Monday, August 24, 2015

Accepting One Another

31 Day Challenge Part 2

Photo by: (c) huhulin www.fotosearch.com Stock Photography

A thought to ponder...
What if we didn't judge by appearances or differences but simply just accepted and loved each other for who we are, just as Christ accepted and loves each and every one of us.

In my previous post, I described a 31 Day Challenge for One Courageous Community within our churches that we were encouraged to partake in by Christian speaker Kari Patterson.

I would like to share another challenge I battle with - Romans 15:7  "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."  How typical it is for each and every one of us to reject or to exclude each other because we have a weaker or stronger faith, dress differently, behave differently, look differently, come from a lower class, are from a different generation the list goes on and on. When Jesus approached someone, did he look at their status, their knowledge of the law, the way they dressed or the way they looked?  No, he did not. He looked at the heart and he was deeply concerned for the spiritual welfare and heart of the non-believer. As it shows in Matthew 9: 10-13 10 gNow it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with htax collectors and isinners?”
12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: jI desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, kbut sinners, 2to repentance.”

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to love one another, encourage one another and help each other grow closer to God. Churches need to be as one unifying spirit in worshiping God, not a dividing spirit segregated into groups and ostracizing each other. A person should walk through the church doors and feel loved, welcomed and a part of a family not hated, unwelcomed and treated as strangers just because of who they are. How many of you have felt this way? I know I have many times and it made me not want to go back to church. It made me want to give up on church altogether. But I wanted to be obedient to God. I wanted to learn more about God, so I endured despite my unhappiness. Many times I would feel excluded and left out of conversations in a Bible Study because my knowledge of the Word was not as strong as those surrounding me. No one invited me into their conversations and I never even tried to partake. So I would leave or just tune those around me out. So imagine how others might feel. Look around on a Sunday morning or during a Bible study. Do you see someone sitting alone?  Do see others being excluded? Are you judging someone because their faith and knowledge of the Word is not as strong as yours? Think to yourself, what would Jesus do? Let us ask God to give us courage and guidance. Let us join in unison in building each other up not down. Let us join in unison in growing closer to God and reaching those who do not know Him.

Love to you all and God Bless!
Carol





Thursday, August 13, 2015

31 Day Challenge

31 Day Challenge

Photo by: (c) huhulin www.fotosearch.com Stock Photography


A thought to ponder.... 
I wonder if there were to be a poll on how many Christians grumble against each other what the outcome would be?

At the church we are attending, I got the chance to attend their Ladies Camp in July. I had the most amazing enlightening privilege and experience of listening to the guest speaker, Kari Patterson, teach about One Courageous Community within our churches. The theme verse was John 17:11 “That they may be one as we are one.” When we are not unified and are separated into sections and groups we cannot produce the fruit that God intended us to produce. We must be unified with one spirit and one mind to reach those who don’t know our Lord and Savior and to show the world how we live in a Christ-like manner. We cannot be isolating into groups, ostracizing each other, treating each other as outsiders and causing strife, if we do, we only demonstrate that the community within our churches is fragile and fracturing. If the vine is fractured and splitting into pieces, it will not grow and produce fruit. We must love and serve one another.

At the end of the camp retreat, Kari asked us to take on the 31 day challenge of practicing with friends and family to transform ourselves into being more Christ like and strive to attain that one community - one spirit and one mind. Within the next few posts on my blog, I want to share a few of these challenges to help others grow into One Courageous Community. And if you have never heard Kari Patterson speak, I encourage women ministries at churches to attend one of her engagements.

One of the first biggest challenges and one I really struggled with is: Don’t Grumble Against Each Other. I think that this is something we all struggle with and are guilty of doing.  Many times I will grumble about someone and later feel so convicted about what I said. I had no business complaining and grumbling. I start to think, wow I just failed God in so many ways. My mouth was just spewing out poison. In James chapter 5 verse 9 it states, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” When certain people aggravate you, or rub you the wrong way, or are rude to you, or are unkind to you it so hard to not to grumble or complain about them. However, it is so important that we speak encouraging and positive words about each other. We are to love one another and speak in a positive light. Focus on the good things of one another, not the bad things. In Exodus 16 and 17, the Israelites were grumbling against Moses and Aaron. They could only think of themselves and their unhappy circumstances and blamed them for leading them into their situation. When actually, they should have been focusing on God and praising God for leading them out of slavery. We tend to do that a lot, focus on ourselves instead of focusing on God and His plans and wishes. We should be focusing on how can we serve God better, how can we demonstrate our love for him, and how can we show the world God’s love and message. By not grumbling against each other, we can take the first step in demonstrating a Christ-like character and a step towards having a one unified courageous community.

Love to you all and God Bless!

Carol