“But thou when thou prayest. enter into thine closet (inner room), and when thou hast shut the door pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6
Ah, life in our new found “social distancing” state, isolation can be a terrible terrible thing, causing people to feel trapped, isolated, and hopelessly, helplessly alone.
And especially those who count on the house of God for their renewal, and the joy of fellowship in worshipping and praising God together as the spiritual family He intended us to be.
It can be quite reminiscent of the recorded message often given when calling a telephone number that is in current state of dysfunct…”The number you have reached is temporarily out of service, please try your call again later.” sound familiar?
We have all heard this message in one version or another but all having same meaning we can’t connect to person that we are trying to call because of some issue with their phone, line, or connection.
Sometimes it is a problem in our service, sometimes it is a problem with theirs but either way that call is not going through.
With the current state of the world at the moment, with social distancing and churches still closed many feel that they are “temporarily out of service” again due to the inability to visit their place of worship and the inability to connect to their fellow believers.
But you know it is just like Jesus said we are to pray in secret and we will be rewarded openly and there is nothing like being with fellow believers, your church family, those who have known you and walked the rough roads of life beside you, encouraging you and holding up in faith.
But God also desires a very personal relationship with him, one on one and this is in no way saying that you can’t have both, the wonderful fellowship of regular church service, we need that but at the moment with churches still closed due to the virus there is no group fellowship to be part of.
Now you could let this discourage you, depress you, and maybe even if you are not careful and diligent, it could cause you to get lukewarm and wishy washy once we are given the green light to safely gathering again.
But if you see this for what it is and what it could be for you spiritually, it also could be a wonderful time to make the best of a bad situation by spending some serious one on one time with Jesus, and He truly desires that for us.
So that is temporarily being out of service due to failure to connect for reasons beyond our control.
But there is also those who were “temporarily out of service” long before Corona slammed the doors shut, but for this group, I do pray that it is a wake up call, God does not give us the Holy Ghost and His gifts for us, again, let me say that again, if God has anointed you and given you a gift (and we are all given a gift, some multiple) and you have flowed in that gift and that calling, and you worked for the Kingdom in that calling that God has given, you are responsible to God for the fruit that should have been produced through those gifts and that calling and you will be held responsible for the lack of that production also.
This is reference to those who have worked in the kingdom and for whatever reason have just decided to “quit work” which is NOT an option in the Kingdom of God. So if you are new or not quite saved yet, please know that
I want to point out a little something Jesus said, should sound very, very familiar.
John 15:1,2: “I AM the true vine, and my father is the husbandman (vinedresser) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it bring forth more fruit.”
Another very specific example of “temporarily being out of service” can be found in this parable. Luke 14:42-48: “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and be drunken;
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him asunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
And that servant which knew the lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to the his will shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be REQUIRED: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
This you have to take as stripes in the spiritual sense, He is commending those whom have to the best of their ability been faithful to the work He has entrusted them with.
Secondly He is referring to those who don’t really believe or don’t really believe that He truly will return and use His name and His house for their profit, living it up while the others of that house suffer and are ostracized, criticized, and spiritually battered by the very one that has been made overseer of that house.
He is speaking to those who know the will of God and fail to prepare themselves, meaning living life as they desire rather than life as God commands, choosing to do it their way, when his is the ONLY way, and trading their calling and their gift for whatever Satan or they themselves have deemed more valuable.
Failure to prepare means just that, it is completely self willed, not wanting to allow God to be Lord over everything and making the necessary adjustments in our life as God leads us onto the path he has chosen.
And finally with this passage He tells us with absolute crystal clarification that the ones who did things worthy of punishments, not knowing his will are spared the severity, while those who knew his will face the greatest consequence.
Again, because they have been given so much, meaning, the calling on their life and the gifts they were to use in the service of the Kingdom, to touch lives, bless others, and share His love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace.
Others that are not forced to be out of service are those who already were out of service, they know they need to be in church but “just aren’t feeling it” or have some other reason for not being in church, as this verse describes simply as the “manner of some” as we are warned to stay in church.
Hebrews 10:25: “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.”
Different issues all causing us to be “temporarily out of service”.
Cell phones not so bad… dropped calls, no signals, out of data.
Landlines, a whole other world, with buzzing, clicking, echos, unable to make calls, unable to receive calls, and dig this, picking up interference from other peoples lines, all leading to the inability to make that connection.
Sometimes you don’t even realize just how bad that connection had been or just how much “noise” was bleeding into that line until that connection has been repaired.
So use this time, no matter the reason that you are “temporarily disconnected” from the world or from the church and connect to God through prayer, fasting, and praise and I always like to point out you can fast anything, it does not have to be food, you can give up anything for a period of time that you choose and dedicate that as a fast.
Pray to God, talk to him, one on one, tell him all that weighs on your heart and your mind and all that keeps you awake at night or robs the peace from your days, open your heart, mind, and above all your soul to him and as he touches you and refreshes you let that praise flow and it will cover you and it will lift the sorrows of this world.
Also if you have never accepted Jesus as your Saviour, I would like to strongly encourage you to do so, if he has been dealing with your heart and leading you to him, please do not postpone the most important decision of your immortal life. God created us in his image, we will live forever.
Where we spend eternity is our decision, Jesus came as a sinless, spotless, sacrifice for ALL of us.
He does NOT ask where have you been, what have you done, all he says is COME, Come and rest your soul in him, lose the guilt, the shame, the hurt and find a brand new you, a you that even you will not recognize, and it is that simple.
If you feel that tug in your heart, please repeat this prayer:
Dear Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, the spotless Lamb who came to take the sins of all the world and Jesus, I believe that you were born of a virgin, I believe you led a completely sinless life and died crucified to cover the sins of all mankind and you rose victorious from death on the third day and you will reign forever. Jesus I confess my sins to you, come into my heart, make me new, cleanse me in your precious blood, and fill me with your Holy Spirit, your love, your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen
It is very important, if prayed that prayer to share your faith with someone.
We are taught this, Hebrews 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
And please, please remember this, Jesus will NEVER remind you of your past, once you are saved, the MOMENT you ask, your sins are gone and they are gone FOREVER.
Jesus LOVES you and it is a love you can not understand UNTIL you have connected with him and I promise you will never be the same and you will never want to be the same!
Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson