4 Reasons To Attend Worship

In recent days there has been some discussion on facebook about a quote from the Christian hip hop artist Toby McKeehan, better known by his stage name TobyMac.

Some have suggested his quote as posted above implies that the only reason we attend church is to worship God. Others have opined that we are also there for fellowship. And so the discourse ensued, debating and discussing the purpose of our worship assembly.

The Bible reveals at least 4 valid reasons for attending church services.

(1) Worship Exalts God.

I would agree that our primary purpose in attending church is to focus on the object of our worship–God Almighty. The Psalmist penned, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Ps 34:3).

Jesus told the Samaritan that God is seeking true worshipers who “worship Him” (Jn 4:23-34). God is worthy of our worship because He is our Creator. He is holy. Eternal. Immutable. Omniscient. Omnipotent. Omnipresent. And present in our worship services.

(2) Worship Elevates My Spirit.

While worship is not all about me, when I come before God in true worship my spirit is raised and ennobled as I experience the presence of God and the joy of worship. David spoke regarding the joy of going to worship when he wrote, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Ps 122:1).

How can we not experience a joyful feeling when we obey Jesus’ command to “worship God in spirit and in truth”? Worship demands both the heart and head. It engages our intellect as well as our emotions.

When worship becomes a rote, ritualistic, and routine experience something is wrong. And the first place to examine is our own heart. It is possible to go to a place where God is worshiped and not worship.

For worship to be a joy, I must see it as essential to my spiritual well being. Critical to my relationship with God. And indispensable to my Christian walk.

Continue at: https://thepreachersword.com/2019/06/13/4-reasons-to-attend-worship/

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How To Resist Temptation

Chuck Swindoll, in Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, tells a story about a father concerned about the danger of a nearby canal, ordered his son, “Don’t swim in the canal.”

“OK, Dad,” he answered.

However, later that day he saw his son coming home carrying a wet swimsuit.

“Where have you been?” demanded the father.

“Swimming in the canal,” answered the boy.

“Didn’t I tell you not to swim there?” asked the father.

“Yes, Sir,” answered the boy.

“Why did you?” he asked.

“Well, Dad,” he explained, “I had my swimsuit with me and I couldn’t resist the temptation.”

“Why did you take your swimsuit with you?” he questioned.

“So I’d be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted,” he replied.

This story illustrates that too often we fail to take precautions against temptation to sin. In fact, sometimes we do things that make giving in to temptation easy. Regarding this problem, the apostle Paul issued this warning in Romans 13:14.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Continue reading: https://thepreachersword.com/2019/06/07/how-to-resist-temptation/

3 Lessons from a Vineyard Farmer about Your Growth

In John 15 when Jesus told His disciples that He is the true vine and they were the branches, He assured them that those who abide in Him would produce fruit because of their connection to Him. Judas, His betrayer, had already departed and thus proved to not really belong to Jesus – to be a branch that was removed. And Jesus promised that those who remained would be pruned.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. [John 15:1-2]

I don’t always like this verse because I don’t particularly like to be pruned. Admittedly, I am often comfortable with my current level of fruit and there have been times where the pruning has felt like too much.

I asked a farmer I know about this passage. He owns a large vineyard and sells to forty different wine companies. I better understand the illustration now. Here are three lessons from a vineyard farmer about how God grows us spiritually:

1. Pruning is necessary for this season AND next season.

The farmer told me that pruning causes the branches to bear fruit in the current season and the following season. Future fruit is the result of today’s pruning.

Read more: http://ericgeiger.com/2019/06/3-lessons-from-a-vineyard-farmer-about-your-growth/

Maintaining Spiritual Health Throughout Life

Committed younger Christians often manifest considerable enthusiasm and exertion in their personal devotion, obedience and service to Jesus. It’s a joy to see them running their spiritual race with such eagerness and discipline.

Faithful older Christians who have been in the spiritual race for a lot of years are an inspiration to watch as well. They may no longer have the high levels of physical energy and emotional intensity that they possessed in younger years. They may need to pace themselves a bit more slowly. But they still have a strong desire and determination to maintain a close personal relationship with the Lord, to honor Him through their habitual obedience and to be useful to Him through their steady service.

To all committed Christians, younger and older, I say, “Good for all of you! Way to maintain good spiritual health and diligence in the various areas of your Christian walk. With God’s gracious, ongoing encouragement and enablement, let’s all continue to do so through the whole course of life’s journey.”

Read the whole blog: http://vancechristie.com/2019/05/28/maintaining-spiritual-health-throughout-life/

Awaken The Dawn

My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Wake up, lyre and harpI will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.
Psalm 108:1-5

Relate: The drums start at 2:20. Most years I ignore them the first day or two and then I have grown used to them enough that I sleep right through them for the rest of Ramadan. Not this year. This year I have been up with those drums and had my breakfast and prayer time a few hours earlier than normal. Let’s be honest, I have not always stayed up the entire time. More than once I have been back in bed around 5 AM and getting a couple more hours in before it is time to start my day “for real”.

Read more at: https://theriverwalk.org/2019/05/12/awaken-the-dawn/

Three Ways to Steward Your Mind in an Age of Deception

By Dr. Scott Rodin    

Is your mind ready for whatever God may be calling you to do?

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Six weeks ago I decided to take a ‘Social Media Fast’. I did so because reading through the posts was stirring up too much frustration and at times, jealousy toward others I admire. I pondered the benefit of the experience and found no good reason to continue with a few personal accounts. The results have been unquestionably positive on my attitude and outlook.

This experience got me thinking about how we steward what we allow to enter our minds. There is an old computer programming adage that goes, ‘garbage in, garbage out’. That is, the output of any program is dependent upon the quality of the inputs you start with.

Scripture has much to say about the way we steward our minds. Consider the following.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

“We have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16

Read the rest: http://thestewardsjourney.com/three-ways-steward-mind-age-deception/

“Ten-Minute” Steps To Strengthen Your Walk With God

~ Lawless

Almost all of us, if not all of us, can find ten minutes a day to focus on God. In fact, we can likely find several “ten-minute segments” to devote to Him throughout the day—which means that we can grow in our walk with Him a little bit at a time. Start here: plan to use ten minutes each day this week to do one of these tasks:

  1. Read a couple of chapters of the Bible. You don’t have to read a whole book in a single setting. I’d rather you read consistently for ten minutes each day than read once a week for an hour.
  2. Pray for a few non-believers. Focus on them, and ask God to turn their blinded minds (2 Cor. 5:3-4) to Him. Ask Him to send someone—including the possibility of you—to speak the truth to them.
  3. Meditate on your blessings. Do what the old-fashioned hymn told us to do: “Count your many blessings; name them one-by-one.” My guess is that this simple exercise will pick up your entire day.
  4. Tell somebody how good God has been to you. Ask a co-worker, a fellow student, a neighbor, or a family member for permission to tell your story – and gladly jump into it when you find a willing listener.

The rest are at: http://chucklawless.com/2018/08/ten-minute-steps-to-strengthen-your-walk-with-god/