A Perfect Example in Motherhood

I mommed so hard this week, friends.

I mopped up puke from wooden floors, scrubbed permanent marker off our office walls, put Galvatron in a gazillion time outs, battled night terrors, carried a screaming toddler out of the church sanctuary during our pastor’s prayer, and received blows to my chest and heart from tiny clenched fists.

And that was on top of wiping the usual boogies and butts.

So last night, when I listened to Mark 5-6 while folding laundry, I heard the passage how I had never heard it before–through the lens of a weary mom.

And let me tell you, ladies…I felt like I was going to have a panic attack on behalf of Jesus.

Everyone was crying out to him. Sick people were grabbing at his clothes. The crowds were pressing in on him. They were hungry, needy, and constantly touching him. He couldn’t get a moment to himself. If I didn’t know better, I might have guessed he was in the throes of motherhood.

A Day in the Life of a Mom Jesus

At the beginning of chapter 5, Jesus gets off the boat to go about his work of sharing the gospel and is immediately greeted by a man with unclean spirits. After Jesus casts out the demons, the man begs to come with him like a child begging to come to the store with mommy. “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you,” he says to his child. Then he hops on the boat and crosses the sea.

This time, he’s greeted by a crowd of people. One man, a ruler named Jairus, asks him to heal his daughter. Jesus goes with him and the crowd follows him and presses in even harder. A bleeding woman grabs his garment as he walks, and he feels power come out of him. “Who touched me?” he asks, and the disciples look at him likes he’s crazy. “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” But like a mother, he can sense when one of his children is sick and crying out for help. As he goes to tell her that her faith has made her well, he overhears members of the ruler’s household saying that his little girl has died. He heads straight for the little girl’s home to find friends and family weeping and wailing. He tells the girl to rise, and they are “overcome with amazement.” And then he does what any good mom would do…he tells them to give her something to eat!

After all this, he goes back home to Nazareth where he’s greeted with nothing but contempt and disrespect–it’s a thankless job, after all. He sends the disciples out to do his work, and when they return, he suggests they all go to a desolate place to rest and enjoy a meal. But c’mon, Jesus. A moment of rest? Pffft. The people run to where they’re going before they can even get there. They just want to be with him, and they’re hungry–all 5,000 of them. In true mom fashion, he whips up a meal, cleans up after them, and puts away the leftovers.

Nighttime comes, he goes up on the mountain to pray, and he just wants to go for a quiet walk on the water while everyone sleeps on the boat. But when he tiptoes past the boat, the disciples see what they think is a ghost and are terrified, so Jesus has to hop back into the boat to calm their fears and lull them back to sleep. He’s just like a mom climbing into bed with her babies and assuring them that there isn’t really a monster in the closet.

They come ashore once again, and the crowd immediately comes to him, bringing their sick.  They implore him “that they might touch even the fringe of his garment.” And at this point, all I can think is “GET THAT MAN A DRINK!”

But seriously, I just sat there in tears because I realized at that moment that Jesus gets me. He knows what it’s like to have grubby little hands pulling on him. He knows what it’s like not to have a moment to eat or rest. He knows what it’s like to be interrupted and rejected and needed every second. He knows what it’s like to #momsohard.

Jesus–An Example in Motherhood

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus sympathizes with us, mamas. He knows how draining and discouraging mothering can be. He was probably tempted to tell his children to leave him alone, to smack their little hands away, to go lock himself in the bathroom and cry…yet he was without sin.

Jesus is a perfect example in motherhood.

What did he do when his sick children came to him? 

He lovingly nursed them back to health.

How did he react when his plans were interrupted by needy children?

He turned what could have been annoying interruptions into opportunities to share the gospel with his children. He chose his children’s hearts over the tasks of the day.

How did he respond when he wanted to eat in peace but his children just wanted to be with him?

He had compassion on them and filled their hungry bellies.

How did he find quiet time with God in the midst of all the noise?

He kept pursuing moments with his Heavenly Father, but wasn’t angered or surprised by interruption.

How did he deal with rejection and ingratitude?

