Thankfulness – Day 29


one in christ

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today, we thank you for Your Church. Thank you for a place to go to worship, and brothers and sisters to worship with, have fellowship with, and hear a message designed to draw us closer to You.

[My husband and I moved to a new state a few months ago. Since then we have been visiting different churches to find a new church home. The beautiful thing about the body of Christ is to go to a new church and witness and experience the same meaningful worship and the love of Christ just the same as other congregations. Together we are the body of Christ.]

Romans 12:5

so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images, Pinterest

 

Godly Decisions: A New Church Home


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It takes a while to get settled in a new city. There are so many new places to discover and explore. New routines must be developed such as finding the neighborhood grocery store and post office. We’ve also had to make some difficult decisions like which doctor or dentist we should go to. Some exploring has been fun, like finding new restaurants, but the most challenging place to find has been a new church home. This was necessary for us to feel completely settled, and develop a sense of belonging and purpose. Of course we could have stayed members of our previous church and worshiped on-line, but there are Biblical reasons to belong to a local church.

  1. The Psalms guide us to God’s dwelling place. “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty,” Psalm 84:1. Also, Psalm 26:8, “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” We can’t fully enjoy the Lord if we don’t regularly attend a local church.

chuch

  1. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands believers to meet together to encourage one another, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
  1. Local church leaders help us grow spiritually. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 instructs us, “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” Hebrews 13:17 also tells us, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

We knew that we needed God’s help to find a new place to worship in. It had to be a place where we can grow and serve. We turned to God and Scripture to lead us. We prayed and asked God for wisdom and guidance as we “shopped” for a new church to attend. In Acts 16:6-10, Paul was led by the Spirit where to preach and where not to preach. It’s the same with us. The Holy Spirit will lead us where we should go, we just need to ask.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

We did an exhaustive internet search then called several churches to ask questions. We wanted to review their doctorial statements, and to learn about what programs were available for our children. We asked about missions and volunteer needs. We even wanted to know how the church spent their money. We found several places to visit.

Part of getting guidance from God is to understand when He is telling you “No.” We visited several churches that preached the Word of God, and had places to serve, but they weren’t right for us. How did we know? When I perceive God telling me “No,” I don’t feel good about the situation. I may not know exactly what is wrong, but I know something is not right. It’s God’s way of warning me. In Acts 16:6-7 Paul was led, and stopped by God’s Holy Spirit. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so we can discern what God wants us to do, and not do. More prayer was needed to ensure we were understanding God correctly.

Something interesting happened as we searched. God said “No” to the church we thought we would join. Part of correctly hearing God’s voice is not to go where you want to go, but where God wants you to go.

god leads

Yesterday, we visited a local church, again. All the elements are there, and it feels right. But there is one more step. We are waiting for confirmation from God. Scripture also commands us to be still. Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” By just waiting on God He will let us know, one way other the other, that we have discovered the place just right for our family.

Blessings to you as you make decisions and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE


 James 2:14-18

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

Before I met Christ, I had a hard time deciding which charity to donate to, or which organization to volunteer at. There are many worthy choices. But now, there is a simple answer; I go where God is already working and get involved. I don’t have to have skills in mission work, or speak another language. I can just do what I can. Sometimes that means donating things, sometimes it means donating time.

God is already working in an organization called ZOE Ministry (http://www.zoeministry.org/). ZOE helps orphans in Africa by giving them skills to live on their own – a hand up, not a hand out. This program provides more than education; participants gain self-esteem, self-respect and hope. Recently, my congregation helped over one thousand orphans graduate from this three year program. Now we are working to help another thousand find their way out of poverty and into hope.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Author Unknown

What does that have to do with me or you? I’m involved with this ministry because my Church is. God’s already there, I just show up and participate, as do many others. Most of the congregation will never step food on the African continent, but we are involved there nonetheless – primarily through prayer and fundraising. We found a place to get involved and we started working. But we don’t have to work half way around the world. There’s work to do right here in our own communities.

We’re commanded to be a light for others. Where is God working in your community? Consider joining Him in a place near you, and let your light shine.

Live in the Light,

Julie