Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB
(24) and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, (25) not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
I’d like to really encourage you right now on the importance of the fellowship with other believers! Over the last few months, our attendance at Boomerang has been very good, so it is a good time for me to mention this without someone thinking I’m talking about them! 🙂 Following this is a story & 2 testimonies from some people that highlight my point. I hope you enjoy!
A few months ago, my good friend, Pastor Larry Wilkins, & I were having lunch together. He pastors Growing Family Church, and is here in Albemarle also. We were discussing trends in church attendance & the short version went like this:
Pastor Larry: Recently we have been watching attendance numbers so that we can be more effective in our ministry. In the process we have been looking for trends to explain why people miss church services. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why people miss or when people miss with the exception of one thing…
Me: (I start smiling because I think I know exactly what the one thing is…) What is it?!
Pastor Larry: The only thing that we have noticed is that on days when attendance has been lighter, it has coincided with messages that I have considered to be the most powerful.
Me: I KNOW! (beaming, because I now know of somebody else who has noticed this!)
And it has been true with us as well. The days that I have had a message or teaching that I KNEW would really set some people free into the full life that Jesus has for them, were the days that people would all of the sudden have excuses that would keep them from church. At first I thought this was just coincidence, until I saw it happen over & over & OVER & OVER again. I started to recognize the devil’s plan. My goal in this post, is to make sure that if you haven’t noticed this before, that you would start to recognize it for what it is: a deception ploy to keep you from the freedom that Christ has for you!
See if this sounds familiar to you:
A lady at the church was on her feet a lot on a Saturday. She woke up on Sunday morning & her feet were in much pain. She debated on going to church that morning & eventually decided that she was just going to stay home that day. Well of course, the devil does not leave that decision alone. A little while later, he had piled coals of condemnation on her for not going to church. Now she was still in pain AND now felt miserable in her mind as well.
Isaiah 40:31 KJV
(31) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
A week or two later, this same lady had endured a long week of work & we had a Ladies Conference at the church on Saturday. She woke up Saturday morning feeling completely drained & really did not feel like going at all. BUT, she decided to go anyway. She got there early that morning, helped serve the ladies that attended all day long & absorbed the Word that was preached. She told me later that when she got there, she felt bad & by the time she left, she was completely restored, refreshed, encouraged & physically felt great!
This is the type of life we can have when we are obedient to God’s Word & don’t let go of it!
Proverbs 4:20-22 NASB
(20) My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. (21) Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. (22) For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body.
At the present time, each Wednesday at the church we have a bible study at noon. Another lady that has been interested in coming to the bible study, has had almost every kind of event just so happen to pop up at her Wednesday lunch times. I was laughing last week as she told me of the plans she had made to come to the study, when a friend had called & invited her to lunch. Finally, she had come to the realization that she was going to have to do what was necessary to purpose herself to go to the study if she was ever going to make it. It really was humorous to hear her story of having to explain herself to her friend because of the strength of the “NO.” that she had replied with. She had determined to put the Word of God first & she KNEW she needed to feast on the Word that day & in future days.
Besides the friend, she also had been attacked with a slight headache that had then been persisting for many days. Once she arrived at the class, we all said our hellos & she mentioned her headache. I personally am not fond of attacks on people that are my friends, nor do I like distractions when we are seeking to place God & His things in the highest of esteem. So before we began, my wife & I read a few scriptures on healing with her & prayed for her.
Yesterday, I received the email with the testimony… Headaches gone – Healed for 5 days now! Praise God! His Word is true!
I wanted to relay these testimonies to you because I want you to recognize the attacks when they come so that you can stand in faith & win! When your body or the devil screams at you the loudest to try & hold you back from what God has said to do, that is the time to fight him by obeying the Word of God. Fellowship with other believers is not just a good idea, it really is a command from the Lord AND it bears some GREAT FRUIT! Set your mind now, that when the excuses come, you will NOT give into them, but will do what needs to be done!
The only value of an excuse is it’s ability to hold you back from what you should do or be doing. Don’t give an excuse power by using it!