He did the next thing, keeping his eyes up.

“Yea, but he’s God,” you might say, and you’d be right.

But he is the God who lives in you.

His patience, love, and compassion–they all take up residence in the heart of the Christian mother. Friend, you can “mom” like Jesus because you have been clothed in his perfect righteousness. You don’t have to rely on your own strength to #momsohard. Jesus is strong for you.

Let the Little Children Come

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,” Jesus said to his disciples, “for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

As mothers, we are the gatekeepers. We can either lead our children into Jesus’s presence with our love or we can hinder them with our lack of patience and grace.

May we all follow the example of Jesus who has loved us in such a manner that we, too, have been called children of God (1 John 3:1).

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Hope For the One Dreading Christmas With Family

This Saturday, we’ll load up our minivan with kids and presents and head down to my sister’s house for the first of several family Christmas gatherings. ‘Tis the season, right?

I’m looking forward to this weekend, but what do you do when the idea of gathering with family fills you with dread?

Over the years, I’ve had my share of dreaded family gatherings–the first Christmas after my parents divorced, the Christmas after my father in-law’s death, the Christmas when our baby was sick, Christmases when relationships have been strained.

I could offer you a list of life hacks to get you through the dreaded gatherings, but what if I told you that you could do more than “just get through”? What if it was possible for you to feel real peace, joy, and love in the midst of family strife?

Friends, there is hope–real hope–for our dreaded family gatherings in Jesus. Through Christ, we receive what we need to celebrate Christmas with the ones we love, even when it’s hard to love them. His gifts of peace, joy, and love move us from a place of dread to a place of hopeful confidence.

The Gift of Peace

In our B.C. (Before Christ) lives, we were at war with God. The Bible says we were “hostile in mind” towards him, “doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:19).

God could have rightfully ended the battle and done away with us for good, but instead, he sent us a Great Rescuer–the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ his son.

“Glory to God in the highest,” the angels sang on the night of his birth, “and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).

This angelic proclamation truly is good news for those who believe in Christ–not because we have done anything to please God, but because he is fully pleased with us through his son. Colossians 1:19 says, “For in him (Christ!) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

When Jesus died on the cross, he made peace with God on our behalf. If we believe in Him, God has laid down his arms against us.

As part of his family, we, too, can make peace with those around us. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said, “for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

As we gather with our families this Christmas season, old wounds may start to bleed again and bitterness might bubble up. The holidays have a way of bringing conflict to the surface, but as blessed peacemakers, we can choose to cease fire with those who war against us.

Sister, because you have peace through Christ, you don’t have to get the last word in.

Because you have peace through Christ, you don’t have to defend yourself.

Because you have peace though Christ, you don’t have to put up a fight.

Just as Christ laid down his rights for you, you can lay down yours for others this Christmas. Your family members may not reciprocate, but you are at peace with God, and that is enough.

The Gift of Love

It’s one thing to lay down your weapons. It’s another thing entirely to invite enemy combatants into your territory and welcome them with open arms of love.

But that, dear ones, is exactly what God has done for us through Christ!

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

God sent his only son to take on human flesh not just to save us from certain death, but to save us into everlasting life with the one we once raged against. All because He loves us. Pretty amazing, right?

And you know what else is amazing? As those who have been so loved by God, we have both the means and motivation to love others as Christ has loved us.

1 John 4:7 tells us to “love one another, for love is from God.”

Oh, the freedom I have found in this verse, friends! The same God who commands me to love others has provided the very love I need to fulfill his command through Christ. I don’t have to make a withdrawal from my own measly love account in order to love others because Christ has already lavished his own love upon me.

As we think about his steadfast love, we can’t help but want to love others how Christ has loved us. Suddenly, we see difficult family members not through eyes of self-protection or vengeance, but through eyes of mercy and grace.

When we’re looking to Christ to fill our love cups, we are protected against bitterness and resentment towards family members who are incapable of or just plain bad at loving us. We don’t need the love or approval of family because we have been deeply loved by God. We can love our families not out of our own wicked hearts, but out of the abundance of Christ’s love for us. 

