Golden Opportunities

Having been shut in or semi-shut in for weeks during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak, we have been driven to slow down and to reevaluate what we do, when we do it and why.  Lessons too many to enumerate have come to the forefront, but here is one that has been apparent to our family:  we have had (golden) opportunities to do good, as Paul admonishes, “to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Part of the Coronavirus task force directives, besides staying at home and washing our hands often is to look in on our elderly, shut-in friends.  This is something the Body of Christ does with regularity, but more so during a crisis such as we are, at the time of this writing, going through.  Paul began Galatians 6:10 though by saying that we should do good to “all men.”  That may be more challenging, but it can also be very rewarding, as the following story will show.

A Methodist minister in the East of London who had pastored there for 38 years visited an old man who was gravely ill.  But when the sick man found out that his visitor was a minister, he showed very little if any hospitality and in fact, did not utter a word.  The pastor, noticing the barrenness of the small sick room and the paltry fire assumed that the provisions were running pretty low, so on his way home he stopped at a butcher shop and ordered two lamb chops to be sent to the house.  

He called again a few days later and the elderly infirm gentleman was still far from talkative but at least a bit more friendly.  On his way home following this second visit the pastor put in another order and by the third visit there was a decided change in the attitude of the patient.  He even allowed the man of God to offer a prayer for him.

An out of town trip caused the pastor to be absent from his parish for a few days and during that time the old man had died.  At the end, barely able to speak, the dying man said, “Tell the minister it’s all right now.  I am going to God; but be sure to tell him that it wasn’t his preaching that changed me, it was those lamb chops.”

What a small thing, but a man of God saw a need as a golden opportunity to do some good to one of the “all men” and God used it to bring a soul to himself!

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the of faith.”Gal. 6:10

End of World Issues

In the last week of His life on earth with His disciples, the men who had followed Him closely during the three plus years of Christ’s pre-crucifixion ministry asked Him point blank what would be a sign of the end of the world. Two thousand years ago committed disciples of Jesus Christ had the question of end times events on their minds, and those who are students of the Word of God still do.  What are the events happening in 2020 that might indicate the end is near?

Jesus did give them, in answer to their question, all they needed to know.  He shared with them some precursory signs that He would label the “beginning of sorrows.”  The phrase literally means “birth pangs” as that which precede a mother’s delivery of her new-born.  These events include wars; international war tensions; famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places (Matt.24:6-8).  There would be an increase in false prophets and false christs.  Jesus then said that the gospel would be preached in all the world before the end would come.  As one reads Matthew chapters 24 and 25 and follows the discourse of Jesus in His answering the original question about the sign of the end of the world, it is striking that He says in the middle of His eschatological message that a general apathy and unawareness would prevail during the time preceding His age-ending return.  Life would pretty much be going on as usual.  The actual end would take men by surprise, Jesus warning that one should “Watch therefore for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matt. 24:42; 25:13). To illustrate this warning the Lord told a parable about 10 virgins who were excitedly planning participation in a wedding feast, waiting with expectation the groom’s return which would begin the festivities.  They were told to keep their lamps ready because the groom’s return could happen at any time.  Five of the young women heeded the admonition and kept their lamps trimmed and ready for use; five became lax and preoccupied and when the moment came for action, their lamps lacked the necessary oil to get them going, thus those five unhappy ladies were left out.  Jesus concluded the parable with the warning “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” (Matt. 25:13).

We are still watching and waiting.  The second coming of Jesus will be in two phases; one, commonly known as the rapture when Jesus comes back for the church (I Thess. 4:13-18); and, two, when He comes back with the church following the seven years of tribulation during which time God’s wrath shall be poured out upon the earth in the form of seven rapid fire seal judgements, seven trumpet judgements that will be executed and finally seven bowls of wrath poured out upon what’s left of a sin-wrecked, judgment-riven world full of a God-blaspheming humanity.  A war will occur at the time of Christ’s coming, Armageddon, and Satan will be bound for a thousand years while Christ reigns with His saints upon the renovated earth during what is known as the millennium (Rev.20:1-6).  The time between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ to the earth with the church is called the tribulation, the latter part (3 and 1/2 years) known as the Great tribulation.  Interestingly, Jesus said that the nation of Israel, which rejected Him at His first coming and crucified Him at Calvary, will not have been obliterated by the antichrist though he will have waged his fiercest war against Abraham’s descendants during those seven horrific years (Matt. 24:34).

