This morning, our Esther, had her big blue bunny in her mouth, offering it
up to my husband as an offering of play, so they started messing around with
playing with the bunny.  Then, I heard my husband say, “Au Oh, there goes the
poor bunnies ear”.  She had torn it from the body…and in seconds, there was our sweet
Esther, laying her chin on the counter, offering it up to us, with great pride.

Our Esther with her Kitty toy. Esther with her kitty.

I looked at that silly little fuzzy blue ear and saw the body part torn off of the
cute bunny and realized that that ear was separated from the body of the
bunny and now, there was no connection and it stirred me up in thought that this is
life many of us believers, that are separated and disconnect from “The Body”.

Some of us think that we can live our lives as believers in Jesus, without being connected
to a body of believers.  We have a huge community of people that believe they can
grow and change, all by themselves.  We think we can just watch Christian TV church
services and read and pray and that is enough.

It wasn’t enough for the early church in Acts.  They were very close and were together
every chance they could.  There were personality issues and disagreements, but they
never abandoned gathering together.
 
Acts 2: 44-47
Now all who believed were together, and had
all things in common, and sold their possessions
and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone
had need.  So, continuing daily with one accord house
to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity
of heart, praising God and having favor with all the
people.  And the Lord added to the church daily those
who were being saved.

 

Now, its are not saying that we go and sell all and get together every single
day with all the believers you know, but its making a point of the fact
that these people in the early church, couldn’t make it without each other.
There is no way they could have survived their new life as believers in Christ
without one another.  They pooled their resources and became stronger by
being together in their faith as Christ followers and were united in a
way that kept the “fire” of passion going.  They learned from one another
and supported their strengths and worked on their weaknesses together.

Even Jesus was found to be together with numbers of people that believed
in Him and his healing powers.  Jesus taught and reprimanded (teaching people in
what they were doing wrong), and went around talking and preaching and leading people
into knowing the truth of His message for their salvation and how to live.
He had 70 followers, disciples, all the time around Him and His intimate 12 that were
hanging on every word He spoke and taught on, were there, gathered around Him, keeping
crowds at bay and standing “guard” when He needed it. 
Sometimes, Jesus had harsh, hard words to say and spoke
very difficult things that people, especially the ‘religious-traditional’ leaders didn’t want to
hear. Other times, He encouraged and also, confirmed truth spoken
like with Peter, proclaiming He was the ‘Christ, Son of the Living God.’

 

Believers in Jesus, are referred to as the ‘Body of Christ’.  That is not referring to a
building, but the church is made up of people that work together in one accord
for one purpose, the work of God, working through them together.
As a body, picture yours.  Go ahead, think about that hang nail on your finger that hurts
and throbs and is sore.  With the pain, you are made aware of the fact that if you rub up
against something, it’s going to brush it and pull away at that little flap of skin and
really really hurt.  So, without even thinking, the other fingers and the hand and arm, work
to keep that finger from getting in the way of something that will hurt it more.  It ‘gathers’
around it to protect it and it steps up to do the job that the finger usually does with
not a thought at all for it’s working efficiency.

Think about the toe. 
Bump it or drop a 2 pound jar of jelly on it and see if that doesn’t
effect the rest of your foot and change the way your body responds to putting
your shoes on or just plain walking across the room.
Your body compensates for the pain that comes from the body’s effects of injury
or hurt.  It also works together to give it nourishment.  What if the mouth said, “that’s
it, I got hurt yesterday, my teeth bit my tongue, so now, I’m never going to function

again with the brain to eat when it wants me too.  The tongue was hurt way too bad
so that’s it.  I’m done.  No more eating for you, body.”  The mouth was challenged
with pain and hurt, and decided never to connect with the body again.

Now, I know that sounds sort of silly and far fetched, but, I did that at one time in my life
when there was a painful thing that happened in a church I went to for 12 ½ years.
I was terribly hurt and I allowed that hurt to take me away from the “church body” of
believers and I became bitter of heart and didn’t see my need of reconnecting.  After all,
the “body” hurt me and I loved Jesus, what difference did it make?  Well, let me tell
you, it made a huge difference.  I started slipping away from what was right and went
right back to my old ways.  I was miserable.  The body part I represented, hurt and so
did others that knew I had pulled away from them.  I recoiled and stayed disconnected.
Then, I reconciled and went back.  It wasn’t easy.   I now had to reconnect back into the
body of believers and there was pain I had to deal with and it took people in the
church I went to, that God used to ‘sand down’ my rough edges and restore my position
within the body.  It was a struggle for a while, but I faced the challenges and stepped
out in faith and allowed myself to heal and mend and learn how to interact again
with my fellow brothers and sisters.
It was in the context of groups and classes that I made new friends, and believe me, I started
getting worked over from the things that chased me away from before, to face the fears
and the touchy areas of my soul that needed healing.  It took being in bodily presence
with others to build trust and having the hugs and kisses of those that really wanted to see
me restored and brought into wholeness.

