"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lent Day 8 - Wednesday

"Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but encouraging each other….” (Hebrews 10:25)

  Habits are hard to form and easy to break. For example, I’ve always been a fingernail biter….ever since just a wee lad. Tried the stuff you buy at the drugstore, pepper sauce, scrapings of bar soap and even…ear wax. I know. I know. There have been brief periods when I managed to stop, but before too long had passed, I was back to chomping away. One finger at a time. I just cannot form the habit of not biting them, but it’s so easy to break the habit once it begins to form. To form a new habit, whether it be stopping nail biting, limiting the foods I eat, exercising more, whatever it may be takes awhile and I have to be diligent and serious. Even when I do want to go out for a run (or even a walk), I have to force myself to get up and go. But, once the habit becomes deeply ingrained in me, then it isn’t so bad. Like learning to drink skim milk. Sorta.

  Church is that way. We go, enjoy a bible study group, a worship service, being around friends and think it will always be that way. But, one Sunday you are just really tired and decide to stay home. You go back the next. Then you spent a busy week at work, spent all day Saturday doing yard work and really just need a day to rest up before the job on Monday. So, you head to the lake. Or the golf course. Or the mountains. Or the recliner. Or the Church of the Inner Springs. The next week, it kinda works the same way. Before long, you are out of the habit of Bible study, but may still show up for worship. But, you might not know everybody like you did in your class, so you aren’t quite so comfortable. Before long, you just don’t go at all. Anywhere. After a week or two, folks aren’t calling saying you were missed. Oh, you may see them at Kroger and you think you’ll try and get back the next week, but you don’t.

  The most important part of the journey I’m on right now is to stay in touch with God’s people. Through corporate worship, through individual worship and Bible study. Because of church services and music schedules, I am unable to be involved in a Bible Study class and I miss it dreadfully. That used to be my favorite part of church and not being able to go is a big hindrance to my personal walk with God. However, the important thing is to just be around the family of God. In a time of study. In a time of worship. In the midst of a fellowship. They are your family. My family. Our family.

  Church is my accountability place. Church is my growing place. Church is my learning place. Church is my place of strength. How could I ever attempt to draw closer to God and discover His way for my life if I avoid His house and His people? Sure, God can speak to me directly, but more often it is through pastors, Bible study teachers, through music and through friends.

  As you travel along, searching for God’s way in your life, please do not forsake God’s house and people. I’ve been there, done that and it was a time that I will never repeat. Dark days and many lonely hours without feeling the connection with God. Stay assembled. Associate yourself with Godly people. Encourage others to do the same.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy. Blessed be the name of the LORD.


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