Warfare of a Different Sort
Each day and especially during the night since our One Fusion Family Gathering (wasn't that a fun day), I find myself stuck on a worship song. Now that, in and of itself, is not unusual, in that our weekend worship has a great impact on my week all the time, but this week, one song, in particular, stuck with me....and I was glad for it.
"This is how I fight my battles" is the chorus followed by the refrain, "It may look like I'm surrounded, but I'm surrounded by You!" You know the song, especially since last weekend and the Spirit of God touching us at that moment.
Tuesday night I found the song a blessing to me in a new way. This wasn't just a concept, but a needed reality. I was experiencing physical pain on a level I never had before. I know that I joke about getting older and the various pain and aches that come with that, that is just my humor bent, but this was real, the kind in which "we may need to go to the emergency room" real.
Last night this pain was acute, relentless and a, well, a real pain! In the midst of it, the aforementioned song came to mind. I was searching for relief and peace in the midst of pain, but instead "This is how I fight my battles" came to mind and heart, and so in the midst of it, I began to focus my thoughts and declaration to that end. I found that the reality of hearing from the Spirit of God in the midst of corporate worship had welcomingly bled over into my life at home in a moment when I needed it most.
Safe to say that the pain is past thanks to prayer, but now I am thinking about this, "what if I hadn't been there?" What happens when we avoid gathering together to worship and encourage one another?
The book of Hebrews, chapter 10 says this about our gathering:
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
You see our private life in Jesus is connected with our public life in Jesus! Our sense of boldness increases in going to the throne in the midst of our brothers and sisters. Our assurance of faith is emboldened by being with other believers. Our confession of hope becomes amplified with the declarations of the other saints. We are stirred up to love and good works by being around the believers. This all comes through our assembling together.
You cannot make Christianity a solo exercise. It was never designed to be that. We have been exploring what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church and one the things is a love for fellowship and being together for the word (apostle's doctrine), prayers and the breaking of bread. (Acts 2:42-47). In our gatherings, we are enriched and stirred up by the presence of God. Last week I heard of the Rodellos going out into the community and taking needed supplies and prayers to the homeless. Roberta Powell shared how she was with friends eating at IHOP and they were able to pray for and encourage a waiter. I heard of financial miracles and the Spirit of God giving counsel. I was overwhelmed at the activity of God in our midst.
I also was struck by the ministry that took place among us as we gathered, the prophetic words that were given publicly for the body and the private words which I received from the gathered believers. I walked away richer and more connected to the body of Christ than ever, both my immediate Fusion Family and the body of Christ at large. Isn't that part of why we gather? Over the last month the Spirit of God has directed us to receive communion at every gathering. We have obeyed in the simple expectation that He was emphasizing something in our midst. Last weekend, we gathered as a body around the table of the Lord and received communion facing one another. The song, "We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. We are one in the Spirit, we are one with the Lord and we pray that our unity may one day be restored and they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love." broke out. It was a beautiful moment of hearing the older saints connect to a song from their youth and the younger saints beginning to join in. Through it all, I thought, this only happens when we are a gathered family.
What's the warfare angle? None of this could happen without our commitment to gathering. It is a commitment that holds when we see eye to eye and when we do not. (See Philippians 4:2,3). It is a commitment in our pain and our rejoicing. It is a commitment we make when it is convenient and when it is not. We do not know that by our presence, someone will be encouraged and someone will receive prayer, or a word, or a song which is needed for victory the next days and week. The gathering is warfare because we stand steadfast against the sopirit of the age that says it does not matter. That we can be whole as a body of Christ through youtube subscriptions. It is the antithesis of the spirit of this age and it is a blessing for us!
Enjoy your holiday! remember one another in your prayers and set your heart in anticipation for this weekend as we gather again! Saundra Dunn will be presenting the word and leading us in a special experience of the Lord's table.