I picked up “The Importance of the Local Church” by Thomas C. Terry, when he was visiting at our church some time ago. I had actually purchased several of his books and just got to this one. I plan on passing it on to someone who really needs to hear this truth. This is a great Biblical book that explains why we need a good local Church and our attendance, the importance of a sound Biblical Pastor, and how to find one. There are loads of scriptures to back up everything Pastor Terry says. I think it is a must read for every born again believer. I give this book 4 stars.
Really, what does He want? You could ask dozens of people and get dozens of different answers. Those answers would range from- obedience, praise and worship, money (tithes and offerings), time, energy, loyalty, attention, commitment, and the list could go on. All of those things are true, but doesn’t that make God sound like some ego-maniacal, dictator who lounges on a throne demanding attention and glory? Who wants that for a Father?
Simply put, God wants you. I know cliche. But He wants your heart. He asks all of those other things from you because those things benefit us. Let’s break this down a little. God doesn’t need your money, but He asks us to give 10% (tithe for the running of the Church and the support of the staff) and offerings (to help others), because He knows that “if we give, it will be given back to us”. (Luke 6:38). Also when we give to God, He promises to “Open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing” (Mal 3:10). God wants us to praise Him because praise “stills the enemy and the avenger” (Ps 8:2), it makes Satan shut up and stops his actions against us. He asks us to work because He works with us (I Cor. 3:9). He doesn’t sit while we work, in fact “He works while we wait.” We work because the Church toilets need cleaning, those little noses in nursery need wiped. Those things bring us together as a family.
God is love! He doesn’t just possess, show, or talk about love, He is love. It is the very nature of God (I John 4:7). That’s why He loves everyone. He loves the drug addict, the prostitute, the serial killer, the child molester, everyone! But don’t be deceived they are not His children, or part of His family. His children are the ones who have surrendered their lives to Him. Those are the ones he promises to take care of. Because He is love and He wants all to be His children, He asks us to work together with Him to build His family. He doesn’t want this love to remain one sided. What does it benefit them if He loves them, but they never experience love for Him? Those others who have Satan as their father (and they don’t even know it), they need to be reached. They need to know God’s love. How can they be reached if we aren’t co-laboring with Christ.
Our ‘work’ for God, those things all mentioned in the first paragraph, and any other thing God may have asked of us, should come out of our love for God. If they are coming out a sense of obligation, duty or fear, the motivation is wrong. Even worse if they are coming out of self-righteousness and pride, it’s going to be harmful to you instead of helpful. What motivates your work? It’s easy to “grow weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9) if we have the wrong attitude. I know I’ve been there. I’ve screamed in my head, “What do you want from me!” on more than one occasion. I had allowed the thoughts to take root in my heart that I was doing so much for him already, but that somehow that wasn’t enough, that He was demanding more. That I was lacking. Those are just a bunch of ugly lies, God doesn’t demand, we have a choice. At my worst moments of fear, illness, weakness and depression, God patiently reminded me that He loved me, that He wasn’t asking for a slave (being forced), but that He wanted a daughter who served from a heart of thankfulness and love. I had gone back to Egypt (slavery) when He wanted me in the Promised Land (a place of rest, provision and peace).
God showed His love for us through the ugliness and the shame on the cross. Jesus not only poured out His life’s blood on that tree, but also His great love and longing for us. When we know Him, (not know about Him with our reasoning mind, but know Him intimately in our hearts), we understand what He wants. He wants a relationship with Him, two way conversations, and fellowship. He wants us to spend time with Him, not in work or service but in relationship. Get these pictures in your head. First think about how you feel when your child obediently cleans their room, to the best of their ability. Now think of your little one sitting on your lap, with each of their little hands on either side of your face, looking into your eyes, and saying “I love you”. Which one touches you more?
Sure their room needs cleaned and we have to teach them responsibility, it’s for their own good after all (sounding familiar?), but first we want their love. The Church needs cleaned, bills need paid, and the lost need reached. But first and most importantly we need to accept God’s love for us, and love Him back, build a better relationship with Him. We don’t do that by work, but by sitting in His lap. All of those other things will get done and with the right motivation. Sounds easier, freer, and way more fun!
“Yes I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3
Do you hear the Bridegroom calling for His bride?
The Father is calling all is prepared, the table is set.
The Holy Spirit is calling, the wedding garments are ready.
Can you hear the bride calling?
Are you ready?
Are you washed in the blood?
Is your lamp full of oil?
Are your garments without spot or wrinkle?
“And the Spirit and the Bride say, come.
And let them that heareth say, come.
And let them that athirst come.
And whosoever will, let them take the water of life freely.”
