See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 1 John 3:1.
Last Sunday I attended morning worship after a very long time of absence. In a way I am ashamed of how long it has been since I regularly attended and at the same time I am thankful that I am not fully aware of how long it has been. I was warmly welcomed and happy to be back. It felt like my Sunday school days, a happy memory. I am very blessed to have grown up in a church my maternal grandparents attended so there remains a lot of people who know me, even if I am not always sure of who they are at first and that the building itself is familiar.
A few things prompted my return to worship. Our Father has been enabling and softening my heart, through private bible study and prayer, towards it for a few months now and there was a recent BBC article that I read which discussed Christian Syrian refugees being given asylum in Wales. The criteria provided by the government to see if they were genuinely coming here for religious freedom really stuck with me. The criteria included being interested in and preparing for water Baptism, regularly attending worship and prayer meetings and being known to the local leaders of their assembly. These people were facing being killed or having their families kidnapped back in their home country where Christianity is illegal and here I am professing the same faith and not risking my life or being overly persecuted. Not even thinking about what I can do for God only what He does for me. Thinking that all my private faith activity and prayer made up for my lack of public faith activity and prayer.
I decided to give up caffeine during Lent because I was starting to see that it was affecting my anxiety levels and I thought I would do that as a fruit of repentance before attending regular worship but Our Father had other plans and convinced me that I should come to Him after only a few weeks of being caffeine free and while I still could and in His power not mine. Not to be like the rich man who did not want to give up his riches to enter the Kingdom or Lot’s wife who looked back to the world but to press on and not wait for a ‘perfect or acceptable’ time determined by myself.
Our Father has been teaching me lessons in humility and reliance on Him. In January He taught me that through pain comes endurance and growth and in February He taught me that living in the present moment casts away discontent and worry. In March He is teaching me that in Christ alone means no compromise and a hypocrite does not get into Heaven or get to return to earth to reign with Him in His Kingdom. All this combined to convict me to get back to a balance of public and private worship, prayer and activity or service. What’s more He has provided it and readied it all for me I just have to go and keep going. Morning worship every Sunday, Prayer meeting every Friday, a Woman’s Bible study group once a month on a Thursday, and an opportunity to serve Fridays and Sundays at the community lunches washing dishes and gravy pots! These are opportunities for me to act on faith, love and hope. To show my love to my Heavenly Father, Creator and Redeemer by doing His will not mine. They are not saving works, they are works I am enabled to do because I am being saved to do them instead of doing things my old life and body wants to do, like never leaving the house, staying in my pyjama’s and listening to Minecraft Let’s Plays and worldly Vloggers.