On this cold day on the first day of winter(We already have had nearly 40 inches of snow this “fall”), I had my thoughts drawn back to days at camp in late July. No snow drifts then, or bundling up to fight the cold. Actually I was thinking about the friendships, the relationships that I observed and even enjoyed having a part of. The snow did not make me think of the warmth of those relationships, but rather as I was reading Romans 15. Initially I was missing being together with our Church family this morning as we cancelled our service due to weather. I missed the warmth of their smiles and the comfort of their words and the touch of their handshakes and hugs. I missed their pointing me to Christ in word and song. I missed the laughter we could have shared. I missed the celebration we were going to have regarding our Lord. Lord willing, their will be another time! God has blessed me with so many wonderful brothers and Sisters in Christ. Do you miss your “camp” friends? When you aren’t in Church do you miss your “family”? Or does it not really affect you?
Look at Romans 15 and see how Paul speaks of his “family”.
Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:7-13 (NIV)
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs
9 so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.”
10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.”
12 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.”
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.
Romans 15:23-24 (NIV)
23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you,
24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
Romans 15:30-33 (NIV)
30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
31 Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there,
32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.
33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Remember in Romans 14 we saw how Paul was so concerned for the building up of the family of God. He saw the importance of “family” and saw how God was going to use the Church to be a group that would encourage one another, enjoy one another, and be unified to fulfill their purpose in life, to glorify God! Do you have a sense of longing to be with family in Christ? If not, you are missing out on a lot. I know that I still am not enjoying God’s blessings in my “family” as I could and should.
As I sit here in my warm living room watching the snow blow by, I thank my God for each of you. I pray that God will bless you today and help you to see all that you possess in Christ, including the blessing of brothers and sisters in Christ.
Enjoy this winter day and thoughts of Him!