Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 10:22-25 – Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
Albert put me to shame. At the ripe age of 89, he slogged to church every Sunday through deep snows and sub-zero temperatures. We offered him drives multiple times, but he declined each one, saying that he needed his exercise. His dedication to church attendance made those of us driving short distances feel like wimps, yet we admired his pluck and dedication.
These days, when "old Arthur" wakens me on a Sunday morning with aching joints and a backache that won't quit, I remember Albert's pluck, stamina, and dedication. Then I head for church through all sorts of weather. I drive less than a mile, pull into the parking lot (often into the last empty space), and race to the door, usually just in the nick of time.
Then, we're on our feet raising our voices in praise to Jesus Christ, Who set us free from our own tendency to make wrongheaded choices, and Who grants us forgiveness for our poor decisions. We listen while the minister, with Bible in hand, preaches a message to encourage us to live out principles that the world around us doesn't understand or support. We are sent on our way with an uplifting blessing and the last verse of a final reassuring song.
These days, joining in the praise and worship, I understand Albert a bit better. He couldn't wait to get to church to spend time with his Lord and Redeemer. Now I feel that way, too.
I don't really know precisely when this thirst to be in God's presence grew within me, but I can trace it to a prayer meeting when I was prayed for during a difficult pregnancy. The peace that passes all comprehension descended upon me and has never truly left me since. I may have ignored the Holy Spirit's nudges from time to time, and downright done my own thing, only to come crawling back on my knees, but He never left me.
These days, I crave going to church on Sundays. Worshipping Jesus is the highlight of my week, and I can hardly wait to get there. Guess I've become a bit like Albert.
1 John 4:9,19 – This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. We love because he first loved us. (NIV)
With hearts overflowing with God's grace, let's love and encourage one another each and every day, but especially on Sundays.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the joy that You give us when we come together to worship You. We're often blown away by Your presence among us. Thank You for stooping down to our level in order to lift us up into Your loving care, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.