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These days, life is tiring, to say the least. With multiple priorities to take care of, we use up our energies and feel exhausted. But if this is true of our lives in general, it is even more true in the Lord's work. If we care enough about the Lord's work to invest ourselves in it seriously, we find ourselves being depleted and drained. We need to be refreshed.
Fortunately, the Lord has made provision for us to be refreshed, and one of these provisions is the assembly of Christians together. In Jerusalem, the congregation of those who first obeyed the gospel met together frequently, and even daily (Ac. 2:42-47). They obviously enjoyed being in the presence of one another, and this was typical of Christians in the New Testament. We hear Paul, for example, asking the Roman brethren to pray for him, "so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company" (Rom. 15:32).
Of course, our assemblies will not be refreshing to us if we do not make them as the Lord would have them to be. Paul rebuked the Corinthians because, as he said, "in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse" (1 Cor. 11:17). He urged them to make the necessary changes so that their assemblies would be spiritually beneficial: "Let all things be done for building up" (1 Cor. 14:26).
We ought not to see it as a chore to assemble with our fellow Christians. It is not a dreary duty but a great opportunity. When we are thinking as we should, we will see it as a "want to" rather than a "have to." And what is more, we will put the emphasis on "giving" rather than "getting." It is in the act of encouraging others that we find ourselves being encouraged.
It is refreshing to worship with the Lord's people. This week, let's look at our assemblies from the standpoint of gratitude. It's a privilege to have the relationship that we do in Christ, and there ought not to be any greater joy in this life than being in the company of our brothers and sisters in Christ. So when we are tired, let's eagerly look forward to being together. It may take extra effort to get there, but when we make the effort, we find that there is no better refreshment in the world.
Monday: 1 Corinthians 11:17
Key Idea: When we come together, it ought to be for the better and not for the worse.
Questions for Family Growth: In this passage, what were the Corinthians doing that made their assemblies a negative experience? What can we learn in this text about the qualities and characteristics our assemblies should have? How can we make our assemblies more edifying?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:5.
Tuesday: 2 Corinthians 12:14,15
Key Idea: If we're willing to "spend and be spent," we will exhaust our energies in the Lord's work.
Questions for Family Growth: What do you think Paul meant by being willing to "spend and be spent"? What is the literal meaning of "exhausted"? What are some of the provisions the Lord has made for us to be refilled or replenished when we have depleted our energies?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:6.
Wednesday: Romans 1:8-12
Key Idea: We ought to long for our brethren and the strength that we receive from them.
Questions for Family Growth: Why did Paul long to see the Christians in Rome? What did he desire to receive from them? Given the demands of the life he lived, do you think Paul would have had a special appreciation for the times when he could worship with his brethren?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:7.
Thursday: Romans 15:30-33
Key Idea: We ought to have a refreshing effect on one another.
Questions for Family Growth: What are some different ways that you think Paul might have been "refreshed" by his fellow Christians? On being "refreshing" to our fellow Christians, see also 1 Cor. 16:17,18; 2 Cor. 7:13; 2 Tim. 1:16; Philem. 7,20.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:8.
Friday: Hebrews 10:24,25
Key Idea: When we come together to worship, we have a very special opportunity to be refreshed.
Questions for Family Growth: In this text, what are Christians urged not to do? In Ac. 20:7-12, how long did the assembly last? Judging from Ac. 2:42-47, does it appear that the earliest Christians found it encouraging to be together?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:9.