I want to take a few minutes to share a little bit about my last semester in college and something incredibly important that I learned from it.
As an adult student, married, with a child, and working full time, finding time to get things done was very difficult. Anything that seemed to be “extra” just didn’t get done. I would go to work during the week from 8:00-4:30 Monday –Friday. After dinner, I would try and work on homework or study. I would spend all weekend, Friday night through Sunday night doing homework and studying and somewhere in between would try to squeeze in laundry and a little housekeeping (and I mean a little). My husband would cook dinner most nights and he would help out with some laundry and dishes.
One thing about me is that I will work hard at whatever I’m doing, but I can’t do it on limited sleep. I don’t function well on just a few hours of sleep, so giving up sleep to find time for other things was not the best option for me. Although I did have some nights of a few hours of sleep, I couldn’t do that every day. I had to find other ways to get things done.
While I was saved, and had a relationship with the Lord, it was not what it needed to be. When life was overwhelming and I was trying to balance the 24 hours I had in the day, it was difficult to balance things. One way that I dealt with balancing my time was skipping church. I told myself that it was ok because I prayed at home and I would watch preaching on TV. At the time it all made sense to me, I got extra stuff done and I felt like I was still OK with God.
Here is what I learned this semester. THAT WAS A LIE FROM SATAN!! Satan convinced me that my life was just fine the way that it was, but let me share with you some of things that I was missing out on by missing church. I found these things out this semester after I started going back to church regularly.
Friendship – support, love, and prayers from other Christians change who you are. Without that, you are missing so much in your life. Hebrews 10:25 says - Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
Being in the Presence of the Lord – Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." While you can pray and read the word of God at home, there is a much stronger move of the Holy Spirit when you are gathered with other believers. The Lord shows up among a body of believers.
The infilling of the Holy Spirit. While I know different people have different beliefs about this, I have to tell you, this is so real. There are many places in the Bible that speaks of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Act 9:17-18 is where Saul was baptized in the Spirit. “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized”.
While you can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit without someone else laying hands on you, for me, it took someone laying hands on me. But I had spent years wanting it and seeking it and it took one Spirit Filled Believer, listening to the Lord, stepping out and approaching me, laying hands on me, and it came. I have heard stories of people being alone somewhere and being baptized in the Holy Spirit so it can happen when you are alone or with other believers but either way, it will change your life! I am a different person now than I was before this occurred.
Intimacy with God and a Connection to the Throne. All of the things I said above impact the intimacy level you have with the Lord. He wants to give you all he has and He just needs you to open up to Him and allow him to give you more of Him.
Friends, don’t miss out on what the Lord has for you. Let me tell you, this last semester of school was both the best and busiest one of them all by far. I had many more assignments, projects, tests, quizzes, and papers this semester than any other. Mostly due to the nature of the last few classes I had to take to graduate. Two of the three classes included exit exams and assessment exams to evaluate the program and the university in how well it did preparing us to graduate. More work and no more time in the day to complete it all. But, I CHOSE this semester to be in church and let the Lord help me deal with the rest. He blessed me so much this semester because of it. He came through for me and I came out at the end of the semester with grades just about the same as any other semester. So, really, there was no loss in productivity on my part. If anything, the Lord helped me out and increased what I could get done in a short amount of time.
DON’T LET SATAN STEAL YOUR BLESSINGS. Don’t let Satan keep you from allowing God to bless you. The Lord is waiting for you to come to Him and He WANTS to bless you. I heard this from someone before and heard from another person today and I have continued to come back to it. “You can have as much of the Lord as you want to have”. He is waiting to give you more. Lay it all down, trust in Him, and He will work in ways you could not imagine in your life. Satan wants you to think that your life in Christ is fine just the way it is. He wants you to think that you don’t need more. But he is a liar! The most spiritual person on the face of the earth can still have more. If anyone thinks they have enough, they are missing out. THERE IS ALWAYS MORE IN HIM!!!!
Don’t let the circumstances of life hold you back. Jump in head first and let the Lord handle the circumstances of life. He is better at it than we are anyway!
The moral of this story is not so much about church attendance (that’s just what it was for me). The moral of this story is that until we reach the throne of Heaven, we haven’t had enough. There is always more. DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU!!!!