Church Clothes

February 14, 2018

Church Clothes

How do we determine what is or isn’t proper attire to wear when we go to church? It is in vain to look in the Bible for any information on the subject.

The Bible does have something to say about what is or isn’t proper attire, but that just refers to when we go out in public. For example, Deuteronomy 22:5 says “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” Also I Timothy 2:9 says “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” The word “modest” in that verse means orderly or of good behavior. There are women who go out in public, especially in warm weather, in apparel that leaves far too much skin showing. When they are dressed that way they are giving men reason to think that they might be willing to indulge in bad behavior. Someone has said “Why are they advertising if they don’t have anything to sell?”

In most churches you will be welcome if you come in casual clothes; that is blue jeans and a sports shirt or blouse. The people in the church will be happy to see you in church regardless of how you are dressed. If a man doesn’t have a suit and tie that shouldn’t hinder him from going to church.

The reason why most people dress up for church is not to make a show of themselves. It is because they hold God in reverence. For them, the church is God’s house. It is showing respect for God if we dress up to go to his house. They may not feel the need of dressing up if they go to the church to sweep the floor and wash the windows. Going to church for a worship service is something different. We are told in I Corinthians 10:31 that we should “do all to the glory of God.”

Sometimes people don’t want to go to church because they feel out of place there because nearly everyone else is dressed better than they are. God’s people should make them feel welcome anyhow. If you can’t afford to buy better clothes, just wear the best you have. If you can afford better clothes, why don’t you go out and buy them? It makes me feel special if I have some special occasions in my life that I dress up for. I feel the same about weddings and funerals.

If you are among those who go to church to see what you can get, you might get more if you go in casual clothes. The proper motive for going to church is to get fed spiritually. Another good reason for going to church is to give. It isn’t what you give in the offering that I have reference to. We give glory to God when we worship him. When we are friendly we are contributing to the well being of those around us. There may be those there who need a word of comfort because they have recently lost a loved one, or are suffering for some other reason.

Those who attend a church should feel like they are part of a family. They share in the joys and heart aches of others. It is a great blessing to be part of a caring family. In a family we are loved, not because of the clothes we wear, but because of who we are. That is just an added blessing that comes from regularly attending a good church.

We all need to have the proper attitude towards church clothes. There may be some who look down on those who don’t dress as well as they do. On the other hand, there may be others who think some people just go to church to show off their nice clothes. I trust this article has helped you have the right attitude toward church clothes.

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Investing In Law Breakers

What is your attitude toward prisoners? Many are of the opinion that Christian workers would be wasting their time ministering to prisoners. Often even their own family members give up on them and say, “He/she will never amount to anything.” They don’t even bother to go and visit them. The divorce rate is high among prisoners.

I would like to come to the defense of prisoners; some of them at least. After a little over three years of working with prisoners, I have found that some of them sincerely want to change and make their life count for something. It is true that some of them have no desire to change and will never amount to anything.

There are some who welcome help they receive from Christian workers. They are lonely and are pleased that someone shows attention to them. They are hurting and willing to accept help. Some go for months without a visit from anyone from the outside. The only friends they have are their cell mates. They are the only ones they can chose from for friends.

Prisoners have lots of time on their hands. Christian workers can give them Bible studies to do. It gives them a good way to occupy their time. The most important lesson for them to learn is the plan of salvation. Then it is a matter of disciplining them. I have a few students who have completed all the six basic courses I have to offer them.

I challenge those who have completed a number of Bible study courses to share their Bible knowledge with their cell mates. I encourage them to seek out those who are depressed and share with them how they can have more reason for living by being a child of God. Sometimes prisoners have trusted in Christ and done several Bible studies. They say “When I get out of here I’m going to start serving the Lord.” I tell them they need to start now, where they are. There are those around them who need what they have and they need to offer it to them.

I have found that the best place to start is at your local jail. There you can ask permission to go to one of the cells and tell the people there that you have something to offer them. Ask them to come up and hear what it is that you have to offer them. With one of the books in your hand tell them that you want to get them started on a Bible study course. Some may go back to their bed, but one or two, maybe more, will stay to listen. Give them your testimony and tell them what a relationship with God will do for them. Get their names and leave the first lesson with them. When you get a few enlisted, you can go to a different cell and seek to enlist more.

After prisoners receive their sentence they are sent to a prison. They often take their studies with them. That give you an inroad to that prison. You can encourage your students to tell others in the prison what they are doing and ask them if they wouldn’t like to do a Bible study also. If some say “yes’ they can send you their name and identification number and you can get them started.

When I talk about investing in prisoners, I’m not talking about the possibility of any monetary remuneration. The remuneration will be in the satisfaction of knowing that you have been used of God to make a change in someone’s life. In fact, you can be used of God to make changes in the lives of a multitude of people. Every answer sheet of a Bible study that is returned to you is an indication that a change has been made in someone’s life. It may be minor. Nothing may come of it, but then there is always the possibility that they will do another Bible study and another. You are giving God a chance to work in their lives.

This isn’t just a ministry for pastors. Lay men and women in churches can also participate in this ministry. It will be a great help if you are in a good church where you can be upheld in prayer by others. You may want to have a partner who can go with you when you go to make visits. Your partner can also help you in grading the lessons you receive. It will demand an investment in time and money. You will need to buy the Bible studies. I put a postage stamp on the answer sheet they need to send back. You will also need to buy envelopes and postage stamps.

Your ministry may go beyond that of prisoners. You may have a chance to also minister to the family members of prisoners. At the jail you may chance to meet family members of prisoners. They are hurting and open to counsel and encouragement. Prisoners doing lessons often request that you enroll their family members in Bible studies.

The Bible study material I use comes from Source of Light Ministries International. The address is 1011 Mission Road, Madison, Georgia 30650. Their web page is www.sourcelight.org. They have a number of courses that are very adaptable to a prison ministry.

If I could be of help to you I would be glad to. My e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net.

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Christian Entertainment Centers

Could it be that some churches have degenerated to the point where they are little more than Christian entertainment centers? Some Christian leaders, in desperation, may think that the only way to attract people and keep them in the church is to entertain them.

Such churches are often called “seeker sensitive churches.” Some Christian leaders have given in to our consumer driven culture. To attract people to fill the pews they offer to give them what they want. What do the people of this world want?

* Many want something big and impressive. They don’t want to be a part of a small church with just a hand full of members. It must be a big church with an attractive building. It must be a church that has made a name for itself in the community.

* For some, a church should include in its schedule a number of social activities with meals, athletic events and discussion groups that deal with social issues.

* There must be entertainment.

* The worship service must include contemporary music. The preaching must be interspersed with a good measure of humor, even drama.

*Instead of formality, the atmosphere of the church should be casual; come as you are and feel at ease.

The leaders of seeker sensitive churches think they will attract people to their churches so they can present the gospel to them and win them to Christ. It may be that occasionally they succeed in doing that, but in so doing they have diverted the church from its biblical purpose. Local churches are to minister to the spiritual needs of people. In I Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul said that the church is to be “the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Many observant Christians have noticed that that which brings people to a church is that which will keep them there. If they come for entertainment, they will stay as long as they are entertained. If they find more and better entertainment elsewhere, they will go there. If church leaders try to attract people to their church and keep them there by entertaining them, they will be in competition with the world. Entertainment is a major business. People can find entertainment in the world. People feel more at ease with the world’s entertainment because it doesn’t put restrictions on cussing and drinking.

A church congregation is like a family. Families do things together. At church the congregation (the family) worships together. They serve the Lord together. They exhort one another. They all share in the work and responsibility. Yes, happy families play together. Is it wrong then for the church family to have fun? Certainly not, as long as it doesn’t take preeminence.

God’s great plan of salvation should be preached in our churches. It is thrilling when someone accepts Christ as his or her Savior in church. We need to invite our neighbors and friends to come to church. They should receive a warm welcome when they come. Churches, however, should cater to the needs of God’s people, not to the unsaved. The Apostle Paul could say “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” That includes much more than just the plan of salvation.

