Archive for March 23rd, 2023

Exile From Fellowship

Written by Celeste Bailey from the Village Church.

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of exile is “the state or a period of voluntary absence from one’s country or home.” Even though this applied to my situation when my family and I escaped the civil war in Lebanon, my true exile was actually an exile from a fellowship with fellow believers. In high school, I was very much involved with The Navigators ministry in Beirut – Bible studies, worship meetings and fellowship.

When we fled to Cairo thinking that we can stay until the war is over, it was difficult finding a community of believers in the short time we were there. After a little over two months, my family and I arrived in New York City. Trying to acclimate to a new culture and the “American” dialect of English took time. I felt discouraged on many occasions and my desire to spend time with the Lord diminished. I missed having the fellowship and encouragement of other believers.  Several months later, my sister and I moved to Ocala, Florida to live with my brother and his family. It was a very difficult time, but I contacted the Navigators ministry in Colorado Springs to find a fellowship close by. They were able to connect me with a wonderful young woman who lived in Ocala. She introduced my sister and I to a Presbyterian Church where she was a member. The church became my family during one of my most challenging times. Through their love, prayers and support, my relationship with the Lord was restored, and I no longer felt ‘exiled’ from the family of faith.

Praying and having fellowship with like-minded people is essential to our Christian growth and stability. The author of book of Hebrews communicated this clearly to the early Jewish believers in Hebrews 10:24-25:“and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”


Today’s prayer is from the Knowing Jesus website.

Lord, help me to be an encouragement to others in the same way that You have sent many little encouragements to me along the way. There have been times of weariness and times of fear and times when I have felt ready to give up, but always at the right time there was a short note or a simple call or a little token of Your love for me, which You sent by means of the many people that You have lovingly placed in my life. Thank You also Lord, that You are our God of encouragement, and that we have Your indwelling Holy Spirit to help and to comfort in times of need. Teach me Your way and Your will and help me to always heed the gentle promptings of the Spirit of Comfort within my heart, so that I may not miss an opportunity to be a minister of Your encouragement to others in times of need. Oh Lord, more and more I long to breathe You into my very being and be saturated with Your love and grace, so that I may be equipped to breathe out Your love and joy and help and support and encouragement to all with whom I come in contact. Show me Lord, how I can best be an encouragement to others, and may life point others to You and never to myself. May I decrease as You increase more and more in my life. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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