This is the last book of the Old Testament and it is a great one. I have spent the last week studying and reading this little book and it was not a waste of time. As I studied and meditated on this book, it became clear that God was calling His people back to Himself and back to genuine faith. Continue reading “Malachi”
During this time of year, we tend to focus on Jesus and on what He wants and means to us. Spending great deals of time considering how and what we should be doing as Christians. Being in this typical mindset, especially with Christmas fast approaching; I read an article recently that made me consider the opposite perspective. This article made me consider the question, “What would Satan want me to do?” Here is what I came up with and hopefully it gets us to thinking seriously about Jesus, our enemy, and what we’re doing with our faith.
He needs you to be distracted during the Bible class and sermon. That way you don’t learn anything or apply it to yourself. That way you can stay immature and vulnerable to his attacks. It will also have a negative effect on those around us and possibly keep them from learning anything.
He needs you to be judgmental about how the building looks and each other. If you attend services with a desire to discover who or what is wrong, you will always find it. The church is not perfect. We are all flawed, sinful people who make mistakes. If you begin with a negative mindset, the church will always live up to your expectations. Satan needs you to be judgmental and evaluate everyone else, but Scripture teaches us to look within and only judge ourselves.
He needs you to partake in the communion without thinking about Jesus and what He did for you. Part of the struggle with a weekly observance of communion is that it can cause us to become complacent and develop a lack of respect for what we are doing. Communion is a time of, well, communing with our Lord and appreciating what He did for us. Don’t allow distractions to rob you of this great blessing.
He needs you to watch the offering plate go by without actually contributing. I know that most of us don’t have plenty of money to give yet, giving is an act of worship that connects us with what is happening. If you don’t contribute you are removing yourself from the work and responsibilities of the church to help each other, the poor, and the lost. Giving is not about the amount you give but about your heart desperately wanting to give to God who gave so much to you. It’s about being a part of something bigger than you or your personal needs.
He needs you to refuse to help when teachers are needed, work needs done, groups gather for fellowship and learning, and when serving others is mentioned. This attitude keeps you separated from the heart and work of the church. I know that life is busy and you have lots to do but if you don’t have time for the Lord and serving in His church then you’re simply too busy. If you can’t make time for Jesus and His people, there is more wrong than being busy. Working with the church helps you feel about ourselves. Working with the church helps us feel like a part of the group. Working with the church also helps you feel like you’re important, needed, and that your contributions to the group matter.
He needs you to come to church occasionally, when you feel guilty or there is nothing else to do, and then blame the church when you don’t feel like part of the church. In every other aspect of life, we wouldn’t expect to be good at anything with that level of commitment. What if your family only showed up occasionally? Why do we expect the church to love us and be there for us when they never see us or have the opportunity to get to know us? To be a part of the family you must be there and participate.
He needs you to always be watching everyone else and what they are doing, just in case they might do something wrong. If your whole goal in coming to the assemblies of the church is to be the self-appointed police officer of the church, then you are always going to be upset and frustrated by others. Your job as a Christian is to show grace, participate, love, and help guide/teach others when you get the chance. Don’t make it your job to make sure others do their job or believe all the right things. It will only hurt you and them.
He needs you to be focused on fulfilling your responsibilities without changing how you feel or act. If you are only concerned about putting in your time and going home, why bother? Christianity is meant to get in your head, in your heart, and change you for the better. Your goal should always be about getting nearer to Jesus, nearer to his people, and to be more like him. If you can come and never experience any serious change, then Satan has you right where he needs you.
He needs you to come to church, watch and listen, and then go home acting as nothing happened. The purpose of the church and all its works are about helping others and just as important, helping us become more Christ-like. For it to work you must participate, you must want it, and you have to be willing to put in some time. If coming to church does not feel beneficial to us, we will not want to attend. If you come just because you are required to, it will not help you at all, and eventually, it will become a hassle that you stop doing.
What does Satan need you to do? Are you sure you are not already doing it?
Be Not Afraid
By Clifton Angel
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV). This passage is often quoted to encourage memorization of Scripture and the knowledge of God’s Word. While these are very important, and the principle may be present in the passage, the context provides a very different meaning. 1 Peter 3:15 is not about memorizing Scripture. Continue reading “Be Not Afraid”
Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It is great for many reasons although I have to admit that I am still grateful for the food. Most of all, I am grateful for the time with family. However, I am still grateful for leftovers that will last for days. Despite our fondness of food, Thanksgiving has to be more than food. Continue reading “What are you thankful for?”
In the mid-1800’s, a young Irishman named Joseph Scriven was engaged to be married to a young lady. On the day before the wedding, he rode out to meet his fiancé at a river. Upon arriving, he was devastated to learn that her horse had been startled and thrown her into the water, where she drowned. He said later, “The bottom of my world seemed to disappear.” He turned to God and leaned upon him for strength. Continue reading “What a Friend!”
Most people experience varying degrees of social anxiety in new situations. When inviting our friends to visit Sunday morning worship services, one thing we can do to make them feel more comfortable saying “yes” is to simply let them know what to expect when they arrive at the church building. Continue reading “Making Our Invitations to Worship More Effective.”
The book of Zephaniah is an interesting and challenging little book. It was written by Zephaniah somewhere between 640-620 B.C. Continue reading “Zephaniah. A matter of sin and hiding.”