Christians need to go out and reach the lost where they are. Don’t wait for them to come to church to be saved. We need to find ways of making friends with them and winning their respect and confidence. In Philippians 4:19 God promises believers that he will supply their needs. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” To a certain extent, we all have a need for entertainment, but we need to have enough self discipline to keep it within limits. If we are surrendered to God he will guide us to know when enough is enough.

The type of church that Christians chose is an indication of their spiritual maturity. Self centered Christians gravitate toward the churches that are Christian entertainment centers. It isn’t likely that they will ever mature much in that type of church. Spiritual Christians are content in a church that preaches and teaches the Bible and encourages Christians to maintain a close relationship with God. What is your preference?

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God’s Little Messengers

February 24, 2016

                     God’s Little Messengers

By “little messengers” we mean gospel tracts. They are little gospel messengers in paper format.  It is an economical and effective way to share the message of salvation.

They serve as a reminder to people that, if they haven’t trusted in Christ for the salvation of their soul, they need to do so.  Altogether too many in this world are of the opinion that they don’t have anything to worry about because they have lived a fairly decent life and God ought to be satisfied with that.  Some churches even give them reason to have that false assurance.  They desperately need to know that entrance to heaven depends on whether they have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for them.  We don’t go to heaven on our own merits.  Titus 3:5 makes that very clear.  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” We find the same truth also in Ephesians 2:8-9.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:   Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The gospel message is both negative and positive.  The bad news is, “I’m sorry my friend, but you aren’t good enough to go to heaven.” That’s what God’s word plainly tells us in Romans 3:23.  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:10-12 goes on to say, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:   There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” People must realize they are lost before they can be saved.  The eternal destiny of their soul is at stake.  It is serious.  If our presentation of the negative message is too direct it may turn people off.  People don’t like to be told that they are sinners under God’s condemnation.  That is what God’s Word says, however, and a good tract will share the message in the least offensive way.

The positive message is that Christ has paid the price for us. We find that glorious message in Romans 5:8-10.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.    For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” There are many ways of presenting that message.

The positive message regarding salvation should be presented to show how important and necessary it is. It is for our well-being both now and for all eternity.  It should include Scripture references to show that it is required of God.  The steps that need to be taken should be clearly explained so people will know what they need to do.  The need of repentance and a decision from the heart should be explained.

For these reasons, you need to be careful in your selection of tracts to pass out. Do they convey the message you want to give to those who read them?  It may be impossible to find tracts that meet all the requirements.  Some tracts have been printed on cheap paper.  It is more economical, but they may not be as readily received.  Millions of some tracts have been printed and distributed.  Some have been printed in various languages and used in other parts of the world.

We should use discretion as to where we pass out tracts. Store owners may not appreciate it if you pass them out in their place of business.  Sometimes it can be done in restaurants on a limited scale.  Perhaps you could give them to those seated close to you, but don’t go to all the tables where people are seated.  It is always appropriate to give one to the person at the cash register.  A tract can also be left after a meal at the table with a tip for the waiter.

Some Christians get discouraged when they pass out tracts because they see people throw them on the sidewalk without reading them. It is even more offensive when someone tears one up in little pieces and throws it to the wind.  Be that as it may, there are always those that are read.  Some find their way to the recipient’s pocket and are read when they get home.

We seldom see results from the tracts we pass out. We seldom hear of someone who was saved by reading a tract.  We shouldn’t let that discourage us.  They do serve to remind people of the way of salvation and their need of accepting Christ’s sacrifice for their own.

God’s little messengers don’t have hands and feet. They need the help of your hands and feet to get themselves into the hands of those who need to receive their message.  Passing out tracts is something almost anyone can do.  Even children, under adult supervision, can do it.  Sometimes those who receive a tract from us will ask a question.  That gives us an opportunity to engage them in a spiritual conversation and share the gospel with them.  Women often keep some of God’s little messengers in their purse to give to people they meet along the way.

At times we can pass out 100 or more tracts in a few minutes when we find people waiting in line. They are more apt to be read when people have free time.  Tracts should always have the name, address, and time of services of your church stamped on them.  Thus those who read them can find spiritual help if they want to.

