Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)
You’ve heard and made a lot of excuses for not gathering together with other believers to meet with me in worship. Yes, I have heard and made most all of them. I doubt that. You would be surprised at how many you haven’t used. But, let me hear some of your reasons now. What are some good and acceptable reasons for you to skip out on gathering to meet with me in worship? I didn’t say that I had any good and acceptable reasons for not gathering together to meet with you in worship. No, you didn’t say that. I just said that I had made plenty of excuses and had reasons for not gathering together with other believers to meet with you in worship. I think you’re stalling. Are your reasons kind of weak and embarrassing? Yes, they are both weak and embarrassing. I think it will help you to hear them said out loud. So, go ahead and give me your reasons. I will apologize and ask for your forgiveness in advance. You are forgiven. I’m not trying to shame you. I want you to hear what you have told yourself about not meeting with me. I’m listening. Here goes. I have said that I was too busy. So, what has been more important and valuable than meeting with me? There is nothing more important than meeting with you. I also have said that I was too tired. Why were you too tired? I stayed out too late the night before. How do you feel about those choices now? I think I have made some bad choices and poor uses of my time based on misplaced priorities. If I make attending worship celebrations my priority I will prepare myself by going to bed earlier the night before. That sounds like a good plan. It will do me no good to come to worship exhausted. No, It will not. Oh, I have said that I needed “me” time. What’s that? I’m not sure. I heard someone else say it and it sounded good to me. What happened when you devoted yourself to your “me” time? Not, much. I would have been better off by receiving the encouragement I do when I gather with others to worship you. Yes, that’s true. Go on. I have said that I can worship you anywhere all by myself. I have thought that I really don’t need to gather with others to worship you. It’s very hard to receive encouragement from others when you are all alone, isn’t it? Yes, it is. I have really reached by saying that traveling conditions weren’t safe. On those days you probably stayed home all day then, didn’t you? No, I ventured out shortly after the worship celebrations were over. Was the weather a lot better then? No, it wasn’t. Then that was an exceptionally weak reason for not attending the worship celebration, wasn’t it? Yes, it was.
I’m sure that you can go on and on with reasons why you haven’t attended worship celebrations. Yes, I can. But, I have heard enough. I have some statements that I want you to respond to. I’m listening. You know that I love you. Yes, I do. You know that I created and designed you. Yes, I do. You believe that what I say is true and right. Yes, I do. If my word conflicts with your behavior what will you do? I will change my behavior. Why is that? I believe that you know what is best for me. Yes, I do. You know that I want to encourage your faith as you draw near to me. Yes, I do. You know that I want you to encourage others when you gather together in worship with them. Yes, I do. What does my word say about you gathering together with others to worship me? Your word says that I should not skip out on worship celebrations. Your word says that I can give receive and give encouragement, as I gather with other believers to worship you. Yes, it does. Will you make it your unwavering commitment to gather with other believers to worship me? Yes Lord, I will.
Lord, thank you that you have placed me in a body of believers where I can receive and give encouragement. I am making it my advance decision to be unwavering and consistent in my worship attendance. Draw near to me as I draw near to you in worship. Amen
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