During this time separated from public worship, this has highlighted the necessity for in-person fellowship with the church. It’s great to be able to communicate with each other through digital means, but that cannot replace the fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ in person. We receive comfort and joy from our fellowship one with another, and long to see our dear friends when we are separated. Ultimately, when we meet one with another and speak of the Lord together, we not only have fellowship with each other but most importantly we have fellowship with our Savior Jesus Christ.
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Jesus Christ is the only true source of Joy for the child of God. Therefore, our lives should be characterized by rejoicing always, unconditionally expressing joy in our lives. We can even exhibit joy and rejoice in the fiery trials of this life. Actually, there is arguably no greater Christian testimony to others in our lives than rejoicing even in the midst of severe trials in this world.
We examine the amazing example of the faith of Joseph. Joseph was mistreated, falsely accused, imprisoned, overlooked, but in spite of those difficult circumstances was eventually elevated by God. Joseph lived his entire life by faith, trusting in God even in the most difficult moments of his life. This life of faith is culminated by Joseph’s request on his death bed for his bones to be taken from Egypt and buried in his homeland.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
For the disciple of Christ, it is absolutely vital for us to control our thought process, to bring our thoughts into captivity to honor the Lord. We have to be very purposeful to control our thought process because our minds are prone to drift to vain, unprofitable things of this world. We have to make a committed decision to think on these ”true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy things”.
Our natures and this world teach us to be discontent and covetous, to want and desire more than we have. Therefore, we have to purposefully “learn” to be content in whatever state we are in. Contentment is not found in the things of this world, but true contentment will only come from Jesus Christ our Savior.
The disciple of Christ is called upon to “die daily”. In our natures we all desire to worship and exalt the idol of “self” and therefore, we must purposefully mortify and put to death that selfish mindset to serve Christ. Jesus Christ must increase, but we must decrease. We consider some “daily” activities that we need to be found doing to put self on the cross and serve Christ in our lives.
In two examples of faith of Isaac and Jacob, we see that a faith that is good enough to live by is a faith that is good enough to die by. Both Isaac and Jacob, as they neared the end of their life here on earth, looked by faith towards the world to come and taught and instructed the next generation to come to live by faith as they had in their life as well.
Jesus told his disciples to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to come unto them. This is not a request to be born again, but it is beseeching the Lord to bless us with abiding, guiding, and communing presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We see the special gift and sealing of the Holy Ghost when we are baptized, but not just one time, we desire the communion with the Holy Ghost every day of our lives.
Jesus Christ established the kingdom of God during his earthly ministry, setting up his spiritual other-worldly kingdom that would consume all nations and last forever. Now, for the citizens of God’s kingdom – the children of God – we are called upon to place the utmost priority on the kingdom of God. We must seek the kingdom of God first and foremost in our lives and we will experience the righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost of the kingdom in our hearts.
We see the example of faithful Abraham as he offered his son, Isaac, upon Mt Moriah. Abraham reasoned by faith that God would be able to resurrect Isaac even if he took his life. He took his past experiences of God’s resurrecting power in his life and reckoned that God was able and faithful to even resurrect Isaac from the dead.