unity

Where is Your Altar?

Genesis 13:1-4
You should never go a place without taking out time to communicate with God. Don’t lose focus on what God has planned for you to do. We have to be careful to wait on and follow God and not get off track with Him.
Abram means “high father.” His recognition was bestowed upon him by his personal experiences with God. He built altars to worship God when he went certain places.
Three altars that Abraham built:
Altar #1: Genesis 12:6: Abraham built an altar at Sichem, which represents strength. Strength represents obedience to God’s will about where to go or to stay. Sometimes we need the will to stay where God wants us to stay, instead of our own will that tries to to leave where He placed us. Don’t just use God’s will in things that favor us. We can’t make our will God’s will. Sometimes it is God’s will for you to stay put because He is trying to build up something in you and prepare you for something to come. We can’t spend more time asking God what His will is than we spend doing it.
Altar #2: Genesis 28: An altar of sacrifice at Bethuel, which represents the church and the church represents sacrifice. We must give God ourselves for God to fulfill His purpose in our lives.
Altar #3: Genesis 13: Altar of unity at Hai, where we share with others.
Genesis 12:10
You can’t go to the world expecting to be delivered. Nor should you go to a place inferior to what you already had. Egypt was inferior to Canaan.
We have to take our eyes off the circumstances we’re in because God has already put you in the best place! Why would you leave a land that God is watching over? Be where God’s presence is. Be where God is watching!
If you walk out of the church and into the world, there are consequences. If you think you only committed one sin, that one sin will lead to another. There are consequences even to that one sin. Abraham trusted in Egypt. We can’t trust in the world, which is like Egypt.
Don’t let the world take your will and your testimony. Wherever you got off track, go back and get it straight. How? Repent and confess your sins. You can’t repent and stay in the same place. You have to come out!
Even though God will forgive you, there is something you can’t get back: time. You lose time when you are in the world. Somethings you do have lasting effects even after God forgives you. Don’t waste time getting to God.
Do go anywhere in this world where you will have to leave your testimony behind. Be in a place where you can keep your testimony and stay in the presence of God. Get back in place!
Where is the place where you commune with God? You can be with other saints, be in every prayer meeting and service and still have no altar. Sometimes you have to separate from those who have altars in the wrong place. Go back to the place of the altar that you made to commune with God. Go back to where you messed up and get it right with God. Get back to the right place!

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The Company you Keep

I Corinthians 15:33; Psalms 1:1-6
Your appearance, activities, and people you associate with affects others’ opinions about you. Cliques and groups form with people who are comfortable with each other, who want to identify with each other, and who share common interests. We should ask God who He feels we should hang out with. Do the people we associate with the most share the same goals and beliefs we do? If they are not on the spiritual path you are, maybe you need to limit your time with them. If none of your company is striving to reach the same spiritual goals you are, you put yourself in danger of being drawn by them. You will pick up the characteristics of the people you hang around. (see story of Paul being blinded by God. Before he was blinded, he was leading others. After he was blinded, others had to lead him. He could rely on who was leading him.) Can you rely on your company when you can’t see for yourself to lead you in the right direction?
I John 2:15
How do you set keep yourself in the world? Set boundaries with your friends that will keep you from falling into sin. Set in your mind that you are going to represent God and be set aside for God’s purpose.
Let God be your best friend first and get close to Him. If you ask, He will bring people into your circle that will help you grow. Use your church community to develop relationships that won’t hinder you spiritually.
There will be a certain amount of unrest if you don’t fully commit yourself to God’s purpose for your life. Our lives can affect people without us preaching. But the Lord can prepare their hearts to receive the message of Christ if you continue to live a Christian life before them.
Even for the ones in the church and living for Christ, we have to support each other in love and share a spirit of unity.

One, one, one: Body, spirit, church

Scripture: Ephesians 4: 1-6

Notes: God’s church can’t be divided because there is only one God. United we stand, divided we fall. Together we are strong, we are one. Following the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ followers were all in one place together, because it is God’s desire for us to sit together and be quickened together. There is something about togetherness and church unity. God never intended for His church to be divided and He is coming back for one bride.

We are as a building, fit and framed together, that grows into a holy temple, a habitation of God through the Spirit. He wants His church to walk together and serve Him together. Paul talked about this in the book of Colossians, that their hearts would be knitted tight with the increase of God. The Lord is looking for a church that is not stagnant, but moving somewhere. (more…)