(Fasting and prayer, day 3)
“How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You” (Ps 84:1-4)
What is a good, living church? A good church is a place where the Word of God is preached with the anointing and the power of the Holy Spirit. A good church is a place where the person of the Holy Spirit is welcomed and moves freely in the midst of the congregation. A good church is a place where the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is lifted high, in praises and prayers.
Most men and women know what they want in a spouse. They make lists about the qualities of their future life-partners. But few believers know what they are looking for in a local church. Some are looking for a ‘nice’ building. Some like the music. Some like the preacher. What is the most important thing to look for as you pray for God’s direction in attending a local church? The most important ‘thing’ is the manifested presence of God the Holy Spirit. Once you sense that the Holy Spirit dwells there, He freely moves there, that is a living church to attend. Without God, that church is dead. It is more than useless; it is a dangerous place and a snare to your soul. Run away from it!
The sparrow and the swallow are little birds. But they have found a place to build their nests near the altar of God. We are like these insignificant birds. Without God, we are nothing. Without Jesus, we can do nothing. Humble yourself before God, come near the altar of God and you shall find rest for your soul. The Cross of Jesus is that altar. Jesus died to set you free from sin and hell. These little birds are lonely, restless and afraid. This is because they have many enemies. They cannot protect themselves. They need to settle under the protection of Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts! They need a secure place to hide and have their young.
This is a great lesson for us all. Your life, your love, needs the protection and the grace of the Cross. Your marriage, your family and your children need to settle in the presence of God. At the Cross, God will cover you. The leaders of your church will cover you spiritually with prayers and Biblical counsel. You need to serve God, to pay your tithes and offerings into a place where God sees and God accepts. So, be patient and continue to pray. God does not tempt His children. You shall find a place where God is and where you can find rest for your soul. Now you see why finding a good living church is vital for your peace, joy, security and fulfilment. It is dangerous to just ‘manage’ a church. It is better to stay at home and pray for leading than to attend a ‘church’ where your spirit is quenched.
May God bless the entrance of these words into your heart today! In Jesus name, amen!