We are in the midst of some very heated mid-term elections, and many accusations and criticisms are being hurled from both sides. I understand the value of debate. If we, the voters, do not hear both sides of the argument, we will be hindered in making accurate judgments. But I wish to offer a word of warning to our elected officials as well as all Americans. The Lord urges a restraint on the use of the tongue. Proverbs 11:11 says, “By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.”
As a pastor, I often have the opportunity to pray with people, and I have been privileged to hear many people pray. Through those experiences, I have learned something about prayer.
As a pastor, I have often had people tell me, “I know I need to get back into church.” But for so many of them, that seems to be a desire that is difficult to make a reality. Why is it so hard to start attending church faithfully? Even those who used to be very faithful and for whatever reason got out of the habit, find that returning to the habit is difficult for them.
If this is your situation, it may help you to understand some of the reasons for this difficulty. That, in turn, may enable you to focus better on the needed changes in your life.
Church attendance seems to be viewed as optional by many Christians today. The prevailing attitude among such is: “I can be a Christian without going to church.” Certainly, that is true. After all, no church can save anyone. You receive salvation when you place your faith in Christ. The Scripture is clear: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36). It’s not he who puts his trust in the church, or he who does what the church says. But before you decide that you can stay home next Sunday, consider why God says church attendance is necessary.
What is an “Easter Tragedy”? For a child, it might be finding his hollow chocolate bunny accidently smashed or failing to collect as many Easter eggs as his sister. Adults would surely define it more seriously, such as the family injured in a car accident on Easter morning or the church bombed by a terrorist during an Easter service.
I do not deny that these are tragic and heart-rending—situations that compel our compassion. But a greater Easter tragedy happens every year. It’s subtle and rarely receives mention. It’s personal, occurring in hearts. It is the heart that fails to embrace the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I see this tragedy in three groups of people.
Imagine a scenario with me. Your daughter comes home from her first day of school. No sooner does she walk through the door than she bursts into tears. Between sobs, you learn that she was taunted for the way she looks. Immediately you offer comfort. Besides assuring her that in your eyes she is beautiful, you add, “It does not matter what you look like on the outside; it’s who you are on the inside that really matters.”
Your words echo those of God Himself who said to Samuel many years ago, “The LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The heart matters most. We know this to be true, and we pride ourselves in believing it. But do we?
Pastor Cooper shares biblical truth on issues that affect the heart.
"Keep thy heart with all dilgence; for out of it are
the issues of life."