Did the Early Church Practice Communal Living?

I am currently doing a complete Bible reading, a plan that was started by Grant Horner* (more information can be found by clicking on his name) which my friend Natasha suggested. Do not click on the link within the PDF as it has an error, the Facebook page is The 3650 Challenge, and I would highly suggest you go and read about it. However, it is only reading the Bible and you do not go into a study of any of the verses or chapters. For that I do a later study in my Bible using either the S.O.A.P method or the Inductive style used by Kay Arthur from Precepts Ministry.

During my fourth day of reading a certain passage in Acts got my attention, so I decided to delve into it a little bit more. In the fourth chapter Luke is telling us about Peter and John witnessing to the people and about 5,000 believed. Acts 4:32-35 speaks of the people as having one heart and soul. They were not only of like mind, but they also had everything in common, no one said anything belonged to them and no one was in need. As the apostles continued to give testimony about Jesus’ resurrection not a single person among them was in want of anything; the people who owned land or houses had sold them and laid the money at the apostles feet. Then they did the most amazing thing, “it was distributed to each as any had need,” Acts 4:35 (ESV).

This style of living is not new, as seen among the Essenes in their Manual of Discipline. When an initiate entered into the community, the community held all the initiates belongings. Once the initiate decided that he was going to stay within the community, then all his possessions became part of the community and the community in turn took care of him.1

Communal Sharing

Communal Sharing

Even though this eventually caused a problem, as Paul did need to admonish the church in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. However, this could only be a problem within a communal living arrangement where everyone shared their belongings, as some commentaries seem to suggest. Paul speaks about the busybodies who are living in idleness, that if they did not obey the warning, the community was to withdraw from them, however, this did not mean ex-communication.2 By withdrawing the hope was that the do-nothings would be ashamed of themselves. However, Paul continues and tells the community to warn these idlers as believers and do not regard them as enemies (2 Thess. 3:15 NRSV). In other words “do not shun him in contemptuous silence, but to tell him why he is being avoided, Matthew 18:15 and 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (Ibid). Paul is not speaking of heathens here but fellow Christians because of his use of brother in 2 Thess. 3:6.

I definitely like the understanding of the two verses (Acts and 2 Thess.) along with the comparison. One time I posted a picture on my Facebook feed of Jesus with the saying that he healed the sick, mingled with sinners and feed the poor, a commenter had this to say “in the Bible it does say that those not willing to work should starve.” I really found that a very interesting comment for a devout Christian to make. It also makes me think that they are looking at these people as freeloaders and if you want them to starve, perhaps even as enemies. So when I read Acts 4 it really made me sit up. Of course when they posted that comment I did reply back with verses that showed how Jesus feed the poor and what he said about taking care of each other, along with the actual correct quote in 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

Have you ever had a devout Christian say something to you that didn’t sit right? If so, what did you do about it? If it was against you did you follow Matthew 18:15? Did you do as 1 Thess. 5:14 suggests, admonish and be patient?

Hugs!!!!

Namaste!!!!

 

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1Wright, Tom. Acts for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-12. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2008.
2Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

Flying High Story by Renee Swoop

I have a few blogs that I follow and read daily. Renee Swoop’s Leading Women to Live Confidently in Christ is one of them. Well her post this morning knocked my socks off. I just had a very intense message from a friend that her daughter, who they thought might have thyroid cancer, was misdiagnosed. The doctor she went to did not take the biopsy from her thyroid and they do not know where they took it from. She went to another doctor and had a CT Scan done and they found a huge mass in her lungs, they do not know yet if it is cancer. Naturally my friend is very worried about her daughter and asked for prayers from all her friends. Of course I said one for her daughter, my friend, and other family members. I also emailed my church right away to put her on our prayer list. As a side note can you please say a prayer for C, J’s daughter.

Thank you!!!

So I wanted to share Renee’s post with everyone today. Not for the book giveaway but because it is a very moving story about Zach Sobiech and the book written by his mother called Fly a Little Higher, there is also a music video of a song that Zach wrote called Clouds.

Here is the book written by Zach’s mother Laura Sobiech.
I know I am ordering right away and will read ASAP, putting books aside that I am reading now.

Hugs!!!
Namaste!!!!

