Can't sleep - have this rant rolling around in my head...
"God doesn't mind if you miss church once in a while."
How convenient that in the cases someone has said this to me that it only makes their lives easier. It's not God's job to spoil us like little children saying "It's OK, baby, do whatever you want that makes you happy." It's His job to walk us through things in our lives that make us more like Jesus. And, that doesn't happen by indulging us. Any good parent knows that. It's gonna happen when He challenges us. God doesn't "make" bad things happen but He USES them!
And, I don't go to church because I feel obligated to do so or because it's "expected." I go because I *want* to be there. I enjoy going there, being in His presence along with that of the fellowship of believers. Worshiping alone, while obviously possible, is not Biblical for the long term. We are part of the Body and as such need to be around other believers. Iron sharpens iron. By voluntarily withdrawing from being His presence, we're holding back our growth in Him and resisting His will and our part in it.
I don't know about you but I *want* to be part of His will. Being in His will is the safest, most joyful place to be. The years I spent out of His will were ones I wouldn't want to repeat.
He is holy and righteous and the creator of the world - and He still wants *ME* - a sinner! He knows my name. He's held me in His hand while I was still being formed in the womb.
I want to worship him - not only because He is due that as the King of Kings but because I want to say THANK YOU!
You want to stay home on whatever your day of worship is? Go right ahead but I'm gonna be there in the front row - learning, growing, in fellowship, worshiping. I'm gonna wade in chest-deep and get my hands "dirty" in the lives of those around me at church - help where I can, minister where I can, be God's hands and feet in their lives...even those I may not agree with or those that get on my nerves. And, they will do the same for me.
But, even if they don't, it doesn't matter. It's not about getting something back or being taken care of! I want to serve because God saved me and because that's what Jesus did.
No, I didn't join a cult. And, it's not about "the rules." It's about discipline - practicing those things Jesus walked in everyday. And, it's about dying to self, putting aside things that distract us from Him. We will always fall short but we gotta keep trying.
And, it's about the LOVE - always the love!
Part of a testimony I once heard recounted the day this man found himself drunk again and miserable. And, he said he felt a wind blow through his home and heard God speak to his heart "if you'll try, I will help."
Sounds like a good deal to me. How 'bout you?