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The Word For Today

LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (5)

'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves.' 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

Can you imagine God's presence being so real in a Sunday morning service that the pastor doesn't get to preach, the choir and special singers don't get to perform and the deacons can't attend to their duties? It happened in Solomon's temple.
Observe the elements at work in church that day: (1) They confessed their sins. John Owen said, 'He that hath slight thoughts of sin, never had great thoughts of God.' Things that trouble you nowhere else will trouble you profoundly in the presence of God. What kinds of things? Politics without principle, pleasure without conscience, reputation without character, and knowledge without conviction. (2) They humbled themselves. The Bible says, 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble' (James 4:6 NKJV). Humility means saying, 'Lord, I don't have a thing You didn't give me. And everything I'll ever need comes from You.' (3) They prayed; not formal, poetic prayers, but heartfelt prayers of repentance. Here's how God responded: 'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place' (2 Chronicles 7:14-15 NKJV). (4) They gave sacrificially. The people brought 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep, the largest sacrifice recorded in the Bible. When you open your hand to lift the name of God up, He opens His hand to lift you up. But here's the thing: God has a bigger hand!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 23:21 - 26:19; Luke 13:18-35; Ps 119:57-64; Pro 21:7-9

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (4)

'The many parts make up one whole body.' 1 Corinthians 12:12 NLT

The Bible says, 'The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body.' Let's use what may seem like a ridiculous illustration. Imagine your foot no longer wanting to be part of your body and when you ask why, it starts saying things like, 'I'm tired of getting walked on and dragged through the mud. Other parts of the body get off easy, but I have to do the heavy lifting. Nobody appreciates me. They talk about beautiful eyes and hair and lips, but nobody writes songs about feet. So I'm leaving.' When you enquire what your foot's future plans are, it says, 'I'm just going to sit at home and watch Christian TV.'
Now, Christian broadcasting has a very important role in society, especially for those who are shut in and can't get out to church. But when you leave a church without God's permission, you no longer function as He designed you to. You may have peace for a while, but you'll have no fulfilment. And because you are cut off from your spiritual food supply - you won't grow into maturity. 'Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand", that does not make it any less a part of the body...God has put each part just where He wants it...In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary' (1 Corinthians 12:14-22 NLT).
Why should you come back to church? For fellowship, food, function and fulfilment.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 19:1 - 23:20; Luke 13:1-17; Ps 119:49-56; Pro 21:4-6

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (3)

'The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.' 1 Kings 8:11 NKJV

Only when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple and set in its rightful position, which was the central place, did God's glory fill the temple. 'Then the priests brought in the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place...[And] the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord' (1 Kings 8:6, 10-11 NKJV).
There's a lesson here for all of us, particularly those in church leadership. Christ alone must have centre stage! Programmes and promotions are fine but only when Jesus is honoured as Lord, His Word preached and His presence reverenced and relished, will His glory fill the church. Next time you're standing in God's house singing His praise, pause and remind yourself: it's about Him, not me! One day the telephone rang in the clergyman's office at the Washington church President Franklin Roosevelt attended. A voice enquired, 'Do you expect the President to be in church on Sunday?' The pastor answered, 'That, I cannot promise. But we expect the Lord to be there, and that should be incentive enough for a reasonably large attendance.'
Hymnist Fanny Crosby wrote these words: 'Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.' Next Sunday don't just fill the pew, fill God's house with your heartfelt praise.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 16-18; Luke 12:49-59; Ps 119:41-48; Pro 21:1-3

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