Learning from the Early Church
" They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Lately, I have found myself wondering about life in the early church. I love the picture painted in Acts 2:42-47.
And as I read this passage I have to wonder, where do I fit in this picture? Does my family live a life that shares our blessings freely with those who are in need? Am I meeting with others to encourage them and seeking fellowship with other people who follow Christ? Do I live with a sincere and glad heart?
Maybe this seems like too much to ask. Maybe the bar is set way too high. Life is hard and budgets are tight and I surely don’t want to lose everything trying to help other folks. Right?
The last line of this passage haunts me. Not because it is negative or scary or condemning but because it speaks to what might happen if the church today responded as the early church did.
“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47b
When the church responds with compassion, needs are met. When needs are met, people feel loved and seen. When people feel loved and seen, they seek to connect. When they seek to connect, we can share the truth. When they hear the truth, they can come to know--deeply and intimately--the One who loves them best, the One who forgives them, enfolds them, meets their TRUE needs and removes their sins from them as far as the east is from the west.
All around us there are needs. What can we do to be the hands and feet of Christ to those He shows us today? Can we empower our families to meet people where they are and share what we have to help others? And if we did, how would God use our sacrifice to draw people close to Him?
Prayer: Dear God, help our family to be willing to share with others what you have given to us to use. Teach us to see what you see and open our hearts to freely give to those who are in need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Step families come with a variety of challenges to weather from the moment they say “I do.” Ron Deal addresses specific challenges and offers biblical insight as well as clinical experience as a marriage and family therapist to help equip couples for the journey ahead. He offers hope and encouragement for helping families navigate establishing working relationships within the new family as well as with the extended family.
http://glendora.patch.com/articles/your-marriage-is-a-gift Advice for weathering the storms of marriage from the Glendora Patch
"More importantly, if it is so difficult, why bother trying to make marriage work? For starters, it is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. Research consistently shows that children tend to fare better in married, two-parent households. The investment you make in your marriage not only rewards you and your spouse, the dividends spill over to your children as well"