Daily Revelation

Some rambling that’s on my mind the last few days…

Oftentimes, I’m checking out facebook or on the phone or am involved in social interaction within groups, and I notice a common theme. For that matter, I participate in the theme myself. It goes something like this:

“I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS STRUGGLE/DAY/TIME OF MY LIFE/CHALLENGE/TEMPTATION/TRIAL/INSERT OTHER WORDS HERE.”

Reminds me of some funny “You might be a Southern Baptist” lists I’ve read lately:

#23 – You might be a southern baptist if you’re still giddy over your last spiritual victory, which was years ago.

 

Growing up, I’d hear people talking about church services as if they were a spiritual gas station.

“Thank goodness for Wednesday’s mid-week church service, otherwise, I’d never make it to Sunday!”

Since when did Church become a fueling station, by which and only by which a Christian can barely make it through his struggles and trials until the next church service?

Another related question…

Why do Christians think that corporate worship can in anyway substitute for a daily walk with God? Somewhere, there’s an unwritten rule that our spirituality is directly proportional to our church attendance and involvement.

Can I just state that there are churches filled with people dressed like a saint and acting like…yeah, something else?

And can I also state that there are people who may not be attending church every time the door is open, because they are being a pastor to their family, community, workplace, or are resting so that they might be one of those from Monday to Saturday?

Let me chase that rabbit for a moment:

Church isn’t bad. It’s good! It is an awesome thing to spend time in the fellowship with other believers. I’m not trying to make a point contrary to that. The church is the “Bride of Christ.” It is a great thing. Many of us know the famous Hebrews passage:

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25

While we are not able to determine whether an individual is a sheep or a wolf in a sheep’s clothing on our own, we know that God does protect the sheep. He gives discernment to the leadership to guard the sheep from the wolves. And he has given several “litmus tests” as well. Christians should produce fruit. Christians should love other Christians. Might I make the small leap and say, Christians should love going to church! You show me a grumpy grouchy person who can’t stand people and doesn’t like to attend church who claims to be a Christian, and I’ll show you my best impression of a reserved skeptic!

Is not that we have to come to church, it’s that we get to!

Back to the original topic now:

As wonderful as corporate worship services are, they are no substitute for an individual relationship with God. God does speak to us (future blog topic)! And he desires a daily walk with us – He has desired such a walk since the first human, and still seeks those who would walk with Him today.

I was blessed to be able to share Lamentations 3 this morning with our staff. Talk about a person who had it rough. It makes what most of us go through on a daily basis seem a little petty.

Lamentations 3:1-33

1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.

2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;

3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.

5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.

6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.

8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.

9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding,

11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help.

12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver.

14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long.

15 He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall.

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.

17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,  for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.

29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope.

30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

 

I find myself being hypocritical when I get to the point when I wonder why God doesn’t speak to me, and yet I am not engaged in interaction with Him.

What do I expect?

So it may be that God desires something special with each of us, and not just when we enter the doors of a church building. And that a lifestyle of worship isn’t a lifestyle that is only engaged when around other believers. And in fact, if we only engage God in action a few times a month, then it’s no wonder that we can’t figure out why we have no passion, no revelation, no newness in our walk with Him, and no sense of “God is present.”

Solution?

Spend time with God. Dust off the Bible. Read it. Pray whether you feel like it or not. When we discipline ourselves to engage God on a personal, intimate level, we might just be shocked!

Our relationship with God is based on an individual interaction, Spirit-led understanding, and personal application of the Gospel message. A corporate action cannot substitute.

Still don’t know where to start? We’re all in different places in our lives. Message me, I’d be glad to talk and pray with you.

-Pastor Harvey

 

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