Acts 20:27 “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of GOD!”
Do we want to know the “Why?” to different questions pressing in…
or are we satisfied with answers that no more than scratch the surface?
To what draws our souls the strongest and by what or whom, we ponder. Yet such interest soon is fading and withdrawn fall we again.
For a lack of holy knowledge JESUS said HIS people perish…whilst rains down contentious Life constraints upon such searchless souls.
So the question of the hour we inquiry with at present
is “Which side have we decided to pursue as ours to cherish?
Oh that you would choose such study to re-sharpen self and others! Yes, would that your zeal relentlessly seeks Wisdom’s heights — discovered!
Then finally, dear Beloved, let every breath you share bear answers which I also crave! So press The SAVIOUR’s iron upon…this brother!
As HIServant encouraging so as to align our steps together with HIS,
Devotional: 2 Timothy 2:15 “Hasten to present yourself approved to GOD, a workman not ashamed, ACCURATELY handling the word of truth.”
Tools of the WORD are INACCURATELY and daily misapplied for lack of knowledge of HIS Scriptures and…an ignorance of how majestically powerful and omnipotent HE is! So the body goes astray. But how? How is this possible, especially on such a large and still growing scale?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of CHRIST. And no wonder, for even satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
With this verse in CLEARLY mind, think about the things that interest us and those that don’t. There are shapes, colors sounds and textures we like…and those we ignore. Such is the filter we, as humans, have.
In like manner with sound and sight, so we “prioritize” our attentions regarding people. “I love his voice” or “I hate her singing.” Or “She looks radiant!” versus “How does he go out in public looking like that?” As such, we’re prejudiced, particular and seemingly ever bent towards whatever or whomever is pleasing to our senses.
And my question remains. Are our compulsions, complaints and criticisms really in order to be fed by HIS WORD? Or…are we misguided by satan’s messengers pretending to be light??
Since our flesh is constantly drawing our attentions towards “entertaining” aspects, variables and characters…the same, misapplied filter gets daily pressed against our waking and unconscious Christian walk.
For instance, “The pastor’s voice is so monotone, I fall asleep in Church”. Or “Their worship music doesn’t have a band or a drummer so I’m just not engaged.” Or how about, “The message is too long”, “The church doesn’t have enough activities”, they don’t have any big screens so I can see from the back, or “I just want something for kids that’s close and gets out before 8pm on Wednesday’s and before 11am on Sunday’s.” And so on.
You’ve heard some version of these statements and if you’re like me, you’ve even said them yourselves at times in your early days of Faith.
But such are birthed far more in the Flesh’s desire to be pleased…dare I say “entertained”.
Dare I suggest that it is satan’s mission to distract us with such “wants” and “desires”. It seems VERY apparent to me that this is also the lust of the Flesh. “Chew the meat for me. Put the grapes in my mouth. Milk only please, always.”
However, here’s a crazy thought. Is humbled and focused doctrine being taught there? Is CHRIST’s unparalleled, unequaled, without any peer, sovereignty openly taught? Is the reviling/rebuke of sin also openly taught in love, meant to reconcile and grow instead of “beating the sheep” down towards the altar/stage?
Beloved, this also applies to the challenge we read of found in Romans 1:24-26. Therefore God gave them up in the desires of their hearts to impurity for the dishonoring of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth of GOD for a lie, and worship and served created things rather than the CREATOR, WHO is forever worthy of praise! Amen. For this reason GOD gave them over to dishonorable passions.”
WHEN we use an errant source and/or filter to attract and express love, GOD clearly states it is an abomination. No frills. No fluffy “It’s ok.” It’s sin. Period. So when we use errant filters ignorantly, unconsciously or worse yet, foolishly with great intention, we are similarly “exchanging the truth of GOD for a lie.”
“C’mon now. That’s a real stretch, isn’t it? You can’t be serious. Our preferences mean we go where we feel fed. How’s that a lie?” Well, that depends on where our hearts are. Where is our treasure? Where…is yours? In like manner, c’mon now. REALLY…tell me. Based on nothing but your walk with HIM.
So what do the riches you store up in your heart look like? Do we instead “value” entertainment, itching ear teachings, the absence of sin’s rebuke and sadly strictly “time-boxed” interactions with GOD? Well, the lie goes like this. “If you stay long enough in the garage, you’ll turn into a car.”
It doesn’t matter what KIND of time you have in the garage, just that you’re there. Well, if you make the time to show up for the hour services and occasionally make a Wednesday night service or church potluck some time, then “you are doing enough and you are a Christian.”
Matthew 22:29 “But JESUS answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of GOD.”
What? Sounds ridiculous to state it outloud but it is nonetheless “spot on”. On target, bullseye. Church has been reduced to a weekly event of obligation. My dad had us kids usher with him at church and I remember people occasionally apologizing for not being there the week or weeks before. My kind hearted father assured them that we don’t measure attendance and assign guilt. His loving message was “You just come when you are able.”
But what do we find when experiencing other churches? Quickly and also sadly I hear their pastors vigorously rebutting with Hebrews 10:25 as though “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves MEANS it is a “GOD approved” recipe for “You have to be here every time the doors are open!”
The Reality is that Church is a business now complete with mortgages, salaries, 401k’s and more. Worse yet, they have formal and informal “stakeholders”. These rarely approve any direction which alters the business Plan.
*** And just to be clear, Christian business individuals are to help in the church…NOT turn it into a business following business growth plans.***
Why is it so prevalent today? Because they have to have predictable income to grow larger instead of staying with a small size and letting other small churches (not small groups) be birthed like the New Testament model.
