Daily Devotional – Meeting Together

Logos.com

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

When COVID-19 first came around I wrote that I supported the temporary restrictions on meeting in churches, the assembling together of the saints imposed by the government and was highly criticized for it by many. 

Covid was at the time an unknown entity and I believe then and now the Constitution makes it clear that our elected officials are to,  insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, not just insure our first amendment right to speech and assembly.  

Of course many of our elected representatives are on a Bad Power Trip and have decided that Covid-19 is a catch all excuse to infringe upon our right to assemble, speak and even earn a living; and I have written about that also. 

But enough of them let me address those who claim to be “Christians” and ask you what is your excuse for not returning to the churches that are open across this nation? 

Pew Research has found that 1/2 of those Pre-Covid worshipers now attend strictly online:

Half of regular worshippers have replaced in-person attendance with virtual services amid pandemic

I guess the second question for today is how is this biblically justified? 

The writer of Hebrews here in the 25th Chapter  beginning in verse 19 makes the case that believers in Christ must live a new life one where we can unlike the common folks of ancient Israel enter the Holy Temple. In fact we are encouraged nay admonished to do just that fellowship together.


BREAKDOWN:

Not forsaking –  The Greek word Egkataleipo, translated here as forsaking means to totally abandon, to desert, renounce, give up on. 

the assembling  of ourselves together, – What are we admonished, warned, or counseled not to quit on? The gathering together with fellow saints.  

as the manner of some is; – Some back in the day when this was written were afraid to be seen together for fear of retribution by the Romans. The question needs to be asked how deep was their Faith?  Today (other than those who are at very HIGH RISK) what possible excuse could you have? 

but exhorting one another: – Do have members, friends of your congregation not attending, encourage them.

Maybe your local church is not reopened maybe your in one of those states that still has massive restrictions what can you do? Hopefully your pastor has a plan, gather in small groups in homes for Sunday services.

Maybe your church is closed; how about finding  a church that is open and fellowship with them. I recently traveled some 6000+ miles across America #DiaperRun2020 and stopped at over 12 churches obviously none my home church. I had a great time of fellowship and praising the Lord at each. 

and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. – The day is coming when “Christian” will be a name despised only  below that of “Christ” Himself. More and more hate for anything Christian is spreading across America .  Do you  really want to be that loner then?


APPLICATION:

The life of a true believer is both vertical and horizontal.

That is it is constantly pointing and seeking fellowship with the Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Vertical) Prayer and private communion with God cannot be understated.

 While on earth we also need human fellowship (Horizontal) with like minded believers. You may think you can survive as a “lone wolf” but the bible makes it clear that is unacceptable Proverbs 18:1

 So today’s final question is quite simple, are you Meeting Together in proper Biblical  Fellowship?

Hatred on Display Again

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 10:12 ESV 

Attackers Burn Church to the Ground After It Defies Lockdown, “I Bet You Stay Home Now Hypokrits”

A Mississippi church that is suing to stay open during the coronavirus shutdowns was destroyed by arson Wednesday, according to local officials…
CONTINUED AT SOURCE

 

“I’m A Good Person”

I have over the last 20+ years of ministry heard every excuse imaginable for someone not liking the “Christian” faith or wanting to be associated with the Christian faith. I am sure you have heard them too, things like: 

“Christianity (or any religion) is just a crutch” comes from those who think they got it all together and do not need any ones help.

“My past makes me unworthy” while not as common as others this one has deep rooted guilt for past transgressions and can be very hard to overcome

“I’m not ready to change yet” Oh pity those who use this, for they are truly without excuse. They have an understanding of their sinful nature but love the dark side so much they are unwilling to give it up to soon.

“They are all a bunch of hypocrites” maybe the second most used; stemming from seeing them in bars on Saturday and church pews on Sunday. Or for many young folks that grew up in church it maybe they see any act of weakness on the part of church leaders (human nature) as hypocrisy instead of what it really is sin. Also under this category I hear things like ‘I don’t get a “religion” where you can just go sin and ask for forgiveness and all is okay’ referring to 1 John 1:9.

