Making Church A Priority

Making Church A Priority | What Joy Is Mine

I read somewhere to never start a post with Scripture. I have never understood why. How can beginning a conversation with a word from God be wrong? So, here I go: “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Our family has attended three biblical sound churches in the last 25 years. We are currently at one we love. The gospel message and the teaching of God’s Word is prevalent. We have grown to adore the pastor and his family. We have met some awesome people and made some new friends. We serve in the church and look forward to service each Sunday. In the year it has been publicly opened (it is a church plant), we have missed no more than 5 Sundays total as a family. I’m not bragging here but making the point that we see the value and importance of church in our lives.

To us, church is a vital component to the Christian’s walk. In church, we learn to live as God commands us to. We not only hear this truth in the message given by our pastor but we get to see it in action and are given opportunities to live it out ourselves.

We are exposed to the gospel in teaching and in living. Church is one place we find spiritual filling for our souls. We grow there and find encouragement from fellow believers. In addition, we get to encourage others to a stronger faith in our Lord. We’re reminded “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20) In a church where the gospel is taught and where the children of God humbly strive to live as commanded by the Lord, God is present.

We have seen, in some Christian families, that church is not a priority. It’s more like an “if I feel up to it” approach to attending. Church attendance should not be based on how we “feel” but more on what God says about it. In Exodus 20, we are told to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” This is considered a duty to God and not a choice on our part. As Matthew Henry says, “Neglected duties remain duties still, notwithstanding our neglect.” I believe we need that time of worship and fellowship to grow in our faith and in our walk with the Lord. It should not be neglected.

So, how can we make church a priority?

Let me say right off the bat that illnesses or serious life situations are not being considered here. It is necessary to point out that sometimes church is missed for circumstances that warrant us to stay home or be somewhere else. What I am talking about here is an willingness to miss church just because you want to.

One way to be sure church is on our agenda is to get involved. Sign up to help in areas that fit our strengths. Pray and seek the Lord in this. He will show you where to serve in the church.

Another way not to miss church is to get to know the people you worship alongside with. Simply said: make friends! There is accountability in others knowing who you are and vice versa. I look forward to seeing the congregation and talking with them. We were designed for community. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

Thirdly, prepare the evening before church. Set out your clothes and your bible. If you know what will be preached on, maybe read ahead the scripture and be ready to receive the message on it. Get your children ready as well and build excitement about going.

Lastly, pray that God would stir an eagerness in you to be at church and among other fellow believers.

If you have not found a bible teaching and Gospel believing church, pray and seek the guidance of the Lord. Ask Him to lead you to the church He has for you. Then, make it an appointment to attend regularly.

 

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Monday’s Musings #246 & Leaving A Spiritual Legacy

Leaving A Spiritual Legacy & Monday's Musings #246 | What Joy Is Mine

We recently attended the memorial service of a dear friend. He was 69 years old. Young in my book. His heart was tender physically and spiritually. I am glad to have known him in my lifetime.

Grief is real during the Christmas season. People do go through hardship and tribulation even through a season such as Christmas where joy is the promotion. Yet this Joy we celebrate during this time of the year is bigger than any grief we can endure, even death.

As I sat in my sweet friend’s service, I listened to the words spoken about him and the message given in each instance someone spoke. That message was Jesus. Jesus and the gospel was what my friend wanted conveyed in that moment. He loved Jesus and lived that out daily. He wasn’t perfect but he was an example of someone who aimed to live and speak the message of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.

He never promoted himself but truly desired for people to see his Savior in his life. His service had this message written all over it. I watched his wife of many, many years celebrate her husband’s spiritual legacy.

Isn’t that what we should desire? To leave a spiritual legacy that reflects and demonstrates God’s amazing grace founded in His Son, Jesus Christ, and what He did through the cross, His death and His resurrection. My friend reminded me that this life is short and we ought to redeem the time we are given to reach others for the kingdom of God. What else could be of more importance?

