Associations

members only blue stampThere are lots of associations in the business worlds. There also associations in the academic world as well as church world. Associations are made up of individuals with a like purpose from different places or companies with structure to organize, improve and consult with others in the same field of work. A couple of examples are American Medical Association or Auto Care Association – there are thousands of associations in our country. I belong to the Georgia Association of REALTORS as well as the National Association of REALTORS and there are other associations inside those associations. The largest “association” that I belong too is the church.

The church is a group of people who believe in God and they are organized to study and grow in their knowledge of God which builds greater faith. Some churches teach and believe things that are not in the Word of God. There are churches who have their Bible or something similar. I have accepted the Bible as the Word of God and the words of God. Just being part of the church and associating with the church doesn’t define my faith. My faith is God is deeply personal but it is shown and displayed by my commitment to other believers.

The Apostle Paul “gets in the weeds” a bit with the church at Corinth about associating. I remember teaching my kids about choosing their friends wisely in school and that instruction still applies today. It applies to me as an adult. I still have to choose who I associate with wisely. I can become known by the people I hang out with. Paul makes it clear that the association of the church has a very specific purpose and it’s not just another club or association that you belong to. Check this out….

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. (1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NLT)

In the associations or organizations that I belong to, there are rules or codes of conduct that are vital to the function of the organization. Paul is spelling out that that there are also code of conduct inside the church.

I believe that as we walk out our faith, our church can help us grow and mature quicker than simply trying to do our faith on our own. Jesus is the head of the church and He calls it His body of sorts. We all have are different, but members of the same body. I want to be a contributor to the growth of Christ’s church here on earth. I believe the church is in a unique position to help each other through suffering and struggles that come with being a human being living on earth. We celebrate the Creator and seek to walk in His Way and live out the purpose for which we were created in the first place.  I’m thankful for the church and specifically the church that I’m part of.

Pressing On!

Dwayne  

Benefits

Key for benefitsA benefit is “an advantage or profit gained from something or someone”. There are benefits to being a US citizen that are a huge blessing to those born here or those who have citizenship here. There are also benefits from living in certain parts of the country – the weather is nice, the cost of living is low, etc… There are also benefits for knowing certain people in leadership or authority because they often have the power or authority to change certain situations from bad to good. I have been blessed to know many people over the years who have helped me grow…friends who have counseled me or advised me. Friendship has huge benefits! I sure hope that my friends see a benefit from knowing me.

There are benefit packages offered by certain job opportunities and employers. There are vacation days, health insurance benefits, profit sharing, etc… There are also current and eternal benefits because I know the Lord. Check this out….

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;

    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits
3 who forgives all your sins

    and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit

    and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

    slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,

    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve

    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,

    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting

    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,

    and his righteousness with their children’s children
18 with those who keep his covenant

    and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103:1-6;8-12;17-18NIV)

 

I am so in need of the benefits package that comes from knowing the Lord. His Character and Characteristics of knowing Him are blessings beyond describing.  I am resting in His Love today and leaning on the benefits of knowing Him.

Pressing On!
Dwayne