Not a few are wondering today, in light of the current world health and humanity crises, if this is not the tribulation which Jesus warned would precede His return to earth to end this present age.  The best answer we can give is that what is happening now is at most “the beginning of sorrows.”  The rapture of the church will precede the unmasking of the antichrist.  But with the “birth pangs” intensifying, it behooves us all to “watch therefore.”

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Matt. 24:33).

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36)

Lord, Make Me A Man

To the memory of fathers whose lives are a finished work; and in loving reverence of all Dads living on this year’s Father’s Day, I’d like to share a poem I penned a few years ago which perhaps reflects the deepest desire of every godly father’s heart:

Lord, make me a man; 
A man not of muscle and brawn,
But a man of purpose and will,
A man whose face is like flint
To do your most holy will.
Lord, make me a man;
Not a man of stone nor of steel,
But a man of wisdom, and grace and love,
A man who will labor and pray and serve
To please His Master above.
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man of selfish pride and power,
But a man serene and humble and strong;
A man who will know that he’s only a man
As God helps him daily along.
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man who breeds fear,
But a man who is tender and cares,
A man who his wife and children respect,
As a man who unselfishly shares.
Lord, make me a man
Not a man independent,
But a man who will pray, trust and wait;
A man who will weep, laugh and love,    
Who will share with his family his fate.
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man without care,
But a man of the Book who will live by your Word;
 A man who will order his life by your truth,
Who will take it to heart when preaching is heard.
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man who is gruff;
Not a man who us known as outwardly tough;
But a man who will suffer, will hurt and will cry,
When a brother is broken and ready to die.
Lord, make me a man
Not a man who can’t feel, 
Not a man who won’t suffer in woe,
But a man who can stoop to lift up another,
A man who will carry the load of a brother.
Lord, make me a man
Not a man who’s self-made,
Not a man who is haughty, high-minded and proud;
But a man who will live with his head on straight,
A man’s whose life is a message that’s loud.
Lord, make me a man,
Not a man of large boasting;
Not a man whose story is all about me;
But a man who will glorify God,
A man whose time spent here is all about Thee.

Anthony Slutz, 2014

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“And he gave some…evangelists….”

That’s right.  The Lord God, when building His Church, gave to it not only apostles and prophets, but evangelists.  These are gifted people who have been burdened and blessed with a desire to evangelize lost souls and strengthen weary churches.  In the era of the church-age in which we now live, we have come to consider the gifted person known as an evangelist as one who ministers in church after church, preaching revival to saints and the urgency of salvation to those who are not yet born again.  It has become known, in our day, as a calling, a vocation if you will. The work of an evangelist, which missionary-evangelist Paul of Tarsus encouraged Pastor Timothy to do, complimented the work of the pastor who is the gifted under shepherd of the flock of God called to feed and lead the local assembly.

I have loved evangelists from my earliest days.  Maybe it was infatuation with the office, usually held by a powerful personality whose preaching commanded the attention of six-year-old boys and sixty-year-old men.  Maybe it was admiration for the ability of one to stir the saints to prayer, surrender and holy living. Maybe it was the tug of God’s Spirit at a young, tender heart to cultivate a love for God’s man who was sold out to preach God’s Word wherever and to whomever the opportunity would present itself.  That love for the evangelist has never left this preacher’s heart in the 70 years since it was birthed there. I have loved them, been honored to serve alongside of them and at one time very early in my Christian walk with God felt like the Lord was leading me to join their ranks. I admire a God-called evangelist immensely and some of my life-long friends are evangelists.  Glen Schunk, at one time a house-hold name in independent Baptist homes, was holding special meetings in my home church in Ottumwa, Iowa, in the fall of 1961, and it was in that meeting that I surrendered to full-time ministry.

To be sure, I have never known an evangelist that did not have some inexplicable, inimitable idiosyncrasies, but that just made you love them all the more.  They were extroverts yet often withdrawn.  They exuded self-confidence yet up close would show a marked insecurity.  They were called of God and gifted by His Spirit and such a man would leave any church that had an ear to hear stronger in faith and busier in works than what he had found it.  God bless you who are such and know that pastors love you, pray for you, thank God for you and beg the Captain of our Salvation that your tribe will increase!

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ…And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”  (Eph. 4:7,11).

All Lives Matter

Life is precious, so much so that Jesus asked that if a man should gain the whole world and would lose his own soul what would he be profited?  “Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36, 37).  We have been asked to give consideration to the value of all lives, and rightly so.  God has given us exhortations and examples to affirm the truth that every soul is valuable and every life matters.

Consider one family that God saved when the universal flood came, Noah and his wife and their three sons and their wives.  God brought the flood because of the universal wickedness that pervaded the world then which caused Him to say that “every imagination of the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was only evil continually.” (Gen 6:5). He would tell Noah that he and his house would be spared in the flood because “thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Gen. 7:1).  But the fact He saved only eight people when the flood came does not mean that the multitudes of humankind alive at that time did not matter to God.  Peter makes that clear in his New Testament commentary on Genesis 6 and 7 when he speaks of that time “when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (I Peter 3:20).  The waiting Peter spoke of lasted over 100 years!  A longsuffering God waiting for more people to turn to Him because to Him, all lives mattered!

God spared Joseph, one of patriarch Jacob’s sons, certain eventual death in an Egyptian prison, elevating him to Egypt’s first prime minister, so to speak, because one life mattered to God even though it apparently mattered little to Joseph’s eleven brothers.

Two million lives mattered to a compassionate God when Joseph’s posterity came under oppression in Egypt after Joseph passed off the scene, along with the sympathetic Pharaoh that Joseph served under in Egypt; God delivered miraculously 2 million Hebrews from living in dire conditions as slaves on the night of redemption as recorded in Exodus chapter 12.  Hebrew lives mattered.

God spared one woman and her family out of the Amorite/Canaanite city of Jericho when those walls of the city were toppled by nothing more than the vibration of marching Israeli feet and the sounding of trumpets because to a merciful and compassionate God, one believing family in a city full of pagans mattered.

One woman, considered by the average contemporary Jew of Jesus’ day to be the scum of the earth, a woman who was living with a man who was not her husband though she had known five men at different times as her husband, mattered to Jesus so much so that He went out of His way to meet her and to invite her to have her deepest thirsts quenched by the living water that He would offer her. (John 4:14-18). All because one life mattered.

Jesus was not cow-towing to public opinion when he asked the despised publican tax collector Zacchaeus to descend from the Sycamore tree in which he was perched so that he could see Jesus as He would pass by; nor was he bowing to political correctness that day; rather it was because one life mattered that Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house…This day is salvation come to this house…For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:5,9,10).

So, yes, all lives matter: red and yellow, black and white “they’re all precious in His sight.”  And that is what those who are His followers have always believed:  every life is more valuable than all the wealth of the world, and all lives do matter.  It is not a matter, therefore, of being politically correct and yielding to the demands of a frenzied mob; it is a matter of God’s love which has been shed abroad by His Spirit in the hearts of His family of faith that causes us to affirm without equivocation, “ALL LIVES MATTER!”

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (I Tim.1:15) 

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Conduct of Kindness

“In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” (Isa. 54:8)

Bombarded day by day and hour by hour by images of anarchy, rebellion, rioting and ruthlessness, triggered by a Memorial Day image of police brutality in Minneapolis, God’s Word about our response to those who offend us has to come to mind as we try to gauge and guard our attitude about what we are seeing and hearing in this current culture disintegration where what were billed as “peaceful protests” against racism have too often devolved into lawless and criminal outbreaks of violence and the worst displays of the depravity of humankind.

Kindness.  It’s has become an almost Victorian character trait; not that it is not seen or seeable, but that often all that is focused upon in our current national dilemma is the worst of that which is diametrically opposite of kindness.  Refreshing is the story about kind deeds of caring people.  And, probably people who practice kindness far outnumber those who do not, but the latter usually makes the nightly news and if, on occasion, a kind act is highlighted, it is an after -thought and not what is the attention grabber part of our daily digest of that which is noteworthy.

But, God has so much to say about this Christ-like commodity.  “Put on…bowels of mercy, kindness; Be kindly affectioned one to another;” Paul admonishes (Col.3:12; Rom. 12:10).  As in the Isaiah text quoted above, God is set forth always as a God known for His everlasting kindness.  In the same context God assured His beloved covenant people that “the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee….” (Isa. 54:10).  

Jonah knew of God’s kind character and said that it was that quality of God’s nature that motivated him at first not to take the message of pending judgment to the wicked Assyrian city of Nineveh because “I fled before unto Tarshish:  for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness….” (Jonah 4:2).  Naomi, having been in the country of Moab where she suffered the death of her husband and two sons, returning with only a daughter-in-law, Ruth, came back to her homeland bewailing her plight with “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty;“ (Ruth 1:21) in a few days would change her mournful song to “Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead,” (Ruth 2:20) acknowledging that the goodness of Boaz in his kind treatment of Naomi was of the Lord.  Paul reminds Titus in his New Testament epistle to his pastor friend that the kindness of God had appeared to all men (Tit.3:4) and in writing to the church at Ephesus the Apostle said that God would spend eternity shewing His saints the “exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7).

David, Israel’s second king, promised his “soul mate” Jonathan, Saul’s son, that he would never forget to shew kindness to Saul and his house (I Sam. 20:14,15); twenty three years later, after King Saul and his son Jonathan had died in battle, David, established firmly on his throne by then, asked “Is there not any in the house of Saul that I might shew kindness to him?” (2 Sam. 9:3).  David had experienced incalculable grief because of Saul’s wicked jealousy, but he had pledged himself to kindness.  That can only come though people whose hearts have been changed by the one whose “merciful kindness is great….” (Ps. 117:2).  Isn’t it what is need now?  The conduct of kindness by the grace of God; let us who name His name shew it freely and frequently.

“The desire of a man is his kindness and a poor man is better than a liar.” (Proverbs 19:22)

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Where Have All the Families Gone?

Most who read this will have been a member of what has been known as a “Nuclear Family,” consisting of a Mom and Dad and usually at least two children.  The family of four was a post-war phenomenon that flourished from 1950 to the mid 1960’s, a “golden era” of prosperity in the United States when two parents and “2.5” kids lived usually in a family dwelling in some quiet suburb.  One word that defined that neat little family was “togetherness.”  This cozy family arrangement, sociologists tell us and experience and observation has confirmed, was short-lived and replaced by fractured families that have majored more on self-fulfillment than holistic family well-being resulting in a major cultural shift that has had devastating effects upon our society in general and upon our societies’ most vulnerable, its children, in specific.  Adults in today’s world marry less, marry later and divorce more often.  In 2012 one author noted there were more households without any children than with; and not infrequently many homes have more pets than offspring. Affluence has afforded us larger homes, bigger yards and more space for isolation.  The big family clans that gathered on special days such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty much history.  And, it is self-evident our nation is not the better off for it.  There are too many reasons to enumerate in this brief statement, and it is not the purpose of this preacher to analyze societal shifts, but it would do all of us well to contemplate the impact these changes upon the family fabric have meant to our lives, especially spiritually.

Children are reared to become independent adults as soon as possible.  Elderly parents can too often look forward spending their last years in an institution which is designed to make sure they have their medication and meals on time, with limited social interaction with either family or friends.  It is not a pretty picture.  Sometimes adult offspring, who are marrying much later if at all, of necessity move back home and live in the basement of their parent(s) but often as an appendage rather than a vital member now of the transformed family or household.

The churches we attend reflect all of the morphisms.  Churches have also changed.  Once “togetherness” was what we relished and our most cherished moments of any particular week were the hours spent with one another in worship with those of like precious faith.  The current Covid-19 crisis has made us aware that though we miss those family meetings with the folk of faith, we can go nine or ten weeks and survive without them.  The internet has provided us with a valuable tool and through this medium we have been fed and led by not only our pastor(s) but others whose messages we have tuned in to as we have enjoyed a smorgasbord of spiritual culinary.  We can attend our classes while the kids can plug into zoom youth meetings.  At first, we felt somewhat cheated because of the lack of “fellowship,” but after weeks and weeks of this unprecedented church life, we are now wondering if the spiritual thaw will ever come that brings us back to the warm oneness that characterized the household of faith of the past.

So, homes are in flux as well as churches.  No one can anticipate what the face of the future will look like.  The family will survive as will the church; but in what shape?  It is a sobering question and one that bears thoughtful consideration:

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

Life Molders

Some time ago in a college art class-room, the teacher, having prepared a ball of clay for each student, following roll-call, began to pitch one of those balls to each student present.  When every student had received their clay, the teacher announced: “Make something beautiful of this and I’ll give you a good grade.”  What a challenge.  Take a ball of dirty, red clay and turn it into something beautiful.  But, each of those red clay balls in a short while were shaped into all kinds of clay pottery and a week or so later, carved, glazed and fired, they were recognized as “beautiful.”

So, it is with every teacher, molders, shapers of tender, precious lives.  It is an awesome assignment.  More than sixty years ago I had teachers, many of them single women, whose lives were totally dedicated to skillfully shaping lives that would contribute in some way to their future family and community circles.  I am probably writing this today because of an eighth grade English teacher, Miss Flamme, who demanded correctness in both written and spoken English.  I will never forget her.  She said, “IF would be the longest word in the dictionary, IF it had enough letters.” But I remember her most for her quiet, patient work with and on each of her eighth-grade students.  She is only one of many.  My seventh grade geography teacher taught me a lesson that has stood me in good stead and I don’t think it had anything to do with geography; but she was insistent that I learn who was in charge of her seventh-grade geography class and, you guessed it, it wasn’t me!  Oh, how I am so thankful she was patient and persistent in her molding and mentoring.

President Ronald Reagan, in awarding a 1986 teacher of the year award to Guy Doud, quoted from the lines of Pulitzer Prize winning author , Clark Mollenhoff, the words of his poem Molders of Dreams:  “Teachers, you are the molders of their dreams, the gods who build or crush their young beliefs of right or wrong; You are the spark that sets aflame the poet’s hand or lights the flame of some great singer’s song; You are the god of the young, the very young; you are the guardian of a million dreams.  Your every smile or frown can heal or pierce the heart.  You are a hundred lives, a thousand lives.  Yours the pride of loving them, and the sorrow too.  Your patient work, your touch makes you the goals of hope who fill their souls with dreams to make those dreams come true.”

So, thanks be to God for wonderful, dedicated teachers.  It may have been a kind touch, a word fitly spoken, a glance of approval or disapproval or just a faithful, dutiful exercise of responsibility day after day in the classrooms of life that a teacher or many teachers directed our way that impacted our lives unalterably for good.  May God bless them and may new generations of talented, trusty tribes of teachers rise up for our children and grandchildren so that they will benefit as did we!

There Has to be a Song!

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:19)

Being filled with the Spirit immediately preceded this verse admonishing Christ-Ones to have a song-filled heart.  The two go together, i.e. being filled with the Spirit and singing and making melody unto the Lord.  In the shower is a good place to start but don’t leave your song there, take it in your heart with you through the day. 

 All kinds of songs:  psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  The Psalmist added an interesting component when in Psalm 92:3 he said our music at times should have a “solemn sound.”  And, all with ten strings. I take that to mean at times with a full orchestra.  A majestic, soul-stirring sound that lifts you out of your seat emotionally and spiritually.  Like the Hallelujah Chorus that just about put its composer, Handel, into orbit the first time he heard it performed.  Some sounds are ordinary, ever day choruses that we joyfully rehearse such as “Heavenly Sunshine, heavenly sunshine, filling my soul with glory divine.”  Some may be actually words of the Psalms put to music, as many have done with Psalm 19:7ff. when singing about the Law of the Lord which is perfect, converting the soul.  Some are greater hymns that might be sung with a congregation of like-minded folk who are worshipping the Lord by united voices lifted in praise to extol His virtues as in “How Great Thou Art.”  So, there are a variety of ways to sing, and the goal of all spiritual singing is “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Col. 3:17).  

