Suffering and Encouragement

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:1‭-‬8 NASB Paul always counted it a privilege to suffer for Christ. He shares a few of the gifts we gain when We suffer for Christ. We will be encouraged in Christ. He consoles us in our suffering and we have fellowship with the Spirit, or share things in common with Him. He knows suffering well and is always with us in suffering. We also gain affection and compassion. Paul also was asking the Philippian church to make his joy complete by having a united spirit.  One thing that draws me to the Gathering House is that I believe we have that united spirit. When we had service in the good old days I remember during the time of singing, the worship leaders being very energetic, the bongo player was especially full of emotion, emotion I've never come close to showing. I remember thinking how great it was, seeing how he was enjoying worship in the Spirit so much and it was real. Watching him helped me to know and sense the presence of the Holy Spirit being there with us. I also hoped, though,  that people with that kind of emotion also realized that people like me who sit there with at most a smile are also sensing the Holy Spirit but in a different way. For me, I will probably never be as emotional in my worship as others but I do have the same total assurance that the Holy Spirit is with me and in me. We are all different parts of the body and express things differently but we are still unified as being part of the same body. 

I am really looking forward to the days when we can all be together again in a normal, united way. In all my life I could never have imagined going a year without being in a church service. I have a feeling I maybe a little more emotional when we finally do get back together again, especially in the first few weeks.  Maybe this is another part of His purpose in all we are going through. At the very least, I will never take being together in worship for granted again.

by Ken Edgerly

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