Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "All Things Bright And Beautiful"1 (Lyrics)
It was a windy Sunday morning to walk the few blocks to church. The wind was against me as if trying to keep me from getting ahead. Debris was flying all around, and the wind's fury tried to pick me up every step of the way.
Having some of the Finnish sisu, I marched on in spite of the 70 km/h wind. I quickly resolved that it was as if I were walking against temptation: Why go to church? Why is it necessary? Why even bother? The howling wind seemed to get to me as a challenge to test me out, to see what I am made of.
I was glad to step into the church as a winner of the trial. I asked myself, Why not go to church? We might find a zillion excuses put in place by the enemy of our souls who does not want anyone in church to hear about salvation, new life, new meaning, or new purpose, and especially about God loving sinners. It is the main purpose of the evil one to throw debris in our way and to deceive us into believing that we do not need church.
If our life and living is just a deposit of existence for today and not eternity, one is more likely to give worldly answers: Who needs God? Good people do not need God! Who wants to know about an angry God? I have made it fine on my own without God!
Let's hold it right there.
Why go to church? Why do people pay to go to concerts and sports events when they could stay home and watch them on television for free? Although we can read our Bible and pray on our own, there's something that happens when we gather to worship God, that doesn't happen when we're alone. God created us for community, to be the body of Christ. Corporate worship and fellowship where two or three are together in the presence of God is time well spent in God's Word. It's hard enough living the Christian life with the support of a group — I can't imagine trying to do it alone!
Psalm 33:1-4 – Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skilfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. (NIV)
When we miss church, we rob God of the worship that is due Him. That is the big reason why we go to church, where we hear God's Word, pray in adoration, confess our sins, receive assurance of sins forgiven, sing the hymns of praise, and are corrected and reminded of our need of God's grace. There, we find healing and strength for our day, and we increase our understanding of His awesome love for all who in faith surrender to Him to be made righteous through Christ. God is worthy of our trust and we are securely established in God's eternal truth. The uncertainties in our life have an antidote in God's Word.
My needs are met by God, and in church, in His presence, I have rest and peace. The anthems by the choir are uplifting. In the house of God, I find a solace and strength when discouraged, and my cup is filled with new hope for the coming days.
Sunday is a church happening, crowning the week in public worship with the Lord's power. Don't miss it!
Prayer: Father of our Lord and Saviour, thank You for our churches where we gather to worship You, to praise You, to give thanks to Your holy name. Save us from the time of trial, and lead us not into temptation. Open our eyes to see Your love and grace through Jesus Christ. We pledge allegiance to the Lamb of God, for only Jesus brings sense to the storms. And please, Lord, bless all who speak Your Word. Thanks be to You, O God! In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!