I know that there are a lot of critical things to say about the church these days (and throughout the ages), but today I want to focus on one of the many reasons I love the church and am so thankful to be a part of a church body.
Jesus is trying to break some faulty beliefs in my life. For a lot of my life, instruction or commands in The Bible came across to me as another things I needed to do to please God. No matter how many times I heard from wonderful pastors that these commands are for me, it just didn't click.
Until more recently, when I am starting to see the grace in His commands.
"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:25
In these past few weeks I have seen why this instruction in his Word is so important for us.
Some of our best friends were in the hospital this week with their 4 year old son with cancer. It has broken my heart to be thousands of miles away and not be able to offer hugs and meals.
But I have watched God's beautiful church (the people, not the building) surround our friends, love on them, offer them words of encouragement, pray for them, and one of my dear mentors started a meal train to get food to their family so they can focus on the important things as their son goes through treatment. Beautiful.
Early this morning a wonderful woman and mother in our church here in Ibarra left this world and went to be with Jesus. I heard the team of young missionaries we live with get up early and head out to be with the family. They are just now starting to trickle in at 9:30 pm with red eyes and full hearts after a day of helping the family put together the funeral in 12 hours. Beautiful.
Over and over again Kurtis and I have been surrounded with love and support in all the ups and downs in life, including the adoption of our son to our move to a new country. Beautiful.
I have many people in my life that I care for that do not have this blessing. They are not a part of a church family that can offer love, encouragement, and hold them up when they don't feel they can go on. This breaks my heart.
I am thankful for God's beautiful church and the way it can be tangible Jesus here on earth. I am going to bed tonight knowing that my dear friends know they are cared for, a grieving family has seen God's love through His' people, and feeling the prayers and sacrifice of so many who many who give so that we can be here in Ecuador.
We are so blessed to be a part of the church and I am ever more grateful for gifts in God's Word.
"Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." (Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT)