“Where is your joy? – You used to be so filled with joy and you have become so serious. So now rediscover your joy this week. Where has your joy gone? Your relationship with Me should continuously be expressed in joy, even during difficulties. Remember ‘love, joy, peace, patience etc’ . Joy is right up there at the beginning. ‘Rejoice in Me always and again I say rejoice-‘”
How must I find that joy again Lord? “This is My joy which I am expressing through you – it flows from Me and your relationship with Me – but it reflects your attitude to Me and what is happening around you – so draw close, open your heart up and let Me fill it, not with a bubbly, frothy, superficial emotion – but one that arises from a deep appreciation of My worth and what I am doing for you and in you. So go forth this week and express My joy”
My following of the story of Luke in Acts reaches ch 13. Reading till vs 13. For the first time we see a group of Christian leaders and elders, representing the central core of the “church” in Antioch, meeting together in prayer and worship, presumably also seeking the way forward from the Lord. It is here where they receive instructions for the next phase and as it is put into practice, we see Saul, becoming Paul (the Roman equivalent) taking on more of a leadership role. What strikes me particularly from this passage is the way God uses the Church in the planning and execution of the next phase of the spread of the gospel.
Why do I think this is so important? Today (and I’m sure also over the years) there are more and more “Christians” who choose to operate loose from the church as individuals. They don’t want to submit to authority and visit various churches according to their taste seeking to “get something out of them” without committing themselves to the family of the “Body of Christ” and seeking to serve rather than be served. It is often from these individuals that rebellious waves arise against the authority and teaching of the established church. This is an entirely fertile hot-bed for false teaching and launching new ideas and a new gospel which is actually no gospel at all.
To me it was a timely reminder that the church is a representation of Christ’s body and His fullness which fills everything in every way Ephesians 1:22,23. The whole of Ephesians is meant to underline the fact that we as Christians cannot, dare not, try and function outside the scope of it.
Getting back to the passage in Acts, the other thing that I found interesting is in vs 12. This vs is a summary of the interaction between Paul and the proconsul who is saved after a miraculous intervention by Paul to “take out” the sorcerer. “He was amazed” at what? Not the miraculous act on Elymas, but “at the teaching about the Lord“.
So what is Jesus saying to me? “Hold fast to God’s word and teaching about it. Carry the task of teaching as sacred. The power though, is not in the Word per se, but in Me acting through the Word as My vehicle”.
Let us all then, in this trying time when Covid is seeking to keep us from meeting and functioning as a unit, remain loyal to the church and its teaching. The answer is not in rebelling against the rules of ‘lockdown’, but in seeking ways to function effectively despite ‘lockdown’. That is why I started this blog, to give us another way to draw together around God’s Word.