FELLOWSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

FELLOWSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
=================================
Consequently, you are no longer
foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens
with God’s people and members of
God’s household. Ephesians 2:19

As Christians we are called to belong—not
just believe. We are not meant to be
loners but true members of his body—part
of Jesus’ family. It is thus
important for Christians to spend time together
to share their spiritual
lives, encourage each other and have
fellowship.

Satan brings all his efforts to bear upon Christians to
prevent this
fellowship. He realizes that believers need to help and
strengthen each other,
so he will try to prevent it by promoting indifference
or by using the force
of circumstances (Hebrews 10:24,25). Even informal or
casual meetings can be
used of the Lord for strengthening Christians,
especially when formal meetings
and large group fellowships are forbidden. Of
course, large meetings can be
useful, too. But normally, more help is given
one-to-one in small “cell”
groups where specific needs can be shared,
discussed and ministered to
in-depth.

Mona’s story is a good
illustration. It wasn’t only that she was raped when
she sneaked across the
border into Malaysia. It wasn’t simply because she sent
her daughter back to
Burma and had never seen her since she was a baby. It
wasn’t just the
violence of those terrifying days in the ‘80’s in Rangoon when
students and
soldiers clashed in the streets forcing her husband (then a
student) and her
to flee the country.

It was the thousand nights of loneliness. The trauma
of the past haunted her.
The papers she needed to stay in Malaysia legally.
Papers that she could not
acquire. The possibility of arrest and punishment
by police.

The nightmares came on leathery wings of fear, dug their claws
deeply and took
up residence in her psyche. Her mind, once sound and clear,
clouded with
doubts and delusions: the sound of voices she did not know and
horrifying
images that would not go away.

But hers was not a life
destined for darkness. The clouds were pulled away
slowly, partly by the
psychiatrist at the General Hospital, secured for her by
the volunteers at
the free medical clinic. Also by the kindness of strangers
who reached out
their hands in generosity.

It was the moment Mona was able to tell
another woman in her own language of
her troubles; this was when the first
ray of light cut through the cloud and
shone the possibility of hope into her
circumstance.

Later, it was the time she spent with other women from
Burma at the church. It
was the songs they sang, the shared experience and
language, the friendship,
the food, the games.

Fellowship is
life-giving to those who have been deprived of it.

RESPONSE: Today I will
seek to experience true fellowship in Christ.

PRAYER: Pray for
opportunities to support others who need a listening ear or a
word of
encouragement.

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