Living Together

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19-21

Here are the questions that are floating through my brain this morning: The people that I know at church, whom I consider friends, do I really know them as if we are members of the same household? If my answer is no, (which obviously my answer IS no or else I wouldn’t bother writing about it.) then the next question becomes why?

Members of a household know each other’s bad habits and good habits. Members of a household know each other’s quirks and mannerisms. Members of a household know each other’s burdens and joys. God has called us to be members of His household and yet we have a fear that if other people really knew us they would reject us. For the most part we don’t fear that our families will reject us because we have this idea that we are stuck with our families. However, that same sense of “stuck” also translates to amazing support when faced with a crisis or challenge. That same type of stuck/support should apply to all of us who are believers, all of us who have Jesus as our Cornerstone.

If all of us have been saved by grace (Eph 2:5) and none of us had anything to do with that salvation except have faith (Eph, 2:8) then all of us have much in common. The wages of ALL sin in death (Rom 6:23) which means that whatever sin you were delivered from is no worse or no better than the sin I was delivered from because both of us were headed to death without Christ. I shouldn’t be ashamed of telling you my story and not only how I accepted this amazing gift of salvation once upon a time, but also how I accept this amazing gift of salvation every single day! I should be able to share my struggles, my challenges, the times when I want a drink, the times when I want a cigarette, the times when I laugh at something I really shouldn’t and the times when I say something about someone that really wasn’t very nice. And I should be able to share these things about my journey with you without fear that you are going to reject me…and you should be able to do the same with me. Jesus asked us to come to Him when we are weary and carrying a heavy burden and in Him we will find rest (Matt 11:28). If we are in Him, if the Holy Spirit lives in us then we should also be able to come to each other and unload our burden together.

My natural inclination is to go inward and that only leads me to sadness. I feel two things when I go inward: 1) I don’t want to burden someone with my problem or challenge and 2) because everyone has enough of their own stuff going on and I don’t want to add any weight. However, I can lift more if someone is helping me then I can on my own so why on earth wouldn’t I want to reach out for help? Why on earth wouldn’t I want you to reach out to me for help? Neither one of us may be able to solve the problem, but we can always pray together. We MUST be praying together. We MUST be sharing our burdens. We MUST be sharing our joys and praising together because members of the same household have no other choice.

When I found myself at my lowest point in life, I found myself the most alone ever. At any point during my spiral down, if I had reached out to someone for help I may have stopped how low I went but instead I kept my pain to myself. I built walls and compartments and I kept people at arms length. I put on a smiley face when necessary and said it was all ok. I don’t want to ever get to that point again and even more, I don’t want anyone who knows me to get to that point themselves. I want to be a participant in the lives of the members of the household of God…YOUR life. I want to share your journey with you, not just sit on the side. I want to live life with you and you with me. I want us to be able to pray for and praise with each other in detail not in general. And if you have a need that I can meet, I want to know about it so I can fill it. Keeping my need to myself only keeps me needing.

My prayer for myself now is, “Father, bring me to a place of transparency in my own life and involvement in the lives of those around me. Show me how to reach out and put myself out there with others so that I feel like a member of Your household with others.” I’m a little nervous over this new prayer because it feels risky but I think that it’s what God is asking of me. And honestly, I think it is what God is asking of all of us. To live together in this life because we are definitely living together in the eternal life as long as we are all believers in Jesus.

I love Jesus and all He and the Spirit are doing in my life. I love people so much and I want so much to grow together. Please email me at kaprayingforyou@gmail.com if I can pray with you about anything. Or, if you see me somewhere, come up and share something happening in your life with me cuz if you don’t share it on your own, I’m probably going to start asking you. 🙂

Live in the love, grace, peace and mercy of God and live tightly with the other members of His household.

KA 🙂

Advertisements

Stay Close

“Oh Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Hosea 14:8 NLT

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone that starts off just amazing and then you find that a week, a month or a year (maybe more) later you aren’t as close as you used to be? The things about this other person that you thought would keep you linked forever in this amazing bond that allowed nothing between you seem to bug you now. You used to stay up for hours just talking and that just made your heart swoon and now you’re indifferent to the sound of their voice. There was a spark that electrified you and everyone around you when you held hands walking down the street and now one of you walks ahead of the other just a step and holding hands would seem awkward. What happened? You didn’t stay close because you didn’t work at staying close. Staying close to someone requires a dedication that doesn’t seem to last unless you really focus your attention and when you sense distance of any kind, you fix whatever the cause is and move back to side-by-side.

Our relationship with God is no different in this area except for one thing…God never moves away, we do. When we first become Christians or rededicate our lives there is a level of emotion that is just like being in love. God has rescued us from something or worked some type of miracle that causes us to have such gratitude that we devour everything about Him. Then life starts to creep in and we are still thankful for all God has done but we get less thankful for all God IS DOING. We move from present tense to past tense with God and we stop holding His hand. Like a 3 year old who lets go of a parent’s hand and runs away, we start to think we don’t need to be quite as close. We shorten our time with Him because hey, our lives are busy and we just don’t have that luxury anymore. The situation God released us from or the health scare that God healed is now a memory and we’re doing fine now so we move a step or two out of sync with Him. We start to believe the lie that says we can do life just fine and thanks, Mr.God, I’ll let you know when I need you and I’ll be sure to call now and then. God’s reply is, “stay close. I am your tree of life.”

Confession time…I started to do this, move away from God. A little over a year ago I had this amazing, life-changing moment with God and for pretty much the following 8 months I was so dedicated to spending hours in the Word and prayer that it was all-consuming. I used to joke that I was in spiritual rehab because God was doing alot of healing and alot of work. Well, as with anyone who is broken and then healing, I started to feel that I could be a little less dependent. My life changed due to a move and I felt that I just didn’t have the same amount of time and that it was ok, God would still “bless” the time I did give Him. I started to feel like I could do a little more on my own and a little less relying on God. I didn’t wake up at 4a anymore and read the bible and pray for 90 minutes, instead I woke up at 5:15a and spent 15 minutes starting my day with God. I didn’t pray over my friends and family as much, I shot up a one sentence prayer of, “bless everyone in my life”. (Is that even a FULL sentence?) I didn’t stay close.

Now, here’s the amazing, wonderful, fantastic truth about God: (wait for it)…God never moves. GOD NEVER MOVES!!! When we start to feel a distance between us and God, it’s OUR fault, not God’s. The minute that distance is recognized, whether it’s been growing for 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years or 5 decades you can always draw close because God never moves. He’s always right there by your side. He’s always going ahead of you. He’s always promising to never leave you or forsake you. GOD NEVER MOVES. My encouragement for you today is to turn back and get close. It may not happen overnight but it will happen if you seek God first and work to remove any barriers. This isn’t an easy process necessarily but it is worthwhile. There is no disappointment in God so don’t let the enemy, who wants you to stay far from God, trick you into believing that God isn’t all He says He is.

One last thing…how to stay close is a personal thing between you and God. For me, I wake up at 4a and read the Word and pray for about 90 minutes. I am not advocating that for anyone else but me because it’s what God has called me to do. There is no recipe to follow for staying close to God just as there is no recipe for a happy and healthy marriage. It’s up to you to seek God and pray and ask Him how He wants you to stay close and then follow that path. (Now, if you want to try waking up at 4a please let me know and I’ll be happy to call you!!) The important thing is that you stick to staying close. God never moves and He doesn’t want you to move any direction but closer.

Live in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy. If you need a prayer partner, please email me at kaprayingforyou@gmail.com.

KA 🙂