Today, I've been thinking about the message that Bro. Richard preached at Hopewell yesterday. It was powerful and clear. To me, it seemed like God used him to speak very clearly to our fellowship. So, today I spend time praying that our church would obey what we've already heard as my "first." It was sort of an afterward prayer "first." Usually I pray for upcoming events. Today I felt led to pray that we would not forget what we heard yesterday. As I prayed, I asked God to keep the message on our minds and hearts. It seemed that the Spirit was leading me to pray that we would chew on that message all week and let the Spirit do a deep work in us through that word.
If we are not careful, it's easy to come to church and experience that worship time and then go home and look forward to the next one. The word is spoken so that we will obey it and God will do a deep work in us so that we can become more like Jesus. When we leave church, God may be just beginning to do something in our hearts with what we've heard. We may need to pray for a week or more over that word and ask God how we need to adjust our lives so that He can do His work in us.
It is very easy to go to church on Sunday and hear something from the Lord and then go home, eat lunch, visit with family, and unintentionally that word we heard just slips away. In Matthew 13:19, Jesus says, "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart." Part of why we don't understand the word is that we don't take time to ask the Lord what that means for us. We don't take time to ask someone what their interpretation of that word is. We could look the verse up in a commentary and do some research on it. Most of all, just spending time praying over something that we believe God has spoken to us is highly valuable. I know we don't have time to do that every time we hear a message, but when we think God has really spoken specifically to us, we need to do that. Many times after I go to a retreat or a revival, I will spend the next week or two poring over the verses God used to speak most powerfully to me. I don't want the evil one to snatch God's word from my heart. I don't want him to snatch it from our congregation either and that's why I spent time praying that way today. It's good to pray before an event, but it is also good to pray after.
Bro. Richard preached on Luke 14 yesterday. The key verse he used was Luke 14:25-27 which says, " Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
He talked about how last year he had carpal tunnel syndrome. He put off surgery for a long time until he could not even make a fist. When they did the surgery and released that carpal tunnel blockage, he could make a fist without any problem. The surgery just released his hand to move like it was supposed to. When the blockage was released, the hand had freedom to work like it should and the pain went away. He said if the other hand ever got carpal tunnel, he would not put off having surgery. He would do it quickly.
When we let sin, especially the sin of not having Jesus as top priority and living dead to self, sit in our lives without confessing and repenting form that sin, it will hinder our relationship with Christ and bind up our spiritual lives somewhat. We can still get by like someone with carpal tunnel but we are restricted and not nearly as effective. When that sin is confessed and our hearts are fully surrendered to Christ, we are released into the freedom and joy that God wants us to live in. As long as we are making our own decisions and not letting Christ call the shots in our lives, we will remain bound up. The problem is when we can get used to being bound up and just getting by spiritually.
Remember, the devil wants the word you hear to just slip slide away. So, let's surrender our all to Jesus and get free. Why live bound up and just getting by spiritually?
Glad for strong words in the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
2. The ministry that Ron Dunn had in my life when I first entered the ministry
3. The song, "How Great is our God"