"And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25, Amplified Bible.
CAN-CAN - Aren't they all so cute together? Don't they look like they can do anything together? I found these little girls through Photobucket, I have no clue who they are. But these little girls doing the CAN-CAN together, are the perfect illustration for what is on my mind the last few days.
Strategy 'Can't Can't' - Recently, my Pastor spoke on love, and 1 of the 2 scriptures he focused on is above. Since then, I have been very aware of the way the enemy tries to sneak in to any places we let him in unawares. He strives to discourage us, and to help us to build a stronghold in our minds. A stronghold that tells us time with friends, and church activities that build relationships and edify; are too much work, too much stress, not enough benefit, or "I don't have anything to offer, I am too tired, too busy, too broke." I could go on...but, you get the idea.
My Story - Thursday was a challenging day for me in several ways. Primarily due to my very unexpected reaction to very unexpected news from oldest son, (he's 23). I was supposed to teach a group of women, who I am friends with, at their monthly ladies' meeting that evening. They are friends of mine, from another church whom I enjoy very much and am so grateful to know and be friends with. During that day, as I finished preparing to teach (on the subject of transition) I kept feeling like "this is not looking good, as it is difficult to teach while you are crying, Maria! GET OVER it already!" Every time I would stop, someone would merely have to say "BOO!" and there you go! Waterworks! I was sooo disgusted at myself, as this is HIGHLY unlike me.
The faithfulness of God - Knowing the faithfulness of God, I didn't cancel. I just started saying what He says about me, and kept making last minute finishing touches on what I needed for the evening. By the time my sil picked me up (it is her church) I felt unbelievably ready. As she and I spoke with each other on the way, we both encouraged each other and pretty much had our own meeting before the meeting. She is such a treasure, that Wendy. I am EVER so grateful for her friendship, and the gift of God inside of her. When we got to the meeting, I think we were both ready to storm the gates! :)
The Power of Fellowship - The meeting was great. I didn't cry! I only laughed! Those women are so serious to pursue Christ, and growth in their lives. They also know how to have a good time. During the course of the portion of their meeting, where they plan for future events and such, I was impressed on the hunger and need in the lives of women everywhere. The need we have to connect with persons who have shared similar experiences, hobbies, skills, dreams, etc. I thought about how there is such a power available, when we get together with people whom we identify with in any of these ways. Iron sharpens iron. I have seen it in the blogging I do. It humbles me. I realized then and there, part of the message would change - it would start with Mary and Elizabeth meeting.
Luke 1:36-37 "And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment." and then finally, Luke 1:41 "And it occurred that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit." and Luke 1:44 "For behold, the instant the sound of your salutation reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy."
The Power of Multiplication -The angel Gabriel tells Mary her cousin is in a remarkable situation pertaining to pregnancy, as well. They have a commonality. Mary goes to see her. The presence of Mary, pregnant with Our Saviour Jesus, combined with the presence of Elizabeth and the baby, John the Baptist, was a striking fellowship. The likes of which history has never seen, before or since. On the surface, it would have seemed like two pregnant, housewives, and all the world yawns...yet, as we now know, this is anything but yawning material. These were women blessed to conceive, carry and birth, two of the most important people ever born. There was a powerful anointing, which was released at the time of their fellowship. It speaks to us, not just of the historical context, but also of the power available to us when we get together with our gifts and abilities and shared experiences. They met in one state of being, yet they parted encouraged, more at peace, and I am sure, not in a little wonder at what was going on. They parted strengthened. They were going to need it!
Iron Sharpens Iron - Instead of "been there, done that", it is "you can do this, I know you can, I have survived this as well. You will be able to make it." The times we live in (note the opening scripture above, from Hebrews), require that we purpose to connect with each other, in whatever fashion works for us (as well as church membership). Because church attendance, by itself, will not be enough. Acts shows lots of family and friends interacting, and meeting regularly. It was so much more than punching Sunday's ticket. I am also reminded of when Saul was first anointed as King. In 1 Samuel 10:2-13. Saul was instructed to go to a certain place, and he would meet up with a company of prophets. When he did, he would be "turned into another man". He did and he was! Check it out. Don't just take my word! :)
When We Part Company - When the meeting was over, we all felt ready to take on the next round in the adventure (sometimes the battle, sometimes the dance) called life. We came one way, we left another. We all left whatever cares and concerns we had, to come together for a couple of hours. When we left, we didn't go away empty handed. Our hearts were both full and lighter, at the same time. When I pray for my church, I pray that we all will come looking for someone to be a blessing to. When our focus is on others, we somehow gain strength while serving and loving. Whether we blog, make phone calls, send letters, drop by friend's or relatives's home, or have people over, this opportunity is always before us.
Who Knows? - Who knows when the person you are encouraging is the next mother of someone great? Remember Elizabeth and Mary? Mary was struggling with the stigma of being pregnant prior to marriage. Not cool. Elizabeth was struggling, I am sure. Consider her plight as a woman. She was past natural age to bear a child, and her husband had gone strangely mute, since just prior to her conception. Life was upside down from everything she had known. How much do we think they each were better equipped from their time spent together? That is what we look for and receive (ideally), through serving and fellowshipping and just plain 'ole friendship!
Developing Greatness Through Fellowship - There's not another Jesus to be born, and no more John the Baptists either. But, as we look around, we can see there's a dearth of great men and women. The time is ripe for a spectacular generation to be raised up. I am sure we are seeing some of the next great leaders rise up, right before our very eyes. In our car pools, in the play-doh piles, and even dancing in our kitchens and family rooms. No matter what the circumstances LOOK LIKE, greatness can be developing right in front of your eyes!
Go forth! Go forth, befriend and uplift! I have to go do that with my honey right now! Thanks for stopping by!