God Has a Plan

Did you ever have a time in your life when you kept hearing or encountering the same thing over and over again? I have this happen all the time. Sometimes I listen to it and pay attention, but more often I just ignore it. But did you ever notice if you ignore it, it keeps getting louder and louder until finally it hits you upside the head? All the time for me.

I am beginning to listen more and more and pay attention to these not so subtle hints. Some might say it is the force of the universe, but for me I would rather give the credit to my Father, God. I believe He is talking to me and leading me wherever he wants to take me. God has done this so many times to me, such as, given me hard people and situations to deal with in order to learn patience, or putting me in situations that need forgiving.

The other day I did my grocery shopping and errands and I kept seeing the phrase from Jeremiah 29:11 (hover over with mouse to see verse in KJV)

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD,
plans for your welfare and not for your harm,
to give you a future with hope.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Je 29:11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I knew this meant I needed to pay attention and see what God has planned for me. I think I know the first step but I am still continuing with prayer and talking to God to see if that is what he wants. I will have to explain why this verse means so much to me in another post because it was one heck of a night which led to a wild series of events. However, that will have to wait for another time.

I recently purchased a book through Amazon called Writing in the Margins: Connecting with God on the Pages of Your Bible, by Lisa Nichols Hickman.

I love this book! Many people are afraid to write in their Bible for various reasons and she helps you to overcome that fear, lucky for me this is not a problem. So why did I buy it? I am starting to do Inductive Bible study or verse mapping and I love how deep that takes me into scripture and I wanted to add to that by journaling a little differently. I heard Lisa had prompts at the end of each chapter to walk you through journaling, so I thought this was a great way to start. Boy was I right, I really had a great experience doing it.

PsalmsFruits
Here is an example of my first prompt which was to read the prayer, Psalm 1:3 and then “muse about the fruits that might come from planting yourself ever more deeply in the Scriptures,” (pg 15). Which to me meant that if I keep my eyes wide open I will find peace, truth, enlightenment, understanding and a deepening of my faith. I then had some fun picking out words to make a sentence that means something to me, it reads: Happy is the man who delights in the LORD‘s instructions who bears fruit and prospers.

I like using my Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils by Faber-Castell. I bought the big 120 color tin in Germany at their factory. The quality is very high, as the Durer ar the professional grade. The colors are very vibrant. When using in my Bible I use a a paintbrush that is just about dry. This prevents the pages from puckering. I tried the waterbrushes but I couldn’t control the amount of water and it was too much.

So go ahead, pick up your Bible and have some fun. While you are at it, come on over and join Shanna Noel’s site on Facebook called Journaling Bible Community, where we have so much fun sharing our pages.

 

Hugs!!!

Namaste!!!

 

*Links are affiliated related

When the Spirit Moves

As most people know I am an Episcopalian and I also practice the path of Buddha, which to me is not opposed to one another. However, lately I have been feeling an emptiness inside and a need for something more. One thing I need is a strong faith-based religion that is energetic and alive in its worship, also one that does regular studies – either with a book or THE BOOK – the Bible.

The search is still ongoing but during my path along comes a friend from out there in Internet land, one who I was acquainted with and talked with now and then. We started talking daily, then taking online classes, talking some more, then doing the classes and our art project together, all the time chatting in Facebook Messenger. We started mailing each other and one day she asked if I would be interested in doing a Bible journal. Of course! I jumped at it. She offered to get us both a Bible so we can start. I went around to different Christian bookstore and with my handy iPhone, I would take pictures of the Bibles and send them to her via Messenger. This is the one we finally settled on and love.

HCSBNotetakers

The HCSB (Holman Christian Study Bible) Notetakers edition. Unfortunately it is out of print, but some Lifeway stores still carry them. The inside has really wide margins.

InsideHCSBNotetakers

 

I couldn’t wait for Natasha to get her Bible so we could plunge in.

Wisdom

This was my first page after reading Proverbs 13:10 “arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice,” and continued to read through to 14 and realized there was a lot of wise and wisdom in these two chapters. So while Kris was at the dentist having oral surgery I sat in the waiting room finishing this page up. I loved the meditative quality of reflecting on the verse while drawing the left-hand side and coloring in the flowers on the right-hand page. It also helped to keep my mind off Kris being in surgery.

For anyone interested there is a wonderful group on Facebook called Journaling Bible Community. Join us and say hi while you are there.

The search and story continue but for now,

 

Hugs!!

Namaste!!