I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
"...not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)
My dear WITHIN sisters,
I pray this email finds you thriving in the Lord. Although it's not a typical devotional, I felt led to send out this email to share something that the Lord has put on my heart.
I am so grateful for you and the way the Lord is working in you to desire to grow in Him more and more. And I am forever grateful to the Lord that He placed WITHIN on my heart to be a small way that can help you in that journey.
We live in a digital age where it’s easy to establish more digital connections than real-life connections. The purpose of WITHIN Ministry is not to replace the real-life connections that we are called and commanded as Believers to build through HIS LOCAL CHURCH.
Sisters, I know that with so many online ministries and online bible studies and online communities, it’s tempting and easy to seek to find belonging there and neglect the obedience of being apart of His local church.
I will always encourage and urge you to join and be apart of what God is coming back for--HIS church. The mentality that we don’t have to belong to a church to grow a relationship with Christ is not biblical. I know we live in an era where autonomy is king, but when we believe that lie we are missing out on incredible treasures that come from being committed to the family of God. Below is a link to an article that gives more biblical insight as to why the local church is needed for the believer.
(PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ)
WITHIN should be a supplement to your growth and not the only source of your growth. And any other online ministry should not be the source of your growth. The plans WITHIN has for online Bible Studies or Gatherings isn’t to take the place of “church.” I encourage you to seek fellowship with people at your church. Seek ways to press in and unite your life more fully with what God is doing through the local body.
This issue is important enough for me to send out this email because I have seen how online ministries are replacing “church,” and how many who follow these online ministries have completely neglected the fellowship of the church -- perhaps because of “church” hurt or being tainted by the kind of church attended in the past. Please don’t let the failures of humans keep you from the purposes of God found in His local church. No church is perfect because we are fallen. Even the best of us are human at best. However, there are churches who are determined to biblically reflect the way the church is supposed to be. Below you will find a link to sound churches if you are looking for a church.
I felt the responsibility to send this and make sure you knew that WITHIN isn’t trying to be a replacement for a biblical local church and a personal community. More importantly, I sent this because I long for every daughter to find belonging in a church. I have seen the difference it makes in our life and our walk with the Lord. It's how God designed for His children to grow and be edified.
I pray that you seek the Lord about finding a good church (if you don’t have one) and I pray for those who do attend a church, that you would press in and allow yourself to be known and to know others.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out!
With great love for each of you,
***As mentioned, although this isn't a typical devotional, it will serve as this week's devotional topic and would ask that you look below to meditate on the passages and reflection questions to help you think through this. ****
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:John 13:35
1 Peter 5
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
1 Timothy 5:17
Questions to reflect on: