worship

Make Some Room

Are you making enough room for Christ in your life? Years ago when our kids were young, we would gather with my brother and sister and their families and pile in at my parent’s house for the holidays. My mom’s policy was—and still is today—“we will make room.” What that looks like to me is sleeping on an air mattress on the kitchen floor under the table. I remember like it was yesterday because that mattress had a pin-hole leak, and in the middle of the night the heaviest person on the mattress touched the cold floor first—that was me. The “we will make room” policy was great in theory, but practically, that was a rough night. The heart behind the policy was to do whatever was needed to be done so we could all be together. The willingness to make more room for Christ in our lives should be in our hearts, but often we make little to no room for Him. Let me ask you, what could you do to make more room for Christ? Your schedule is full and the demands aren’t going away, but the Lord deserves more room in our lives. God has made room for us in heaven, so do whatever it takes to make room for Him in your life here and now. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Make more room for Jesus!

Back Roads

When I arrived at the church this morning, I noticed the New Creation ladies were already there doing their Bible study.  Instead of going in, I sat in the parking lot for a while and then decided to go for a ride on some back road in the country.  In my younger days those rides on the back roads never led to anything good, but were a route taken to avoid getting caught doing what I shouldn’t have been doing.  But what a blessing this morning to get out and go a backroad route and listen to the worship music slowly paving my way.  I was so blessed that I just started praying out loud to the Lord over the music, and before I knew it, I got caught on the back roads.  It was the Lord who jumped in the truck with me as I was praying for different people and the things they were going through in life.  And what I discovered is that Jesus Christ is on the back roads.  He doesn’t need a cathedral or a nice chapel, but only an atmosphere He feels welcomed and wanted in.  There were two men in the Bible who Jesus found on the back roads.  They were headed home to Emmaus on the day rumors were circulating that the body of Jesus was missing from the tomb.  In Luke 24 it says,

“Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.”  

I don’t know, it seems a little strange to me that Jesus would take the time to go for a seven mile walk with two men who had given up their hopes in Him.  It’s strange, too, that Jesus could have taken the main road into the streets of Jerusalem, but stayed on the back roads.  He patiently walked with the two all the way to Emmaus, and would have kept going, except they insisted He stay with them.  As a result, their eyes were opened to the Lord and they immediately returned to Jerusalem.  This should give us some encouragement today knowing that there are those walking and riding on the back roads of life who can have an encounter with the Savior of the world.  There is hope for people in the back woods and on the back roads, because even there He will show up and touch their lives.  Those two headed to Emmaus were on the back road of unbelief, but Jesus saw them, joined them, and restored their faith in Him.    

Don’t Fall

Idolatry is still a thing, and you may not think you have a problem with it, but the part about you being human means you probably struggle like most people. Idolatry takes place when something or someone comes between you and God. Idolatry takes place when God takes second place in our lives. Our lives will always be ordered by the objects of our worship. There are idols of entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with wholesome entertainment, but when the majority of our time, energy and efforts are spent somewhere else instead of on the things of God, it’s a problem. The pursuit of worldly riches and the pursuit of popularity completely robs followers of Christ of the blessings of an idol-free life.

Idolatry is not ok, and it’s something we should constantly be examining in our lives. It’s crazy to even consider this, but some people idolize other people and some people idolize themselves. No one should worship the ground you walk on, and if someone does, you should stop their worship instantly. God alone is worthy of your worship! You can appreciate and be thankful for the people in your life without crossing the line of idolatry. This was the problem with many of the Hebrews coming out of Egyptian bondage. They had been surrounded by physical idols and had only heard of God, the Father of creation. Let’s admit that it’s easier to worship what you can see and touch, but we can admit also that worship doesn’t require faith. Here’s what God’s word says about man-made idols. “Their idols [are] silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; [So is] everyone who trusts in them. O Israel, trust in the LORD; He [is] their help and their shield.” Psalm 115:4-9. The apostle Paul said, “Flee from idolatry.”

To not fall before an idol you must live a disciplined life, because even today you are surrounded by them. Don’t fall for them. Worship the One True and Living God!

Riverside Prayer

And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met [there.]”.         Acts 16:13

Some things should compel you to pray more than at other times.  The apostle Paul’s instructions were to never place the “Amen” on the end of prayers, but to “pray without ceasing.”  In this time of uncertainty and fear because of the pandemic and imposed global orders to stay at home, our prayers should be on the rise and never ending.    Those women mentioned in Acts 16:13 were in a prayer group encouraging one another and seeking the Lord.  It says nothing of a pandemic, but only a faithfulness to come together and pray.  So this suggests the question, are you in a prayer group?  How much praying to God is taking place in your home?  Is your prayer life on the increase?  Did you know that how much time you spend in prayer is one of the number one indicators of what you believe?  

It was when prayers were offered to God by the riverside that a woman named Lydia opened her heart to the truth of the gospel.  She worshipped with a closed heart until she heard the truth proclaimed by Paul.  How many people do you think are just like Lydia, in a prayer group worshiping God with a closed heart?  I would estimate many have been in our midst knowing they need to open their hearts to Christ.  It says, “The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” Acts 16:14

Prayers were being made, the gospel was proclaimed, and God opened Lydia’s heart.  You need to believe that your prayers are moving mountains and that there is so much power when we come together to pray.  Right now is a great time to start a prayer group ministry with two or three or five people.  Someone has to lead in prayer just like someone led those women to the riverside to pray.  Why not you?  Step up to the mountain of fear that’s stopping you, gather some people with you and start praying and seeking God’s face.  He will meet you at the foot of the mountain, and as you pray, you will get to see the mountain move.  Let’s pray!

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