Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Broken Down Fellowship

Lately, I have been convicted by my own lack of fellowship with God.  I have found that in the craziness of my mornings with getting the boys ready and off to school then getting house work done, important phone calls made, making it to doctor's appointments, running off to work, etc, oftentimes, my quiet time with the Lord gets totally ignored, is shortened, or is interrupted and forgotten.  Many times, that quiet time consists of spending time in God's Word then running off to accomplish the next thing on my to-do list totally forgetting the important aspect of prayer.

As I was greatly anticipating the day of prayer leading up to this past weekend, the thought struck me that my prayer life had become so shallow.  A relationship is built on communication, and granted, God was communicating to me through His Word, but really, was I taking time to communicate to Him?  Would I keep friends in this world if I never took the time to talk to them?  What if they were the ones always leaving me voice messages or emailing me or facebook messaging me, but I never took the time to contact them back.  Would I still have them as a friend?  I think not!  Good thing my God is Faithful!  My prayers of late had been a quick prayer to thank the Lord for my quick lunch, asking Him to help me to get a lot accomplished around the house as I scrambled to continue to work on another project while I ate.  I've been so pressured lately to get as much done as I can since I have been feeling better and have so much housework to catch up on since my house went to shambles while I was in so much pain for almost 3 months.  However, that is a sorry excuse for neglecting my relationship with God.  I am thankful that God has convicted me of this and that I am making strides to do better at spending more quality time in prayer!

I recently read the Acts of Faith series which is set in the time from Jesus' death to the conversion of Saul.  The authors did an amazing job researching the historical facts of the early Christians and creating fictitious characters.  I was really struck by the commitment to faith these early Christians had and how much of their lives revolved around proclaiming the Gospel and doing ministry.  This past Sunday, our pastor preached a great message from Acts 2:37-47 which really drove home what I got from these books.  The people being saved right after Pentecost were being baptized and were then DEVOTING themselves to

  1. The preaching of the Word
  2. The Fellowship
  3. The breaking of bread
  4. And to Prayer
These early believers would sell their possessions any time someone had a need.  Every day, they met together in the temple courts.  One thing I had learned from the book series I had read was that these early Christians were actually more dedicated to the daily prayers than the religious Jews in that often, they attended the noon prayer as well when many Jews did not.  The passage in Acts goes on to account that these believers also broke bread together in their homes and praised God.  Daily, God was saving more people!  Wow, what sweet fellowship!

Sadly, this way of life, is unheard of in our society today.  People too often, bemoan giving any money to the church even when there is a need.  People would rather sleep in on Sunday than go to Sunday School.  Going to the Sunday morning worship service is tiring enough, so they stay home instead of going to the evening service or Bible study.  If there is a mid-week service, forget that, because life is just too busy.  As for spending 6 hours for a day of prayer one day a year?  Too much of a sacrifice for most people!

I've also thought lately about people I have met personally who have been living testaments of being committed to God no matter the cost.  When I was in West Africa, I worshiped alongside people who had started walking before the sun came up to walk over a mountain and arrive at church 4 hours later in bare feet ready to worship with their brothers and sisters in Christ.  They do this every Sunday with gladness of heart! I have brothers and sisters in Christ who face persecution daily, lose jobs on a regular basis, pay 2-3 times the normal rent just because they call themselves a Christian and worship with believers on Sunday.  They run the risk of being killed by family members or others of the majority religion in their country.  Then there are others who I have not had the privilege of meeting personally who risk their lives to meet as a church underground because Christianity is illegal, but they are still committed to not forsaking the assembling of themselves together.  If these brothers and sisters can do it at great costs, why can't we when the only cost is convenience???? 

How can we even wonder why God doesn't seem to be working like He used to in the Bible times?  Why does it seem that souls are barely being added each year not to mention each day?  How can people even question God's goodness when something bad happens to them when they don't even give God any time of their day?  The problem is we have forgotten who God is because we have broken down our fellowship with Him.  We have forgotten that He is Holy, Just, Righteous, the Creator, Sovereign, Almighty, Ruler, etc.  We have become infected with the American "I"itis (my diagnosis of the current American culture stuck on itself) and think that we are good and deserving of rewards.  The Bible tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  We are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and incapable of doing anything good (Ephesians 2:1-3).  We are deserving of nothing but eternal damnation (Romans 6:23).  Praise God that He is gracious and merciful and that out of His love and goodness, He chose us before the world began and called us to be His children and shed His own Son's blood to clean us from our sins.  We stand justified and are totally undeserving of it.  Yet, how often, do we take it for granted and become ungrateful for it or even think we deserve more?

Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a rightb spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment