Will we meet this month?
The timing of the September Lampstand meeting left us wondering if we would even be able to have this gathering! Due with our fifth baby on September 22, we just weren’t sure if we would be able to host the gathering on the 17th of September.
After my doctor visit on Thursday of that week, I was already showing some progress towards labor! I was excited and ready for this baby to arrive, but in praying about whether or not to have the Lampstand meeting, I felt like the Lord was giving me a choice. It was almost like I could choose to just focus on preparing for the baby and his arrival (which would not have been a bad choice) or I could choose to go for it with this meeting and believe that the Lord wanted to accomplish something in it.
We had the meeting! And, I am so thankful we did. Personally, I felt that I received things I needed to prepare me for the labor and delivery of Johnjudah David that was just around the corner. And, corporately it was an encouraging time of equipping for all.
Worship and communion
Ian Wilson was such a blessing to us in leading worship especially as we took communion together. He facilitated the flow of the whole evening so well. We began with Hebrews 10 as I shared my meditations on verses 19-23.
“Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 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.”
In this passage we see that through the blood of Jesus and the body (flesh) of Jesus, we have access to the HOLY PLACES. So through communion, in taking the body and blood of Jesus, we can come near! Jesus has sprinkled our hearts clean and washed our bodies through the waters of baptism.
Sometimes it is important to stir ourselves up and remember that when we come to the place of communion we are coming into the HOLY presence of the Lord.
Matthew talked more about the connection between the Old Testament tabernacle and what Jesus did in the upper room in establishing communion with his disciples.
So we took time in repentance and asking God to stir expectation that He wants to meet with us when we come to Him in communion.
Teaching time: embracing weakness to get oil
Following the worship and communion time, Matthew shared about getting oil in the place of weakness. He described the difference between involuntary and voluntary weakness and explained that both of these are opportunity to see God’s power and strength at work, which fuels us in a unique way.
We are promised trials and tribulations, and yet we tend to want to insulate ourselves from pain or discomfort. We do many things that are ultimately rooted in the desire to eliminate feelings of discomfort or any semblance of weakness in our lives.
Involuntary weakness would be times of trial, sickness, persecution, trouble, or loss. Seasons or experiences that we cannot handle in our own strength, but that we really have no control over. These are things that cause us to feel weak that we didn’t ask for or cause. We can’t control these circumstances, but we can control our response. Our response is critical in the midst of involuntary weakness. We can respond in bitterness and anger or despair. Or, we can see this type of weakness as a catalyst to cause us to grow in the Lord.
Voluntary weakness---is part of basic Christianity because we see it in the NT church! This type of weakness is something that we choose; we choose to put ourselves in a place of weakness in order to see God’s strength. Some examples of this type of weakness are seen in the following list:
Prayer – fasting our time
Watching – fasting sleep/time to seek the Lord
Serving – fasting time, giving time to others, which is limiting ourselves
Giving – limiting our resources
Putting ourselves in place of weakness so we can receive His strength
Exercise: The way of weakness
Part of the response time was an exercise Matthew created using the following questions:
1. Where are you feeling weak (as far as involuntary weakness)?
2. Where are you embracing voluntary weakness?
3. Where do you need for the Lord to show His strength in your life?
4. Recall in the past where you have seen His strength in your weakness.
5. Pray and ask God to help you pursue Him in weakness.
6. Commit yourself to believe Him to meet you in your weakness.
We took some time of stillness to reflect on these questions to give the Lord time to speak to our hearts. We would offer this here for anyone reading to take time to use this resource as w
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Matthew or Julie Wine