The Encourager

The Encourager

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Could You Sign Your Name to This?

Saturday, August 28, 2021

COULD YOU SIGN YOUR NAME TO THIS?

 

(Editor’s Note: This is not original with me in fact I have no idea who wrote this. But it hit a nerve when I read it. So, I wanted to share it with everyone else. All I ask is that you read it and contemplate whether you would do as the title suggests. Could you sign your name to a letter such as this, to God? Jeff.)

 

Dear God in Heaven,

 

I want to write to you and let you know why we don't attend the worship services of the church faithfully. You have chosen for your day a day that comes at the end of a hard week when we are all tired out. Also, it comes just after Saturday night and that is the night, we feel we should enjoy ourselves and take in a movie or ballgame or a party and it is usually after midnight when we get to sleep. You have chosen the very day that we need to sleep late, Too, my family demands a big Sunday dinner and when I get up so late, I can't get all this prepared and make it to Bible Study and preaching. John likes to read the Sunday sports page and the kids want to read the funnies. I mean no disrespect, but it seems to me you picked the wrong day.

 

Then, too, we must think of John. He works so hard all week and Sunday is about the only day he has to catch up on odd jobs around the house. I also feel that he should have one day a week to sleep, fish, golf or visit the folks. Please try to understand and don't hold this against us.

 

Last Sunday we meant to go to worship but had company. The Sunday before, we meant to go but it was raining. I was telling John last night that we just had to get straightened out and get back to worship or people would think we had quit. You know how people are to talk.

 

I wanted to tell you all these things so that you could see our viewpoint and know that it is really our fault we do not go to worship. And don't think we do not love you, dear God, for we do. We love the church too, and have been faithful members for years, and we expect to die in it and go home to glory.

 

Faithfully yours,

Minnie Saints

Careless City, U.S.A.

"Goin' to Church" - Tim Ruffin

Saturday, August 21, 2021

“Goin’ to Church”

by Timothy G. Ruffin

 

    The priest’s scarlet sash soaked in blood as bodies and bulls crowd the court.

The scene is tragic, souls are broken, and the sin is real. Day after day, the man is constantly reminded of his sins, his suffering, and his shame. Year by year, as he approaches the altar, the bloody scene is always the same. The Law, with its sacrifices and offerings had so many demands. Could this truly be God’s eternal plan?

     In his exhortation, the Hebrew writer says, no, absolutely not. The Law, was but a shadow of the good things to come, but the true form of these realities is seen in Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:1)—Christ the Creator (Heb. 1:2), Christ the Savior (Heb. 1:3), Christ the Son (Heb. 1:4-5), Christ the King (Heb. 1:6-8). We now, enter not into an Earthly Temple, but into a Heavenly Sanctuary (Hebrews 9 & 10).

We now, come not through the blood of bulls and goats, but through the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:4). Now, we no longer have a High Priest with limited access to the presence of God, but One, who has passed through the heavens, and has sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3; 4:14). Now, we no longer have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One, who in every respect, has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

With confidence, Sunday after Sunday, as we gather together in Jesus’ name, we are led into the Throne Room of God and we worship; we praise, we glorify, we magnify, and we laud His precious name with Psalms, hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Ephesians 5:19).

    We offer prayers and supplications to God with loud cries and tears (Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 5:7). We break the bread, we drink of the cup, and we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26). Sunday after Sunday as we meet in sweet communion—men, women, and children—red, yellow, black, and white, gather together, holding fast the confession of our hope, considering how we may stir one another up to love and good works, as long as it is called, “today” (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24).

    On the first day of every single week, Christians from all over the world, go to church. Growing up, I never needed an alarm clock. I woke to light. Sunday mornings, I would be dead asleep and my dad would walk into my room, flip on the lights, and all of a sudden, like creation... “There WAS light.” My dad was intimidating, so I would ask my mom, “Where are we goin’, momma?”

“We goin’ to church!”, she would say. My mother would get me and my two brothers, one of whom is special needs, dressed and ready, my dad would fix breakfast, we would all get our Bibles, get in the car, and go to church.

Unless we were on our death beds, (and I’m still not sure that was an exception), we would all be in church; no “if’s”, “and’s”, or “but’s”.

    As a kid, I did not truly understand the concept of “going to church”. I just knew, when I was there, I needed to sit down, shut up, and listen to the Preacher (Perhaps that's why I became one). It wasn’t until I got much older, that I realized the significance of going to church. Going to church, is not about getting dressed, going to a building, and filling up a pew. “Going to church” is all about God.

When we sing, we are praising God. When we pray, we are expressing our faith in God. When we sup, we reflect on the gift of God. When we exhort, we show the love of God. When we give, we share in the work of God. Going to church is not about me, and what I can get, going to church is all about God and what I can give Him. Today, as I think about our current situation, I am so glad that I, and so many of you, have had people in our lives who have inspired and impressed upon us the importance and the value of going to church.

    Now, more than ever, we as a community of God’s people, understand, “church” is not a building. The church is the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31), the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33) —the Pillar and the Buttress of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Under this present distress, it thrills my soul to see the love, the respect, the fear, the appreciation, and the adoration that so many of you have for the Lord. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

 

“Through the church, the manifold wisdom of God ~is~ made known to the rulers and to the authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus, our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.”

Ephesians 3:10-12

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