A garland of grace and a crown of beauty. Proverbs 4:9
I’m literally wiping away tears writing this. As a nation, the places that were labeled as “non-essential” now are beginning to open. I literally hated how the word “essential” and “non-essential” acquired new meanings this year. Every single person, every single role is essential in the framework of our lives on earth. I understand why many places were closed nation wide for a designated time, God was able to grab our hearts and show us how to live- He used what the enemy meant for destruction to be a blessing in our lives, so I’m not talking about that. What I hated was how there were people who called themselves “essential” over others who were called “non -essential”. I hate how the world operates in darkness and we as the people follow so easily what others start saying and even doing.
As believers, we say what God says. Period. After all, what does the word believer mean anyway? I believe in Jesus, the son of God, who was the word of God and became flesh for us. The word of God manifesting! So if I am a believer, I believe what God says over what the world says. What does God say about church?
Did you know that there is a motion to keep churches closed across the world? And in this very nation that was built under God? Why? Are their leaders who have labeled churches as non-essential? Is there talk about keeping churches SILENT- keeping churches from being able to sing praises to God in the house of God? Yes… that is happening right now.
If you are a believer, where do you stand on this? Does God say anywhere in the Bible to fear sickness and disease or to be your own protector or to avoid going to church or to not sing Him praise?
So then, why are believers across the world finding themselves saying “oh, I don’t need to go to church. I know God” and “I’m going to keep my church safe by not coming because I don’t want to cause anyone harm in case I have been exposed to disease” and “I don’t mind going to church without having praise and worship time”.
This! This is what has literally brought me to tears! The church! The very church JESUS SACRAFICED His life for saying this! If you have said or thought these things, don’t take offense, instead ask why you are offended? Ask God if you are following His word or if you are being fooled out of your shepherd’s care.
I get it, fear is a spirit that is trying to run rampant in this world. Fear has always been the most powerful tool for the Enemy. Why? Because Faith is the most powerful tool for God’s children to overcome the enemy.
Faith is the CONFIDENCE that what we hope for will actually happen; faith assures us of things we EXPECT and CONVINCES us of the existence of things we cannot yet see.
Fear is also confidence, expecting, and being convinced of things. So fear really could be considered faith. but fear is faith in the world or the god of this world, our enemy and the things that scare us because “it could happen”.
God instructed us “do not fear” and “take heart “over 300 times in the Bible. I saw where some translations have shown 365 times in fact. That means God gave us a verse to overcome fear for each day of the year! Even if 365 times is not agreed upon by the whole church- God made it clear for us, his people, to not be overcome with fear and to find His strength in our heart where He occupies, rules, and reigns.
When you find yourself thinking or saying “I don’t need church”. Can you stop for a moment and think about the deception behind this? Now, I know that the church is people and not a building, but I also know that God instructed us to have a place where we the people gather together in a holy place- where more power is made available! God created people to have connections and those connections are strengthened when together. Same goes for the cells and organs in our own physical bodies!
What about the deceptive reason of I’m not going to go to church because I will protect others…. Can I be real honest here, are you God? Does God need your help taking care of his children? Did you become the good shepherd? Then, let’s not exalt ourselves higher than we are. We were created in God’s image, yes. We have been given the power of God’s holy spirit and the wisdom of God, yes. But we are not God. We find all that we need in God. He is our source. We obey Him alone.
Jesus recognized the enemy in Matthew 16:23, “Get away from me satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s!” . This was not long after Jesus had said “..Upon this rock I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH and all the powers of hell WILL NOT CONQUER IT. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden from Heaven. Whatever you allow on earth will be allowed from Heaven.”
Jesus went on to say “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish thoughts, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it, but if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Matthew 16:24-25.
And if I were to say “I don’t need to go to church”,
1) I would be fooled because a sheep separated from it’s pack is more likely to be devoured, right. 1 Peter 5:1-9, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God [don’t be self sufficient], for He cares for you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.”
2) I would be causing others to stumble. I could cause another believer or even non-believer to believe they don’t need church either. The enemy is sneaky like that. My husband and I both have said we can tell that our lives grow dim if we have missed a couple of church services in a row. Yes, we go to church every time they are open… why? Because we KNOW CHURCH IS ESSENTIAL to our life!
CHURCH IS ESSENTIAL. Why would we even consider the idea that it’s not if we call ourselves the sons and daughters of God? Recognize the enemy sneaking into our lives to steal the only thing that can stop him! The church! The body of Christ!
