Donna and I have lived next door to our neighbor, Danielle, since moving into our present home in October 1984. In a recent conversation with Donna, Danielle told of a pianist who was admitted to the same senior home at which Danielle’s mother, Mary Ruth, was a resident.
Since childhood, the pianist had volunteered and faithfully served as accompanist at her home church. She loved and cherished her church family and assumed they felt the same for her. Having always been there for them, she was confident they would be there for her.
True to her expectations, her pastor and fellow church members visited weekly for the first couple of months. As time passed, however, the visits grew less and less frequent until they finally ceased altogether. What a rude wake-up call it was for her to face the reality that she invested so many years of her life in a church where she was so easily dismissed and forgotten.
When Church Hurts
As a pastor, I consistently encounter Spirit-filled, Bible-believing Christians who tell similar stories of church woes. For whatever reasons, organized religion has failed these sisters and brothers in Christ. Somehow, they fell through the cracks; and the mere thought of returning to church sends the majority of them into panic mode.
Thankfully, God still has churches out there that do maintain a real presence for their members and guests. If you are part of the brethren of such a church, you are truly blessed. If, on the other hand, circumstances have driven you away from church; I pray God, in His own time, will lead you to a church home where you will be genuinely loved, nurtured, and supported in your Christian journey. In the interim, however, I would like to offer you some words of hope and encouragement:
Regardless as to whether you are worshiping God in a church building or your own home, you are the Church. God’s born-again believers, not architectural structures, are the Church. Being in a church does not guarantee entry into Heaven. The only way for you to pass through Heaven’s portal is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
To the Prophet Elijah; God reveals the presence of a remnant, a portion of His followers who are away from the Temple, yet still worshiping Him.
From Power To Cower In Twenty-Four Hours
In 1 Kings 18, we read how Elijah boldly stood toe-to-toe against the prophets of Baal as they exerted every effort to get their heathen god to acknowledge them and ignite dry wood piled high atop an altar to Baal.
Taunting the prophets of Baal and laughing at their failed attempts, Elijah prayed to the Lord God of Heaven. In response, God sent down fire to ignite not merely dry wood, but water-doused wood piled high atop an altar to Him.
In 1 Kings 19, however, we read how Elijah ran, the very next day, for his life when threatened by the wicked Queen Jezebel. That’s right, Elijah fled to escape one irate woman who had sent him an angry, threatening note. What a difference a day makes!
As far as Elijah was concerned, circumstances could not get any worse. Convinced that he was the only God-fearing survivor who still lived in the land of Israel, he believed his life was now in jeopardy, too.
Elijah held a pity party for himself. Speaking directly to God, Elijah explained what a good and faithful prophet he had been. Then, Elijah asked that he be allowed, right then and there, to die in peace.
Not The Last Man Standing, But Part Of A Remnant
When Elijah was at what he believed to be his lowest, God revealed to the flustered prophet that he was not alone. Elijah was assured by God that He still had a remnant of seven-thousand followers who had not bowed their knees to Baal.
God has always had a remnant set aside, by grace, for His purpose.
A remnant is a remainder of something; a remnant is a portion that is not cast aside, but set aside for future use.
Donna and I are the proud owners of a throw pillow, which was a gift from my mother. Shipped to us from her home in Tucson, Arizona, the pillow coordinates well with our living room decor. The pillow front; rich in shades of brown, burgundy, gold, green, and ivory; is a tapestry of an English fox-hunt scene, and the pillow back is color-coordinated in gold.
Our first impression of the pillow was that it had been purchased from a high-end retail store. In telephoning my mother, however, and thanking her for the gift; Donna and I were surprised to learn that the tapestry was a remnant of cloth she had found at a yard sale, set aside, and eventually put to use at an opportune moment in time.
My mother had a remnant that she, according to her purpose, put to use. She transformed the remnant into something not only beautiful, but also useful. God has a remnant with which he does exactly the same. Until that time; we, His remnant, must hold fast to the faith and wait upon Him. In Isaiah 40:31 (King James Version), we read:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
PRN Pastor is a refuge where we, together, can wait upon the Lord and renew our strength. Here, may we find peace. Here, may we find purpose. Here, may we find God.
Yours in Christ,
Featured Photo: D. W. Barton; Fox Huntsmen And Hounds; Barton Photo Collection; Bessemer, Alabama; Color Photo; 2019
To accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, all you need do is open your heart to Him, earnestly repent of your sins, and pray the sinner’s prayer.