God's House Of Worship
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How To Receive God’s Blessing and Find Happiness
By Missionary Bill
It’s very frustrating to watch my fellow Christians move about in their daily lives without happiness or any expectation of joy. I can relate to their situation because I did exactly the same thing for a long time. Most of my joy, happiness and satisfaction came from work, my family or almost any sort of success. However, those feelings were always temporary and still left me generally unfulfilled as a person. I knew what I really needed to do, but rarely did it. That’s because it involved the “O” word. Obey.
My relationship with God was like a foot race. I was either running to him (when I had problems and needed help) or running away from him (when it came to doing the things that I knew I should be doing according to his Word). Although it took some tough love on his part, the Lord finally reached into my brain and turned on the lights.
During moments of anxiety, depression or when I was knee deep in some sort of a problem, I would read the Bible. It was during one of those sessions that I discovered these verses from the King James Version Old Testament biblical book of I Samuel, chapter fifteen and verse twenty-two: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
God opened a door for me that day. I started to ponder all the things that I had learned about Christian living through my study of the Bible, the preaching and teaching that I heard in church and my own experiences in helping to establish and build local churches in various places throughout the USA. It dawned on me that I, and many other Christians, were living unhappy and unfilled lives because we were not obeying God.
When I thought about obedience, it always seemed like some kind of nasty, negative activity that involved people acting as mechanical robots: I never though about it as a way to gain spiritual and even material fulfillment. I prayed, but couldn’t understand why my prayers always seemed to go unanswered. Then that verse hit me right between the eyes: “…to obey is better than sacrifice”. Talk about a wake up call!
My mind was drawn to another set of verses in the King James Version New Testament biblical book of Matthew, chapter six and verses twenty-four to thirty-three: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
It dawned on me that I had everything backward. I was looking for help from God while in a state of disobedience. Due to various circumstances that now seem to me as worthless excuses, I was not regularly attending church, reading the Bible, praying as regular as I should, giving my tithe, visiting those that needed it or attempting to witness and win souls. In short, I wanted everything from God and was not willing to do even the most basic things that he asks of all Christians.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” That particular portion of Scripture stung me even worse than the previous one about obedience. I knew that it was time to take a spiritual inventory, and that task is never a pleasant one for any disobedient Christian. I came up with a short list of basic things that I knew God wanted me and every other Believer to do:
READ THE WORD OF GOD. The Bible tells us in the King James Version New Testament biblical book of Second Timothy, chapter two and verse fifteen: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
You cannot understand God, His Will for your life or even the perform the simplest of tasks that he asks us to do without reading, studying or comprehending His Word. And, you cannot do it alone. No one becomes a Christian unless someone else shares God’s Plan of Salvation with them from the Bible. The King James Version New Testament biblical book of Romans, chapter ten and verse seventeen states: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The King James Version New Testament biblical book of Romans gives us everything we need to be saved from eternal torment in Hell. It explains that no matter how good we think we are, we will never be good enough to make it to Heaven by our own works: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23). It also explains how that Adam’s first sin in the Garden of Eden caused every person from then on to be born with a sinful nature: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12). We discover there is a wage for our sins, but also that God offers His Son as a payment for our sins if we are willing to accept him as our Savior: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). We’re told that all we need to do to accept this gift is to pray and ask Jesus to be our personal Savior, therefore paying for all of our sins past, present and future: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
If we trust God for our Salvation, why don’t we trust him to meet our material and spiritual needs? The answer is simple: no one likes the idea of obedience. I can relate to that, but I have discovered that there is no short cut. I also learned that obeying God is for OUR SAKES, not for his. That statement may surprise you, but consider the next step of obeying the Lord:
ATTEND CHURCH AND FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD’S PEOPLE. The Bible tells us in the King James Version New Testament biblical book of Hebrews, chapter ten and verses twenty-three to twenty-five: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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.”
Most people believe that God wants them to go to church to worship him. However, is that what the previous verse states? There is no doubt that we need to worship God, but we do that by paying homage to the Lord, giving him praise and honor through song, word and deed. However, the primary reason that God wants us to attend the services of a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching and soul winning church is for the edification of ourselves and others. We are edified by learning the word, experiencing Christian fellowship and participating in things which bring glory to God. Church attendance also provides us the opportunity to perform several other acts of obedience.
GIVE THE LORD YOUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS. The Bible provides some simply examples of what God expects from Believers when it comes to giving. First, he says we are to give him a tenth of what we make. The King James Version Old Testament biblical book of Malachi states in chapter three, verses eight to ten: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
The tithe (tenth part of your income) is something that the Lord uses to help local churches meet their earthly needs. But more importantly, it is a point of contact between you and God. By giving, you show your willingness to obey him. You give to God with no expectation, other than the fact that you are in obedience to his Word. Even if your church or pastor does not need the funds that represent your tithe, you are still commanded to give. This teaches us to obey God and share what we have with others.