The Gift of Joy

Maybe your family has experienced a devastating loss this year. Maybe your relationships are strained or even broken. How are you supposed to find joy in the midst of such sorrow?

Are you ready for some good news, friends? Joy isn’t something you have to chase after–it’s a gift.

On the night of Jesus’s birth, the angel brought the shepherds “good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” That means he brought good news of great joy for us too! What is this good news exactly? “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10).

Our pastor, Mike Bullmore, reminded us last week that true joy “comes through being in a right relationship with God through Jesus.” It’s not the same as happiness. “Joy comes from being in Christ, which doesn’t change with your circumstances.

Your family’s circumstances may be just awful this year. Cancer, divorce, unemployment, sickness, heartache, death–whatever you’re suffering from, know that it’s okay to be sad. And to phrase it slightly differently, it’s okay not to be happy.

While you may not be happy this Christmas, you can be joyful. As Paul says, the Christian can be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

In his letter to the Romans, Paul prays that God would fill his brothers and sisters with joy as they trust in Christ (Romans 15:13). This is my prayer for you as well this Christmas, dear ones. May God fill you with his joy as you trust in Him.

A Coming Christmas

There will come a time when every day will be Christmas–when we will gather together with our adopted family to celebrate and sing praises to King Jesus!

Until then, don’t let your own family drama distract you from the baby at the center of the Christmas story. Keep your eyes on the savior–looking to him for peace, love, and joy this holiday season. He is the giver of every good thing and the maker of every family in heaven and on earth.

Merry Christmas to each of you, my sisters in Christ!

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Rightly rejoicing

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and I’m not a mother yet.

Last year, I remember turning to my husband at church on Mothers Day, beaming as I whispered, “Just think! Next year, I might actually BE a mother!”

I thought I would at least have a bun in the oven by now. But that wasn’t God’s plan. Not for this Mother’s Day at least.

And so, this Sunday, I will go to church, surrounded by cooing babies and doting mothers. And while I’ll be tempted to sulk in my circumstances and wallow in my heartache, I hope to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” (Rom. 12:15) A lesson that God has been teaching me for some time now.

The truth is…my flesh doesn’t want to rejoice with those who rejoice. It doesn’t want to attend another baby shower or look at thousands of baby photos on Facebook or listen to the great “baby wise” debate.

“Because,” says my flesh, “if I don’t have one, then you shouldn’t either.”

But thanks be to God who has saved me from my own flesh! I am now able and equipped to rejoice with those who rejoice because “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Because of Christ, I don’t have to wish away anyone else’s happiness. I am free to rejoice with those who rejoice.

But what exactly does rejoicing with others look like?

Before I talk about what it looks like, I think it might be helpful to talk about what it doesn’t look like.

Over the past few months, I’ve learned that rejoicing with others doesn’t mean masking or stifling your own suffering.

It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to long for a baby or a husband or a job. It’s okay to weep. Romans 12:15 tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice,” but it also tells us to “weep with those who weep.” It’s okay (and actually good) for others to see us weep so that they can be obedient to weep with us. The bible tells us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2). By hiding our suffering, we aren’t allowing the body of Christ to function as it’s intended to.

Rejoicing also doesn’t mean just getting by with the cultural etiquette. For awhile, I thought that going to baby showers, cooing over babies and discussing cloth diapers was me showing my friends that I was rejoicing with them. And those actions, in and of themselves, aren’t bad. But when those social conventions aren’t paired with a rejoicing heart, they aren’t good either.

You see, rejoice doesn’t actually mean to “show joy.” It means to be joyful. If we are trying to show joy without being joyful, we’ve missed the point.

So back to the initial question…what exactly does rejoicing with others look like?

In Psalm 92, we see what it looks like to rejoice:

It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

The psalmist shows us that real rejoicing is about rejoicing in God–in who he is and in what he has done.

We rightly rejoice, then, when we join with our fellow believers in giving thanks to the LORD and singing praises to his name.

