Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Priority of church

"We are pleased to let you know that we have decided to offer you the position. The job starts next week." I loved to hear those words when I was trying to get a job...especially if it was a job that I really, really wanted. Then comes the meeting with HR to get the policy manual, fill out all the paperwork, and go through orientation. By the time I was done, I knew what the employer was expecting from me. Every day I went to work and did my best to be the best employee that I could be. They told me the hours that I had to work and I was never late...even on snow days. If ever I couldn't remember what was a part of my job description, I could always look at the manual. If ever I had a question or concern about something, I could always look at the manual. And if it didn't have the answer or if I couldn't fully understand what was in the manual, I could go to a supervisor or HR, and they would help me.
It just amazing me that we can put such a priority on doing a good job at our job and then neglect what should be a much higher priority...going to church. I have heard so many excuses about why folks don't go or why they seldom go or why they don't go to Sunday school or why they don't go to evening services. I wonder if I would have still had a job if I had used the same excuses?! So, why don't we put a higher priority on church attendance? I believe it is because we don't love the church.
This last semester in Faith Bible Institute we studied the book of Ephesians. Again I was struck by chapter five and the duties that wives and husbands have to each other. (But that is another post.) The verse that really touched my heart is verse 25," Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it." Christ loved the church and gave himself for it! The church didn't even exist when Jesus died on the cross, but he still loved her and knew that she would come into existance soon. Jesus, God loves the church and gave himself for it. Are you starting to grasp what grasped my heart? JESUS CHRIST, GOD, LOVES THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT!!!
How dare I get my priorities mixed up and put my job above the church. Jesus did not give up his life's blood for any job. He died for the church. How dare I make myself conform to the policies of my job and then turn around and do whatever I want when it concerns the church. Jesus loves the church. How dare I bite my tongue at my place of employment when someone offends me and when it happens at church, I get offended and leave. Christ loves the church and gave himself for it.
If I can discipline myself  for work every day, then I can do the same thing for church. I used to get to work by 7:30am five days a week even though I didn't have to be there until 8:15. I used to leave work at the end of my work day, and not a minute early. I used to even go to extra classes so I could be a better informed employee, even though it was not required of me. When I was at work, I would give it my full attention. (I can no longer work due to disabilities.)
So, what is my point? What is the truth and blessing that I am trying to convey? Discipline yourself. Love the church. You won't be able to love it as much as Jesus does, but you can still love the church and give yourself for it. Go to Sunday school. Go to worship service in the morning and in the evening. Go to Life-group. Get involved in anything and everything that the church has to offer. Get into the "manual"...the Bible. And I believe that God will bless you with not only truth, but blessings in every area of your life.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Truth and Blessing

Lately, well, actually for the last several months I have been rereading the book titled, "Telling Yourself The Truth" and now "Finding the Freedom of Self-Control" both by William Backus. It is eye-opening and humbling to see how far I have fallen.
Years ago, many, many years ago, our Ladies' group studied "Telling Yourself the Truth". It was then that the Lord was able to begin a very mighty work in my life. I had been so used to the lies that I believed and was so miserable that I didn't want to go on living. But when I realized the fact that I had been lying to myself and believing those lies, was when I finally received freedom from them. My life changed for the better. God showed me sin after sin and forgave me of each and every one as I confessed them. It was like having weights removed from my heart and mind. I was able to live in freedom and victory.
But over the years and especially more recently, I once again began to lie to myself and believe those lies. Once again, life was miserable. Not fun! Then one day, the Lord motivated me to reread that book. It was again the truth that I needed to see.
The Truth? What is the only Truth? God's Word, the Holy Bible. That is the one thing that we can believe. Of course our lies may tell us to not trust the Bible. But I say, why would I choose to trust my lies instead of the Bible? I choose to believe God's Word. That is the real Truth and Blessing.