Several years ago I suddenly heard my self attempting to answer a religious question. It wasn't that I not being sincere, in fact I was very adamant concerning my position of the subject. However, suddenly that was the problem. I realized my position was based on what I had been told, rather than what I had learned from study of the word of God.
I wonder how many more do the same thing? Why do we do what we do? Why don't we do different? Have we been noble enough to not only consider the truth, but to prove it by personal study? I truly believe such people are rare indeed. Instead of being satisfied for the status quo or tradition, study the inspired word of God and pray for understanding. When God grants the truth to find a home in your heart, then find the congregation that teaches and practices that truth. Join yourself to them and worship and serve God according to His pattern. That is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. See you there.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I like John Wayne western movies. If you are a fellow fan of such you can relate to the exchange of favorite clips and quotes from specific movies. And you enjoy seeing them, regardless of how many times before. They can even take you back in memories and dreams of better times and hopes of better days.
God help us if that is what we have reduced the worship services to on Sunday mornings. Nothing more than repeats of our favorite texts and quotations, fond memories of a bygone era or dreams of what could be. Knowing that lunch is coming and the concession stand will be open then, or maybe you have become one that sits during preaching sipping coffee or cool water and even snacks as your favorite preacher/performer entertains you one more time.
The thought is enough to make me sick and probably, if we consider what the Lord said to one church, to make the Lord spew us out. The concept of casual service, theater seating, repeated shows of the same message back to back smacks of industrialized showmanship.
I can hardly get the picture of someone pulling up a folding chair and a glass of their favorite beverage to watch the show at Mt. Sinai. Or bringing popcorn to the mount of transfiguration, or how about smores at the ascension from the Mount of Olives?
My Lord how much has Hollywood warped our minds even in the service of God? Mercy.
"And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62
Now, let me tell you about a verse of scripture that I know about and am experienced in enough to tell you what NOT to do.
Jesus addresses himself here to an individual that had expressed a desire to follow him and go with him wherever he went. Right off I can say that this sounds too familiar. How many times have I said/expressed the same? Too many to count, shamefully. Yet, at the time I am sure the person's expression was sincere. And I marvel at the Lord's grace in not calling him on it, as he surely could have.
Several had just been called on to do the same, but had given excuses why they could not from telling someone farewell, to burying a parent. The Lord's response was, simply, let the past go and move ahead. All of us/me have our excuses/reasons why we can't do that just at this minute. We know we should and know we ought to, but just didn't know that it was meant to be done NOW!
The example that Jesus gave is one of a man plowing in a field looking over his shoulder. Can you imagine the results of his plowing? I can, having spent many hours in a field. Not only will the results be terrible, think of the wasted efforts and energy spent doing something that will have to be done over. God help me I know too much about wasted time.
Yet what is in view is not being "fit for the kingdom". You are not the kind of person that deserves to be there. Do we/I get the message that Jesus doesn't want us wasting time in the kingdom? Not that we don't have energy or potential for labor, but you can not be productive looking back all the time. Mercy, as I said, I can tell you volumes of what NOT to do,
You see I have been a "have been" in lots of things. I have labored in many fields of secular trade. I was somewhat good and successful for a time in those, I have been involved in several hobbies and past times of enjoyment. I have always had a weakness for many things. I still carry the baggage of the memories of many of these things. But, the worst of it all is that I waste so much time of the present looking back. I destroy the future in fear of not being able to do what I once did or praying that doesn't happen again. The present is lost in looking back. No wonder my rows are crooked and my harvest is so spotted and poor. I have come to the present condition of being unfit, useless.
May I encourage you all to not be like me, constantly looking back?! Would you pray for me that I would be able to put the past down and look ahead in hope of what is, not what was or could be? May God help us all to exercise ourselves unto godliness and be truly fit for the kingdom and above all not to end up as Lot's wife, not even named but a memorial of the bitterness of a wasted life. God help!
Strange Children: Psalms 144:11-15
The writer here expresses his frustration and desire to see change in his world. Much as our day the problems he was facing included a generation that spoke lies and dealt in deceit. In the wording strange children there is implied that what we deal with is the result of those before us being expressed in the lives of their/our children. What continues in this request is to see the future changed and bettered by those that come of us; our sons and daughters.
What he longs to see is sons that mature early and daughters that are polished to join the walls of our homes together. In short, he longs to see young men that have been taught to grow up and produce and young ladies that are worthy of acknowledgement because they have been fitted to be strong in their place of union, a cornerstone, that establishes and bids. What is being envisioned is strong families, committed marriages, God honoring individuals that will build and defend in days to come.
What follows is the results of the places of store being overrunning, the increase of those that attend and go forth, a strong and encouraged ministry, no divisions, those that stick and stay, and the complaining to stop. Wow! What a thought. But, such is the happiness of such a people that trust and serve God!
Want to change the world? Want to see better days? Want to see churches grow and our world bettered? Invest in your children now! Bring them up by example and word to trust God and put Him first in all they do. That starts at home with us as parents and grows from there. It is not only "what I say", but also, "what I do". God will be honored and we will be happy. So may it be. Let's start today.