We rightly rejoice when we see and declare his steadfast love, faithfulness, and other divine attributes.

We rightly rejoice when we are made glad by what he has accomplished.

Take a moment to think about what this might practically look like in your life. How can you rejoice with those who rejoice?

For me, it might look a little something like this…

Thank you, God, for your good gift of children. As your word says, children are a blessing from you. You are the author of life, and I praise you for so intimately knowing and creating these little ones and for so intimately knowing and creating me. I pray that they will grow up to experience the true, everlasting life that is found in you. I rejoice in experiencing your great redeeming love in my own life and pray that these little ones will one day know your faithfulness and will see your steadfast love as displayed on the cross. I thank you for graciously making your great name known to yet another generation.

You see, rejoicing isn’t about being glad in those around us. It’s about being glad in God with those around us. When we focus our gladness on who God is and what he’s done, the “me vs. them” mentality disappears and an “us” mentality takes its place. Because the gospel isn’t just about God redeeming me, it’s about God redeeming a people, an “us”, for himself.

Let us rejoice together in our great God…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Eph. 2:4-9

Thanks be to God.

Little Phoebe Bartlett

Today I’m linking up with Women Living Well Wednesdays. Make sure to check out some of the other encouraging blogs.

I became a Christian at age three.

You read that right…age three

For years, I had been somewhat hesitant to announce that to the world. After all, how could a three-year old have any real understanding of salvation?

But a few months ago, as I sat before two of our pastors at our church membership interview, timidly telling them of my three-year old conversion story, I realized that my hesitancy was unwarranted and actually somewhat sinful.

“I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home,” I told them. “And I became a Christian at a very young age…I mean a very young age…three years old.” I sheepishly looked up, half expecting to see them glance at each other skeptically, but instead, seeing them both look back at me, nodding intently. “Sometimes I feel silly even saying it because I know people are probably thinking to themselves, ‘Oh, she couldn’t have understood at that age.’ But to be honest, there was never a point after that when I questioned my initial conversion. Sure, I came to understand the depths of God’s grace and mercy more and more as I grew older, but I really truly believe that at some basic level, I understood at three years old that Christ had saved me.”

I went on to tell them about how my Sunday School teacher, Mr. Meissner, had done a felt board presentation of the gospel, and that after the story, when all the other children had gone back to their tables, he called my name, “Chelsea, can you come back here sweetie?’ he asked. I remember looking back at him, crouched down to my level with his eyes smiling at me. I saw something in his eyes that I loved (now I know that it was the sweet love of Jesus), and I wanted it. He sat with me for a moment, reiterating the gospel story. In three-year old terms, he explained that God is perfect and holy and that because God is perfect and holy, he demands perfection and holiness. But because of my sin, I could never attain perfection or holiness on my own. In fact, not only could I not attain it, but instead of being WITH God, I was (justly) condemned to death…an eternity apart from God. But, he told me, God had sent his only son, Jesus Christ to die in my place. Jesus, who never sinned, paid the penalty for MY sin so that I might be free from the chains of sin and death. And not only that, but he CONQUERED death by rising again on the third day, and he clothed me in HIS own righteousness so that when God looks at me, he no longer sees my sin, but instead sees the Christ. All I had to do was believe in him as my savior.

“And at three years old, I wanted to know this man named Jesus,” I told them. “I wanted the love of Jesus, I wanted to believe, and I went home that evening and prayed with my mom to accept Christ as my savior. And to be honest, since then, while I’ve had my ups and downs, I have not once questioned the validity of my belief at such a young age.”

As I finished telling them about my conversion, our senior pastor looked at me, with the same smiling eyes as dear old Mr. Meissner, overflowing with Jesus’ love, and he asked, “Chelsea, have you heard the story of Phoebe Bartlett?”

