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    • By 1Timothy115 in Devotionals
         11
      Psalms 119:1-8                                         Sep. 5 - Oct. 2, 2019
      1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
      3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
      4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
      7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
      8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
      The following verse stood out to me...
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      At first glance it seemed to me this person’s soul is poured out with intense desire to have God’s direction in keeping His Word.
      I made a small wood fire in our backyard for my granddaughter, Julia, since she would be staying overnight with us. My wife and Julia stayed outside at the fire for about half an hour. Then, I found myself alone to watch the fire die out on a particularly lovely evening. So I took my verse from above and began to repeat it for memorization. As I repeated the verse, I tried to contemplate the words and apply them to what I was seeing around me. 
      The moon and stars were out now peering through the scattered clouds above.
      [Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.]
      Thought 1         
      The moon has stayed his course since the day God created him, also the stars, obeying the statutes directed by God from the first day they were created. Can you imagine God’s direction to the Moon and stars, “moon you will have a path through the sky above the earth, stars you will occupy the firmament above the moon and be clearly visible in the cloudless night sky.”
      Then, the trees, grass, even the air we breathe obey the statues God gave them from the beginning. None of these creations have souls, none have hearts, none have intelligence, but they all observe God’s statutes, His instructions for their limited time on earth.
      Thought 2
      What if we were like the moon, stars, trees, grass, or the other creations which have no soul? We would be directed to keep God’s statutes without choosing to keep them. This is not the image of God, there would be no dominion over other creatures, or over the earth. We would not be capable of experiencing the joy and peace of learning the love of God
      Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
      Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Thought 3 (October 2, 2019)
      Is the psalmist pleading God to force God’s statutes to become the man’s ways? No, he is speaking of his own failure in keeping God’s statutes and his desire to keep them, very much like Paul in Romans 7:14-25.
      God doesn’t work through force to turn men from their ways that they would desire His statutes or desire God Himself. Men must reject (repent) put aside his own ways and voluntarily seek God and His statutes.

Church Attendance

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Anyone, including you pastors, see a drop off in church attendance? I know, even though our church stayed open during the plandemic and some new folks joined, both my pastor and Sunday school teacher have mentioned that overall attendance is not like it was just a few years ago. I visited my brother's old church and it was like a skeleton crew compared to what it was 20 years ago.

Why do you think this is? I live in what maybe regarded as the "bible belt" or close to it (Central Virginia) and though there seems to be more bible talk because if the internet the churches are close to empty.

My guess the internet has a big part in this. People are going to "church" online or getting their spiritual edification via FB or YouTube. 

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Our church was closed during the "pandemic," and they slowly opened back up with fewer members attending in-person services. Most still wanted to "be safe" and watch the services if they were posted on YouTube or Facebook. We started attending right after the church opened back up, but, because of the continued back and forth in our church, and because my wife and I both have health concerns because of severe underlying conditions, we attended in person only sporadically. I truly miss being there when I'm not able to go, and I try to stay in touch with my pastor, the assistant, and our deacon assigned to us by the church. It's not always been easy, but we do what we can to be there. We still tithe which many who aren't able to go do not. I know this has been a trend in many churches lately. Overall, though, it seems to me that our church's attendance is about the same as it was pre-pandemic.

 

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PastorMatt, that's fantastic news! I wish more churches could say that! I know many here have seen a considerable decline in attendance. Many don't believe they will reach the pre-pandemic numbers any time near soon. They believe that this event has caused a "falling away" from church attendance. They should be actively out there trying to reclaim these people, but, I see very few who are taking any kind of reclamation.

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