Thank you, Lord, for the AWESOME fellowship yesterday, and two separate times this morning! Please be with me and help me “catch up”, and please be with my husband and guide him in what he NEEDS to do today, outside and inside the house. Help him to give everything ELSE to you, and be at peace. He may enjoy these last-minute time crunches, but you know how hard I work to avoid them myself, Lord. Please let your spirit be here amongst us, letting us dwell in your peace and wisdom!
Hebrews 10:23-25 ERV
We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what he promised.
We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works.
We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. This becomes more and more important as you see the Day getting closer.
1 John 1:7 ERV
We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean.
Fellowship is a funny word. While most modern “Christians” I’ve met consider very little “fellowship” to be likely outside of a church gathering, God’s Word seems to indicate that fellowship has almost nothing to do with instruction or doctrine, but is rather focused on ENCOURAGEMENT — i.e., sharing your story, being a Witness to God’s goodness and power in your own life. And personally, regretably, I have not found much ENCOURAGEMENT in any church gathering I’ve been to.
Hebrews 8:6-11 ERV
But the work that has been given to Jesus is much greater than the work that was given to those priests. In the same way, the new agreement that Jesus brought from God to his people is much greater than the old one. And the new agreement is based on better promises.
If there was nothing wrong with the first agreement, then there would be no need for a second agreement.
But God found something wrong with the people. He said, “The time is coming, says the Lord, when I will give a new agreement to the people of Israel and to the people of Judah.
It will not be like the agreement that I gave to their fathers. That is the agreement I gave when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. They did not continue following the agreement I gave them, and I turned away from them, says the Lord.
This is the new agreement I will give the people of Israel. I will give this agreement in the future, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write my laws on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Never again will anyone have to teach their neighbors or their family to know the Lord. All people–the greatest and the least important–will know me.
Lord, I do not wish to be bitter or close-minded. But I am sincerely discouraged on “fellowshipping” inside of any “church”. I have visited most “Christian” denominations out there — even (and especially!) non-denominational churches — and I have not found encouragement therein. Instead, I have found rules. Rules and guidelines that I cannot find inside your Word, and interactions with people which seem to be in direct opposition to how YOU deal with me every day. Judgement instead of acceptance. Attempted chastisement without love or even the authority to chastise! While I fully accept YOUR chastisement, I do not feel like any human has any right to judge or chastise or even guide me. That is for YOU alone. It SEEMS to me that every “church” out there wants to own its people in a way that they feel they have a right to judge and criticize and hold you to THEIR interpretation of what is righteous. Yet I also know you WANT us to have fellowship — gathering together to tell our stories, not to teach but to encourage one another toward love and “good works” (of faith). I yield my stubborn heart to you and let you know that if you WANT me to attend any church, or be part of any group, please encourage me to do so, and help ME to withhold judgement, to give the new people a CHANCE, not just assume they are like everyone else I’ve met. I humble myself before you, Lord, and pray for increased fellowship — more chances to encourage others, and to likewise be encouraged — without subjecting myself to some man’s doctrinal instruction! Help me to give you even my self-protection, Lord. And thank you so much for your never-ending patience with my loyal yet stubborn heart!