Archive for the ‘unity’ Category

When you were a teen and visited the homes of your friends, you could typically tell right away if the family members there respected each other and treated one another with kindness.

And if you sensed that relationships were not cherished but instead taken for granted, you probably didn’t want to return.

Who wants to stay in a home where people don’t do all they can to protect one another emotionally?

I Corinthians 13 tells us the “love always protects.”

If somebody trashes me in my family — whether biological or workplace or team or church — do I really want to be there?

I encourage you to be the kind of family member God expects you to be — caring, encouraging, protective.

This is what I need to do for others, as well.

Here’s what Paul wrote regarding the importance of this attitude when it comes to building strong congregations:

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)

We all know of congregations that could accomplish more for the Kingdom in their communities if a greater sense of unity — of humility and protection — permeated every heart in the flock. Perhaps this describes your congregation.

Please, be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Make every effort to be humble, gentle, patient, forgiving and surrendering your opinions/preferences to the greater cause of shared purpose and accessed power from God.

It’s what loving faith families do.

It’s what you and I are to remember the next time the Enemy’s whisper calls us to either turn away from a Christian brother or sister or, even worse, turn against them.

As always, I love you

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Dads love it when their kids get along.

It’s especially sweet to a father when his kids not only get along, but they act like buddies who like doing things together.

That’s how it was with my Jessica and Melissa when they were kids.

During their adolescence, there were some rough spots in this regard.

Just like in most homes.

But now they’re buddies who really enjoy their times together, although there aren’t enough of them.

Our Abba Father is the author of this yearning, of course, since He created the idea and mechanism for parenting.

I was reminded of His desire in this respect while reading today from the One-Year Bible.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

God loves unity. The people involved love it. The observing world loves it, since it’s not commonly observed in everyday life.

Satan hates it, of course, and tries every trick in his book to stir up trouble.

Please be watchful for those devilish influences.

Forgive quickly.

Reject gossip.

Help generously.

Consider what makes God and others happy rather than your pride.

We all know that smiles rooted in humility, unselfishness and positive, shared purposes are more enduring and refreshing.

Whatever there is in your heart or mind that is hindering unity, please lay it aside.

Life will be so much better to have a friend or loved one at your side rather than that unity-busting grudge or inflated ego or possession.

As always, I love you

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Just about every dad wants his kids to get along.

Regardless of the kids’ ages, it brings a sense of calm satisifaction to the father when he sees his children viewing one another as allies rather than enemies.

I’ve seen plenty of examples of the above and it’s pleasing to the soul.

Of course, I’ve seen heartbroken fathers whose kids can’t stand each other and that is so burdening to the soul.

God is a Daddy, of course. In fact, Jesus called Him Abba Father.

God wants His kids to get along, viewing one another as allies rather than enemies.

Is this how you and I view everyone in our congregations? Or are there people whom we avoid because we don’t like their personality style or their popularity or their abilities to do certain things better than us?

We might not be gossiping about them, but we also are not embracing or encouraging them.

We are not treating them like family. And we’re certainly not treating them as friends.

What does God think about this kind of attitude?

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).

These words from the Apostle Paul were not given as an option for faith, but instead as a command.

As you do a quick inventory of your relationships with other adults in your congregation, do you have a 100 percent compliance ratio to Romans 15:7?

Be honest.

Or are there some people in your flock that you avoid for whatever reason?

Listen, Paul’s instruction doesn’t require us to imitate the best-buddy, David-Jonathan relationship that happens just a few times during the course of our lives. We are required, however, to understand that others in our congregations are just as important to the Kingdom as are we. For God paid the SAME price to atone for their sins as He did for ours — the death of His Son.

If others have the same value to God as do we, shouldn’t we accept them just as readily as part of our faith family?

If you’ve been reluctant lately to associate with certain people at church, please allow Romans 15:7 to permeate your heart and soul. For when you and I stop living to please our personal preferences and start living to include and bless others, we’ll bring praise to God.

He’ll smile as His kids gather together without some of them feeling left out or not as important.

And isn’t putting a smile on His face part of why we were created in the first place?

As always, I love you

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I love it when the Word nails it.

I’m talking about the perfect kind of advice that, if followed, can unleash a river of blessing into a congregation.

I want this river for my congregation, SouthWinds Christian Church in south Miami, Florida.

You can see this river flow in your congregation, too, as your brothers and sisters in Christ love another as Christ loves them.

Check out Psalm 133:1-4 and then imagine this picture actually becoming the pattern for your congregation.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.

“For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

My congregation will become more effective for the Kingdom of God as members, visitors and the surrounding community see the Lord bestowing more blessings into the lives of those she serves, particularly the blessing of salvation.

Notice the cause-effect sequence above: “…when God’s people live together in unity…. there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

If you and I want to see more blessing flowing into our congregation, including the saving of lost souls, then our call is to passionately pursue unity.

That means that you and I have a responsibility to do all that we can to repair ANY hindered relationship with others in our congregation.

This is no time to be prideful, grunting that “they” have come to us with an apology or with a proper recognition of how important we are or with an ongoing deference to talking about what WE want to talk about or eating where WE want to eat or embracing worship music that WE embrace.

Listen, what is the real reason for unity?

It pleases the Father, that’s why.

So what if we don’t have a bunch of pinky pals in the church? Passionately pursuing unity is still the only acceptable course. For that is what pleases the Father and, ultimately, blesses us.

It’s not about us. It’s about Him.

Please Him.

Love and serve others. Even if they’re far from perfect.

Don’t you want others to do the same for you?

Life will be SO much better that way and your congregation will be SO much closer to what God wants.

As always, I love you

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