ESTHER’S WARRIORS MINISTRY
Many of us will have the luxury of a long weekend this week as our country celebrates Columbus Day. It is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I could not help but think how thankful we should be to live in this great Nation. How often do you really stop and thank God that you live in the bastion of freedom? Freedom is our heritage. May God hear from heaven and heal our land that we will remain the city on the hill in the world landscape!
The Pattern for Fellowship
I have been a part of many conversations this week about fellowship. Specifically, discussions have revolved around fellowship with other church members. In Acts 2:42 we read about the early church: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 tells us, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Is God a Part of Your Conversation?
How does this all tie together today? What is fellowship and what is not fellowship? First of all, we see that the pattern set for us in the Book of Acts is to gather with others to share God’s Word [the apostles’ doctrine]. Fellowship is a time to encourage one another with how the Word of God is alive and operating in your life. It is also an opportunity to share how God is moving. What is He showing you and how is He changing you?
Are you catching His favor moments or are you just murmuring complaining and blaming someone else for your situation? Fellowship is not a time to denigrate family, friends, pastors, leaders. To do so is quite contrary to the Word of God and the Way He has established for us to walk. Stop and check your heart.
Fellowship and Food
Second, fellowship can be a time to share a meal or conversation with others. This is a great opportunity to encourage and edify each other in the Lord. God fearfully and wonderfully made each and every one of us in His image and with His unique plan for our life. If we fellowship with Him first we will be unfolding in His design and likewise our life will unfold in His perfect time and His perfect will. Our fellowship with people should be second to our fellowship with Him. If we keep Him first we will hear His voice telling us, “this is the way, walk in it.” We will not be tossed about by conflicting rules established by others. We will walk fully in His way.
Fellowship is not a time to try to control others or manipulate them to think, speak and act as you do in your life. In addition, time spent in fellowship should not include speaking negatively about others. That is not godly fellowship. It is gossip and it is wrong. There is no justification to consistently shred another person. It causes division, strife and every evil work and it spiritually affects the entire body of Christ. It has to stop and it begins with each and every one of us. To ‘break bread’ with others provides nourishment to our bodies. Let it also bring nourishment to our souls through uplifting conversation.
To Pray or Not to Pray?
Third, fellowship often revolves around corporate prayer. We know that where two or more are gathered, He is in their midst. Also, the prayers of the righteous avail much as they ascend to heaven with the strength of
number. Fellowship in prayer is being of like mind and spirit to seek the Lord in honor, worship, praise, thanksgiving and supplication. Fellowship in prayer is not telling all of the personal facts about a person or their situation and discussing it at length. That is gossip and that is an abomination to God. Period. Unfortunately, there are many ‘prayer groups’ that are little more than gossip clubs. God knows the person needing prayer cover and He knows far more about that situation than we could ever imagine. We just need to pray and let God be God. He is on the throne not us.
In Ephesians 4:31 we are told, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted [it is always a heart issue], forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” Prayerfully read this scripture over a few times slowly. Take this week to really check your heart and your relationships. If you are surrounded by people who revel in talking about others, consider a new group of friends. If you participate in speaking ill of others purpose to stop it. Repent and renew your mind to speak of only what is lovely. Many of us grew up hearing, “If you cannot say something nice do not say anything.” Excellent advice.
God Blesses the Pure in Heart!
So what should fellowship look like? True fellowship comes from a heart closely knit first to the heart of God. True fellowship should leave you feeling better not worse when you part company. True fellowship includes a deep and sincere concern for others above a pride filled need to control and be right. True fellowship comes from a pure heart. Jesus promises us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) That is His promise to you. Fellowship first with Him and then with others with a pure heart and you will see God move in your life. You will be blessed far above what you can think or imagine.
‘Pray the States’
Join us this week as we ‘pray the states’ toward the 2012 Presidential election. We are praying for each state in the order of admission to the Union. Please cover North Dakota admitted to the Union November 2, 1889, in prayer. Pray for wisdom and discernment for the political leaders, pastors and church leaders, the people residing in North Dakota and for all in our Nation. Each state is important in forming our United States of America. We commit to pray for a different state each week so we not only provide prayer cover but also to make us aware that our country is bigger than the space we personally occupy in it. These are our United States. Let us pray that we will arise united ‘for such a time as this!’
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“Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” Ronald Reagan, 1984
A Prayer Request and Personal Blessing
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to pray. Please keep our servicemen and women and their families in prayer for salvation and safety. They are our frontline on the battlefield, let us be their frontline in the spirit. Also, let us cover all who have come home wounded that they and their families will receive the kindness, help and support they need to go forward in their lives. God bless all our military personnel and their families. May God richly bless the United States of America and keep her safe.
May God richly bless you and lead you to the fullness of a pure heart toward others. May we may arise united in this auspicious season in our country’s history.