by Jean Packer
‘Behold! How good it is when brothers dwell together in unity. It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron. Running down on the edge of his garments’ (Psalm 133:1).
This scripture has been with me since becoming so refreshed during the past two Sundays at Golden Valley Church, especially through the worship, led by Bex and Colin one week and Paul and Helen the next. Their varied styles have brought enrichment to us. The worship has been wonderfully liberating and potent. We are constantly brought under an open Heaven and invited into the throne room to receive more of God’s presence into our hearts. The fire has fallen powerfully on both Sundays and we have been liberated to receive more of God’s touch as, one week a healing pool opened up and the second, we went through a fire tunnel individually and in family groups. Testimonies were shared firstly by Sue, of how the ladies on the Alpha Course are receiving God’s touch and through Jo showing us the miracle of diamonds appearing to her and Matt! The children also received, and were joyfully dancing and playing together. We have been blessed with such a kaleidoscope of colour and diversity!
Over these two weeks, great words have been brought to us, firstly through Penny, who shared what God has been laying on her heart through Acts 18. Paul was provoked to have compassion on people. He saw the value of a soul. He was positioned by God and spoke out whenever he could. Paul saw that ‘the fields are white and ready for harvest’. He was focussed on bringing light to the lost people around him and he gave his life for many souls. He didn’t concentrate on the difficulties and hardships that he suffered but glorified God with his life. The motivation of his heart was to this purpose. He was not alone and God positioned Aquilla and Priscilla to come alongside him and help him in his work when he needed them. He went to the Jews first and was rejected, so he went to the Gentiles. He didn’t get hung up on the rejection of others. Paul was prepared to roll up his sleeves. He was a tent-maker. His pay was in knowing he was serving God and reaching the lost.
Likewise, God gets us pointing in the right direction and He is positioning us to bring light to others. Because we have life, we can bring life to the situations that we encounter. No matter what difficulties, hardships and disappointments we are going through we are never alone. He brings us help when we need it. He can even use the devil’s agents to help us! ‘ ‘If God is for us, who can be against us!’.(Romans 8:31). We were exhorted to ask God for a download of the value of a soul because He loves each person so much wherever we are or whoever we are talking to. They are a soul-searching for God. Keep moving forward and to keep taking ground and ask ourselves the question of how can we encourage others to keep moving forward with us. The saints of England wouldn’t give up! Neither should we! Keep sowing, keep reaping and enjoy tasting the fruit! Changes happen around the seed and this will change the atmosphere. Enjoy the journey!
We then received prayer as we stood in God’s presence and individually asked “Where is my specific place to move into and take ground for our family, friends and workplaces”?
Last week Ian spoke from Acts 20: 1 -25. He shared how it was the love of God that constrained Paul to walk the path that he did. He ran the race with joy! He gave himself to serve others. When God speaks it does something in us. We become constrained. God’s will is for us to love Him first and then one another. We are urged to look after, and watch out for one another . He has made us overseers for one another. Yes. There is a cost that may be painful to us but as we raise our eyes to Him we see that it is worthwhile. Ian reminded us that we are justified by faith.
Ian specified four things that Paul gave and received and that the church cannot exist without:-
The church is not a building, it is a body. It is not an organisation but an organism.
The twelve disciples are the blueprint for God’s living body and we are one body related by the blood of Jesus and must love the Church as Christ does. ‘By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ ( John 13:35). We must build around what can I give? and not what I need. It’s not about me but about Him. We are to be interdependent with one another. Submission and friendship. Worship is a lifestyle and unity is the building block, being one in harmony and agreement. Paul took on the status of a slave.
Ian concluded his message by quoting scripture from ‘The Message’.
Philippians 2:1-3 (The Message)
“If you’ve gotten anything out of following Christ. If His love has made any difference in your life, if being a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart,if you care – then do me a favour. Agree with each another,love each other, be deep-spirited friends, Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”