Paul qualifies all of our singing in I Cor. 14:15 when he says that our singing, like our praying, should be done with the spirit and with the understanding.”  Recognizing there may be differing styles and preferences of styles of music, whoever sings in worship and whatever is sung in worship, the singing should be “with understanding,” and with “the spirit.”  The word spirit in I Cor. 14:15 is not capitalized, but it might well refer to the Holy Spirit who, indwelling believers, would produce music that is conducive to understanding so that if in our meetings an unbeliever or new believer (unlearned) visits our assemblies they could and would understand what we were singing about and why (I Cor. 14:23-25).

Some years ago, I visited an old man and his wife who were then members of our church (both have since been graduated to glory).  He was from the hills of Kentucky which must be a wonderful place to be from for I have known many folks from there who, when getting an opportunity are always quick to return, if only for a visit.  Sparky was his name, and having invited me to sit down I noticed there was a well-used hymnal near where I was seated which I commented on.  Sparky sang solos occasionally at our church, and always without accompaniment.  He would bellow out his song, from his heart, often a song none present had ever heard, but he knew it and he knew it well.  It was always an appropriate song telling us what Jesus meant to him and we could understand every word of it.  His music was truly inimitable.  You could picture him working in a field or garden somewhere in a Kentucky valley or on its hillside, singing and making melody in his heart unto the Lord.   When I mentioned that his hymnal looked well-worn, a broad grin lit up Sparky’s face and he said with his southern drawl, “Oh, there has to be a song!”  And let us not forget it, brothers and sisters, there has to be a song!

“O come, let us sing unto the Lord:  let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” (Ps. 95:1)

Together Again

“And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

Well, after two months without assembling ourselves together for worship with those of like faith, we are beginning to “Open Up” our church houses once again for corporate worship.  It is refreshing and revitalizing to sing together, offer praises and prayers with the body of believers and then to bow before His Word as it is held forth as the Word of Life by teachers and under shepherds.  We will never again, I hope, take for granted this special privilege.  Meeting together in freedom, without fear and for worship is something we should never again need to be admonished to do!

A couple of weeks ago, a pastor friend of mine, anticipating that the flock he now serves as interim pastor would be meeting after weeks of “online” services, asked me to pen a poem celebrating this momentous milestone in the life of 21st century churches.  He was hoping to put whatever I came up with to music, so I did write the following (I am not sure if he was able to find a tune that would fit it musically) and wanted to share it with any today who might be interested in reading it.  The title is “Together Again.”

Together again, in the House of the Lord,
Together again, around His dear Word;
Together again, we’ve so long been apart,
Together again, with a song in our heart.
Together again, just to sit at His feet,
Together again, with sweet joy do we meet.
Together again, we are tuned to His voice,
Together again, Oh, how much we rejoice!
Together again, by the touch of His love,
Together again, a foretaste of above;
Together again, we’ve been led by His hand,
Together again, by His grace here we stand.
Together again, we’ve a story to share,
Together again, to tell of His care.
Together again, Oh, blest be His name,
Together again, through the “Shut Down” we came!
Together again, ‘til one day by His grace,
Together again, where we’ll shelter in place;
Together again, in our home there above,
Together again, in the fold of His love!

It was surely encouraging to hear our President last week proclaim that worshipping together in a local church setting is “essential.”  We knew it and it was good that the leader of the free world was not embarrassed to say that church gatherings are vital to the individual and national well-being of our republic.  Thank you, Mr. President!  Now, let us not “forsake” these assemblies but treasure them and participate gladly in the same as long as we are able-bodied and sound-minded enough to do so.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)