Friday, October 17, 2014


I remember my days growing up in small town America where we had full service gas stations.  We would pull in and my father would roll down the window when the attendant came out and he would simply say “Fill ‘ER up.”  They washed our windshield, checked the oil and tire pressure and took good care of us.  Plus the cost of gas was next to nothing at that time.  But as we all know, times have changed!
The cost of gasoline has skyrocketed with no end in sight, and we have to do the pumping, windshield cleaning and checking all on our own.
     Despite how bad the prices are right now, no one can do without gas.  We need to get to work, shop and take our family to various events.  As a result, we take good care of our cars by making certain the tank is full.
     Today, however, I got a fill-up that was free and I have been delighted ever since then.  The fill-up I am talking about  comes from going to church.  This is where I have an opportunity to find encouragement and accountability from other believers.   It is a place where I can learn by sitting at the feet of Jesus as Scripture is read and discussed and it is a place where I can worship the Lord.
     My father always used to say that he could worship God riding his tractor while working in the field.  This is true.  We can worship God anywhere and at any time.  However, something unique happens when we come together in shared faith to lift our voices to God.  The writer of Hebrews knew how important this was and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he penned these words:  “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
     In this passage, the author mentions holding fast to our confession of hope without wavering.  Let me suggest that this is easier to do when we are in regular fellowship.  I liken this to attending classes in college.  I had the freedom then to attend class or not.  However, if I did not go, I missed material that often ended up on a final test.  Plus, I was wasting my investment in my education.  Therefore, I made it to my classes even when there were times I would rather have stayed in bed.
      Several months ago on a Sunday, for example, I was not particularly motivated to attend church.  My husband was away and I hate to go alone.  Nevertheless, I knew that my heart needed inspiration…a fill-up if you will.  I was not at all disappointed.  God never disappoints!  When we go to meet Him, He will always touch us.  In addition, I got to sit next to a wonderful young woman whose husband was also away.  We had the chance to visit after church and share about our respective family’s.  I left with renewed joy, encouragement, fresh teaching from God’s Word that stimulated me and a sense of great peace.  Now I ask you….where can you get all that for free in this day and age?
     In his letter to the Ephesian believers, the Apostle Paul wrote these words of exhortation:  “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart….”(Ephesians 5:15-19).  Where better can we do this than in the body of believers?  It serves as a spiritual filling station where we can meet the Lord to make certain our lives stay on track.
     Just as I take my car in for regular tune-ups, I want my life to be in tune with God’s will.  As I study and share with other believers, my faith grows, and I am better prepared to face the new week.  We all need a “safe house” from the storms of life and that is what church  fellowship can do.  It helps us refocus our lives on Jesus Christ.  May we all search out a fellowship to be a part of if we do not have one so we can say as David did in Psalm 84:10:  “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”  Selah!

    Father, You delight in our worship and coming together.  You admonish us not to miss assembling together.  Let us never forsake the privilege we have in gathering together to study Your Word.  Implant in our hearts a desire to encourage each other and all the more as the Day of Your return draws closer.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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