Archive for March, 2015

I ‘ve never met a person who thought they talked to God enough. Why don’t we? I suppose it stems from our desire and habit of living life without God’s help.

But In the last ten years, I have grown in my desire and capacity to pray and talk to God more. Why? Probably the biggest reason is that I know better how much I need his help to handle life’s challenges.

For example, as of yesterday, I am facing a wait on the results of tests to determine why my chest x-ray looked suspicious. Was it just scar tissue or was it something else the doctors saw. Why should I worry? I’m going to heaven no matter what.

But I still feel scared. How can talking to God help me deal with this?

This is how. Last night I asked God to give me some words to live by–so I could get a good night of sleep. The verse that came to mind was, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Clinging to these promises, I slept well last night.

Why Talk to God More?

There are many reasons to talk to God more–the following are three of the most important:

The first one is that we may grow into a more intimate relationship with him. He created us for intimacy. He loves us and created us for his purposes and pleasure. He enjoys it when we talk to him.

Another reason to talk to God more is so he can help us handle life. We were not meant to handle our problems alone. We are only fooling our self if we think we can do a better job alone than with God’s help. “Cast your burdens upon the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 62:8).

A third important reason to talk to God more is to change the world. God says,

“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like [yours], and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months” (James 5:16-17, NIV).

I assume you are like me and would like to have a better world to live in. This could be a world with better government, less disease, and more people finding purpose to life. If God can use the prayers of Elijah to bring about a drought that lasted three and one-half years, and controls the decisions of presidents (Proverbs 21:1), he can certainly use our prayers to change the world.

How Do We Talk to God More?

Talking to God more is not the problem, but is a symptom of the problem. Not praying much is not just a weakness but reveals our desire to shut God out of our lives and our lack of confidence that he will help us if we did ask him. To talk more to God, we need God to change us so that we rely more on the truth that “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

We also need perseverance in talking to God. He doesn’t always answer us the first time. He wants us to keep asking until we get a clear “Yes, “No,” or “Wait.” (Matthew 7:7).

Finally, we need God to show us what we are truly depending on to make life work. Is it our own wisdom and fortitude? Is it our managerial job we worked so hard to get and keep? Or is it good circumstances that usually come our way?

Do these things keep us from talking to God to make life work? Only God really knows, but we can ask him to reveal our heart to us and he will (Psalm 139:23-24). And may we have the grace to realize that God can do a better job than these idols in meeting our needs.

May the scales fall from our eyes and we realize how much God wants to bless and empower our lives, if we would only talk more to him. The writer of the book of Hebrews says,

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).

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Fellowship is Important

Nearly three years ago, I left the church that I had been a member of for 31 years. I had mixed feelings about leaving, but I believed it was a good move. And it was.

What I have been surprised by is my feeling of loss–the loss of relationships. These were my brothers and sisters in living life. They were my family. They were a major part of my support system.

These were the people I had done life with since my kids were toddlers. These were people I had sought to help and be helped by. They made me feel important, loved, needed, guided, and upheld.  I had sought to use my time and abilities to help build the church, and the church had grown from 100 to 2,500.

Now it was gone! My hometown vanished. I was out in the “north forty” of a new church. I was unknown, not needed, and not connected.

At this new church I am learning that relationships take time to build as God connects me to others in his time and in his ways. Now I am gradually establishing bonds with members of the new church through one to one, small group, and corporate activities.

Getting involved in ministry seems to be one of the main ways God is connecting me to this new church. But I still miss the family at the old church. This surprises me.

But should it?

Why does God stress connecting to others? Why is fellowship so important to God?

First of all, what is fellowship? Is it just Christians getting together and talking? Or is it more?

What It Is

Fellowship is connecting to God and with other Christians in such a way as we are able to use our resources to help them as they use their resources to help us. The goal is that we may all grow into more loving people (Ephesians 4:15-16). This means that being a growing Christian is a team effort. It’s not being a lone ranger or a John Wayne.

Fellowship is loving on one another. Jesus said, “Love one another, even as I have loved you, that you love one another” (John 13:34). And what does it look like to love one another?

  • Be at peace with one another
  • Be devoted to one another
  • Build up one another
  • Encourage one another
  • Accept one another
  • Bear one another’s burdens

No wonder I missed the old church! I had lost a lot of support as well as the blessings of helping others.

But how do we fellowship? Are there such things as good fellowship and not so good fellowship?

How to Do It

Larry Crabb, a well-known author on the spiritual life, says that we can all choose to encourage others. By prayerfully considering how to encourage each person and then doing it we can do much to help that person meet the challenges of daily life. And we all need encouragement, especially pastors (Hebrews 10:24).

Another suggestion on how to fellowship is to be real with other people. We need to let them know who we really are. Not what we want them to see, but the good, the bad, and the ugly in us.

Of course, we will need to do this around safe people. Often this can be found in a healthy small group or in some mentoring relationship.

We will ultimately need to depend on God’s love and acceptance of us no matter how bad we are, to overcome the fear of rejection we may have if we open up and let people see the real person we are. If we aren’t authentic, we can block God’s work through others in ministering to us.

A final thought on how to fellowship is to get involved in a church. God has made each of us a body part. We are not the whole body and we need others to live powerfully. We are gifted and designed by God to play specific roles in his Body. Fellowship happens as we play the role we were designed to play to make our church a healthy place to live (Ephesians 4:16).


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