Our family has been reading in Acts together this month and repeatedly we have been coming across the idea of being of "one accord." Here are a few examples from the first few chapters:
- Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication...
- Acts 2:1-2 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
- Acts 2:46-47 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
- Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them...
- Acts 5:12,14 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch...And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.
Tomorrow morning the kids and I get to go hug and kiss on a little one adopted from Ethiopia, a little one who now has a mommy and a daddy and a big brother that he didn't have before. Amazing! Some folks caught the heart of God for the fatherless, prayed and labored with one accord, and a child was shifted from the status of orphan to family member. How cool is that? Our family has personal experience in this realm and I assure you it is pretty amazing!
One month ago, two young people I've known most of their lives married each other. I was bursting with joy: twas one of the most beautiful wedding day's I've ever had the privilege of being a part of.... the ceremony, the singing, the dancing, the feasting, the eagerness of so many friends working together to bless this couple in so many ways radiated the love of Christ with so much evidence it was nearly tangible....amazing!
Last night we got to go to a shower celebrating two new babies born to families in our church...in a day when the world mocks you after 1.2 children, it is beautiful to watch families eagerly entering into the joyful labors of raising many blessings up in His covenant of love. Amazing!
A couple weeks ago, the kids and I did a garage sale to help raise some funds for a number of friends who are currently in the process of adopting. It blows my mind that the God who made heaven and earth would be pleased to use the likes of me and my family to spread His glory and goodness, but He is pleased. And we have a blast being a part of His redemptive work on this earth. Here we are getting ready for the sale:
A week ago, our family went to visit Mike's sister and her family for a couple of nights. She had invited us to come witness her baptism, and we were happy beyond words to do so. That week we spent time meditating on the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son...there is so much rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents, right? Well there was a whole lot of rejoicing in our family right here on earth too as we witnessed Mike's sister profess God's redeeming grace in her life. Redemption is amazing! God is still saving people. Her church had eleven planned baptisms that day, and then an invitation was made to others who believe in Jesus and wanted to get baptized...we didn't count, but a number of people went up, our nephew being among them. I cannot even begin to tell you how delighted we were. Each one of those people have a story, each one had people in their lives sharing Jesus with them over time...simple deeds of love, words of truth shared, compassion...and who can deny that the fruit of changed lives is amazing? When Peter and John were put into prison for healing a lame man in the name of Jesus, the rulers had a problem...their problem was that everybody knew a miracle had occurred. There was no denying it. They wanted to shut Peter and John up, but God was making Himself known in the stories of men's lives and there is no shutting God's people up. We, like them, can't help but marvel at these things and talk about the amazing things our Father is doing. We've prayed for years for Mike's sister and her family and now every one of them is walking by faith...God is still making Himself known today. He's on the move...His kingdom is advancing...there shall be no end to the increase of His government (Is. 9:7). There are others in our family we continue to pray for, that they too might taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I was talking to a friend last night, telling her I think it is time for me to take another walk in a cemetery with my kids. God tells us it is wisdom to number our days, and it has proven a healthy exercise to walk around a cemetery and consider that one day our bag-o-bones will be lying in the earth and we will face our Heavenly Father to give account for how we used the time and breath and strength and every other resource He so freely gave us stewardship over. It does wonders to look ahead, consider what matters, and live life backwards. I know many areas of my life where I will stand ashamed because of how I have wasted or hoarded the things He has given me. He has granted me much grace! I want to exalt the God who redeems and gives us the privilege of walking together in one accord, representing Him with words and deeds that proclaim the glory of His manifold perfections to everyone around us. As we do it, orphans are grafted into families, people are made new in Christ, people marry in a way that honors God and give their lives to raising up godly seed, the hungry are fed, and on and on.
So this is a very long and rambly post and only a few make it this far in a sound byte world, but for those of you who have persevered, let us seek the Father with one accord and enter into those good works together (synergistically...is that a word?) which He amazingly prepared for us. How can we do better at pulling together with our brothers and sisters in Christ as our Father gives us mission? In what areas do we need to repent of working in opposition to our Father's will? There are many more amazing stories to be lived out...how many of them can we play a part in?
One day we will stand before our Heavenly Father to give an account...