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Why Should Christians Gather?


In my prior post (Jesus Don’t You Care?) I related how Scripture declares the intimate relationship each Christian can have with God directly through faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit God sends into every believer’s heart. In this post, I want to explain briefly what we all seem to know instinctively–we need each other!

So, why should Christians gather with each other? Isn’t a direct relationship with God enough?

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.

I. We have physical bodies and God does not.

  • Our physical bodies with all their material and emotional needs are often best served by others like us.
  •  We have arms and legs to carry and provide, which God does not.
  •  Seeing God’s love in others helps us to see beyond the physical to see God himself.

II. We are family.

  •  Although the three-in-one being of God is impossible for our limited minds to grasp, we can grasp that God is a God of communication. He communicates among himself, and we are modeled to be like him. Communication is basic to the life God created in us.
  •  Families meet often to share each other–to  be family together. Family by definition means more than one.
  • God created us to be family–both with him and with each other.

III. We encourage each other in Christ when we meet together.

  •  Together, we balance out and correct false or incomplete doctrine.
  •  Alone, we are easy targets for our spiritual enemies, Satan and his demons.
  •  Speaking for myself, we forget. I sometimes forget to pray, I forget God loves me, I forget my Christian duties, I forget how to worship. My sisters and brothers in Christ remind me of these things.
  •  Again, speaking for myself, I am not always in close fellowship with God. I go off track, I might get strange ideas, I am tempted in various ways and may fall prey. Hearing the testimonies of others and witnessing the movement of God in their lives encourages me to keep on keeping on. My family in Christ animates me to worship and adore the Lord.

IV. It’s often lots of fun!

V. We live out the love of Christ for us by loving others. When I lay down my life in love for another, I understand experientially what it cost Christ to lay down his life for me. No amount of words can give me such an understanding. The result is worship.


I. As a Christian, I have a direct and intimate relationship through the Holy Spirit by faith in Christ with God the Father. I must do what I can to nurture this relationship.

  •  give priority to making time to be alone and quiet with God
  •  learn to hear and recognize his voice when he speaks
  •  cry out to him regularly and truthfully in prayer
  •  obey when he acts the parent and gives me a task to do
  •  fellowship with him through his word
  •  love, adore, worship, and submit to him in private time alone and together with him
  •  remember and take advantage of the fact that he is always present

II. As a Christian, I have a direct and spiritually intimate relationship with other Christians through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit with those who share my faith in Christ.

  •  Christians are all spiritually one

John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

  •  God’s purpose for each of us and for Christ’s body as a single whole is fulfilled as we meet and serve one another in love. This love and service becomes visible to the world as a testimony to the truth of the Gospel message of life in Jesus Christ.

III. Christ is the source of all, the center of all, and the purpose of all, whether we fellowship alone with God through the Holy Spirit or in groups together. As Christians, we need both. As we individually drink from the source, may we share our living water with others, so that all may grow to maturity in one body and in love.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” 







Jesus Don’t You Care?

Although I looked, I could not find a copyright for this picture.

One day Jesus called his disciples into a boat, and they headed out across a large lake. But Jesus fell asleep. While he slept, a violent windstorm came down on the lake. The waves became huge and started swamping the boat. They were in danger of drowning. At this point, the disciples could bear it no longer. They shouted at Jesus and woke him up, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” Well, that woke him up. He rebuked the wind and the raging waters. The storm subsided, all was calm. (Adapted from Luke 8:22-24)

In this narrative, who was asleep? The text says that Jesus, God in the flesh, slept, unaware that a monstrous storm had arisen, threatening to capsize and sink the boat that carried the disciples. But was Jesus the only one in the boat who was sleeping? Weren’t the disciples also asleep? Verse 25 displays what I mean.

“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

At this point in their walk, the disciples really had no clue who Jesus was. They were asleep to the real identity of their Rabbi. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Notice, in the whole story there’s only one place where the disciples talked to Jesus directly. That was in verse 24, where they awakened him and shouted at him, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” Then, verse 25 tells us that in “fear and amazement” the disciples talked about Jesus to one another. “Who is this?” No one turned to Jesus, looked him straight in the face and asked, “Who are you?”

