My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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Why go to church?
The trend is for regular attenders to be in church less frequently. Are you a part of the trend?
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
(Psalms 122:1 NASB)
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
(1 Corinthians 10:12 NASB)
The Psalmist rejoiced in the fact that he could go to Jerusalem and
visit the house of God. It was a joyous and blessed occasion when one
was privileged to make the journey to Jerusalem to worship God in His
holy house. However, over the years the Israelites forgot the real
reason for their worship. Little by little they just didn't bother with
the pilgrimage. God's house became something God had never intended it
to be and God's people took for granted that they would always be
protected by Him. While they no longer participated in regular
worship of God, they expected God to be there for them whenever they
wanted to call on Him. Today the ruins of the great temple in Jerusalem
are all that remain because they did not take heed, they no longer went
up to the house of the Lord, they no longer worshiped God, and they
I recently sat in a meeting of Pastors who were discussing the
changing trends in church attendance in the last five years. The
"average" regular attender no longer attends church on a regular basis.
The "average" regular attender now visits church 1.8 times a month. I
remember the days when people would get an award for perfect attendance
and there were those people who hadn't missed a Sunday in years. Yes,
society has changed and the heavy work week, coupled with easy mobility
has made the weekend the time to visit family, friends, and even just to
get away for fun. However, I wonder how much of all this "good" stuff
is a ploy of the enemy. If he can get regular church attenders to no
longer "go to the house of the LORD" under the pretense of "good" things
to do, won't he have won the battle? In the midst of our busyness and
decreased attendance at church we have convinced ourselves that it is
okay because we are good people, we are followers of Christ, and we are
doing good things. But Paul warns us and tells us that when we
begin to think that we are okay, be ware -- that we do not fall!
Why do we need to be attending church? Because there is something
that happens exponentially when the people of God get together. Aletha
Hinthorn recently wrote in a devotional that one horse can pull 9,000
pounds, but two horses hitched together can pull 36,000 pounds. There
is a reason that we are invited to be a part of a community of faith,
and to participate in corporate worship -- because God knows that it is
good for us! It is within the community of faith that God's communal
nature found in the holy Trinity is lived out. The Bride of Christ is
the Church -- and wouldn't we want to be a part of that community?
Maybe we need to revisit our busyness. Maybe we ought to ask whether
the enemy is deceiving us into believing that being away from Church
won't hurt us, because we are standing firm. There are major shifts
occurring in Christianity in the US today, and we must ask ourselves
whether we are being pulled along by those shifts.
Lord, please help us to fall in love with your bride, the Church
and help us to worship You within that community of faith! Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…