Made in His image.

Made in His image.
Photos courtesy Jan Ethridge Photography

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Designed to be Together

School is back in swing and in another week we'll see our girls again in rehearsals! Oh how we have missed them:) Seasons of rest are always a blessing, but we love our girls so and keep them in prayer faithfully as they get ready for a new season of dance! And how blessed we are to have each pray for each other and encourage one another. To lift each other up, to celebrate with one another in good times, to offer authentic compassion for each other during trials, and also just to laugh together! And we share the common thread of a talent that we believe was given to us directly from the throne of heaven above...our dancing!

Our pastor spoke today on how important it is to be plugged in to the body of Christ and in community with one another. Is it enough to go to church each week and never invest in more personal relationships with one another? Do we go to church and then leave without speaking to anyone else? Surely we weren't meant to walk through this life alone. You see SO much happens when we spend time together in fellowship, be it small groups, Bible studies, Sunday schools classes, ministries, or just genuine friendships founded in the love of Christ.

 The apostles demonstrate great examples of this in the book of Acts. In Acts 2:42 it says, "And they devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer." The first century Christians mentioned here experienced tremendous persecution. They were under an oppressive government and even their property was plundered for what they believed in. But don't we, living all these years later still go through incredible trials and suffering? Life happens whether we want it to our not and it happens to all of us. But we aren't meant to go through it alone.

The apostles studied God's Word together. Recently, my husband and I were going through a study on Nehemiah together and after we had completed our section for that day he said, "I could just spend all day doing this!"  God's Word is very much alive and when we study it together we are blessed with insights and a source of living strength and wisdom that we so desperately need in this lifetime. Praise God! I could never experience too much of God's word in my heart!

The apostles broke bread together and they prayed together. Our pastor recently returned from a trip to Africa and he gave a very striking image for us to digest. He read a description of a certain type of African buffalo and how that animal bands together as a herd to defend its members from attacks by predators, usually lions. He described how there were documented cases of these buffalos not only defending themselves against lion attacks, but chasing their predators up trees and trapping them there for hours! Not exactly the typical buffalo-lion scenario I would normally picture. He even told us that entire herds will respond to the distressed cry of  even one of its members being attacked by a lion, and that on more than one occasion a herd has rescued a calf from the very jaws of a predator!

As Christians we might think of it something like this:

"The Body of Christ is very protective of its members. When threatened by a predator, the Body of Christ will respond to the cry of one of its members in danger and has been known to chase down the predator trapping him for hours. When a Christian is in the throes of an attack, the Body of Christ will chase down the source of destruction and rescue their own from certain death. The Body of Christ is known for protecting their own and for standing together against the threats of predators."

 Please tell me that speaks to someone else like it does to me! I know I can testify that in my own life, there have been MANY times where the faithful prayers of close friends in Christ have literally rescued me from the depths of despair and given me the strength to press on in faith or the grace to forgive or any other number of blessings.

And that is my prayer for our dance ministry and whoever else might read these words. We were meant to be in community with one another! My heart overflows in joy when I hear our girls praying for each other! I love the moments we have together reading God's Word and just sitting at His feet. I relish the thought that our enemy hears our prayers for our girls and we can gladly boast that the One who lives in our hearts is greater than he who lives in the world!

 We all need trusted believers in our life to support us, to pray for us, to provide support when we need it, to share wisdom, and sometimes to lovingly
correct us. I pray that we can resist the temptation to withdraw from others when we are struggling and cling to those special life-giving friendships that the Lord provides us with for encouragement, wisdom, and strength. And if you don't currently have a group or a precious few friends you would trust with the deepest most honest prayers of your heart then pray.....ask the Lord to guide you to people that are worthy of that kind of trust and He will most certainly lead you to them.

And to all our girls, we love you, you are precious to us, and we can't wait to see you soon!