It was about a month ago that my friend Sophie and I came up with the idea of having a 'Church Hop' Sunday.
Then when we actually put our plan into action, we realised it was more of a 'Church Swap' than a 'Church Hop', since we were going to my church in the morning and then Sophie's in the evening.
Sophie picked me up at 10am on the Sunday just passed, and we headed off to church number one of the day…
But before I go into it, I want to show you my outfit, just cos' I like it.
University has meant that I've not been able to go to church when I want to, but now that I'm home for summer I get to go and see all the lovely people I miss when I'm not there. And, the biggie, I get to praise and worship God in a place that not only feels like home, it is home.
It was SO good to worship again with other people and just have fun praising God. And during worship, I realised some words were being pushed into my mind and I ended up say aloud (but under my breath):
You will face persecution, but keep striving.
It was a message telling me that living as a Christian, abiding by God's word will mean I face persecution of any form, but to keep going. I know that by striving, I will be happy; I will be satisfied and God will provide everything I need to face that persecution.
Then the message on Benaiah in 2 Samuel that Ps. Derek Smith delivered hit me, and gave me the wake up call I needed.
'Benaiah' means made by God, and you can just think how powerful a meaning that really is for a minute.
What Derek focused on was 2 Samuel 23:20 in which the Bible says:
He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
Now, we could see this as a 'throwaway comment', a vague statement thats contextually bound. And yes, it could just be that. But God is communicating something through these words…
Just think of the conditions Benaiah was in when he tackled the lion. Snowy? Like seriously, who would want to battle in snow – it wouldn't exactly be easy, everyone slips even when you go to fire a snowball!
And then, the obvious: the lion. Who in their sane mind fights a lion; the predator of the savannah. Can you imagine the courage Benaiah must have had?!, and the skill and determination to kill said lion.
Now to relate it to the modern day and our lives…we've all got pits and we've all got lions. Every good person comes from something rubbish. Every man and woman of God comes from a difficult place. It's not about how it started it's about the end.
Real life is the life you're living Monday to Sunday day in day out with your pits and lions.
Pastor Derek continued on how the Bible tells us how to make our lives perfect not our façade, because God is only interested in the quality of your REAL life.
We have to learn to face things head on, ignoring the environment we're in. And that may mean going to places we may not want to go to. It's not going to be an easy battle.
It's gonna difficult. It's gonna be awkward. It's not gonna be pleasant. It's gonna be painful. But this pain is going to help you to be healthy.
Think of the list of your life. There's things on your list that you want to do; and then there's things on the list of your life that you don't wanna do. Similarly, there's a lot of things in your personal development that you don't want to do.
But what would you do if you knew the lion in your pit was gonna kill you one day? Unless we kill the lion, it will come back to devour us. So, to move forward, the lion has to be killed.
The biggest battles in your life will be private, not public. Fear will keep you small. Insecurity robs you of everything. So, fight the private battles head on because you can't leave these on the back burner, as if you do they will take over.
So darling, shoot for the stars.
Part 2 of Church Hop coming soon…