I will tell you, it was hard for the first 3 to 4 years.  I had a lot of baggage to unpack and
get rid of.   God allowed different friendships in my life, that challenged me and some hurts
with the body of believers, to take me through deliverance of a spirit of rejection that
never would have happened in the way it did, if I didn’t go to a church, get intergraded
with my fellow believing ‘body parts’…
J, and was loved through it.  Sometimes
the love came through with a touch on the arm of a new friend,
or a glance of understanding from someone, or an arm over my shoulder…it was the
physical touch and closeness to those around me that brought me through some tough
painful things that I would have never gotten over the phone or at a dog show.  It
took the body, reaching out to this “stubbed toe”, to compensate sometimes for me,
when I really did blow up in prayer times and cried in anger.  They lovingly cried with
me and hugged me and accepted my pain and my way of responding and I learned to
forgive the pain of the church split I went through.  I am now, so deeply healed from
some things that came from that and also have matured to conquer other things like
standing in front of people and being able to run a bible study…that’s huge for
me.  I got D’s and F’s in school because I refused to stand in front of people or stand
up or speak up in class for reports, because of horrible deep painful childhood wounds
that kept me chained to fear and a trustless heart.  It has been in the body of believers
that I am a member of, that have loved me and restored me to fellowship and helped
escort me into those areas of my life that kept me in a pattern of repeating the same
lessons over and over again in my relationships.
 
We cannot grow and change and become the follower of Jesus without being in a physical
group of believers.  Virtual won’t do it.  We learn in those safe groups how the “body” of
Christ works.  We sharpen one another and bump up against things in personalities, that
cause us to have to take a look at our own weaknesses and attitudes so we can be healed,
to be delivered of the painful things that unsafe people have done to us in our past.

Romans 12:4-6a:
For as we have many members in one body, but all the
members do not have the same function, so we being many,
are one body in Christ, and individually members of
one another.  Having then gifts differing according to
the grace that is given to us, let us use them:…


God has made us to be incorporated into one another.  The Garden of Eden was the place that God met with
Adam and Eve to have Father-child relationship with them.  His communing with them, was shattered at their
disobedience in not doing what God had commanded of them and satan got a foothold in their lives that send
them out of the Garden and separated their fellowship with the Father, until Jesus came and
redeemed that relationship, through His sacrifice for us, to reconcile us to God the Father.
 God does not want us to be separate and segregated away from our fellow believers
and living as though on some island, adrift in the sea of virtual computer land or TV land.
He has designed each one of us for a purpose and we cannot fulfill that purpose, cloistered away
disconnected to a ‘body of believers’ that gather together for worship celebration and
bible study.  In bible study with others, we hear things that we would never hear and learn
things that people share that gets us stirred in areas of our own lives, that we would
never have happen, stuck away in our living rooms, watching a ‘boob tube’.

 

It takes effort and we must do our part, to not only be blessed but be a blessing to others.
We can’t do that, disconnected from the body.  Others challenge our faith and bring us
into a mature faith, that gives us, as believers in Jesus, an advantage and heals us into a
place of being able to connect then with the world that is crying out for answers and
don’t know how to find them.  We learn trust and freedom of sharing only through
our connection to the safe people God brings into our lives at a local church you attend.

We were designed, by God, to be in relationship and not nurturing the hurts that satan has
been using against us, to keep us disconnected and separated away to ourselves.  It’s too
much to expect just one or two people in your life to be that “sand paper” that challenges
those areas of your life that needs help.  You will receive that in fellowshipping and hearing
the Word preached and taught in the physical presence of others.
Your fears and laziness is what keeps you from picking a group of believers to connect
with and share with others, the things in your life that can help someone else.

So, think hard, when God’s Word says,
And let us consider one another
in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking
the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of
some, but exhorting one another, and so much more
as you see the Day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:24-24).


God calls us to a higher place and sometimes it’s hard, but, don’t be the “manner
of some” that the word talks about in Hebrews, that refuse and stop or have never known
the deep connection and trust and love that comes only, by being in the physical
presence of others that believe in Jesus as you do.
You are not perfect, so, why would you put that pressure on anyone else to be.  We
all have disappointment and troubles, but, having a group of local people that love
the Lord, be in your life to fellowship with and grow and change with, is just fantastic.

You get up and go off early for hobbies and other activities, well, give God and yourself,
at the least!!!...one day to fellowship in worshipping God together.  You will change and
grow, you will be stirred to excellence in your ability to build relationships and be more
whole in yourself and for others in all areas of life.
You need to find a church, get connected in a group and find a good bible study for your
growth in the Word and in examining those areas that need to be brought to the surface
for you to heal and walk in victory from all the lies that satan has tried to get you to
believe over the years of not needing to go to church…He’s a liar and a deceiver and
don’t you fall for that lie anymore.

 Jesus came physically to this earth.  He left His throne on high and stepped down
from His divine place to be here with us physically, here on this earth. So, I ask you, the one who
 doesn’t go to church...why would you think that you are any
better than Jesus, who sacrificed far more for
you in leaving Heaven, than your efforts in the morning to get up and shower and
grab a cup of coffee and go to church? 
Think about this challenge to you, brother and sister.  Jesus did far more for you in
leaving the Father, the least you can do is follow His example
and gather together with those who believe in the same One you do…
Don’t let another Sunday morning go by…find a church to attend and believe
with and support it with your tithes and your offerings of money and time, just
like the early church in Acts did.

[©Michelle L. Bjorkman – January 9, 2008]

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