So back on subject. Where did the “you always gotta be here and only at this church location” come from? It’s a man centric, demonic, Catholic business derivative that has sadly ingrained inself into Protestant gatherings.
Sadder yet is a tool applied by all too willing “pastors” in order to drive people into church based on fear, not fellowship. It’s to keep people fearful for losing their salvation. Conversational results are the proof. Try it without leading the other person’s opinion.
Seriously. SERIOUSLY. Just have a talk about eternal security with someone there and there’s either a blank stare or visible doubt that it even exists…and a questioning as to why you’d suggest such a crazy idea.
“C’mon…You have to do your part every day, Whitney. You can’t allow unconfessed sin in your life at any point or you just don’t make it into Heaven.” Translation? HIS grace isn’t enough in their eyes.
Wow. So getting really angry and yelling condescendingly out the window at someone who cuts you off in traffic AND THEN you tragically die in an accident…means you go to hell? That though HE knows your heart’s thoughts and intents, you caught HIM off guard. Wait…HE wasn’t prepared?
So much for always being secure in HIS hands. So much for HIS promises if evidently Flesh can strip itself out of HIS power. So much for HIS omnipotent power and Election when it boils down to IF we managed to confess all sin with HONESTY and HUMILITY just before we die?
Doesn’t that point out how errant it is? Even so, we are to be patient with weaker vessels which don’t eat meat by choice…showing them that eating the meat of HIS WORD is mandatory for true growth.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the WORD of GOD is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Let’s go back to the point my father made. “Come when you can. GOD knows your heart.” What if I’m in church each time the doors are open, rain or shine, tornados or white out snowstorms, (This is weekly demand of an actual pastor and church I once attended) then I’m good, right? By no means! There’s no heart belief within disengaged “Attendance”.
Don’t people always rise just to levels that they’re judged by? If you’re going to grade me just on attendance and showing up to church activities, then it’s that simple. Countless folks love that role and play that part each week. It’s as predictable as the expectations of man at their jobs.
And that’s all that the majority will do. Telling them that they have to throw themselves down at the pastors’ feet and weep and groan every single Sunday STILL DOESN’T cleanse the soul. Week after week it still doesn’t make them a better or stronger Christian. Rather, it’s the rut they feel comfortable in and never venturing outside of.
However! if you’re going to give souls a thumbs up only for mere, forced attendance and not for demonstrated growth and heart knowledge in CHRIST, then where’s HIS displayed love through you? Who’s the one directing such commands?
Now…take a deep breath. Couldn’t it easily be said that it’s the devil pushing such an agenda? I argue it is.
So what is it then? Why are so many souls entrenched in the false teaching of “what has to be done to be acceptable to GOD”?
*** Ready for it? It is no less than a remanufacturing of the traditions and rituals of animal sacrifice which the Israelites did and…IT COULDN’T BE more wrong and it COULDN’T SAVE them either. ***
Romans 10:1-4 “The Law is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. It can NEVER, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.
If it could, would not the offerings have ceased? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all and would no longer feel the guilt of their sins.
Instead, those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take away sins.”
And…that’s HIS WORD. Add to the fact that it is the fear based theme of today’s churches OR such lukewarm complacency that they’re standing for nothing which is the mainstream.
Feel good, fluffy, milk drinking for decades without growth or nurturing. Plus the fact that it’s measurably absent of love WHENEVER extending rebuke and correction,…it is then grievous beyond words and in its place is guilt and shaming.
But countless churches have made a business model of becoming and maintaining entertainment centers, sometimes just for the pastors for control purposes. In others, its so surface level that no time will be spent in the vein of deeping your walk with GOD WHILE AT church.
Why? Because that risks division. That risks contrary thinking and opinion. That…upsets the apple cart.
Rather, you are expected to ask for that from a small group and hope that the teaching is there. And my experience is that you get it there either. You won’t hear the prophetic, you won’t experience loving instruction on the gifts and their uses as well as constraints and you won’t become a car, a truck, or much less…a Christian. If the main church refuses to lead, small groups will not fall far from that lack of direction.
So why have I continued in this line of thought? I hear “What’s the bee in your bonnet? What is the problem…can’t you just move on? You’ve written about this theme a number of times. Haven’t we grown past this and have no need of such repetition?”
My focus is far from feeling superior. GOD is no respecter of persons and none can elevate themselves as such either. Even if they were a Pharisee of the Pharisees, (like Paul) there still is no “better than” foundation with which to pretend to be more righteous than someone else.
How about that I know more? Nope. Just reread the last few sentences.
You see, our flesh is more aware of our errors better than what someone else could tell us. As such, I am better at knowing my own sins and the prices paid than anyone else could load back upon my shoulders.
Finally! We’re at the real point of this devotional! This soul LONGS to have deep study with others. My heart aches for real, loving instruction which shares HIS deeper truths and helps me grow.
But to use a once popular and trendy saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
*** And…that’s exactly what it feels like. That’s the daily feeling that breaks my heart. ***
So please comment with loving instruction WITH SCRIPTURES in CONTEXT. Share your thoughts with a quid pro quo (equal sharing) approach. Share with me NOT TO ARGUE, CONTROL or with the intent to show “how wrong my thoughts are” but to help me see other scriptures I may have missed.
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
We are to press IRON against IRON to sharpen ourselves in HIS service. That is HIS command and our due to be given back to CHRIST. As such, for those that actually reached the end of this fervent request, teach me.
Educate me. Help me see more cross-referenced colors, additional textures, and DEEPER insights in HIS Holy WORD, I pray.
Please sharpen this scarred iron for HIS glory! Amen and amen!