1 John 5:19 “We know that we are from GOD, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
Believing: Once for All!
CHRIST is larger than life yet the world shows no interest.
HE is brighter than bright but none give HIM their witness.
Thus Darkness remains as its
children dig deeper,
reflecting the shadows much more.
Thus the one who directs them with devilish intentions,
whose movements are lies and whose speech spews deceptions,
shall meet his demise. Even satan — the hated!
So stand with the ONE…WHO
HE is largest in life! JESUS CHRIST
HIS victorious sword goes before
As such, seek HIS Kingdom both solely and wholly
and leave the world’s lights
— once for all!
As HIServant pressing onwards towards the Greatest Light,
Devotional: Note: This study follows my morning devotion today called “The Mass Distinction!” All about serving as who we are: “Set Apart!”
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of GOD and HIS righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
In churches today, the most prevalently placed value, most often repeated and given greatest regard is the measure of high quality entertainment.
How great is the sound system, how big are the wall monitors, etc. Now absolutely the number of different programs, small groups, individual offerings and such have value.
BUT! Not to the level erroneously (falsely) given to them above the ONE WHOM it’s all supposed to be about. Consider 1 John 4:5 “They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.”
Whenever I hear “seeker friendly”, my stomach turns. Why? Shouldn’t we be open and with welcoming arms to those coming to the church? Absolutely.
But to attract the world, all I’m seeing is mimicking the world with its glitz and glamour. When you do that, the world isn’t being changed, it is changing the church. For the worse as we can see.
Let’s review 1 John 2:15-17 in light of my statements. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the FATHER is not in HIM. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the FATHER but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of GOD abides forever.”
The challenge seen in my view is — follow through. While we have fantastic praise and worship which I truly enjoy, the message part of the service is sadly lacking.
It’s either no meat, (If you’ve read many of my previous devotions, then this is no surprise) no repentance / all love OR…it’s so fire and brimstone packed that there’s no love of GOD seen. Only a fearful expectation of judgment.
Afraid of losing salvation for some unconfessed sin they’re sure that they forgot of…so they’re at the altar every chance the pastor gives them. They feel obligated to “make sure” they add to the Cross to get into Heaven.
However, in so doing, they profane the finished work of CHRIST unconsciously. But if that’s all they’re taught, shouldn’t the pastor and the church board be held accountable?
Ten thousand times “Yes!” and we even see that in Acts 20:28.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the HOLY SPIRIT has made you overseers, to care for the church of GOD, which HE obtained with HIS own blood.
Also, weigh carefully the words of Matthew 18:6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Scripture couldn’t be clearer. The haze of all kinds of entertainment (while sometimes providing mountain top experiences) cannot equate to the careful handling of GOD’s WORD.
You can’t just have praise and worship. In fact, that must be the lesser part of our teaching the Body.
But…as I’m mention later, the familiar “Who’s got time for deep teaching?” cry echoes every Sunday.
Hebrews 10:26-27 “If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume all adversaries.”
Any pastor who continuously and exclusively preaches fire without an equal amount of nurturing / feeding the sheep…is in danger. Where is the truest compassion if the sermons only berate and beat down the sheep? We cannot act as if we know everyone’s heart or walk with the LORD.
We must feed with the heart of CHRIST drawing those of like faith into a deeper walk. Else, we are merely babysitters handing out Iphone-sized, Faith tablets…just so the babies in CHRIST can watch the music videos again.
Seriously, there HAS to be moderation throughout. For instance, “Sunday after Sunday” and “Wednesday night after Wednesday night” heavy correction only shows a pastor being blind to the needs of his flock.
Remember that GOD loves AND corrects as HE shows us the greatest compassion. The “sheep beating” pastors are equals to those fleecing the flock with their monetary, “prosperity” messages.
But again…enter great, big screens and cool powerpoint programs, with awesome sound systems and tons of offerings OTHER than the meat of HIS WORD…the Body is subtly being distracted from diligent study of GOD’s Holy WORD.
“In depth study takes too long”, I hear the complaint. “That’s for the small group time on Wednesday.” is another redirection heard. BUT! The small groups always stay in line with what the main church is saying…which is “In depth study takes too long.”
So I guess the church isn’t to lead anymore with deep doctrinal truth but to tell you to figure it out for yourself on your own time?
As such, fears of being “too divisive” to preach on Revelation while worrying that people won’t hang around long enough to help build the church’s earthly kingdom vision…are ridiculously rampant today.
Hence, back to the point, the “shiny light” entertainment approach. It misdirects, gives a great feel good experience and if done long enough, it will mask the lack of meat teaching enough to get people to come regularly.
Consider 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the HOLY SPIRIT within you, whom you have from GOD? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify GOD in your body.”
Our temple must be fed but fed from the WORD! Now I love Christian bands like For King and Country who have great lyrics and a message of humility. Casting Crowns is another group I like to hear.
Even so, the only way you can have one without the other is to just eat meat. Meaning: Just in depth study and prayer. Without the entertainment.
But our attention spans have been demonically altered for “fast food faith.” It’s like “Just give me a couple, cool and quick songs to sing along with and I’m good.”
Bluntly, it sickens me. It is rare now that I can have a deep conversation with someone about GOD. Even those with 20-30 years as a Christian. Little wonder why we read in Luke 18:7-8…
“Will not GOD bring about justice for HIS elect who cry out to HIM day and night? Will HE continue to defer their help? I tell you, HE will promptly carry out justice on their behalf. Nevertheless, when the SON of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?””
In Today’s lifestyles, that last question rings in my soul. It should in every soul.
So, “once for all”, let us put aside the expectations of being entertained by “larger than life” pastors or “ideal church experiences”.
Instead, let us focus on being fed the meat of HIS WORD which we’ll have to dig for each and every day.
Simply put, don’t mistake the “activity of church worship” for the “accomplishment of pressing into HIS presence” THROUGH THE WORD.
Again, always favor the discipline of study. Don’t fall into the trap of even well-meaning entertainment whose “lights” always fade.
Avoid the shallowness presented by too many pastors as “the norm” and dig deeply into HIS steps…which shall uphold you in every storm!
Remember that you’re never alone and that HE will make HIS WORD accomplish in you what HE sent it to do!
Amen and amen!