Christian Life

Have You Ever Been Stung?

Until today, I could honestly say that I had never been stung by a bee, wasp or hornet.

As a human being, we are all tempted to be reactive out of fear. Today, while breaking up some compacted wood chips to spread in my yard, I unwittingly disturbed a wasps’ nest. All of a sudden, there was quite a swarm. While I stood still and declared that in the name of Jesus they would not sting me, three of them in fact did impact me in that manner.

In seeking the Lord about the experience and what is to be learned from it, he has shown me a few parallels in the spiritual realm. While I meant no harm to the wasps, their instinct was to respond out of fear as they thought they were going to be destroyed. So too, we as humans can be moved by the spirit of fear if we are not fully controlled by Love. Only true and perfect love can cast out fear according to the Word of God, the Holy Bible. So many of us have hurt others and been hurt. It all goes back to fear.

Sometimes that fear has anger, hatred or bitterness layered upon it, worn like a mask And that’s one lesson from the wasps today.

Another lesson, is how subtle the satanic realm is. As we are blithely going along trying to live our lives, even do good, we can be surprised by the unseen. All of a sudden, evil will spring forth in attack.

Sometimes we have allowed cracks in our Spiritual armor that gives opportunity. But sometimes, as I was reminded earlier while reading a book called Emerald Eyes by Lois Vogel-Sharp, we live in a world that has evil alive and working because it was given permission by man to dwell in this realm and influence our behaviors and our emotions.

The Word tells us that we are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices.

We must stay alert by leaning into God. We do this by embracing Him in worship that comes directly from the depths of our spiritual being and by continuing to read and meditate upon the Word of God, the Bible.

Worship is a deep topic in and of itself. I would encourage you to be aware of how you can worship the Lord in spirit and in truth daily. That’s where the rubber meets the road for me and for you. It’s not about an experience on Sunday mornings. When we have an experience in church, I hope that that is merely an extension of what is going on for us on a regular basis outside of that setting. And I hope that we don’t confuse praise, volume and emotion with true worship.

God bless you this evening, morning or afternoon as you read this passage and beyond.

Christian Life

Community

As a Google search defines it, community is, “a group of people living in the same place…” or “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes.” I like these definitions.

We just had the instillation service for our new Pastoral Couple. While she is not technically designated as a co-pastor, as he acknowledged, he would not be where he is without her. They are a dyadic community. When interviewing for the pastorate, he made it clear that they would be relocating geographically to truly be present shepherds of the flock, showing they put a priority on congregational community. Today, they spoke of reaching out to the larger city community.

As an introvert growing up and still one that can quite easily sit in the corner unless I’m called upon to be doing something, this concept of togetherness can seem a bit illusory and enigmatic. However, I am experiencing faith community as an adult in a very new and much needed way.

This didn’t come after a lot of toil and trying this fellowship or that, but as a direct result of a simple prayer that my child’s spiritual needs would be met and that He would show me where to go. Now, we have forming friendships and supports, texts, calls and times of sharing meals and life stories. We have elder and younger, from this place and that with all different heritages, unifying as the Body of Christ, praying for and bearing one another’s burdens, which fulfills the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

I thank God for hearing and answering just the right way, at just the right time. I also thank our new community that is clearly based on Christ alone. A firmer foundation for community, one cannot find (II Corinthians 9:15 & Psalm 118:22).

“Not neglecting our own congregational meetings, as some have made a practice of doing, but, rather, encouraging each other. And let us do this all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 CJB