Tag Archive | New International Version

Importance of Fellowship

There are so many things that keep us busy these days.   Jobs, family, volunteering and too many other things to list.  It doesn’t take too long before we can get bogged down with responsibilities. To keep on the right track and to keep joy in our lives we need to have a good prayer life and time spent in the word. These are two basics that keep our spiritual feet firmly on the ground. Along with these two things we also need fellowship. God didn’t create us to be islands. We need one another. We need the support of prayer and conversation from other believers. In the New Testament church, the apostles worked along side one another and encouraged each other as the need arose. This need hasn’t diminished but because many of us work outside the church the need is vital to have the support of believers to keep us walking right.

This past weekend we held our church picnic at our home and it was great to spend time having fun with our brothers and sisters in Christ. There was no drama, no discord just a group of people that love God having a blast with one another. When we get to know each other better we are better equipped to pray and help one another.  We live in a world where many live and look out for themselves. In the church we need to be sure we don’t allow that to become our lifestyle.  God has called us all to serve.  If we get too bogged down we are not fit to help anyone. Having fellowship is vital. Whether it be a picnic, a potluck or a prayer meeting, we need one another.  It can help recharge our spiritual batteries and remind us we are not lone wolves but we are a body, a body that serves and encourages one another and that reaches out and serves our families, our communities and our world.

1Peter 4:9 NIV  9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Romans 12:10 NIV 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Galatians 5:13 NIV 1313 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Make time for fellowship.

We choose how we go through trials!

Recently there has been a flood of friends and family facing trials. Some are health concerns, some financial and others in relationship conflicts.  There is no way of going through this life journey without coming up against one if not more of these. Christians are not exempt of difficulties and trials.  Some of us in our early years in faith believed we would be protected by a spiritual bubble that would prevent difficult, hurtful things from knocking at our door.  This belief wasn’t based on anything scriptural but a naive belief that because we chose to serve God He would not allow anything “bad” to happen to us. Early death, sickness, financial hardships and all the other struggles out there would somehow pass us by. If we believed enough, these things would move on down the road and away from our doors.

This naive belief is based on our own lack of knowing God’s word and the words of Jesus to His followers.  God never promised that life would be sunshine and rainbows every day.  He never promised we would not struggle through difficulties.  He never promised we would not lose a loved one long before we thought it was their time to go. In fact Jesus warned us in John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

I personally have had to deal with some great losses in my life.  When we lost our son Daniel, at age 20 in a car accident I grieved daily for about 3 years before I could really accept he was gone.  Though he came to Christ as a young child and I knew I would see him again, I missed his smile, his crazy humour, his lovely face and his presence in the family! I still have days where I feel such deep grief over the fact that he won’t ever get to have a family, raise children and live out some of his dreams.  I did however, have to get to a place where I trusted that God had his reasons for taking him home. He may never reveal them to me but even that is now okay. He knows so much more than I can ever know about the future.  We can choose to grow bitter and angry and decide that because things didn’t go the way we expected them to go we will no longer walk with the Lord.  There are many people out there walking down that dark road.  Choosing that road will just lead to more discontent and bitterness.

When dark days come most of us will have a time where we pull inside ourselves, wallow in sadness and grief for a time but then comes the time for us to look to God.

Psalm40:1-3 NIV 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

I believe in counselling and it did help me a great deal to talk to a counselor while I was working through my grief after the loss of our son, but even the best counselor cannot bring about the heart deep healing that only Jesus can.  As we choose life, choose to move forward and allow God to heal those deep wounds we move out of our deep grief and into a place of acceptance and peace.  Throughout our journey trials will continue to come and with every trial we have the choice of how we will walk through it. We can look to God knowing the truth of Romans 8:28 NIV 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,”  or we can remain wallowing in our grief and bitterness.  I choose life!

I choose life!

Standing on God’s Promises

Most of us have been disappointed from time to time with people.  Sometimes  people will say one thing and do another. Perhaps someone has promised to do something for us or keep a confidence and they did not live up to their word.  I think everyone has gone through this experience at one time or another. I know I have. It leaves us feeling disappointed and at times discouraged with people in general. We like to be able to count on others and when they let us down we have to deal the consequences.