I had not, so he went on to tell me about little Phoebe Bartlett, who had accepted Christ at the ripe old age of four under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards. Her conversion made such an impression on Edwards that he wrote about her in his “Narrative of Surprising Conversions.” That night, I went home and read the story of Phoebe Bartlett, and I felt immediately as though little Phoebe and I were kindred spirits. I realized then that I didn’t need to be shy about my conversion any more. Instead, I should proclaim it boldly and gratefully. It is truly a story of God’s grace, not just in saving me, but in saving me at such a young age, before I even had a chance to really know the world without him.

What goodness.

What grace.

How sweet to know that my conversion is one of my very first memories of this life!

During the weeks following our meeting, I began to think more upon my early childhood conversion, so grateful for my salvation but also yearning for a better understanding of exactly what I had been saved from at three years old. On the night before Good Friday, I had a vivid dream where I saw my three year old self skipping across an old draw bridge. The next day, I wrote a poem, retelling what I had seen in this dream. Even now, I am brought to tears as I read the line, “His lost little girl was now found.”

Hedges 2: Playing Together in the Sandbox

Last week, I started a series on building hedges to protect your marriage. Installment #1 dealt with building hedges at work (if you missed it, you can read it here). For installment #2, I thought I’d talk about building hedges with friends of the opposite sex. But before I go there, let’s revisit my disclaimer for this series…

While I think that all Christian married couples should work to protect their marriages based on these passages and others, not every couple will go about it in the same way. The “hedges” that Dan and I have set up are good for us. They may not be good for you, and that’s okay. The hedges you and your spouse put up are between you and God. Period. No judgment here.

Now back to our scheduled programming… 🙂

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a lot of “boy friends.”

As a toddler, I had tea parties with Lance and indoor picnics with Charles.

In kindergarten, we played a recess game called Cats and Dogs. The boys were the dogs and the girls were the cats…with one exception. The boys got to choose one girl to be the Queen Dog and the girls got to choose one boy to be the King Cat. Poor little Bruce was chosen to be the King Cat. Me, on the other hand…I had the honor of being the Queen Dog.

If you look at pictures of my Sweet 16 Birthday Party, you’ll find my best friend Bethany…and about a dozen guys surrounding us.

And when I got to college, I made a few close girlfriends, but spent a lot of time being “one of the guys.”

Needless to say, building hedges with my male friends is still an adjustment for me.

When I married Dan, I had to change my friend habits. I’m no longer “one of the guys” but a wife to one man and one man only. I didn’t have to change because Dan is some sort of crazy controlling husband. I wanted to change because I love him dearly and want to protect what we have together.

So what has this looked like for me? Before you continue, remember my disclaimer;)

1) I don’t do one-on-ones with my guy friends. Ever.

There are two kinds of guy friends: married and single. Most of my single guy friends have moved away, so I don’t have to worry too much about it. But when and if they come back in town and want to get together, they can either come over to my house and spend time with Dan and I, or we (Dan + me + guy friend) can meet somewhere. Honestly, if they care about me, and I love Dan and enjoy spending time with him, then I’m sure they’ll enjoy spending time with him too. Plus…and I’m being completely honest here…I don’t think I’ve ever been really good friends with a guy who at some point in time I didn’t find myself remotely interested in. Even if I was just interested for a moment during a long-term friendship, I wouldn’t want that moment to creep back up on me. So, I’m protecting Dan, yes, but I’m also protecting myself.

Married friends are a bit easier. Dan and I only hang out with friends of the same sex or our married COUPLE friends, and I don’t think either of us feels like we’re somehow “missing out.” It’s just double the fun!

2) When we do have “couple friends,” I remain guarded.

Sadly, I have known a few people whose marriages have fallen apart when a spouse from Couple A and a spouse from Couple B end up having an inappropriate relationship. To avoid that fate, all communications between me and another person’s spouse are done out in the open. Very, and I mean very, rarely do I text or email one of my friend’s spouses in the private sphere. They might get a text from me on their birthday or Christmas, but that’s about it. No long conversations back and forth, no private facebook messages, etc. If I do happen to send or receive a message to/from a male friend, I try to share with Dan so he’s in the loop and not taken off guard by anything, and if I’m the one sending, I might “cc” my guy friend’s wife on the text so that she’s not taken off guard.

