Love Connection

“If one part [of the body of Christ] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26, NIV, insertion mine)

 

 

Now, that’s a love connection!

 

And that’s how the church was intended to function.

 

When God, who is Love, remains our focus, our greatest desire and most passionate pursuit, people of God develop an intimate relationship with the Lord and each other.

 

It won’t matter who’s right, who’s in charge, whose sin looks worse than ours.

 

We’ll be less concerned with getting ahead and more dedicated to building others up.

 

We’ll pray for those who persecute us, instead of gossiping behind their backs. We’ll be genuinely happy when someone else takes the spot we wanted to claim for our own, trusting God to help us find our sweet spot in His perfect timing.

 

When we’re motivated by love for God, we won’t mind serving in the background. And when we serve in the limelight, we’ll point straight to Jesus, the Light of the World.

 

God designed us to serve and grow in community. We each have a unique spot to fill, a job that we were made to do, a ministry that fits us like a custom tailored suit.

 

In God’s Kingdom, everybody matters and everybody makes a difference. Every last one of God’s precious children is sculpted with purpose.

 

And we all need a love connection with God and with His people, within the fellowship of a healthy Bible-teaching church.

 

How has being connected to a church helped you grow in spiritual maturity?

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Photo contributed by Susan Mangum

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Resting in His Light: A Prayer for a Weary Heart

 

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4

 

 

Thank You, Lord, for reminding us that You are the Rock eternal, solid, strong, and secure.

 

When darkness threatens to overtake us, bring Your wonderful works to our minds.

 

Help us rest on the firm foundation of Your perfect love, which is built on the trustworthiness of Your Truth and the reliability of Your character, not the shifting grounds of our circumstances.

 

Envelop us with Your light of hope and peace, the reward of a heart totally surrendered to You.

 

Though there are times when we will waver and wane, You, O Lord, remain mighty, faithful, good and always in control.

 

Keep our minds steadfast, braced on You, with each word we write. And in those times when the words won’t come, give us courage to lean into the arms of Your unrelenting grace, and wait.

 

Stream through us, Father. We are Yours.

 

In Jesus’ name, Amen

 

 

What verse from the Bible or characteristic of God helps you when you are weary?

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Also published at www.inspirewriters.com on February 12, 2012

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Everybody Matters, but God Gets the Glory

“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7, NIV

 

As a new Christian, I struggled when receiving a compliment or thanks for serving, especially when that acknowledgement was in regards to something creative like speaking, writing or singing.

 

“It was God, not me!”

 

As a maturing Christian, however, I’ve come to realize that by deflecting the compliments and thanks, I was minimizing what God was doing.

 

He equips us. He designs our purpose. He directs our steps. And He chooses to use us not out of necessity, but out of love.

 

The apostle Paul understood he was powerless without God. He also understood he was called with a purpose and had to put forth effort in his obedience to God.

 

He wrote: “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

 

By God’s grace, we are each given tasks to accomplish in life. Yet, we are not saved by those tasks or rejected if we do not complete them. The Lord equips us and will make a way, if we are willing to follow Him. He knows we need His strength to walk in courage. He is glorified when we accomplish what He sets before us.

 

We can receive compliments and thanks graciously when we remember God is the Giver of all good things and acknowledge His work by praising Him.

 

“Thank you. Praise the Lord!”

 

It’s as simple as that.

 

God knows the motives of our hearts. He understands why we do things. He delights when we serve out of worship and love for Him, not for recognition or esteem.

 

If we are worried about pride seeping into service, we can check our hearts by asking God to keep our motives pure as He uses us for His glory.

 

Ephesians 4:16 reminds us that God is the center of everything and our works are an overflow of His grace in our lives.

 

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

 

We are all valuable parts of the body of Christ. Everybody matters. Everybody makes a difference. But, ultimately, God gets all the glory. Hallelujah!

 

So, when He calls us to use the gifts He’s given us, we can be brave. He doesn’t want us to hide our gifts because we feel inadequate or are afraid of being prideful. Scripture reminds us that we can do nothing apart from Him” (John 15:5).

 

If we struggle with receiving compliments, we can practice saying, “Thank you. Praise the Lord!” Receiving God’s affirmation through His people helps us to have courage to continue stepping out of our comfort zones as we invest in His Kingdom.

 

When has God used your obedience to remind you that you are chosen by grace to serve His people?

 

How does it feel to know that God can use you, even when you feel inadequate, to bring glory to His name?

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