In Psalm 68:11 we read, “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” Even greater should be the company of those who distribute it.  Are you one of them?  If not, take a handful of God’s little messengers, and pray that God will guide you as to who you should give them to.  Then pray that they will be used of God to speak to the hearts of those who received them.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

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Help For Hurting People

February 17, 2016

                                     Help For Hurting People

An enormous amount of money is being spent to give relief to those who are suffering from physical and mental health problems.  This article is directed toward those who are suffering because of emotional problems.  They are everywhere and often it seems as though there isn’t anywhere for them to turn. If you aren’t hurting, perhaps you need to help someone who is. An article could be written to warn people of the dangers of illicit behavior, but this one is to offer help to those who are its victims.  They need to know where they can find help.

Some hurting is because of natural causes, but more and more are suffering because our culture has taken us into a pleasure mad society.  Countless numbers have accepted the advice that says “If it feels good, do it.” The fact that something feels good doesn’t make it right.  Many are lacking in discernment.  They can’t see where their escapade in pleasure will take them.  How else can we account for the fact that multitudes are addicted?

The July, 2014 edition of the Whistle Blower Magazine reported that 70 million Americans are taking addictive drugs.  In addition 60 million more have alcohol problems.  That leaves multitudes of hurting people.

Countless others are hurting because of a divorce or a marriage that isn’t functioning as it should.  Many parents are hurting because their children   live an immoral life style.  Sexual promiscuity leaves many ashamed and afflicted with venereal diseases.  Illicit behavior causes stress which leaves many broken in health.

That which has brought our society into this vail of tears is the abandonment of biblical standards.  Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  Some reject the Bible because they say that it has too many restrictions.  Yes, it does have restrictions, but they are for our good.   They deliver us from the suffering that many are experiencing.

If you are hurting there is relief for you. God stands ready to help hurting people.  II Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;   who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”  Also Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

God helps those who are his.  Therefore if you want God’s help, you will need to become a child of God.  Jesus’ sacrifice, when he died on the cross, made it possible for God to forgive your sins and make you a child of his.

Genuine Christians seldom suffer the direct result of an immoral life style.  They still suffer, however, from anxieties and disappointments.  When they do, they have access to a source of relief.  It is found in I Peter 5:7. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” They cast their cares on God, knowing that he doesn’t do anything without purpose or plan.  Job 23:10 says, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” We aren’t told when that “coming forth as gold” will be.  It might be in our life here on earth.  It might be in heaven.  God always keeps his promises.

In part, God’s help to hurting people comes from caring people.  You will most readily find them in a good Bible believing church.  They stand ready to help you. God has prepared and commissioned them to help hurting people.  Don’t be ashamed to let them know that you need help.

Those under the clutches of an addiction may need help they can’t find in a local church.  There are a number of Christian organizations that have professionals who can help the addicted.  One that comes highly recommended is: reformersrecovery.com. On their web site you will find where one of their recovery centers is located.  There may be one close to you.

Why go on hurting when help is available? Seek out a church where the Bible is believed and obeyed.  Even if you have to drive some distance to find one, it will be worth it.

Lord willing, additional articles will appear on this theme. One will warn of the dangers of an illicit life style and another will be an appeal for people to make themselves available as care givers.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

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The Missionary Mandate

January 14, 2016

                                         The Missionary Mandate

          God’s people have been given the mandate to evangelize the world. That involves winning the lost to Christ and organizing them into local churches.  After Jesus resurrection, and before his ascension to heaven, he said, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).  That might seem impossible for us, but God has promised to give us the power to do what he tells us to do.  Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The church wasn’t in existence yet when Jesus gave the missionary mandate in Matthew 28:18-20.  When the church came into existence we find that, in great part, the church has been given the responsibility of reaching the world with the gospel of salvation.  Every local church should make an effort to reach the people around it with the gospel.

Once a church is well established the pastor should lead them in an organized effort to get other churches started.  Churches can plant new churches in other towns, or suburbs if it is a city church.     If there is a couple attending the church that live some distance away, they can open their home for a weekly Bible study.  If they don’t feel capable of teaching a Bible study, it may be that someone in the church would be able to do it.  An effort is then made to invite people around that home to come for the Bible study.  The thought in mind should be that of starting a new church with the group attending the Bible study.