Thankfully, we have one who will never act against His promises.  God has promised so many things to His children in His word and we can take Him at His promises and hold Him to them. Unlike man, He doesn’t lie or change.  Heb.13:8 NIV Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

As His kids, we are so fortunate that there is so much available to us as we walk in His ways and in communion with Him. I want to mention just a few of the many promises we can stand on.  There are too many to list them all here but they can be found in our Bibles. Here are three that are life changing as we take Him at His word.

1John2:1,2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

There is guaranteed forgiveness for our sins for anyone who asks through Jesus Christ.  The verse doesn’t say maybe, or only for certain sins, or to those people who are nice!  It says “If ANYBODY does sin, we have an advocate (one who argues for a cause, supporter or defender, one that pleads on another’s behalf; an intercessor) with the Father-JESUS CHRIST, the righteous One.

Luke 11:13 NIV 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Anyone who is a believer and is walking on this planet must realize how much we need the Holy Spirit. Without God’s Spirit we would not even be able to come to the Lord in the first place.  Without God’s Spirit equipping us we would not be able to carry out the work God has for us to accomplish here.  There would be no heart cry for the Saviour, no healing, no deliverance, no transformation in our hearts etc.. and all we need to do is ask!

Deut. 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 WOW!  Those are powerful words. Who else can we count on to NEVER leave us nor FORSAKE us? He is with us every moment of every day. We can bank on that.  No matter what the circumstance, what the trial or what the experience He is walking through it with us.

By soaking in, applying and standing on the absolute truth of the above three verses alone, our walk with God will grow more intimate and our love and forgiveness towards others will increase.

Malachi 1:11 NIV”For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts.


Time for pulling spiritual weeds

I love to garden.  It is one of those things I do that I find very relaxing.  It is naturally more fun to plant, water and enjoy the fruits of my labour but there are times when the work of maintaining is much more difficult.  God reminded me this weekend how much my life is like that of my garden. If I want to enjoy the blessings of beautiful flowers or vegetables and fruits I have to get rid of all the weeds of sin.

When I came to Christ at a young age I tried to live a life that was in obedience.  I was very regimented and lived too much under the law and missed out on the true message of grace. I still felt I had to earn my salvation way deep down in the depths of my heart. Over time it became a huge struggle because the one thing that was really missing was the joy that God gives when we learn to rest in Him and in what Christ really did for us.  I was constantly trying to stay in God’s good graces, not realizing it is impossible to do so by my own efforts.  Eventually I burnt out somewhat and gave in to compromising as I didn’t feel I could keep up with all the demands I thought God was putting on me.  It was really demands that I put on myself trying to earn a feeling of belonging… Sadly I wasted a lot of years doing this.

This lead to compromised living.  Never turning away from God but also NOT living in obedience.. I began to think, what was the point when I could never really measure up? During those years I allowed a lot of weeds back into my garden.  Bad habits, bad attitudes, bad behaviours and selfishness. Over the last several months God has been showing me the various weeds I need to pull up! There are plenty and I am so grateful that He is a God of mercy and didn’t and won’t give up on me.

Psalm 103:8 NIV The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

 I am so glad He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love!  He longs for us to be in intimate fellowship with Him and though He loves us enough to accept us just as we are when we cry out to Him,  He also loves us enough to not leave us there!!  I can’t get back wasted years but I can be sure from this day on to serve Him out of love and not duty.  To accept His mercy and grace and not walk in condemnation.

2 Peter 3:9 NIVThe Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

So as I tend to my garden I am sure God will continually show me weeds that I need to uproot. It is not my favourite thing to do but it is necessary if I want to walk closer to Him.  Some weeds look like proper plants and it takes discernment from God to see that they actually are weeds. I know I have done or said things that at the time seemed harmless but in my quiet time with God, He has shown me that my heart was not right in doing or saying what I did and that I need to bring it before Him.  Some weeds look innocuous yet they have roots that go deep down into the soil of our hearts and if left, will strangle out the good surrounding plants. These spiritual weeds act like poison in our hearts and cause us to grow cold towards others or God if left unattended. I find that as God reveals these weeds in my life and as I begin to lay them at His feet and ask for change He is faithful and giving me the grace to change.  Not in my own strength but through the Spirit He humbles and strengthens me in His love.

As Christians, we never arrive until we meet face to face with Jesus.  Ours is a journey of growth. We will make mistakes, we will stumble, we will obtain war wounds but thankfully we have a Father that loves us and will help us get back on track as we seek Him. We have a Savior that died on our behalf so that we would have legal rights to come before God.  Not in our own merit but because of the price He paid.

John 3:16,17 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.