This Christmas season, as we humbly celebrate the birth of our Savior, let us ponder the gift of God, the Father, of His Son to a broken people who needed saving. May we then reflect this salvation towards others around us and be bold in spirit to share Jesus with them as we move into 2017.

May you and yours have a joy-filled Christmas and Happy New Year.

So grateful to have you visit today. I appreciate you.

Monday's Musings #246 | What Joy Is MIne

Monday’s Musings Purpose:

To have others share encouragement about being a child of God, being a godly wife, motherhood, homemaking, homeschooling, healthy recipes, modest dress, etc. (I reserve the right to remove anything I deem unacceptable. Keep in mind this is a Christian blog.)

Monday’s Musings Must Dos:

1. Please link directly to the post you’re sharing. Be sure to link back here by using a text link or the logo in the side bar.

2. This link up party stays open until Wednesday evening. Know that sometimes I share your posts on Pinterest, Twitter and/or Facebook because I desire for our readers to be blessed.

3. It would be so awesome if you could encourage another by visiting their post and leaving a kind comment. Builds community, too. Thank you for visiting and linking up. Now, let’s get to sharing. Link following this post. Grab my link button in the side bar and place on your blog so others know about our community and can join in.

 

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We Are Greatly Loved

We Are Greatly Loved | What Joy Is Mine

As children of God, we can know without a doubt that we are a people greatly loved by a good and amazing God. Daniel learned about this great love in a moment of consternation. A hand reached down and touched him setting him to tremble on his hands and knees. Then, the Lord said to Daniel, “O Daniel, a man greatly loved…” (Daniel 10:11) See, how the Lord refers to him?

Daniel was chosen and directed by the Father just as we are chosen and directed by the Father. Can we not appropriate this title as well? A woman/man greatly loved? Do we embrace this great love given to us by the Father?

Once, we rioted in our sin. We were slaves to it. It entertained us and fed us. It also kept us separated from our Father in heaven. Sin does that. It takes our eyes off of our awesome God. But Jesus came. He lived among us. He spoke words of comfort to us. He healed the brokenhearted. He suffered cruelly. He carried and died on a cross. He rose again to sit at the right hand of God. He now reigns forever and ever. This friends, is the great love found in Jesus Christ gifted to us by God, the Father.

And although we know we are greatly loved, we don’t often grab a hold of it wholeheartedly. So, how do we embrace this truth of being greatly loved?

~ We believe without a doubt in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

~ We trust in the written Word of God which we “accepted…not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

~ We have confidence in the certainty that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

~ We are humbled by the fact that when we do sin, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

~ We relish in the reminder that “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

~ We cling to the reassurance that “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

~ We understand when suffering comes upon us “that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

See, we are greatly loved, Beloved. We need to embrace this love and think on it daily. We ought to hold tight to it and let our hearts focus on this love God gives us.

 

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7 Days of JOY: The Gospel

7 Days of JOY Series: The Gospel | What Joy Is Mine

Today, on day one of living 7 Days of JOY, we are going to focus on the Gospel and why we should rejoice in it daily. I put this topic first because I believe it is the most important JOY there is in life. Everything else we rejoice in hinges on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel can be explained in this way: without it there is no JOY in life. We need Jesus. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

What is the gospel? Simply put, Jesus Christ came for the sinner. “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15: 3,4) See, He was born a baby in a stable. He lived among us, teaching and admonishing. He was condemned and beaten even though He was innocent of the charges against Him. He hung a cross for nothing He did. He died. He rose on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God for all eternity. His life was lived to save the lost. He did all of this for you! For me! What should’ve of been our payment on the cross He bore for us. “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:2) Jesus took the wrath meant for us sinners. It humbles my heart that Jesus would do that for me, for you.