An established church that knows of a home missionary attempting to start a new church in another town within reasonable distance could help him with financial support.  Another thing the church could do for him would be to send a group from the church to do door to door visitation in that town.

Many churches extend their outreach to the far corners of the world by supporting missionaries.  God calls missionaries and sends them out, but they can’t go without financial support.  For the most part, that support comes from churches.  Included in the budget of every church should be money given in the form of monthly support for one or more missionaries.

The sad truth is that we aren’t completing in the work God has called us to do.  There has never been a time in history when it could be said that the church was completing its missionary mandate.  There are a number of reasons for that.

The primary reason for our failure is that there has never been enough churches.  At the same time, there has been a lack of manpower.  We can’t lay the blame on God.   The power is promised to us.  We just haven’t availed ourselves of it.  Some years ago Christians talked about “reaching the world in this generation.” It appears as though most of God’s people have given up on that objective.

The fact that it has never been done doesn’t justify negligence in doing our part.  Instead of looking at the big picture, i.e. reaching the world, we should give consideration to what we can do.

The lack of manpower stems from a lack of surrender to do the will of God.  I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?   For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  We belong to God and he should have a right to do what he wants to with us.  Adolescents need to be exhorted to surrender their lives to God and to seek his will for their lives.  That way God can guide them from an early age in their interests and their studies.  God can then prepare them for what he has planned for them.  God isn’t going to call all of them to be missionaries.  A life surrendered to the will of God is always a successful life.

Another hindrance in completing God’s missionary mandate has always been the undue emphasis Christians place on materialism.  When young people are encouraged to consider the possibility of being a pastor or missionary, one of their first questions most often is, “How much do they get paid for that?” Perhaps the reason for that is the undue emphasis their parents and others place on money.  The materialistic mentality hinders Christians in their giving to the Lord’s work.

Another impediment in our day is the sad fact that many young people are not going on with God.  Part of the blame for that is the indoctrination they are receiving in the public schools.  That should be a concern to us for a number of reas0ns.  (Please see also the following articles on this web page; “Youth Evangelism” under “Christian Workers.”  Also “Is There Not a Young man?” under “Young People”).

Pastors can facilitate the missionary mandate by instilling a love for God’s work in the hearts of the people in their church.  That can be done by keeping the congregation current on what missionaries are doing and what their needs are.  He could also mention them frequently in public prayer. Young couples who surrender to go to a mission field should be held in high esteem. The church should do all they can to encourage and help them.  The congregation should be praised for the money they give to missions, and encouraged to give even more.

One more way of facilitating the missionary mandate is by prayer.  Christian workers need to be upheld in prayer.  Can you name missionaries you are praying for?  Perhaps the elderly and handicapped may be limited in what they can do in the church, but they can uphold and strengthen the hands of missionaries by their prayers.  In Matthew 9:38 Jesus said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

The missionary mandate isn’t given the importance that it deserves.  It pleases the heart of God to see people being reached with the gospel.  If it is your desire to please God, one important way is to give the missionary mandate the importance it merits.

 

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Spiritual Disasters

September 14, 2015

                                                   Spiritual Disasters

“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)

A spiritual disaster is what results when someone starts walking in truth and obedience to the Lord. They started reading the Bible and attending church regularly. Sometimes they were even given some ministry in the church. Suddenly, however, they turn from it and go back to their old ways. Whenever there is a spiritual disaster we always ask, what caused it?