Anyone that watches television knows that almost all TV Preachers talk about giving as a kind of SEED FAITH. They appear to teach that God is some sort of Heavenly Banker who spends all his time watching what people give to these various ministries and that he rewards those that decide to support them. In short, GIVE with an expectation that you will GET. Where is that in the Bible?
If you choose to give an offering (not the tithe) to a TV preacher, visiting evangelist, missionary or some Christian organization that is doing the work of the Lord, that’s fine. But just like the tithe, you give from your heart and without expectation. I recently saw a TV Preacher tell his audience that if you need money, go borrow ten dollars from your neighbor, send it to him and God will provide for your needs! That is not only not Biblical; it’s also unethical in my view.
To understand how God views an offering, let’s take a quick look at the King James Version New Testament biblical book of Mark, chapter twelve and verses forty-one to forty-four: “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”
The widow that Jesus honored in the Word of God is unnamed, but we are still reading about her and her gift some two thousand years after she performed that action. She gave “of her want.” Does that mean that she expected something in return? That’s not what the Bible says or means. That verse clearly illustrates that the widow had made a conscious decision to give all she had to God. She WANTED to do that, with no expectation. And Jesus promised her no reward in that section of the Word. Why? Because we have already learned that God tells us: “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Jesus honored the widow’s offering because the others that gave did so to bring themselves personal glory. They took a small amount of what we might call some huge stash of cash that they had and made a big deal about giving it to the Lord in front of their friends and fellow worshippers. The widow simply determined to give what she had to the Lord and that was that. That brings us to the next step of obedience to God:
PRAY TO THE LORD. The Bible gives us several solid examples of prayer: we’re told how to pray, how often to pray, what to pray for and what to expect in response. Consider these verses:
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:5-13 KJV)
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:7-11 KJV)
“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20 KJV)
We are given The Lord’s Prayer as a model to get us started. When we pray by ourselves, we are to do so on a daily basis, often, and as the Lord individually leads us in private and not make a big thing of it. When we pray together, we are to agree on the prayer requests and seek the Lord in prayer. Prayer is ASKING and God promises to respond. The King James Version New Testament biblical book of James makes it clear in chapter four and verse three that God may sometimes say NO because we are asking for the wrong thing: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
However, it’s also clear that the Holy Spirit can help correct the errors we make in our prayers by praying for us. The Bible states in the King James Version New Testament biblical book of Romans, chapter eight and verses twenty-six and twenty-seven: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
PARTICIPATE IN VISITATION AND SOUL WINNING. Most people do not understand that just attending church services, giving and saying our prayers is not quite enough when it comes to being obedient to the Will of the Living God. He wants us to represent him in a very real manner by visiting other Christians and leading sinners to Christ. Consider these verses:
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25: 31-40 KJV)
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30 KJV)
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 2:5 KJV)
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38 KJV)
“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23 KJV)
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (I Peter 2:2 KJV)
Not all Christians are called to be Pastors, Deacons, Missionaries, Elders, and Teachers; or to hold some other ordained or appointed office in the local church. However, we are all called to be a part of “an holy priesthood” and are commanded to participate in visitation and soul winning. We are told to visit the sick, those in prison and help those in need when we can. We’re commanded to “compel” lost sinners to come to Christ. We’re also to encourage new Believers to learn the Word of God and encourage them to come to church services. We can do these things as members of a church, or individually, or both.
Although I do not include it in my list, it goes without saying that people who have been saved need to be baptized and join a local, Bible-believing, Bible-Preaching church filled with people that love God and desire to serve him. The Bible clearly states in the King James Version New Testament book of Mark, chapter sixteen and verse sixteen: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but it is a necessary step of obedience for Believers.
Let’s recap some of the simple steps of obedience that will allow you to lead a materially and spiritually fulfilling life:
READ THE WORD OF GOD.
ATTEND CHURCH AND FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD’S PEOPLE.
GIVE THE LORD YOUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS.
PRAY TO THE LORD.
PARTICIPATE IN VISITATION AND SOUL WINNING.
If you have never actually given your heart to Jesus and do not know for sure that you are going to heaven when you die, I suggest that you immediately pray to the Lord. Tell him that you admit being a sinner and that you accept the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for your sins. If you do that, God will save you from Hell and you will be able to be sure of Heaven when you die.
If you’re a Christian and simply haven’t taken these simple steps of obedience, it’s time to OBEY God. OBEY is not a nasty word with all kinds of legalistic connotations. It’s merely a Biblical FACT OF LIFE and something that you need to do FOR YOURSELF. You will not only honor the Lord, but you’ll start on the correct path (which is also the shortest route) to real material and spiritual fulfillment.
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