Word of the Day
Someone said that we believers practice daily those things that we really believe, all the rest is just so much “religious” talk. And I am prone to agree with him.
We believe in “going to church” and for the most part, we are faithful to do so. We believe in providing for our families and we work hard to do so. We believe in trying to live clean lives and we are fairly faithful to do so. We believe in tithing and we see to it that we do so. We believe in being faithful to our marriage vows and we do everything we can to do so. We believe in supporting missions and we support every special giving endeavor that supports them. We believe in being in Sunday School and we see to it that we and our families are faithful to attend. We believe in supporting the youth program in our church and we do so faithfully. We believe in trying to teach our kids about prayer, so we faithfully “turn thanks” at every meal.
But, then we run into problems when we begin to deal with all our other professed beliefs. We hear so much from our pulpits about witnessing and we wholeheartedly agree and respond with a hearty “Amen!”. Our churches have training classes for witnessing and many of these classes are very good. We readily sign up and attend these classes, buy any materials that are there for us, take notes, take part in face-to-face practices in the class and rejoice in that we have been “trained”. But, how many of us put this training into practice? How many of us actually confront friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers with what we learned? O, we believe in witnessing, but that is one of our “beliefs” that is much discussed, taught, preached and agreed upon, but we don’t practice. All talk, but no walk.
Regular and faithful Bible reading and study is another much talked about “belief”. We hear so much from our pulpits, Sunday School lessons and discipleship training about reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis. We faithfully carry our “swords” to church, have them there for Sunday School class and faithfully open them when the pastor mounts the pulpit and calls out the Scripture for the day. We would never dare be caught without our “swords” inside the church building.
Most of us have several copies and different versions of the Bible in our possession. We display them in obvious and prominent places in our homes. While many people around the world never have the privilege of even holding one in their hands, let alone owning one, we have them in abundance.
But, in our homes, the Bible is many times left in the car so we won’t forget it next Sunday, or we take it in the house and put it on a table, to be picked up next Sunday. But then during the week, we just don’t find the time to pick it up and spend time in it and with God. Another “belief” that we talk about. But, again, all talk, but no walk.
But what I consider the saddest part of it all concerns prayer. I have never met a Christian who did not readily agree that we MUST pray! I have never met a Christian who even hesitates to agree with the necessity of prayer, both privately and corporately. We have no problem leading in prayer when called on in church and Sunday School. When prayer is taught and preached in church, again, we give a very hearty “Amen!” to it. We are very faithful to share “prayer requests” when called for. We give another “Amen!” when the condition of our nation is mentioned and in desperate need of prayer.
The church in America is in dire straits and in rapid decline. Some sixty to seventy churches are closing their doors every week. Baptisms, giving, attendance and outreach are all falling like rocks. Our young people are growing up, graduating from high school and then going to college, only to be filled with all sorts of evil and unbelief. They are “dropping out” like flies.
Many churches go year after year with no conversions and baptisms. Only rarely is revival is mentioned from our pulpits. We have become so accustomed to “business as usual” that if anyone changed anything in the service, they just might be put on trial for heresy. We give another hearty “Amen!” when we hear calls for praying for the church.
The lost surround us everywhere we go. Even in our own homes and families, we have lost loved ones who never darken the doors of anybody’s church. They live wickedly and openly defy and ridicule our faith and church attendance. We hear so much in church about praying for the lost around us, and again, a hearty “Amen!”, but that is all.
And the list for the need of prayer goes on and on. We hear calls to pray for so many things. Lost people, sick folks, revival, the nation, the condition of our world, our national leaders, our families, the church, our pastor and his family, those who grieve over a death in the family, our own walk with God….again, an endless list.
And, O, how we agree with calls for personal prayer, but let a special meeting in church be called for the sole purpose of prayer. Prayer meetings in our churches are reaching the point that it is not worth it to even turn on the lights and the air-conditioning. Many churches across America don’t even know what a Wednesday night prayer meeting is. How many times have I heard some statement such as “Well, all THEY do is pray….”. We seem to hunt excuses to distance and excuse ourselves from anything that even smacks of prayer.
And then, we are given a yard sign that says something like this–“America, the only hope we have is prayer!” and when we get home, the first thing we do is display that sign prominently in our front yard. Another “belief” much discussed, but, again, all talk, no walk.