He didn’t have to, he chose to. Get that? He CHOSE to. He knew that God despised sin and that sinners could not stand before Him. So, Jesus withstood the suffering meant for us so we wouldn’t have to endure the wrath of God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.(Romans 1:18) Jesus was, and still is, and always will be our righteousness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Corinthians 5:21)

Not only did Jesus live and die for our sins, He rose so that we may have eternal life. “So that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(Romans 5:21) Just think of that. Life forever with our heavenly Father. Death cannot win here. We have life for all eternity. Life without pain, suffering and tears. A life with eternal JOY as we stand in the presence of the Lord.

This is first thing we should rejoice in every day. Most mornings, I am reminding myself of the gospel. I truly don’t want to go day without reminding myself of the sacrifice made on my behalf. It is the one thing in my life that motivates everything else I do. and fills me with complete JOY.

We are loved and not condemned. We are saved and rescued. We are treasured and chosen. We adopted and healed. We are covered in the righteousness of Jesus and God can now look upon us with favor. If we daily rejoiced in the good news—the gospel, imagine how much we would smile and be JOY-filled!

So, on day one in our series, we need to not only understand the Gospel, but work on finding JOY in the Gospel daily. One way you can do that is read “The Gospel Primer” by Milton Vincent. It is one book I highly recommend to encourage gospel JOY in our heart. Another way is to read the gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament of your bible. Lastly, pray that the Lord would not let you forget what Jesus did for you.

7 Days of Joy Series | What Joy Is Mine

Friday we will look at how we find JOY in hope and heaven.

Day 2: Hope and Heaven

Day 3: Trial and Suffering

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The Hotel, The Heart of Man and A Good God

HotelandGod2

I have to admit it. One of the fun things about traveling is staying in a hotel. There is something about being in a place where you can basically have it your way. Extra pillows? Yes. Meals delivered to your room? Yes. Someone else to clean your room? You bet!

Recently at church, the pastor briefly used a stay at a hotel to teach about the heart of men/women. It got me thinking about that analogy and I wanted to pass on my gleaning. Let’s look at three different hotel visitors, how they approach cleaning room service, and what that has to do with God.

1. There is the person who doesn’t clean their hotel room and puts up the do not disturb sign so no cleaning lady enters during their stay.

2. There is the person who requests room service but will clean and tidy the room before the cleaning lady arrives.

3. There is the person who just leaves the room as it is and trusts the cleaning person to do a good job without taking anything that belongs to them.

We can learn spiritually from these three different people by how they view receiving cleaning service at a hotel.

The first person is a picture of the one who believes they cannot ask God into their heart because it is so sin-filled and ugly. They believe their past and maybe present is too awful for God to forgive. What this person fails to understand is that the gospel was done just for them!! Jesus came to seek the lost, save the rejected and heal the wounded. All of our lives are messy but when we let Jesus in as our Savior, he makes them messy-beautiful. We don’t have to hang the “do not disturb” sign on the door of our heart because Jesus loves us just as we are. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)

The second person is a picture of the one who feels they must put some things in order before they can let God be a part of their life. They decide they must do some straightening out and tidying up before they can even ask Jesus into their heart.  Coming as they are is not a consideration. What this person fails to see is that Jesus wants us just as we are in the moment we’re in!! There isn’t anything we can do to be righteous enough before God. Our righteousness only comes through Jesus and the cross. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)

The last person is a picture of the one who realizes that the Lord accepts them, brokenness and all–today–right now. They just bring all their messiness and lay it at the cross. They know that it is there they will find forgiveness and be washed clean. Nothing can separate them from the love of God. Fear does not hold them back from trusting God. They are ready and willing to hang the “room service” sign on the door of their heart. Come on in Lord and change me. Romans 8, verse 1 reassures us that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When we think about this picture of faith, it is probable that we can think of others who fit one of the examples listed above. We need to be in prayer for those people. Maybe that person is you? Let me say this: The Lord loves us with an abundant love and he desires that none should perish but that all should come to Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)

What Joy Is Mine

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**Some photos on my blog are my own labeled NCPhotography. If any of my photos anywhere on my blog catch your eye, please email me for permission to use them in any way. I appreciate your cooperation in helping my photography stay protected and properly credited. Thank you. 
 
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