It isn’t always from one day to the next that they drop out. Most often they make a gradual departure. Many times their departure was due to some stumbling blocks. The following are some of them:

  1. There are numerous stumbling blocks for children. Many churches have an active program for reaching children. Some send out buses to pick up children. They are entertained on the bus. When they arrive at the church they are greeted and taught by gifted children’s workers. If their parents aren’t believers, however, their participation in the church can easily be sacrificed for activities that are more entertaining. Sometimes they drop out because of criticism they receive from relatives or friends.                                                  Sometimes unsaved parents begin to realize that   the church is teaching their children to have higher moral standards than they themselves have. Instead of raising their standards, they take their children out of church.                                                    It isn’t unusual for parents to take their children out of church because they want them to participate in athletic events or training those conflicts with the church schedule.
  2. Young people frequently drop out of church rather than face criticism from their peers. They aren’t willing to make the sacrifice of remaining pure.
  3. Materialism draws many away from being followers of Christ. The acquisition of more material possessions takes priority over spiritual values.
  4. Sometimes spiritual disasters occur because people are offended by something a believer said or did. It is unfortunate, but sometimes Christians do, and say, things that can be offensive. Weak and immature believers can easily be offended. Instead of looking at all the obedient Christians, they look at the one or two who aren’t.
  5. Another reason for drop outs is because they failed to maintain a personal relationship with God. John chapter 15 speaks of the need for believers to “abide in Christ.”

My hope and prayer is that these lines are being read by some of you who have departed from the straight and narrow way. The book of Proverbs has much good advice about the way we should take. Proverbs 16:17 says, “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.” My friend, if you realize that you have departed from the highway of the upright, my first recommendation is that you ask yourself if you are certain that you are a child of God. Was there a time when you truly repented of your sin and ask God to forgive you on the basis of the

righteousness that Christ purchased for you when he died on the cross? II Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” I John 5:13 also says that we can know for sure that we are a child of God. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

If you are sure about your salvation you need to pray like David prayed in Psalm 25:7. “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness sake, O LORD.” Then you need to maintain the right relationship with God. John 15:10-11 says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Psalm 40:8 says, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” If the law of God is in your heart, then it will be a delight to do his will.

Those who have strayed from the straight and narrow way are confronted by an obstacle. It is pride. It will be hard for you to humble yourself and admit that you have strayed away. Don’t try to go around the obstacle. You need to face it head on. God says in I John 1:9, quoted above, that he is willing to forgive you. If God’s people are obedient to him, they will also forgive and receive you. Don’t miss the blessing of being reconciled to God and restored to fellowship with God and his people.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reasons For Faithful Church Attendance

            Christians who are negligent in church attendance are depriving themselves of a tremendous benefit.   If you aren’t attending faithfully a good local church, God will be hindered in doing much of what he wants to do for you and through you.  Faithful church attendance is something God expects of us, and it is for our good.  The following are some reasons why you should make it a habit to be in church regularly.

  1. Being in church affords you an opportunity to lift up your voice in praise to God with other believers. God is not unjust in his desire to be worshiped.  John 4:23-24 says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.   God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” God is worthy of being worshiped.   As a result of knowing God personally, our natural response should be a desire to worship him. It is the nature of man to want to worship a higher being.  Psalm 66:1-4 says, “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:  Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.  Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! Through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.   All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name.”  For us, it should be a joy to go to God’s house.  Psalm 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”  Then in Ephesians 5:19 we read, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
  1. Another reason for faithful church attendance is that it affords to us a means of gaining knowledge of spiritual truth and right living. We will never come to the place where there is nothing more that it is beneficial for us to learn.  Micah 4:2 says “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” He who loves God wants to know more and more about him.  He has revealed himself through his Word.  A godly pastor spends hours each week praying, studying, meditating, and preparing messages to preach to his people.  When he preaches to you, it is his desire to lead you to have, first of all the right relationship with God. Secondly he wants you to have a closer relationship with him.  Thirdly, he wants to help you have a good relationship with others.  God wants us to be disciples.  A disciple is a learner.  God has a lot to teach us.  The local church is a place where we are taught.
  1. If you are truly a child of God, then we know that God has given to you a talent, or what the Bible calls a gift. Romans 12:4-8 tells us about the body of Christ.  Verse six of that passage implies that all members of the body of Christ have a talent.  “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.” There is no better place to use your talent than in the local church.  It is there that you can learn how to use it.  The church isn’t the only place where you can use your talent, but that is the most logical place to start.
  1. Another good reason for faithful church attendance is because it is there that you can have fellowship with other believers. You need that.  Fortunate are those who have a host of  good friends.  They enjoy the reality of Romans 12:15. “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”  Your friends are at your side to rejoice with you when you rejoice.  They are also there when you go through a hardship.  I have been reminded of that more than once when I have gone to visit a church member who is hospitalized.  I often found their bed surrounded by their friends from church. Sometimes the nurses demanded that some leave.  On looking around, I noticed that other patients had one or two visitors.  Many didn’t have any.

