Getting rather close to the end of another year here. A year closing out from many tests, trials and tribulations that God gave us all strength to endure - for others they survived it. Sadly, many have not and gave up. Though the early Church chose not to "neglect so great a salvation" first preached to them (Heb 2:3, 4: 6), I am reminded of one particular thing; the Christians had a determined mind of Jesus' commandment to 'love one another"...(John 15:12). Just how do we do this selflessly?
My personal observation these past few years visiting many a church non and denominational congregations' Sunday School programs and such has been challenging my own faith in Him, His precepts, promises, His written and spoken Word. To know He allowed me to "endure hardship as a good soldier" (II Tim 2:3) through various sicknesses and a near car accident almost passing out at the wheel (Jun 15) while driving. I encourage all to please consider others less fortunate this year and those to come. Please offer words of comfort to those you personally know whose heart is bleeding for fellowship. Many feel left out and kicked to the curb from many a congregation. Can you believe what I'm saying? The ones who are experiencing this the most are our fellow brothers and sisters - yes! Myself once a backsliden preacher, felt hurt when nobody; repeat- NOBODY from my congregation (mega church at that) picked up the phone to see how I was doing. "As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially them of the household of faith" (Gal 6:10) These are our fellow, tithe paying, faithful attending, God-fearing church members and friends.
We all don't realize this but many of us, regardless of our denomination or religious affiliation are all a light before a darkened world.
There's big stepping stones to comfort someone less fortunate who probably does not know the Lord as you and I. They are experiencing all manner of afflictions, problems seemingly unsolvable, various losses throughout this year so far. Do we have a comforting word to them other than from the pulpit?
Many believing Jews came from far and near to comfort Martha and Mary, the scriptures teach later that they needed comfort (John 11: 18-37) yes, they were eyewitnesses of our Lords' miracles and healing and power. They went out of their way to comfort them concerning their brother-Lazarus. perhaps Martha herself was still somewhat discouraged, "Lord if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died"!!! If you were here Lord, this would not have happened. How frustrated she was even though her friends came from far and near. We don't know what her friends said; maybe they brought some food over (as we probably would today) Bojangles, the fish market or from a SupeWalmart or something. Well, maybe so.
yet still they were discouraged for even Mary literally picked up on Marthas' spirit and decided to stay in the house, chill out watching LifeTime TV with no time for outside drama. Well, maybe so.
These hurts and scars Martha and Mary had were there even after our Lord Himself told them, "I am the resurrection and the life" (vs 25) though their excuses still were, "I know, I know". The Lord still saw fit to share with them of His Resurrection Power not only to see Lazarus come back but certainly their faith rose!!
I solicit your prayers that we all comfort one another by this year end, beginning of upcoming year and ongoing to let our congregations see this instead of 'marching off the stage" after the preaching. We need each other. I am fully persuaded that one of the greatest signs of appreciation a congregation can give to their leaders, pastors, head ministers is more that just a special $$monetary$$ offering, but to show our faithful attendance, not just "looking decent and in order" but our love for another and giving each other words of comfort. More on this later I'll share about Barnabas from a recent sermon.
Strengthening our brother after they are converted I believe we need to focus more on. Yes, they just got saved, baptized and all; but what next? Are they just another church member account number? Do we designate a faithful few to do followup via email, text, or a letter especially those we haven't seen in awhile. Enough of rhetoric statements, "you were on my mind". If so, do something about that! Amen! There are many an AWOL christian out there (absent without leave and without the Lord)
As the early church agreed upon, "we will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word" (Acts)

Humbly submitted,

Elder Donald Perry on my b-day Sept 10

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