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The Word For Today

The Importance of Fellowship

Nathaniel Hawthorne said, 'No man, for any period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one.' We like to wear masks in public, yet, only as we open up to one another can we truly change and grow. '...If we live in the light...we can share fellowship with each other...' (1 John 1:7 NCV).

The world promotes the idea darkness is needed for intimacy, but the Word tells us the opposite: it occurs when we live in the light. We can keep hidden sin a secret in the dark but in the light it can be exposed to healing truth. We're afraid of transparency, yet it's the only way to become spiritually and emotionally whole. None of us is as strong individually as all of us are collectively. We're more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us.

Over and over in the New Testament we're told to be devoted to one another, submit to one another, forgive one another, bear one another's burdens, honour one another, accept one another, teach one another, serve one another, encourage one another, pray for one another and love one another. You're not responsible for everyone in your church, but you are responsible to them. God expects you to do whatever you can to serve them. Paul challenged the believers in Rome, saying, '...I want us to help each other...Your faith will help me and my faith will help you' (Romans 1:12 NCV). That's what it's all about!

Soulfood : Eph 1:1-4:16, Lk 5:1-11, Ps 137, Prov 17:22-23

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The Law of Love (2)

God's love is the most powerful force the world has ever seen. And as a follower of Christ, it is up to you to carry the torch and keep it burning. The Bible says, '...Clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony' (Colossians 3:12-14 NLT). It's one thing to quote Scriptures, pray long articulate prayers in public, study theology and attend church. But only when people see your love will they be impacted by your life. Love, not words, is the true test of your discipleship.

It's said that General Omar Bradley once made a business trip on a commercial airline wearing a regular suit instead of his military uniform. When he reached his seat, he started doing some paperwork. As it turned out, the man sitting next to him was a young army private who didn't recognise Bradley. So, after take-off, he turned to the general and said, 'Since we're going to be together for a while, it would be nice if we got to know each other. My guess is that you're a banker.' Not wishing to seem rude, but needing to finish his work, Bradley replied, 'No, I'm General Omar Bradley, a five-star general in the US Army. I head up the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.' Without missing a beat, the young private replied, 'Well, sir, that's a very important job, and I sure hope you don't blow it!'

Your most important job today is to show God's love - so don't blow it!

Soulfood : 1 Sam 27-31, Lk 4:31-44, Ps 122, Prov 17:18-21

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The Law of Love (1)

A newspaper told the story of a boy with cancer who was going through chemotherapy and losing his hair. To show their love and support, his classmates all shaved their heads so he wouldn't be embarrassed about returning to school. The newspaper carried a picture of them all with their bald heads, accompanied by the caption, 'Everything we do, we do together.'

That's the 'law of love' Jesus was talking about when He said, 'A new command I give you: Love one another.' This must have sounded radical to the people Jesus was addressing, for they lived by two Old Testament laws: (1) The law of revenge. Before Moses came along, the law of the land was the law of the jungle. It said in essence, 'If you hurt me I'll hurt you and then hurt you even more!' Enemies actively sought ways to settle old scores because revenge wasn't just acceptable, it was encouraged. (2) The law of retribution. In Moses' time, revenge was replaced with retribution, which allowed 'an eye for an eye', but no more (Leviticus 24:20). You could do to your enemies only what they had done to you. To us this sounds harsh, but back then it was major progress.

Then Jesus came along and introduced a third law: the law of love. It meant you didn't have to get even; you could choose to forgive. Indeed, if you didn't, your prayers wouldn't be answered. This new commandment demonstrates the unconditional love God shows to us - then calls us to live the same way. So the law of love should govern your life every day.

Soulfood : 1 Sam 24-26, Lk 4:14-30, Ps 110, Prov 17:15-17

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