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CAN YOU BE TRUSTED?

Dear God, bless everyone who reads this edition! May Your Peace and Your unconditional Love be with us all!

Lately I have been thinking a lot about am I a trustworthy person? Do I keep my promises? How is it with you? Can you be trusted? Is your given word trustworthy?

After a moment of reflection most of us would answer in the affirmative. Family members, friends and colleagues all nod in agreement saying: “Yes, you can count on them. Yes, they deliver as promised.”

But this time the question is more serious: “Do you and I fulfill the promises made to God?” Can God count on us? Can God trust us?”

Some of us will frown in confusion: “What are these strange questions?”

These are not strange questions. These are questions that knock on the conscience of every member of the Christian church! Our congregations are shrinking, churches are becoming emptier and quieter. Those who are faithful to their spiritual family – the congregation – go through it and do not understand where the rest of the congregation has disappeared.

As it turns out no one is missing. The members of the church have not even changed their place of residence but they do not want to go to their church. They don’t want to attend the services of their church and find 101 reasons to justify this NOT WANTING. It also worked great for me for a longer period of time… And then God said – enough! No matter which place I read in the Bible everywhere my eyes found God’s Words about the church…Also God’s Words from the 10th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews spoke differently this time: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

This is how our Trusted Counselor – the Holy Spirit works! It clearly made me understand – DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CONGREGATION! It is not enough that you pay the tithe and pray for everyone. Your spiritual family also needs the tithe of your time in presence!

Let’s not fall for the black lie that lulls our vigilance whispering: “No one cares what happens to you. It doesn’t matter whether you are there or not. The sermon is not meant for you this time, it will not strengthen you spiritually. And no one likes you there, you are definitely talked about there. See how sharply they answered to you. You must be offended by their admonitions and instructions. After all what do they think of themselves.” This is how Satan works. It rubs its hands and rejoices when members of the congregation fall into the trap of pride. Satan rejoices when he has planted resentment and anger in the heart of a Christian! This destroyer and murderer wants us to fight against sin alone. It is afraid of the prayer wall that the congregation is building. It loses where the congregation is united in love and care for each other, because: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken..” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

By neglecting our church, we resist God’s will. Because even those entrusted with the leadership of the church need us. We read in the Holy Scriptures: “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

If we really don’t like or are disturb by something in our congregation let’s first pray together and then speak out in honest meekness. If the black liar slips into our communication again and distorts what we said let’s stop the conversation and go back to prayer. When there is not even the smallest crack in the wall of prayer we will be able to thank and praise our Heavenly Father! And so it will be!

Perhaps God has chosen you as the bearer of Peace and God’s Light in your church. Beloved of God, in conclusion I would like to remind all of us what we promised to God and to our church when we became its members. Because I must confess I had already forgotten part of what I promised.

ADMISSION TO THE CHURCH

When people become official members of the congregation, the pastor asks them:

Will you be faithful to Christ through the United Methodist Church and will do all in your power to strengthen its ministries?

Will you faithfully participate in its service with your prayers, presence, talents, gifts, service and witness?

Candidates answer each question aloud:

Yes, with God’s help.

And one more very important thing! After that, the church assures that it will support and help the new/newly admitted church member to fulfill the promise!

In the love of Christ, Rita Lapsina