During my prayer time this morning I was praising God for all that He has been doing in the lives of our congregation. We’ve had recent sorrow and answered prayers abounding. A kidney transplant, a new foster baby boy, and new adopted baby boy, children memorizing scriptures, the safe return of a world traveler, new homes being built, successful surgeries, good news on health scares, new pregnancies after lost babies, new love after burying spouses, men raising up to follow God boldly, women walking side by side with their sisters in Christ as mentors, weight loss (wow), peace in times of trial, comfort in the waiting, love overflowing, lives being changed and redeemed. God is good.
I remember when I disliked the bride of Christ. When I had been hurt, and didn’t want to be a part of something that could hurt so deeply. But pain is the price of love. We are all sinners, and we will all hurt someone(s) in our lifetime. That is why God calls us to forgive as the Lord forgave us. His grace is sufficient.
Being a part of the body of Christ (your local church), gives you a front row seat to watch what God is doing. It gives you the blessing and honor of being used by God to accomplish His purposes. We weep when our brothers and sisters weep. We rejoice when they rejoice. We share the sorrow and help carry the burdens. We encourage each other on to love and good deeds. We share our material possessions as there is need. And we receive others into our family with great joy.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
We aren’t perfect, but we are imperfectly following after Jesus with grace and love. Egos and agendas are checked at the door. We’ve learned to listen well. We are living out God’s purposes individually and collectively as we worship and as we work together to further God’s kingdom in northwestern Illinois. Our Pastor and church leaders have one focus and that is Christ Jesus. We desire to bring glory to God and to obey His word.
Being an active participant in a local church is necessary for your spiritual growth. The church helps us understand and apply God’s Holy Word to our daily lives. It gives us an opportunity to put into practice the commands of Christ. It challenges us; calls us out of our comfort zone and as a result we grow stronger in our faith. It anchors us and supports us as we walk through the trials of this life. The faith of others gives us hope. Iron sharpens iron.
Father God, thank You Lord for restoring me to Your body. Thank You for using me as You see fit. Thank You for allowing me to be blessed in my obedience to You even now as I live in this broken world. Thank You for the honor of knowing such wonderful people and the pleasure of serving beside them. I pray Lord that You will draw those who don’t know You yet into our midst. Use us to love others well with Your love. Sanctify us in Your truth Lord. Amen.
Be part of His body. Be encouraged. Press on.