JRPeacher - firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhorting each other in the spirit of love, grace and peace is of utmost importance during these troubled times. Messiah said that we would be known by the love that we show. The Apostles often proclaimed and opened their letters exhorting the Spirit of Grace; may He be upon you and exhibited in all that you do.
In that context, some personal thoughts if I may, (and these are personal observations of my 53 years):Each of us were raised in different environments. we each have different backgrounds and parents. We all attended various houses of worship. We read the Bible according to our backgrounds and it is up to the Spirit, the Word that was in the very beginning from the creation of this planet to enlighten our hearts and minds.
My background was in an evangelical denomination, the Assemblies of God, my father was a pastor there for many years. But, I have attended many other houses of worship and they are very different from my upbringing. All worshiping the Father in the way they understand; according to their background.
Churches in Africa worship the Father playing the instruments of their culture. Their understanding of God is in direct relation to their upbringing. Churches in Latin American nations worship with an upbeat, latino beat and instruments. Churches in Asia use the instruments of their cultures. All arise up into the Heaven of Heavens where God is and if done in truth and through the Spirit, have to be a sweet aroma to Him.
God established the boundries of the nations; if I remember correctly according to Scripture there are 70. Each, although different, are humans created in the image of God. Body, soul and eternal spirit.
There is one culture that is arising to the forefront, Hebrew Messianic Believers who are drawn once again, and soon in mass to the God who has called them out from the nations. In my reading of this issue, they are going through what the Church has gone through over the centuries. It has taken the Church 2,000 years to arrive to its present position; the Messianic Believer Congregations are having to go through the same thing in a few short years what has taken the Church 2,000 years to achieve. Quite an accomplishment and the turmoil, the misunderstandings, the doctrines are being put through the grinder in a time warp that is unimaginable to the human mind.
In this process of God bringing the Bride of His Son into maturity, and the unbelievable pressures He is putting us under, we must remain full of His grace, His love, His understanding and His patience. It is not humanly possible but through our obedience in allowing the Spirit of Grace to work in and through us anything is possible to those who believe!
When disagreements arise, as they will, while reading this morning I came across PROVERBS 30:33 which says:
"Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter; and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood; so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife."
In his writings to the churches and other believers, he quite often admonishes, "May grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." He opens up his letters with this salutation to the Corinthians,the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians the Thessalonians and the Philippians.
How much more should we as Believers do the same in our conversation, although electronic in 2008 be of the same spirit, which Paul says come from God; the spirit of grace?
In the context of different upbringings, households, and cultures, I am comforted when I read PSALM 46:4 -
"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High."
This river that makes great gladness has many streams. We are all connected and flow into that great river He has created. Let us joy in our different cultures and how we apply our beliefs as our individual circumstances require. Messiah is LORD of the earth; we are His creation. Our basic believe is in Him. He is the cornerstone, He is the head, we are His body. Great and marvellous are His works in us as individuals, just and true are His ways. He sits as a Refiner of silver and gold. And as the end approaches for human kind as we know it, He will produce gems and precious stones as only He knows how. We will be those stones He has set for His signet ring in the Heaven of Heavens.
So, fear not, do not be dismayed, He who has started a good work in us will complete it in His way, in His time, and for His purpose!
Praise His glorious Name!