This devotional is based on Jeff’s sermon and is part of our “Can’t Quarantine the Gospel” series. This is Day 7 of that series. Enjoy!
The events as of late have really stretched us in so many ways. It has stretched our faith, our anxiety, and our surrender. This is an amazing opportunity to surrender and allow God, who is in control, to take care of everything.
This is a time to stop and a time to think. Right now so much of our day to day has changed. Why did God create the Sabbath? In order so that we could step into God’s presence!
Q: Have you been able to rest in Christ during this time? Why or why not? What changes can you make to be in God’s presence during this time?
Also during this time our relationships with each other are being stretched and challenged. Challenges aren’t bad and in this instance it can strengthen our bonds! We don’t grow or change until we face challenges.
Q: What aspects of the body of Christ have you now realized you took for granted?
Q: What do you miss most about the Fellowship?
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed
Right now is a time of testing. Our prayer life, Bible Study, Love, Compassion, Surrender, and devotion to the fellowship are all being tested.
Q: Which one of the above do you feel is being tested the hardest right now?
Q: How is your devotion to the body right now?
Q: What changes do you need to make to stay connected given the distance we are experiencing?
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
You see the depth of Paul’s relationships. He felt it so deeply that he described the feeling of not being with them as being “orphaned”. It hurt Paul to be separated from them and this was after only a short amount of time. They were deeply connected at a spiritual level.
Q: How can you form spiritually deep bonds with your brothers and sisters in Christ now?
Challenge: Call a brother/sister today to encourage them and pray with them.
Church relationships are based not on what you do, but on who you are.
1 Thessalonians 2:8
8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…
13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
Even though everyone was so different they had amazing bonds because they shared their lives.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder when our relationships are rooted in the heart.
Separation is not pleasant, but we can tap into God’s power during this period of physical separation. We can leave this time with a much deeper sense of belonging! The hope is that we do not take for granted the opportunity to walk into the presence of God. That we do not take for granted praising together, hugs, praying together, laughing together as we enjoy the fellowship.
This time can usher in a whole new era for our fellowship! We can lose our attitudes and embrace each other as if we were walking through the gates of Heaven together!
Practical: Take 30 seconds and imagine our first Sunday back in the fellowship, how is that going to feel for you? Now imagine walking into the gates of Heaven together!
Q: What is God teaching you right now about the importance of the Body meeting together?
Q: Before the pandemic occurred what was your disposition towards meetings of the Body? Why?
1 Thessalonians 3:1-10
So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
Paul found a way to stay connected, he sent Timothy, and when he got word back they were doing well he felt encouraged!
Q: What is one way you could individually initiate spiritual connectivity with a brother/sister in Christ today?
Q: Do you feel close to your brothers & sisters in Christ right now? If not, please don’t suffer by yourself, reach out.
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Let’s look forward to the time when we can get together, but let’s take advantage of this time now to continue to stay connected and learn whatever lessons God is trying to help us with.