Being the people God created us to be

Jesus speaks clearly that we are to love the Lord and love our neighbor. There are many ways we can love the Lord. Praise and prayer is certainly one of those methods. Jesus taught love of neighbor is really about relieving the suffering of others. Throughout scriptures God calls us to care for those suffering. 

For us to fulfill this vison of being a people of praise and prayer who relieve the suffering of others will require that we grow in our faith. Faith growth isn't always a pleasant experience. It certainly isn't like ordering two scoops of ice cream where the person behind the counter gives you exactly what you requested and says "There you go." Asking God to help you grow in faith normally means he is going to point to a mountain in your life and tell you to go climb it. Or, he may send you to that person that just rubs you the wrong way and tell you to have a Christian conversation with them, to get to know them, to love them as he loves them. But rest assured, growing in faith is what transformation is all about. 

As we grow in our faith we discover the incredible power of the joy of the Lord. That joy inevitably leads to a deeper of like of prayer and praise. The more we spend time with God and the more we share with others what God is doing in our lives, the more we become the people God plans for us to be - experiencing God's love. 

As God's love grows within us, God compels us to freely give what we have freely received; particularly to those who are suffering. Often who that turns out to be isn't exactly who we expected. That is why it is so important to treat everyone as if they are Christ himself.

If this is our function - to be a people of praise and prayer who relieves the suffering of others, our lives must be formed for such a function. It's hard to love others when every hour of your day focuses only on self. It's hard to share God's blessings when we over-extend those blessings for personal satisfaction. If we allow the world to dictate where our time, energy, and effort goes, then we may find we have no time left for God and what God is doing in the world. So we must be intentional in ensuring our lives are formed according to our function. 

With this vision in mind, together we travel the way of faith. We encourage one another. We pray for one another. We lift each other up. We cheer each other on to reach the vision before us.