There’s an enormous difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. Why is the Bible divided into two very distinct sections, the Old Testament and the New? It hinges on this very point. It’s about how God communicates with people. The Old Testament begins with face to face communication between God and individual people having been cut off. Genesis 3 records how Adam and Eve were cut off from intimate, in-person communication with God. From that time forward, God communicated with people only through specifically chosen spokespersons called prophets and through historical events, concrete objects, and ceremonies. Most people didn’t know God personally. They knew  about  him through the historical record of their nation, their religious ceremonies, and the words of specifically chosen individuals.

Then comes the New Testament. The Gospel of John repeats over and over throughout its chapters the imminent reopening of direct communication with people and God the Father through the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ very name means, “God with us,” (Matthew 1:23). It is true that Christ died on the cross as a sacrifice for sins and rose from the dead in victory over sin, but what was the purpose of the cleansing of the human heart for those who by faith receive from Christ that victory over sin and death? Was it that we should be able to live happy and peaceful lives forever? Or is there something more?

Please listen carefully, because this is so important.

  1.  Matthew 1:18 tells that Mary “was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.”
  2.  Matthew 3:11 quotes John the Baptist, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me … will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
  3.  In John 3:5-6, Jesus told Nicodemus, “… no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
  4.  He told the woman at the well in John 4:14, “… the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” And in verse 23, “… the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit …”
  5.  In John 14:26 Jesus tells his disciples, “But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things …”
  6.  Jesus’s great commission to his disciples in Matthew 28:19 includes the third Person of God, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
  7.  Acts 2:4 records this great, historical event, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit …”
  8.  In Acts 2:33, Peter explained to the crowd that the arrival of the Holy Spirit fulfilled the Old Testament promise of the Father, “[Jesus] Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”
  9.  Peter in Acts 2:38 claims that the Holy Spirit is for all believers in Jesus, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  10.  Acts 8:17 supports Peter’s words, “Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they [the Samaritans] received the Holy Spirit.
  11.  In Acts 10:44-45, the Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit, “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word … The circumcised believers … were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.”
  12.  Paul describes one benefit of having the Holy Spirit in Romans 5:5, “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
  13.  In Romans 8:14-15 Paul continues speaking about the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”
  14.  Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
  15.  Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
  16.  1 Corinthians 12:3, “… no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
  17.  Fellowship with God and with each other is made possible by the Holy Spirit who lives inside every believer: 2 Corinthians 13:14, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
  18.  When Paul speaks of PROMISE anywhere at all in the New Testament (I’m making a huge claim here) he ALWAYS means the Holy Spirit, never physical property–land. Here is one example in Ephesians 1:13, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
  19.  The Holy Spirit lets us know God himself, not merely to know  about him, Ephesians 1:17, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”
  20.  1 Thessalonians 1:6, “… you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
  21.  What more could a believer possibly want than the very presence of God himself living within her heart, 1 Thessalonians 4:8, “… the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”
  22.  2 Timothy 1:14, “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
  23.  Titus 3:5-7, “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously trhough Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
  24.  Hebrews 3:7-8 and 12 records how God cries out every day to a lost and lonely people, “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, … See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”

Jesus died and rose again in order to open the pathway back to God–remember Genesis 3–by means of faith through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the difference between knowing about God–hearing about him, reading this blog written about him, listening to sermons about him–and knowing God yourself. Knowing God himself means that occasionally you will feel his presence in you, touching you, wrapping his arms around you, and at times speaking directly to you, so that you know unmistakably that he knows you, sees you, loves you, sometimes corrects you, and is with you.

In closing, I want to talk about my second granddaughter when she was two, and even now, when she is three. Sometimes her parents would have me babysit after school and stretch it out through the dinner hour and even past bedtime. Bedtime was difficult. This little girl wanted to be tucked in for the night by mommy or daddy. She would cry and cry. I would sit on her bed and tell her that mommy and daddy would return, that they loved her, that when she awakened they would be with her, and that she would never be alone. She would never be alone because I myself would not leave the house until her mommy and daddy returned. Sometimes she would fall asleep crying softly with these reassurances. This part of the story represents hearing and knowing about Jesus.

Often, however, the little girl refused to be comforted by my words about her parents’ love for her and the promise that they would return. Often she just refused to fall asleep. Occasionally, the parents would come back while I was still in the room. Then mommy or daddy would enter and hold her in their arms hugging her and whispering softly to her that they were home, that they loved her, and that it was time for her to take a rest and sleep. That part of the story represents knowing Jesus directly through the Holy Spirit.

So, what are we to do in times of stormy trial when we are close to death? We are supposed to do as the psalmist did again and again, and as the disciples did in the boat when the wind and waves threatened to capsize their little boat and cause them to drown. We are to awaken Jesus by giving it all we are worth, shouting even, Savior, don’t you know that I am about to drown? Help me!

Why does God allow turbulent times to happen in our lives? Jesus said in Luke 5:31, “… It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Our sickness is that we are cut off from God. Jesus came to change that. I opened by saying that in a sense the disciples were asleep to the real identity of the Rabbi/teacher who rode in the boat with them. If the storm had not come, would they have become frightened enough to call out to him for help? Would they have known that they were sleeping in the sickness of death? Would they ever have seen his power over nature?

From time to time there are storms in our lives and all around us. Factual, historical events cause our hearts to fear and tremble. We lose control, we lose our peace, we lose our joy, and often we lose hope. That is when we need to turn to Jesus and cry out to him, “Jesus, Jesus, I’m going to drown. Help me!” His promise to us is that he will.

It’s the death of the soul within us that is the greatest danger of all. Peter, quoting the prophet Joel (2:32), spoke these words of promise and assurance in Acts 2:21, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” I love Pa in the Little House on the Prairie book series. The family faced one catastrophe after another, and as narrated through the eyes of his little daughter Laura, he always would say, “There is no great loss without some small gain.” The world and our nation are currently passing through a time of tremendous loss. May there be not a small gain, but a huge gain–eternal life for the many who turn to the Lord, cry out to him, and are saved.











God Speaks

Isaiah 40:1 LXE

Hezekiah’s Prayer

From Hezekiah’s Prayer when he was sick unto death


Hezekiah’s prayer is recorded in Isaiah 38. That prayer is one of my favorite portions in all of Isaiah. Hezekiah lay dying with a mortal illness. He prayed to God, and here he gives his praise and thanksgiving for God’s answer of healing mercy and forgiveness of all his sins.

Hezekiah reminds me that there are various forms of illness: there are physical illnesses, and there are spiritual. I recently passed through a season of spiritual illness. As the nature of my sin slowly dawned upon me, I turned to the Lord in confession and repentance. I am happy to say he healed me. Not too long afterward, the world pandemic of Coronavirus began. I am so glad to be spiritually recovered during this challenging time. Not only am I better equipped to withstand my own trials, but I am positioned to watch, stand, and pray for others. The Lord is merciful, and he is good. His love is everlasting.

Rejoice in the Lord always!

Weeping May Last for the Night, But…Joy!



There is so much

to weep about in our world recently. Bad things happen as surely as night follows day. (John 16:33) It seems as though our country–along with most other parts of the world–has been experiencing one very long night. Will the violence and human pain never end? Yet for those who find their eternal hope in our great God and Savior (Titus 2:13), Scripture carries the promise of a bright day to follow each and every dark night: “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” — (Psalm 30:5).”

Christians know this biblical promise of God is true, because Christ has already deposited within them the fountain of life and joy–his Holy Spirit (John 7:38; Ephesians 1:13). And this fountain of joy and life is eternal; it can never be quenched no matter how much external circumstances say otherwise. And so we sing–

” “Spring up, O well! — Sing to it!”

Numbers 21:17

Christians know and experience that God’s love and mercy arrive fresh and new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), and therefore unquenchable joy is their strength (Nehemiah 8:10).



Gramma, What Does Grace Mean?

Down below is a reprinted article from just over one year ago, here on this blog.

But before I give you that, let me tell you a little story of something that just happened. My granddaughter is six years old now and is in first grade. Two days ago, while sitting right next to me at the lunch table with all my atheist family, she asked me if I knew her “class” number at school. She meant her room number.

“Is it six?” I guessed.

“No,” she said.

“Is it five?” I guessed again.


“That’s good. Five is a good number,” I said.

“Why is five a good number?” she asked.

“Because five is the number of grace.”

“What does grace mean?”

“Grace is when you need another chance and you get it. And when you need another chance after that, you get it. And when you need another chance, you get it.”

At this point she nodded. I didn’t need to continue, because she understood what I was saying. She knew from her own  experience what I was talking about. I could tell she felt content. I could see by her face and relaxed body posture that she agreed that grace is a good thing, and she received it as her own. She was happy to be in a classroom at school with the number five for grace.


Now the reprint from just over a year ago. I pray the little explanation of how I know that God exists blesses someone who reads it.




“Gramma, how do you know that God exists?”

My dear, sweet granddaughter, only five years old, you are asking an age old question whose answer no one agrees on. Basically, I think, there are two kinds of people. There are those who look out at the world, and they see the world. There are others who look out at the world, and they have a great desire to know who made the world.

The first group feels no need to think there’s a maker. They don’t know that God exists. Neither do they know that he doesn’t exist. It just happens that they’re happy enough without him.

The second group is not satisfied and never will be until they meet the one who made the world. How do they know that someone made the world? They don’t. It’s just the only explanation that makes sense to them, because the world bears the imprint of God. Why these two groups? Only God knows.

How do people in the second group–we can call them believers–how do believers know that God exists? By faith. What is faith? Faith is choosing to believe in God even when you don’t know. Faith is desiring God. Here is what the Bible teaches about faith.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3 ESV)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

Believers know God as a person. Ask any believer and they will tell you that by some means or another God has spoken to them and changed their life somehow. This is how they know that God exists. God is invisible Spirit. He cannot be known by the five senses nor deduced by measurement. He is not an intellectual conclusion. He is a Being who speaks, hears, and acts. All believers have experienced some sort of interaction with God that amazes them. This amazement persists throughout the remainder of their lives.

Now, after a person becomes a believer, that is, after they experience their initial transaction with God or become aware of his presence in them, then there are a multitude of ways that knowing God exists gets reinforced throughout their lives. Here are some of those ways.

  1. They hear the stories of many, many other believers which in some ways match their own story.
  2. They read the Bible and experience the voice of God speaking directly to them through its words.
  3. They read the Bible and notice how incredibly well each part supports and interacts with other parts.
  4. They read the Bible and are convinced by the prophecies it contains.
  5. They experience miracles in their lives or hear first hand from people who have had miracles happen to them.
  6. They feel an influence upon their minds, hearts, and behaviors that makes most sense as coming from God.
  7. Good things happen to them. When bad things happen, they know they are not alone. They find that God helps them through the bad stuff.
  8. God continues to speak to them in such a way that they know it’s him. “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3 ESV)
  9. Something convinces them that God has heard them thinking.
  10. Prayers get answered.
  11. They sense God’s presence.
  12. They’re happier than they have ever been before they knew God.

My little one, the best way I know for you to know that God exists is to speak with him. Tell him that you want to know that he exists, but you don’t know how. Actually speak to him. Address him respectfully by name. Be honest with him and tell him where you’re at. If you find in your heart that you would like to know God, then be patient–God will reveal himself to you, just as Jesus promised.

If anyone wants to do God’s will, he will know about my teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak from my own authority. (John 7:17 NET)

Let me explain that verse to you. God wants everyone to know him. If you want to know God, then he will show himself to you. If you want to know God, just ask him. If you’re not sure that you want to know God, but you think you might perhaps like to know him, then tell him that. God loves you, and he would love for you to turn to him. He is not a monster, and he won’t eat you alive.

So to answer your question, how do I know that God exists, I know that he exists because when I talk to him, he answers me. When I talk to you and you answer me, I don’t say, “How do I know my granddaughter exists?” I know you exist because I know you. It’s the same way with God.


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