Some are hesitant about church attendance and church membership because they want to escape accountability.  They want to live their life any way they want to and not have to answer to anyone.  Let me remind you, that’s a dangerous way to live.  If you sincerely want to do right, then you have nothing to fear about being an active part of a good local church.  Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” The next verse tells us that we should not be negligent about assembling ourselves together. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

  1. Last of all, you need to attend church faithfully because, if you are a child of God, it is what he expects of you. You are A.W.O.L. if you don’t.  The local church is something God has provided for you.  If you aren’t attending faithfully, you aren’t in a position where God can work in your life the way he wants to.  I Timothy 3:14-15 says, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:   But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” If you aren’t faithful in church God can’t use you the way he would like to.  If you are a child of God, it should be your desire to know and do the will of God.   “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2).   Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  There is no doubt but what faithful church attendance is God’s will for you.

(See also my article “You Need to be in Church,” under “Local church.”)

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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Are Churches Too Judgmental?

            A justification for not attending church that is sometimes heard is that the churches are too judgmental.  Is that criticism justified?

In this article I’m going to take my place alongside of the one who is making that criticism.  Don’t leave me now, in case you are one of them.  Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” I would like to reason with you.  You have a reason for not going to church.  That is being reasonable.  If you didn’t have a reason for not going you would be unreasonable.  If churches are too judgmental we need to ask, in what way are they being judgmental.  Isn’t that a reasonable question?

Some men think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of the fact that they are living with a woman without having taken the step of marriage.  Are churches justified in their disapproval of common law marriages?  I’m sorry my friend, but that’s the way God says it should be.  Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”  Marriage is a commitment to love and honor your spouse.  It is also a binding legal contract.  It gives stability to the home and family.  The churches come out on the winning side in this argument.

Some women think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of the way they dress.  They want to dress in apparel that gives them sex appeal.  Are churches justified in their disapproval of that?  It appears as though they are, if they take seriously what the Bible says about it.  I Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” As someone has said, “Why are they advertising if they don’t have anything for sale?” Again the churches come out on the winning side.

Some men may think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of their social drinking.  They think they have the Bible on their side because it says in John chapter two that Jesus made wine.  Yes, that’s what is says, but many question whether it was fermented wine.  Most churches rightly think that the path of prudence is to abstain from alcoholic beverages because of the danger of addiction and the terrible damage that is done because of drunkenness. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” It appears as though churches have good reason for their disapproval of social drinking.

Some think churches are too judgmental because they don’t approve of smoking.  Since smoking isn’t mentioned in the Bible, they don’t see why there should be any prohibition against it.  Do you think the tobacco companies are also judgmental because they put on every package of cigarettes a warning that smoking may damage your health?  Churches have prayer meetings.  A frequent prayer request is for healing of the sick.  If someone requests prayer for an uncle who has emphysema, isn’t it also reasonable to pray that he will quit smoking?  The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Aren’t those who are addicted to smoking under the power of cigarettes?  Churches want the best for you.  They feel it is their duty to warn society of the dangers that threaten the wellbeing of people.  Do churches disapprove of anything that is essential to a healthy happy life?

My friend, I have just touched on four things that churches are judgmental about.  Many more could be mentioned.  Could it be that your reason for thinking that churches are too judgmental is because they disapprove of something you are doing, or want to do?  Be reasonable.  Are the churches disapproving of anything you couldn’t live without?

Could it be that you are the one who is too judgmental?  I trust you realize that you have set yourself up as a judge.  You are judging the churches because they are judging you.

