.

I believe now more than ever we need to be unified in building God’s Kingdom as the Body of Christ. This doesn’t mean we stop worshipping at our preferred churches, but rather take intentional steps to get to know and understand people from other churches to gain an appreciation for their particular style and mission.

Uniformity does not equate to conformity. We don’t have to conform to each other’s point of view in order to be unified. In God’s beautiful Body, we can be uniquely shaped for our specific mission, and yet be solidly unified in our purpose of Kingdom building and love for each other.

bodyofChrist
Women of the Way 2013

So if churches are like shoes, walk in someone else’s shoes for a change!

Seriously! This past Sunday I shared a Facebook Live video and challenged everyone to try this one thing this summer: go visit someone else’s church! You can check out that video here!

Also, I’ve made some special handouts for good ideas to help you interact with other believers. “How to be More Interdenominational” has lots of ways to make connections and get to know others from different kinds of churches. Check that out here.

When you have a conversation, you get to know the person. Then, you understand a little bit more of where they are coming from and why they do what they do. Their different ways don’t seem so mysterious, and you can appreciate their point of view. Understanding develops, division diminishes, and unity grows!!!

I know many of you already participate with other believers, and so many of you have a heart for the Body of Christ that I know I’m preaching to the choir! However, if any of those dividing thoughts have ever crossed your mind, won’t you consider trying on a different pair of shoes just to see what it’s like?

Try walking a mile….or just a Sunday….in someone else’s shoes! Remember, if you need some help, sign up for this stuff right here.

~Amy

 

 

We Belong to Each Other

I’ve written recently on Why We Need to be More Interdenominational. Now more than ever, I’m convinced we must be more about building the Kingdom of God than our own denominations. In light of the increasing persecution around the world of Christians (read about the recent International Day of Pray), we can’t just focus on our local congregation. We must be mindful of those being hurt and killed for their faith around the world and especially in our own county. Being more concerned about the world-wide Church begins with building more  unity with local churches around us.

(If you know my story, you know that I am a Heinz 57 mutt of denominations…..so, I am not against denominations). So, I do believe building His Kingdom happens better when we are unified.

Roman 12:3-5 “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Sometimes, we get in our church box where it’s comfortable and familiar, and we might have the tendency to start comparing our brand of church to other churches….that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Instead we need to compare our fellowship by the faith that God has given us. Are we fulfilling the specific mission that God has called us to do?

The reason we shouldn’t compare each other’s churches is because we each have a special function and purpose within the Body of Christ. Each part has its own way of ministering to and reaching all different kinds of people. So, it’s ok for us to have our own functions and missions as long as we remember that these differences are meant to compliment each other instead of divide us.

manypartsONEbody

When we realize that we are all parts of One Body, then we’re going to see that “we all belong to each other.

 

See, Jesus doesn’t see us as separate parts. He sees us as One Body….His Body.

With this uplifting perspective, we don’t have to compare our ministries or fellowships. We can support and cheer for each other and work together because we are all working for the common goal of building His Kingdom!

If fact, Jesus prayed that we’d all be one:

John 17: 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me”

We belong to each other! If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are my sister and let’s be about the Father’s business building the Kingdom of God!

~Amy

PS….if you would like a study and some ideas on how you can build Unity in the Body of Christ, sign up for some *free* resources here.

 

 

When I’m shaken loose from my self-induced delusion that I have it so tough…..

I am so surprised at how easily and over the silliest things I can turn into a grumbling complainer spewing discontent and criticizing everything around me that doesn’t go my way. I feel so “burdened” with having to be at work early or the can opener isn’t working right or the dryer is giving me fits. Heaven forbid…..I get behind a slow driver who can’t drive in the rain! Some days, it seems like the least little thing can bump me and nothing good spills out.

I feel so persecuted (insert whiney tone)…….But then, I am set straight by a day like today……

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

I hear just a drop of the true suffering going on in the world. Suffering for bearing the name of Christ. True persecution for bringing Light into darkness and Hope into hopeless situations.

holding a glowing earth globe in his hands

I am shaken loose of my self-induced delusion that I have it so tough. I realize that my present “troubles” are nothing compared to the life-threatening, dyer situations of many around me and of those around the world.

God, help me to be thankful in every circumstance. Help me to lift up believers, both near and far. Help me to care for the Body of Christ rather than just looking our for myself. Amen

In light of all the tragedy going on around us, what can we do? We can become more unified as the Body of Christ. If you want some ideas on how you can accomplish this, I’ve got some resources for you! Sign up for “How to be More Interdenominational” and other good stuff here.

~Amy