QUARTERLY JOURNAL
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Fellowship

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”- 1 Corinthians 1:9
 
Fellowship is a special relationship that we have with God our Father, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the rest of the Christian family. Fellowship is simply the friendly communion and relationship we have with each other and it should not be taken lightly because it is one of the most important elements of our Christian walk. Fellowship is one of the most intimate interactions within the Christian family and helps strengthen the body of Jesus Christ. To emphasize the importance of fellowship God even commands us to greet each other with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26). As a matter of fact, scientific researchers have found that hugs can positively affect the emotional stability of people.[1]
 
A family void of emotional stability through kind words of encouragement, the physical interaction of warm embraces and holy kisses can be an extremely weak family.  In many broken families these loving elements are replaced by bitterness, dislike, anger and in some extreme cases, hatred for one another.  Unresolved conflicts can lead to bitterness and divisions in the Christian family that can disrupt the progress of the church (Hebrews. 12:15). God considers fellowship so important that if we don’t successfully resolve conflicts we have with other brothers and sisters in the Christian family we risk our relationship not only with God but also our identity within the Christian family, “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican”, St. Matthew 18:17 KJV.  Disobedience to God’s Word can negatively affect our fellowship within the church body and our daily Christian walk in the world.  King Saul disobeyed and God refused to answer Saul’s prayers (1 Samuel 28:6).  Unanswered prayers can leave a believer confused.  Disobedience to God’s Word can also cause fellow believers to avoid those living contrary to God’s commands, “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed”, 2 Thessalonians 3:15 KJV.  A broken relationship with the Father and Christian family members is not a good place to be for any believer.  We are weakened when we don’t have fellowship with God and other believers. 
 
God doesn’t want us to have a ‘God and me’ attitude that’s why he emphasizes the importance of fellowship.  There are no preferences in the body of Christ.  We can’t try to compensate for those we dislike by loving one Christian brother or sister more than another.  We need to love all of the Saints in the body of Christ with the same Godly love.  If there is anyone in the Christian family that we love less than others then that’s the relationship that God wants us to focus on.  If God commands us to love our enemies and do good to those that hate us (Matt. 5:44) then there’s no doubt that He has high expectations for family members within the body of Christ.  The Lord won’t even accept our gifts until we get our fellowship right with our other brothers and sisters in the church, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”, St. Matthew 5:23-24
 
Let’s all make fellowship a key focus of our Christian walk.  After altar call, find someone new to greet.  Let’s share kind words with those that we don’t normally talk to.  Let’s build new relationships and express God’s love to everyone and not just those that we are always friendly with.  Let’s fellowship with everyone in God’s house!
 
 
Submitted By Trustee Stanley Ridley
 

[1] https://www.studyfinds.org/study-hugs-happier-harder-days/



Prayer is Not a Monologue

Prayer is conversation with God. He hears us when we pray. He listens, and He answers when we ask questions. He wants to talk to us- but know this: You can’t hear God until you know Him. Knowing God is determined purpose. You have to invest tine in getting to know Him, like He does us!

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon



When the Stones Cry Out

“He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’ ” – Luke 19:40 ESV

When Jesus came down from the Mount of Olives, the Saints, those that believe in Him, rejoiced and praised God with loud voices. “And when He was come nigh even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the might works that they had seen;” (Luke 19:37). Some of the Pharisees who were in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke the crowd for making loud noises. I think what they were really saying was, “It don’t take all of that,” or “Why are you making all that commotion, that’s not necessary,” or here’s another one, “Who are you to be rejoicing and praising God after what you did last week? or some folk revealed what they are thinking by their actions. Have you ever noticed that while some folk are standing up and waving their hands and rejoicing and praising God, that a certain percentage of the church congregation are still sitting and going through great pains not to make any sudden movements? Sometimes I think this is due to guilt. Sin will make you feel guilt and if a person did something that they feel was contrary to the Word of God and they have not resolved the conflict or have not confessed the disobedient behavior (sin) then they may have a difficult time freely praising the Lord during Worship services. It is possible that spiritually and subconsciously, John 4:24 may be in action during worship services, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

In the case of the Pharisees they hated Jesus as well as His believers and they wanted Him dead and His believers silenced. The Lord responded as magnificently as always, “…I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). The bottom line is that somebody or something is going to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice. It’s either going to be people, or it’s going to be the rocks. One Sunday we should put a camera outside looking at the rocks so that when it’s time to rejoice and praise God and the people in the sanctuary decide to sit and not rejoice and praise God, then we can look and see something else rejoicing and praising God, and it could be the rocks outside.

The Lord lets us know that if we are quiet the stone will start shouting. Do you want stones to be rejoicing and praising God instead of you who the Lord has equipped to do it? Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again, I say, Rejoice”. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice evermore.” Revelation 19:9 says, “Let us be glad and rejoice…” The word rejoice is mentioned 253 times in the Holy Bible. The word rejoice means “To give joy to.” It is a transitive verb is characterized by having a direct object.

Rejoice is a word of action towards a direct object and for us that object is our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, and we need to show action when we worship and praise the Lod.

So, the next time we have an opportunity to rejoice let’s do it, without hesitation, so the rocks don’t need to cry out.

 

Submitted by Trustee Stanley Ridley