“I’m A Good Person” I have never killed or …. you have heard the list. Unfortunately they are comparing their standard of good to themselves and not that of the Creator of the Universe.


INTRODUCTION:

MAN IS NOT GOOD – Romans 3:23 all mankind has sinned, Romans 6:23 the righteous punishment for man’s sin is death

WITHOUT EXCUSERomans 1:20 (AMP)  For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. Man can come up with any excuse he wishes but none hold water before a righteous God. 

GOD PROVIDES THE ANSWER – Romans 5:8 God sent His only begotten Son to save mankind. 

Luke 19 10 | The son of man, Cool words, 10 things

Porque el Hijo del Hombre vino a buscar y a salvar lo que se había perdido. (RVR 1960)
CONTEXT:

Here we have the very essence of the Gospel. Jesus’s work at Calvary was for a specified purpose to save sinners, not every sinner as some believe (universalism), but as our text says the lost.

So who are these lost? In this story Luke 19:1-10 Jesus has an encounter with a rich Tax Collector named Zacchaeus. There are some things that need be pointed out here:

v.1-4 Zacchaeus first seeks after Jesus. Like so many we he sought in futility to get close to Jesus but failed.

v.5 Jesus tells Zacchaeus to stop seeking, stop trying on your own to save yourself, I must do the work.

v.6 There will always be naysayers, those with excuses to hate you and and Christ. Here the crowd grumbled at Jesus’s choice to associate with Zacchaeus. They thought him beneath them and so Jesus should ignore him.

v.7-10 Jesus rebukes them not so much in words (at first) but in actions. By going to Zacchaeus house Jesus makes it clear that He did not come to associate with the High and Mighty Holy Rollers, the Pious crowd of the  Pharisees and Sadducees. Remember Jesus’s 7 woes (warnings) to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.

No Jesus makes it clear, Zacchaeus and folks like him, the truly LOST are the reason I came to earth. Because man on his own is not Good enough to save himself from eternal damnation.

APPLICATION: 

I have used this many times, an old Army expression of mine “The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters”  I jokingly say I have heard them all, but God truly has heard the hearts Psalm 44:21 of all mankind. While you may think you are a good person, you will never be good enough to get to heaven on your own

Are you like Zacchaeus today? Making excuses feeling you can seek Jesus on your own terms? The time for excuses is over, the Holy Spirit is pricking at your heart strings and calling upon you to as Paul writes in Romans 10:9-13 (AMP)

… acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile; for the same Lord is Lord over all [of us], and [He is] abounding in riches (blessings) for all who call on Him [in faith and prayer]. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”

 

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 29 March

       SHIRKING RESPONSIBILITY

           I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf            – Exodus 32:24

               As thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone   – 1 Kings 20:40

As an ostrich has wings and flieth not, so some men have a calling but they answer not. – Robert Cawdray

                         He that promised and not performed is in worse case than he that never promised  – Thomas Adams

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent “Walking with God” daily devotional.

Wisdom From the Psalms

March 24

Psalms 31:9
Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

Beverly felt guilty that she had not been to church for so long. Somehow things had gotten so hectic, and church had just kind of slipped away. Her husband worked six days a week, and she worked Saturday nights, so Sunday became the only day they really had together. The more she thought about missing church, the more guilt she felt, and the more guilt she felt, the harder it was to go back. She was thrilled and surprised when the pastor came past and told her how much they had been missed. When she tried to offer an excuse, he told her that he wasn’t there to scold, just to show concern.

We too often let guilt determine what our actions will be, rather than living as forgiven people. The Lord is more than willing to shower His children with mercy and grace. All we need do is ask with a penitent heart. The Lord will forgive us all that we ask.
Prayer: Thank You for Your gracious forgiving love, Lord. I am nothing without Your loving kindness. Hear me when I call out to You, Father, and be with me. Amen.
From: http://www.crosswalk.com