Sunday, November 16, 2014

Praise the Lord, O My Soul!

It has been a really fantastic day.  I love to go to church and worship in the company of other believers!  God indwells our praise, and I feel him the most when I am worshiping him in song.  There are few things I love more than singing praises to God.  It is so important for us to come together as believers and worship.

I hear people say that they can worship God anywhere and that they don't need a building set aside specifically for worship.  While it is true that God isn't contained by a building, we do still need to come together to worship.  We need other believers to pray with us, and we need to pray for other believers.  Having a church family gives us somewhere to go when we need help or guidance.  One purpose for having other believers in our lives is so that God has vessels through which he can work in our lives.  For example, my husband and I are building an addition to our house and doing the work ourselves.  We needed help in order to close it in and weatherproof it before some rain came, and our church family was there to help when we needed it.  If we didn't attend church and make our needs known to our church family, I sure don't know where we would have gotten help.  I am so incredibly grateful for them!

Another thing I hear people say about church is "I know so-and-so goes to that church so I won't go there" or "Church is nothing but a bunch of hypocrites anyway."  Really??  Those are nothing but excuses.  We are all sinners and we all fall short on a daily basis.  We aren't going to church for so-and-so and we aren't going to show others how righteous we are.  We're going to worship an Almighty God who, despite our failings and shortcomings and total inability to do anything worthy, saved us by His Grace.  El Roi, the God Who Sees, knows all of our own shortcomings and failures and loves us anyway, so who cares what so-and-so thinks or does or how many people say one thing on Sunday and live a totally different life during the week?  We go to church for God alone!  We go because HE is worthy of worship no matter what!

Going to church and corporately worshiping God is refreshing to our souls.  It really keeps me going from Sunday to Wednesday and then to Sunday again.  I learn so much that is helpful to my daily walk with the Lord; things I couldn't pick up just reading my Bible and not discussing it with other believers.  Ultimately, by giving my time, my praise and my worship to the Lord, it blesses me in so many ways.  Amen and amen!

Monday, November 3, 2014

No more excuses!

We all have sin in our lives.  We're all guilty of something that we just don't want to let go of.  From lying and cheating to eating too much, drinking too much, pornography, or whatever it is, there's always something in our lives.  I've struggled for most of my life with gluttony.  I just love food, and cooking, and eating, and feeding people.  There's nothing wrong with that, but when it comes to eating and stuffing myself full, well... that's not good.  I feel bad when it happens and I ask for forgiveness and strength to overcome the temptation.  One thing I try never to do, and that is make excuses for my sin.

Society has become really great at telling us that sin isn't our fault.  That we can't help it.  That we're born this way so why try to fight against our nature.  I call that a bunch of lies!  Personal responsibility is a thing of the past!  We make our own choices daily.  We choose to sin or we choose to follow Jesus.  In the same way I choose to control my eating, others can choose to control their drinking, or their viewing of porn, or their choice to have sexual relations with a member of the same sex.  It is a choice.  It may be a difficult choice; it may seem impossible, and there may be days where we choose to sin, but it's still our own free will allowing us to make the choice.

God forgives us when we ask, every single time, but when we choose to live in sin openly and without remorse, he can't forgive us.  We haven't asked.  We don't even acknowledge it as sin.  And the more we sin without repentance, the easier it gets for us until we've stopped viewing whatever it is we're doing as a sin.  If we have given our lives to Jesus, the Holy Spirit will be pricking our conscience when we're doing something wrong.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, which helps us when we're struggling with sin.  God promises that he will give us a way out if we pray for his help when we're fighting temptation.  (1 Cor. 10:13)

We've got to stop making excuses for our sin.  There's just no reason to.  God knows we struggle with it and he's ready to forgive us always if we just ask.  We need to stop making sin okay as a society.  The popular choice for Christians these days is to preach tolerance; we're all going to heaven and sin is okay because we're all born with a sinful nature anyway.  I'm sorry, but that's not what the Bible teaches and it may not be popular but it's the truth.  I would rather be unpopular because I told people the truth than to be responsible for leading people away from The Way, The Truth, and The Life.