Jesus said in John 10, “I tell you the truth anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold rather than going through the gate must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize His voice and come to Him. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. After He has gathered His own flock, He walks ahead of them, and they follow Him because they know His voice [do you still recognize the voice of your Lord?] I tell you the truth I am the gate for the sheep…Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go FREELY and will find GOOD PASTURES. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. MY PURPOSE IS TO GIVE THEM A LIFE OF ABUNDANCE.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he is not their shepherd. And so the wolf ATTACKS the sheep and SCATTERS the flock. [this is what is trying to happen] The hired hand runs away because he is working for himself and doesn’t truly care about flock of sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold YET. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be ONE FLOCK with ONE SHEPHERD.” [our purpose is know God and make Him known]
What is the world pushing and underhandedly stealing from us? Church… Praise and Worship… the ability to lay hands on the sick to see them recover… the ability to gather together to make tremendous power available on site! Now again, yes, I know we are the church in our homes right now [praise to God, He is reaching millions across the world], I know we can praise and worship in our homes, I know we can lay hands on the sick if they allow us to come over wearing a mask and gloves, I know in the spirit we are all connected in our prayers even if we aren’t physically together. But who is the god of this world? The devil is, but through Jesus, we overcome the world while living in this world.
BUT God says, “LET US NOT NEGLECT OUR MEETING TOGETHER, as some people do, but let us encourage one another, ESPECIALLY NOW that the day of His return is drawing near.” in Hebrews 10:25. And in verses just before this starting in vs 21, He says, “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him… Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for GOD CAN BE TRUSTED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE. Let us think of ways to motivate and stir up one another, to spur onward to the acts of love and good works (which is the kingdom of God).”
We see that we are to help each other all throughout scripture! We saw that there are still sheep that Jesus is leading to His sheepfold! So if church is not considered essential, and chruch cannot open and be hindered by not allowing praise and worship, are we not becoming a stumbling block to those who God is leading to an open church– to experience the glory of God on a greater level than they might find at home by themselves?
Matthew 18:6-7 “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. What sorrow awaits the world because it tempts people to sin.”
I know I do not want to hinder others from getting to experience the glory of God! God gave us the ability in this nation-the United States of America built on the foundation under God- to come together and worship our God. If we say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord all the days of our life”, do our actions reflect that declaration? Are we raising our kids to be in fear and silenced, not knowing that we are the church for heaven’s sake! We are the lion that crushes the heads of serpents.
God chose David, the son labeled the least of his brothers. To me that sounds a lot like the church right now, we are labeled as non-essential/ the least of organizations in comparison to businesses, stores, etc across the very world God himself created for HIS KINGDOM! God saw David’s heart and God knows the heart of His church, because He himself is at the center! Thank God, Jesus Christ is the head over this body and that we find redemption and provision in Him. David praised God his whole life, even when everyone said he shouldn’t.
Psalm 34: 1-11, “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless TAKE HEART. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name TOGETHER.
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He FREED ME FROM ALL MY FEARS. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with JOY; NO SHADOW OF SHAME will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard, He surrounds and defends all who remain in awe of Him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! Fear the Lord, you His godly people, for those who fear Him WILL HAVE ALL THEY NEED.
Even strong, young lions sometimes go hungry, but THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD WILL LACK NO GOOD THING.
Come to me, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to honor the Lord….”
Why would we allow our God given voices that carry the authority, the power, and the glory of God to be hindered? Light flood the eyes that aren’t open so that they can see what is slowly and underhandedly going on across this earth!
Isaiah 51:7-1 “A Call to Trust the Lord. Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults. For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing. The worm will eat at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation….Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem SINGING , crowned with everlasting joy…I, yes, I am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Will you remain in constant dread?…For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea, causing it’s waves to roar. My name is he Lord of Heaven’s armies. And I have put my words in your mouth [to speak] and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, ‘You are my people. Wake up!.”
What do you choose today? Do you choose to silence yourself because of what the world says? Or Do you raise your voice to praise God like all of creation does? Creation has no choice but yet the sun, the sky, stars, the birds of the air, the animals of the land and see, the mountains and the valleys, the trees, even every every rock sings praise to God whether you realize it or not. Are we going to allow the enemy to silence the power God gave us: the choice of our voice?
Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!“
Sending my love, Sara