Monday, April 11, 2011

Life Together

I’d like to share a story with you I read from a pastor I follow, in this story he talks about a man shipwrecked and floating on a raft in the Atlantic for seventy-six days.  There was one thing after another that went wrong. He had limited food and water supplies.  He had a device for distilling salt water into drinkable water, but didn’t know how to use it.  There were numerous opportunities to be rescued by passing ships, but those efforts were all unsuccessful.  He suffered a major setback after spearing a fish, in it’s effort to get away, dragged the spear tip along the bottom of the inflatable raft, puncturing it. 
During his time at sea, he endured a shark attack, extreme hunger, isolation and dehydration.  It was quite an ordeal, yet he lived to tell the story.  A fishing boat finally rescued him as he neared an island.
While the story was fascinating, what I found most amazing wasn’t that he endured or survived an extreme circumstance.  What I found most amazing was that he was traveling the Atlantic Ocean in a relatively small sailboat alone-no one knew when to expect him at his destination, and he had no form of communication to alert anyone that he was in trouble.  He had inadvertently, perhaps, isolated himself from any and everyone who could help him.
                                                   The Snare of Isolation
In my many years of my faith, I have noticed that many people tend to do the same thing.  However inadvertent it may be, many times our ‘gut’ reaction is to separate from the pack when trouble comes.  It’s important to remember what Proverbs 18:1 says, “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom.”
Have you ever seen an animal kingdom television show that follows a pride of lions into a hunt?  What I’ve noticed is that when they start to pursue a herd of gazelle or antelope, they try to force one of the prey to run away from the pack.  If they succeed, then there is a good chance that the separated prey will be the dinner for the pride of lions.
Satan has figured out the same thing too.  In fact, 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  When a lion is hunting what is he seeking?  We answered that: Prey that is isolated, separated, or just simply away from the safety of the pack.

                                                Protection When We Are Together
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back- to-back and conquer.  Three are even better , for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
You could go on to say that four are even better than three, for a four-fold cord is impossible to break.  Five is even better, six hundred is even better that that.  The point is that it truly is God’s plan for us to “do life together.”
In fact, the Bible talks about us being “joined together,” “built together,” “Fitted together,” “put together,” “heirs together,” “members together,” and ultimately that we would be “caught up together.”  That’s exactly what God has in mind for His glorious Church.
There is a great deal of protection when we remain together.  Don’t slip into the snare that the enemy is trying to set you for today.  It is vital that we stay connected at all times because when we stand back-to-back, we can conquer any enemy that comes along.

                                                 Power When We are Together

In the book of Acts chapter 2, verse 1 is often overlooked.  It says, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”  Did you see that?  They were “…all with one accord on one place.” Isn’t it interesting that before the Holy Spirit came, before the gifts came into operation, and before three-thousand people were added to the church in one day, God wanted us to know that they were “together”?
Deuteronomy 32:30 says that when God is your rock, one of you can chase a thousand of your enemies away, but two can put ten thousand of them to flight.  That is the power of being “together.”

                                               Potential When We Are Together

Not only do we experience greater protection and greater power when we are sticking closely together, but we also realize our greatest potential when we are together.
In Genesis 11, you can read the story of the tower of Babel.  It says that at that time, the whole earth had one language.  To make a long story short, the people decided to build a tower that reached the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves.
The Bible says that the Lord came down to see what they had built and He said, …Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them,” the story continues to tell how God confuses their language and scatters them across the earth. Does that mean that God doesn’t like it when people come together in unity?  Certainly not!  Clearly, from just the few Scriptures that we have here, we know that God loves unity.  Contrary to what some may believe, God was not surprised on that day to find out if they spoke the same language and focused on a common goal, then they could do anything they wanted to do.  God Himself designed mankind to function that way.  I believe He was disappointed to find that they had finally figured out how to work in unity, and the best plan they could come up with was to build a tower.
The truth is that what God said in Genesis 11:6 is still true today.  When His people get together, speak one language, and decide to do something together, “…Nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them.”
It’s true in your life, too!  Think about your family.  How would it be better if there were greater unity?  Think about your marriage.  Doesn’t it work much better when “togetherness” is at a high level?  Think about your job.  How much more effective would your company be if every person was on the same page?  Think about your church.  Couldn’t it make a greater impact for the Kingdom of God if each person were to focus his or her time, energy, and finances on the same objective?
I believe that’s exactly where God wants us to be.  Fully protected, fully empowered, and reaching our full potential.  Let’s learn a lesson from the man lost at sea.  Let’s be sure to stay connected.  Lets’ be sure to stay together.