I also try to be very sensitive to my surroundings when I’m with other couples. Either boy, girl, girl, boy or girl, boy, boy, girl at the movie theatre (I’d rather share my armrest with my hubby!), and I try not to sit right next to another married man on a couch or at a table if I can avoid it. Obviously you could take this to the extreme, but as a general rule of thumb, I try to sit next to my husband or another woman.

These are hedges of protection for me and Dan, but I also think that they’re hedges of protection for our friends. I would hate for one of my girlfriends to for some reason see my name in her husband’s inbox and have that rush of panic come over her. Even if my intentions were completely pure, I wouldn’t want her to feel any sort of fear or anxiety. Romans 14 says to never “put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother,” and I never want to be that stumbling block. Yes, hedges protect my own marriage, but they also protect the marriages of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

3) I don’t touch.

To be honest, I’m not a huge “toucher” in general. In normal conversation, I wouldn’t lean over and touch someone’s knee or shoulder to make a point, so for me, not touching isn’t that hard. But I do try to keep a decent circle of space. I do high fives and side hugs (if you want a good laugh, read Jon Acuff’s post on side hugs over at Stuff Christians Like) with my oldest and truest guy friends, but that’s about it. Ha…how corny do I sound right now–high fives and side hugs? Pffft.

4) I do touch.

I’m all about appropriate marital PDA. I hold my husband’s hand, rub his back, and kiss him on the head when I walk behind him. These are all little reminders to him that HE is my husband and that I chose HIM over everyone else. Plus, like I said in installment #1, when people see you interact with your husband, they are more likely to respect your marriage.

5) I play taboo.

As I discussed in installment #1, I try not to get all “emo” on my guy friends. No deep, emotional talks without my husband present and no discussing my husband’s flaws, our marital issues, or our sex life. I also don’t discuss things that I haven’t discussed with my husband yet. In other words, no secrets that my husband isn’t aware of.

If there’s ever a question in my mind as to whether or not I should be discussing something with another man, I try to think, Would Dan feel comfortable if he were sitting here with me right now? Or better yet, Would I feel comfortable if Dan was talking to another woman like I’m talking to this man right now? Do unto others…

5) Center my friendships around the gospel.

If my friendships with men are centered around the fellowship and furtherance of the gospel, then I have nothing to fear. (I totally stole that phrase from Warren Wiersbe, so no, I’m not that amazingly smart all by myself!)

Think about it…

I have non-Christian male friends. If I am constantly keeping the gospel at the center of my heart and mind, then I will not act inappropriately with them. God designed marriage to be a beautiful representation of Christ and his church. If am continually trying to further the gospel, then I will not want to distort this representation. I won’t act inappropriately because I will want to show proper respect for my husband to demonstrate the respect I have for Christ. If the furtherance of the gospel is at the forefront of my mind, then I will want to be the best testimony possible so that God might use me as the salt and light in my friend’s life.

But there are also my Christian friends who already believe in the gospel. Often times we describe the time that we spend with our Christian friends as fellowship. “Come on over for some fun and fellowship.” “Thank you, Lord, for food and fellowship.” “Would you like to come fellowship with us as we watch the Bears destroy the Packers?” Good ole’ fellowship. 🙂

But what exactly does fellowship mean? Literally, it means “in common.”

As Christians, we have one thing in common: the gospel.

Warren Wiersbe says that salvation is a threefold work: 1) the work God does for us–salvation, 2) the work God does in us–sanctification, 3) the work God does through us–service. We are a saved people who are being sanctified by God in order to best serve and glorify him. If we keep the gospel in mind, then we will never want to do anything to hinder the work that God is doing in and through our brothers and sisters in Christ.


“…Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10: 19-25

As a “girl friend,” and more importantly as a sister in Christ, I must only act as to stir up my brothers to love and good works, encouraging them, as the Day of the Lord draws nearer.

In closing…

Be a dog on the playground. Have fun with the boys. Girls rule, boys drool, and hedges let us play together safely in the sandbox. All to the glory of God.