TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Have you ever associated a smell with a memory? Sometimes they are good memories… perhaps the scent of a certain perfume or cologne reminds you of someone close to you. Sometimes, a smell conjures a bad memory.
Last night, I was reminded that campfire smells like a kidney stone.
I have not liked the smell of fires for years… I had never put two and two together until last night — My first experience with a kidney stone was when we were having a backyard bonfire with friends.
Last night, we were at my husband’s boss’ house, and the whole event was centered around a big fire pit. I was nauseous and felt terrible. To make matters worse, my husband drove his new van (which I absolutely do not want to drive), and I’m a terrible passenger. I easily get carsick and hate the feeling of being out of control. So I was both nauseous and anxious. And the smell of the fire was on our clothes and in my hair, so without the window down, I was miserable.
As soon as we got home, I went straight to the shower to wash my hair, and my sweet Wayne went to the kitchen and made me some peppermint tea.
Once the smell was off me, and I was drinking my tea, everything was fine.
But as I reflected on this morning’s post, I thought of other ways people tend to associate things… and I often hear this: many people leave the church over one bad experience.
I get it. I used to be one of those people. I left the church for over 18 years because of people and their bad reactions to some family drama that, unfortunately, got dragged into the church.
I’ve said this a million times: church would be perfect if it weren’t for the people. People are imperfect; God is perfect.
And like it or not, God built His church on people and chose people as the tool by which the Gospel is spread. The Bible tells believers that we need fellowship. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Perhaps you have a negative association with church because of something someone said or did. Maybe you have the attitude that the church is full of hypocrites and you can just worship on your own. Again, that’s not how God designed it. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
As the meme says, “Not going to church because of the ‘hypocrites’ is like not going to the gym because of the ‘out of shape people.’”
Then, if it’s not the people, it was the pandemic. The pandemic is over. Get back to church. Sitting at home to watch church is for those who physically can’t go; if you’re able to get up and go to work and hang out with friends, you can go to church.
We need to be in the house of the Lord if we’re going to grow. Personal Bible study is important, but we need fellowship. We need to pray together, worship together, and be together. It’s not an option.
If you still associate church with a negative experience, pray about it. Look for another church. But don’t write off the assembly of believers over one bad experience.
Even if that experience was as painful as a kidney stone, church is good. Pray about it.
Today, as you pray, if you aren’t in a church, ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the right one where you can grow and thrive and be of service. Ask Him to use you and help you be an active member of Christian fellowship. And if you are in a church, invite a friend.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.