Storehouse Of Blessings

God has an unlimited storehouse of blessings. He eagerly anticipates bestowing those blessings upon each and every one of us. He loves us that much. Some of those blessings are the love and the support that we receive from our church family. Not all churches are supportive of their members. I would like to contrast the level of spiritual concern of some other churches with that of our church.

One church I attended had the "Isn't Jeff wonderful!" syndrome. I was very active and received a lot of attention for my works. Maybe too much. It seemed as though I was supposed to take all the credit for what God did. What about praising God and giving Him the glory? I didn't see much of that. I learned to rely on my own abilities, not God's. So when difficult times came, I couldn't handle the problems by myself, without God's help.

The next church tried to implement a shepherding program. Each member was assigned a shepherd, who was to meet with you once a week. He was to help you develop any spiritual area that needed improvement, as well as providing support in general. I decided to use this time to discuss setting up a daily Bible study and prayer time for myself.

The only drawback of the shepherding program was that all the shepherds were too busy. My shepherd always found something else to do. I said I was disappointed in the shepherding program because I had made plans for how to use my time. The minister lost his temper and yelled at me. He told me that I didn't have any right to expect the church to do anything for me, since I had never done anything for the church.

While at the next church, I was misdiagnosed as having a heart murmur (mitral valve prolapse). When my doctor heard the murmur, he seemed very concerned and scheduled the standard test at the hospital. I told the people at church about needing the test. They said, "I have a friend who has that. It's nothing." They showed absolutely no concern. They did not even put my name on the prayer list. They were very worried about me, but I never knew they cared until much later. Since they hadn't bothered to tell me, I thought nobody cared. I was ashamed to be a Christian.

While at our church, I have been making a concentrated effort to find God's will in my life. I have done this at church through Sunday School, Worship Service, and Wednesday Night Bible Study. I have done this at home through daily Bible study and prayer time. And what a difference this extra time with God makes!

The Lord has been working in my life in a powerful way. It seems as though every negative situation I have ever faced is being recreated in the present. But this time, I am listening to what God wants me to do. And the outcomes are always much more positive the second time around with God leading the way!

The church family at our church is eager to serve the Lord and to praise Him. They have encouraged me to provide input and to become a part of the family because they value me as a human being. They have been extremely supportive of the various projects I have undertaken. And they have been loving and caring when I have been ill or facing problems. Thank you, everyone!

I am no longer ashamed to say that I am a Christian! I am not ashamed to say that I like having people take care of me. I am not ashamed to say that I need the love and the support of other Christians. And I have found that support on an ongoing basis, not just when I am in a crisis.

Our church has experienced much spiritual growth. But now is not the time to be complacent with that growth. Now is the time for Christians to be concerned about one another all the time, not just when someone is in a crisis. Now is the time for Christians to examine their own relationships with God, asking "What areas of my spiritual life need strengthened to do God's will?" And now is the time for Christians to be concerned about the unsaved.

I don't know what the next step is in your spiritual walk, but I have faith that as long as you strive to do what is pleasing to God, your prayers will be answered according to His perfect will.

P.S. Maybe you are excited about trying to improve your relationship with God in some way. If it seems too difficult or too overwhelming to attempt, may I make a suggestion? Give someone a hug and say, "I love you" to that person. (Men, this includes you, too.) Then, whatever your goal is, it will seem much easier when you realize someone is always there to help you along the way.

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