Fellowship Interrupted

The other day my daughter bit her father. I mean she BIT him. Not just a little nibble; there were teeth marks left behind.

Why she did this, who knows!? Why do 4-year-olds do half the things they do? But I digress.

As part of her discipline, we admonished her to apologize. In our household, we say ‘I’m sorry’ and we say why we’re sorry. Generically vague statements of apology don’t fly with us. True apologies are blanketed with specificity and humility.

Well, it took 10 minutes to get Olivia to apologize to her father. She cried, lay in my arms, and buried her head on my shoulder. Clearly she was aware of what she’d done. And she seemed to understand that at that moment the fellowship with her father was temporarily broken. But she just could not bring herself to say, “I’m sorry, Daddy, for biting your finger.” Her pride would not let her.

I learned two important lessons:

First, I learned our pride stands in the way of true fellowship, not just with loved ones, but with God especially.

To speak the words, “I’m sorry,” truly isn’t a difficult task at all. However, there are times that despite awareness of my own personal sin, and the subsequent broken fellowship with my loved one, I am too proud and puffed up to humbly and promptly ask for forgiveness.

The pain of broken fellowship is sometimes still no contender for my inflated ego and haughtiness.

Proverbs 16:18 is clear, Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride gets us into trouble, drawing us deeper into a web of isolation and despair.

Second, I was reminded that consequences are essential to breaking our will and allowing Christ’s character to be developed in us.

My daughter, at first, would have rather sat in her room on timeout than apologize to her father. But when the consequences became imminent she began to rethink her position.

She cried and screamed some more. Yet we firmly insisted she must apologize before fellowship could be restored.

When God allows us to feel the consequences of our actions, it is not because He wants to punish us. It’s because without repentance true fellowship cannot be experienced. There remains a rift, though unspoken, in the relationship.

When my husband and I have what I like to call “intense conversations,” the longer either one of us leaves the situation unresolved the more difficult it is for us to experience the intimacy and fellowship we once had.

Taking down and humbling yourself before God and man is the key to peace and joy, and is the true sign of love. Just read 1 Corinthians 13. Love is not puffed up. It remembers no wrongs.

My daughter eventually conceded and apologized. Ten seconds later she was back to laughing and playing as if nothing happened. That is the illustration of how God deals with us.

The extent of our broken fellowship with Him depends solely on us — how long we take to come down from our high horse. No sooner than we repent, our fellowship is restored and it can be business as usual.

So, how long does it typically take you to apologize?

Diera Shaw-Mendez is thrilled to be part of the team Barbara’s Place, and also serves as worship leader and youth leader at New Beginnings Worship Center, Pennsauken, NJ. She is wife to Chaplain Juan Mendez and mama to Olivia Joy. She enjoys graphic design, event planning, and cooking. Diera is a God-fearing, Starbucks loving, tech junkie (…in that order!) who simply wants to remind women of God’s unchanging, healing love.

 

 

Right Place, Right Time

 

Glenn and I have been doing a devotional about God’s great grace.  It has been an enriching time as we focus on the goodness of God upon our lives.  GRACE is His blessing on us despite the fact that it has surely not been earned by anything we have done.  Freely given is the beauty of His great grace!!

Today we read John 1 and Acts 1.  After reading, we reflected upon the treasures in those chapters that touched our hearts. Today it was the importance of being in the right place at the right time.  John 1 tells of a time when John the Baptist made very clear to his followers who Jesus was: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John1:29b).  John and his followers were in the right place at the right time.  Andrew and another follower of John made the shift and followed Jesus.  Andrew then brought along his brother, Simon, who we know as Peter.  Truly John led his followers to the right place at the right time and gave them the freedom to shift into the next assignment God had for them.

In Acts 1 we read about the time when the apostles and Jesus came together, although at the time I am sure the apostles did not know that Jesus was going to give them their final instructions.  Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem until they received power when Holy Spirit would come upon them.  They were called to be His witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8-9).  After this, as they looked upon Jesus, He was lifted up into a cloud.  Praise God that the apostles were obedient and went with Jesus as He revealed the purpose of the church and prepared them about the coming of the Holy Spirit. They were surely in the right place at the right time.

Our time of prayer went to a place of asking God to lead us to the right place at the right time with the right heart to receive His great grace.  I am convinced that God has abundant grace for each and every one of us.  The only thing that holds us back from receiving His grace is our flesh.

My encouragement to us today is that we would all ask the Lord to give us ears to hear and a heart to obey as He instructs us to go.  Tell Him you want to be in the right place at the right time with a heart to listen and obey.  He who promises is faithful.  Glory to His name.

Patricia

Rev. Patricia Wenzel is the founder and director of a state wide prayer ministry, PRAY New Jersey Inc. since 2002.  The ministry is committed to praying for and blessing those serving in authority positions in our state, particularly in government.  The ministry is also committed to equipping the saints to pray for those serving in government.  The vision and ministry is guided by the Word of God, in particular 1 Tim. 2:1-4 and Is. 61:11.  Pat is thankful for the ministry of America’s Keswick.  She graduated from Women of Character in July 2008.