Worldly love is backwards. Yep, backwards. When we love someone in the natural the more we get to know them, the more intimate we become, the more comfortable we get. The good side is that we can be ourselves. The bad side is that familiarity breeds disrespect. We love our parents, spouses, sibling, children and friends. Most of those we spend at least 18 years living in the same home! We have seen “the good, the bad and the ugly!” Because of that we begin to take them for granted, maybe loose respect and lots of times judge them on their faults, frailties and failures. Hopefully we continue to love (after all love is a CHOICE). God spoke to me this week and said, “Don’t love Me like you love them.” I got the reason why, because worldly love is very shallow and I know He wants more. But I was stumped. Finally I asked Him, how do I love You different than I love my family. (This is where the backwards part comes in), He said, “get more intimate with me”…after that I had the whole “WHAT???” going thru my mind. In His vast patience, He explained. In drawing closer to God, thru prayer, praise, His word, fellowshipping, etc. we get to know Him better. This however can never breed disrespect! There is no “bad and ugly” with Him only the “GOOD!” The more we know Him, the more we respect Him, stand in awe of Him, and the more we want to discover and know about Him. The great part is no matter how long we know Him, we never really know Him. There is more to find out, and we can still be ourselves! In the world, we begin to finish each other’s sentences; can pretty much predict the next word and behavior. Not with God. When you think you have Him figured out, He’ll do something AMAZING! I have decided to do what He has asked, to get to know Him better, but also to try and love “them” the way I love God.
Originally written July 2010
God is so “involved” in my life. He proves it again and again. Yesterday I was looking for the lyrics to some songs I had written years ago, and instead found a prophecy for myself and one for my daughter from 1995. I typed them into my new computer and printed off copies for us both. Mine talked about pretty much everything I’ve gone through physically, since that day and God’s promise to deliver me from it all! At Church, the next week, Apostle Bill preached about prophecy. One thing he said was, “We fight our warfare by the prophecies that have gone out before us!” No coincidence there! If I had not put the 1995 prophecy away, (I had kept it somewhere obvious for a long time, but eventually it got stuck away in a notebook) had I studied it and pondered it in my heart, I never would have lost hope a few months ago, the way that I did. God gives us what we need! He truly does! We just have to be faithful! I have several old prophecies on tape and some more recent ones on CD. I’m gonna hunt them all down and type them up, and “rehearse them” until they are stuck in my heart! Yesterday morning I woke up with heart racing and stomach sick, I did not have the strength to fight, I went through the motions of rebuking and confessing, but my heart was not in it. I drifted back to sleep and when I woke up I remembered a message from a few weeks ago about prophesying over myself. I got out of bed, came downstairs and started praying in tongues, next I started shouting, (yes the first 30 seconds felt stupid, and I was thankful that my window were shut), but then something just welled up in me! I did business with my flesh! I did business with the devil, and I loved on God! I did some groaning and weeping in the Holy Spirit and when all was said and done, I had peace like a blanket over me. Then last night at Church when asked “who wants to prophecy” I couldn’t sit still! I had just experienced it, that day in such a great way in my own life! I did not have some great word, for the man I spoke over, but I was obedient! Man did that feel good! What has God been speaking over you? What did he promise in the past? Maybe you’ve never had a personal prophecy over yourself…well open your Bible, find some promises of God, and DECLARE them over your life! What do you want changed in your life? Rom 4:17-18 NKJV “in the presence of Him whom he believed — God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;” We need to call into existence what we need! Don’t speak about your debt, call forth finances! God said, “wealth and riches are in my house!” Don’t complain about your physical symptoms! Call forth Divine Health! God says, “By the stripes of Jesus’ back I have been healed!” Call forth what IS NOT, as though IT IS! Let’s be honest, we don’t have that much more time left on this earth, we need everything God has for us to be a light unto a dying world, to walk in the abundance God wants for us so that we can help the needy, and to stand and having done all to STAND THEREFORE! I’m still learning, thank God! Every day He brings me up higher and higher! Won’t you allow Him to do the same for you?
“It does not take a perfect church to introduce a man to the perfect Christ.” -Richard Woodsome
Ok, so the title is deceiving, because there is no “Perfect Church,” at least in our eyes. To the Father, the Perfect Church is His children, who love Him with all their hearts, growing His Family. We are human. Period. We have our good days and bad days. We can be the most wonderful person you ever met, and the next day is a pain in the neck. Truth. However, if we walk in love, forgiving each other our faults, and errors, then we can still fulfill God’s purpose for His Church here on this messed up place. We don’t have to be perfect to serve God. Look at Peter, David, Moses, the list goes on, they were by no means perfect, but all were used mightily by God. (For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” NKJV I Corinthians 1:26-31) It’s pretty simple. I am foolish, weak and base, so God will use me! We cannot leave the Church because there are imperfect people there. A wise man once told me that if there was a perfect church as soon as he started attending, it wouldn’t be perfect anymore! We also cannot use our faults and failures as an excuse to stop serving God, or to not even start. Our imperfections should drive us to lean on the “Perfect Christ”! Next time the enemy, whether it is your own flesh, or the devil, tries to tell you that you are messed up, just tell them to SHUT UP! And keep doing whatever it is that Our Father has asked us to do. Walk in the strength of the Holy Spirit, and trust Him to lead you rightly.