Churches without standards are a disgrace.  They have forfeited their reason for existing.  The loving appeal of a good Bible believing church is a warning to escape from judgment. They can’t help but be judgmental.  Their message to the world is a loving appeal for people to be reconciled to God.  Romans 5:9-10 says, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.   For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

My friend, won’t you reconsider your attitude toward churches that are teaching the truth of God’s word?  You need what they have to offer.  Being an obedient Christian isn’t going to deprive you of anything that is for your good.  Psalm 84:11 says, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pastors Work Hard

August 2, 2014

Pastors Work Hard

            You may think that the pastor of a local church has an easy life.  That isn’t true of pastors who are honestly fulfilling their role.  To help you see what all is involved in the work of a pastor we need to consider the example of the Apostle Paul in the church at Thessalonica.  In      I Thessalonians 2:1-20 we see what Paul invested in the church in the short time he was there.

A pastor’s time is well spent.  In verse one Paul said, “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain.”  Our entrance in unto you means the time we spent among you.  He said it was not in vain.  Once my wife and I were visiting a church that was forced to close its doors because of financial reasons.  After the pastor preached his last sermon in the church he walked to a back bench that was unoccupied, sat down, and began to shed tears.  I went and sat by him and assured him that his ministry there was not in vain.  I told him he had touched many lives and had left Christians stronger than they would have been if he hadn’t spent time among them.  I told him that these Christians will go to other churches and be used of God in greater measure because of what he had invested in them.

At times a pastor must face contention.  Paul said, in verse two, that there was much contention.  Not everyone appreciates the work a pastor does.  Christianity is under attack.  The servant of God must be bold, as Paul said he was.  Your pastor is defending your right to live the Christian life. It isn’t easy to face contention.  At times pastors reach a breaking point and say, “I can’t take it anymore.”  Some leave the ministry when they come to that point.  For that reason,    you need to pray for your pastor, encourage him, and defend him when others speak against him.

A good pastor doesn’t exalt himself.  Paul said in verse 5 that he didn’t use flattery.  Flattery is an attempt to make people feel good about themselves.  For example, a pastor could tell his people what good Christians they are.  If they were as good as he would like to make them think they are, he wouldn’t need to be there.  A pastor does need to praise the church and express appreciation for what they do, but not to the extent of flattering them.  The motive behind flattery might be covetousness.  Paul said he didn’t use a cloke of covetousness.  A cloke is used to cover up covetousness.

In verse nine he said, “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”  Much of the work a pastor does isn’t seen by others.  A carpenter, for example, has something material to show for the work he has done.  That often isn’t true of the work of a pastor.  No one sees him laboring in his office.  He spends many hours each week praying, reading, writing, and searching for words to express what he wants to say to his people.  If he doesn’t spend that time, his sermons will be shallow.  He will repeat himself.  His people won’t be fed from the Word of God.

Another segment of a pastor’s time is spent working one on one with people, as seen in verse eleven.   “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.”  People need individual attention.  A good pastor makes himself available to his people 24/7.  People die at all hours of the day or night.

People call upon their pastor when they are under stress.  That is well and good, but we often overlook the fact that pastors also are often under stress.  Paul says that he exhorted and charged them.  People often need to be exhorted to do more and do better.  It is easy to give into the flesh and be lazy and apathetic.  The flesh is weak and often unwilling.  Some people don’t appreciate it when their pastor tries to motivate them to do something they don’t want to do.  The pastor suffers even more stress when he has to face a believer who has sin in his life.  The pastor has to plead with him to repent and turn from it.  Not all are willing to turn from their idols as the Thessalonians did. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”  People in our day aren’t worshiping idols, but they are letting other things occupy the place God should have in their life.

Another word the Bible uses in speaking of pastors is “elder.” That is the word found in I Timothy 5:17 where it says that those who rule well are worthy of double honor.  “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”  The words “double honor” can also be translated double remuneration.  A good pastor is worthy of both double pay and double honor. Pastors don’t rule as a king or dictator.  He is a servant of the Lord, but he does occupy a place of leadership in the church.

Be thankful for your pastor.  He watches over you as a shepherd.  He isn’t perfect; neither are you.  His prayer, and the longing of his heart, is that you might grow spiritually and mature.  If he corrects you for something, accept it graciously and thank him for calling it to your attention.  Fortunate are those who have a loving pastor who cares for their soul and to whom they can go for guidance.

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

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