Robert Stroud Birdman Public Domain Pic - used for Rocking God's House article

By Robert Stroud, the pen name of an inmate currently incarcerated. Mr. Stroud found Christ while in prison and now shares his faith, insights, and writing talent with the world.

As we engage in our daily routines it’s easy to see the routine, in and of itself, as something that brings stability and security to our lives. When we have a set schedule and plans, we know (for the most part) what to expect each day. Who would disagree that structure brings comfort? The simple fact is that organization and design brings us peace of mind.

Even so, none of us can prepare for every eventuality. When we take up our cross and follow the Lord (Luke 9:23-24), He warns us that this will involve suffering and hardship. If we look at 1 Peter 2:21 we come to understand this reasoning: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”

Trials are necessary for us to endure. What’s more, we are to count them as joyful experiences created to test and purify our faith. Let’s examine James 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trails, know that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

This week I thought to myself, if routine can give us feelings of comfort, then obviously change must be one of the most difficult obstacles for us to overcome. Here are three questions for us to ponder:

Have you ever noticed how a person blindsided with adversity hardly stands a change, while the one who is prepared can weather almost any storm?

Where should we turn when we realize that change is inevitable, and the plans in our life rarely foolproof?

Who is best equipped to prepare us for the unforeseen?

Find assurance in the Lord! Why? Because never changes! He “is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

Make Fellowship Your Routine - feature picThat’s all well and good you might be thinking. But what if I’m struggling just to feel and understand His presence in my life? Jesus teaches that “where two or more are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). This scripture practically shouts out for us to seek FELLOWSHIP!

Here are three important routines I believe we should be engaged in together as often as possible for spiritual growth:

  1. Bible Study: We can never hope to learn more on our own then through fellowship. We find an excellent example in 2 Tim 3:15: “and from childhood you have known the Holy Scripture.” In this passage Paul was explaining how Timothy’s mother and grandmother taught him about God’s Word. See 2 Tim 1:5. Make an investment in your children’s lives too; teach them fellowship through Bible Study.
  2. Service: Be eager to serve! This should be treated as something you want to do out of love, not something you have to do because it’s expected. When people see the joy and sincerity in our hearts, they want to be involved too. That’s fellowship! Here is how Rom. 12:11 puts it: “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.”
  3. Prayer: When I was a young boy, my grandmother, being the wise woman that she was, told me that “a family who prays together stays together.” Is. 56:7 declares: “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” To me this suggests a community or family who comes together in prayer with God. Who is my family if not all other believers in Christ? Another good example can be found in Acts 16:25: “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Praying and singing; the prisoners were listening. This too is fellowship!

“That which we have seen and heart we declare to you, that you may also have fellowship with us; truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Amen!

Dear Heavenly Father, Secure the bond of salvation for those who engage in fellowship this month. Help us to develop positive habits that strengthen all those around us. Father God, You are always with us in our weakness and trial, may the hope in Your Spirit remind us of Your ever-present and undying love. Amen.

Your brother in chains,

Robert Stroud

February 2016