Thursday, April 20, 2017

What Has Happened to the Early Church?

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So this is not the post I mentioned yesterday, but it was that came to me while having my devotions this morning. I have been slowly working my way through a Bible Study called "An Unexplainable Life" taken from Acts 1-12. Slowly is a key word here. It's a ten week study that I started at the beginning of the year and I am now nearing the end of week two. There's been some lack of self-discipline involved as well, but let's not get into that now.

This morning I was reading about the early church again. Do you know what they did E.V.E.R.Y D.A.Y? They worshipped God together, they ate together, they praised God together, they enjoyed the favor of the people together. And they did this all with joy and gladness. What has happened? Or should I say, what would happen if today's church would try that? What if everything we did was done with joy and gladness? What if, when we got together with other Christians we spend our time praising God instead of gossiping and complaining about other Christians? 

What would change? How would you change? How would I change? How would relationships change? How would churches grow? At the end of all this, the Bible says, "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." And why not? With that kind of attitude, wouldn't people come in droves? Why would they come to your church? Because you have a church full of praise and gratitude? Or would they come because they are attracted to fightings and bitterness and gossip? It's a huge challenge for me. I want to be the person that's annoyingly optimistic, that sees the good in every situation. I want to be part of a church like that too.

Another thing, do you know what Jesus prayed in his prayer in John 17:20-23? First of all, he prayed for us, even here today, "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message." Then He prays that we may be one in Christ so that the world can see and believe that God sent Jesus. He wanted us to be "brought to complete unity". Why? "Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

So maybe we should quit fighting each other and start praising together. I think we all know churches who are struggling or who have struggled in the past. This is not God's way. Yes, I believe there are times when there are Biblical issues that need to be addressed and people may have to split ways, but are there times that we make Biblical issues out of personal preferences? Are there times we ignore Biblical concepts, like praising God continually and being unified, because we want to follow a man or a man-made concept and therefore we justify our attitudes? I I am not your judge, but I know I have been way too guilty of this. 

I want to be one of these people who is so busy praising God, I don't have time for bitterness, envy, debate, deceit, jealousy, gossip, etc. etc. to become a part of my life or of my family's life. 

Just my two cents on the verses I read today. I would love to hear others' thoughts on these verses as well. 

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Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle

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