Having church with no church…

Yesterday, instead of being at Sunday worship services, I was confined to my house. After a wonderful Saturday afternoon participating in the commencement ceremony for myself and about fifty other students from the Moody Bible Institute (I received a Christian Worker Certificate; my diligent husband was rewarded with two certificates and prayed a powerful prayer of Thanksgiving at the end of the ceremony), we decided to celebrate at a restaurant where we’d never eaten called the Twisted Rooster. I ordered a Buffalo Chicken sandwich–I love spicy food–and I was pretty disappointed. I expected a sandwich full of spice and flavor but what I got was beyond bland. It came with a nasty cheesy sauce that I assumed was a chipotle sauce, doused it on the sandwich, and was repulsed. Instead of sending it back like I should have, I took it home, rinsed off the cheesy sauce, and repurposed the sandwich using ACTUAL spices. It tasted better, but neither my body nor my taste buds were fans of that disgusting sauce. So there I was, missing out on church while my kids are singing, and I didn’t get to deliver the bomb Sunday school lesson I had planned.

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I decided to have church at home by myself. Interestingly enough, as soon as I made that decision, the Internet began acting up and I was unable to put the worship music I had chosen up on the television. However, my laptop was working just fine, so I pressed on, starting with a mini-devotion: Singing along with Hezekiah Walker’s “Clean Inside” to get my spirit rightfully roused, and a good Scripture to get my mind right. I’m not sure why, but I was led to 1 Samuel.

I read from the first chapter verses 1 through 20. As always, these Scriptures are just bursting with knowledge. We see that there is a man named Elkanah who is husband to two wives. One wife, Peninnah, has borne Elkanah children, but his other wife, Hannah, is barren. We know that being barren was considered a source of great shame in women back in those days. The family name and property continued on through the son, and for a woman not to bear her husband a son was basically a disgrace. Peninnah doesn’t seem to be a godly woman, because in these few verses of Scripture, we see that she often uses her ability to bear children to tease and provoke Hannah. On the other hand, we see that Hannah doesn’t seem to return the provocation. Instead, she takes her pain to the Lord. Eli the priest sees Hannah praying, and since her mouth is moving but no words are coming out, he assumes she is drunk. When she explains to him that she is pouring out her spirit to the Lord, Eli responds: “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him“. After this encounter Hannah conceives and delivers a son- Samuel.

Although Peninnah seems to have the upper hand here, in all actuality, since she obviously didn’t have God–she didn’t. Elkanah preferred Hannah over Peninnah–this is explicitly stated. And if you notice, Peninnah’s children are not named in this Holy Writ. Everyone with even a small bit of Biblical understanding knows who Samuel is. It reminds me of the ways of this world, and how we have to realize that everything isn’t always as it seems. Someone might seem like they have everything, but if God isn’t a part of it, they really don’t.

After that I had prayer. I prayed mightily for America. We’re in a bad spot right now. I take special offense at individuals in leadership positions invoking God when it’s convenient and then turning around and doing ungodly things to His children. A few days ago I saw the education budget proposed by Miseducation Secretary Betsy Devos and I was furious. Absolutely irate. She claims she is a Christian but is content to take away billions of dollars from public schools when they should be getting more. Of course, we are not charged with judging one’s salvation status–only God knows the true conditions of one’s heart, but Christians are expected to keep other Christians in check. When we see one of the brethren doing things that appear to be contrary to what sayeth the Lord, we SHOULD be calling them on it, because their missteps are not only damaging to their relationship with God, but also to other people’s relationship with God. When I read things like that and see that people are content to watch food stamps be cut because the poor are “lazy”, although it has been proven TIME AND TIME again that MOST people on food stamps have at least one job if not more and just don’t make enough to adequately provide nourishing food for their families, and that a lot of the other grown recipients are disabled or veterans, I want to bang my head into the wall.

At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own political opinions. For mine, the Democrats sometimes lean too far left for me, and the Republicans are just a no for me, dawg. IF we had the Republican party of old, and not this latest crop of sexist racist elitist obstructionists, I could say that maybe I could support some of their principles in terms of smaller government. I am praying that we get a strong Republican party like the ones of old because honestly, neither party has the answer to all of America’s problems. I think a lot of our issues can be solved with better compromise and respect. This polarization helps NO ONE. That is why I pray for our leaders on all sides. They were ELECTED to represent their constituents and apparently they have forgotten that.  For those who claim to be Christian and are acting in opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ, I pray for their awakening before they receive the guaranteed chastening of the Father.

At the end of the day a nation is only as great as it treats its most vulnerable. Instead of helping the mentally ill, the vets, poor people, children, college students, the elderly, we are taking from them. It’s disgusting. I can’t get behind any platform that doesn’t help. And no, it’s not a flipping “handout”. And also no, social programs shouldn’t be disbanded because of a 2% fraud rate. SMH.

I prayed for about an hour about America alone. If you’re in America and you’re a Christian, I hope you do the same. If you have never been on the receiving end of good old-fashioned American racism or classism, can you tell me how that feels? I’m tired of being stereotyped. It’s pretty infuriating and disheartening to come into contact with people who know nothing about me but assume that they do because of my color. I can’t think of anything that makes me angrier than having someone admit to believing that we are lazy and look for handouts. Especially now that I am not working and know that that is one of my biggest desires because, excuse my English, I DON’T WANT NOBODY TO GIVE ME NOTHIN’. I LIKED working for a living. I don’t feel I should have to combat other people’s stupid prejudices yet I feel obligated to defend the state of Black people everyday. And why should I have to live like that? I’m tired of having to be so aware of myself in public, making sure I don’t look suspicious, making sure my tone of voice is extra light and fluffy because I’ve been told I come off as “aggressive” when I’m NOT, because of ideas OTHER people have come up with about who I am. It’s exhausting and unfair. Tired of hearing about racism? Well, I’m tired of living it. I must admit that in my anger I asked God why these attitudes are allowed to persist. Why should I have to tell my 10-year-old son that he has to be careful if he decides to go into his pockets to get his asthma inhaler because someone might think it’s something else? He’s the sweetest little boy I’ve ever known. Why should I have to explain to him that other people won’t always see him for what he actually is?

But I digress. I’m getting angry again, so I should move on.

After my prayer I felt a lot better; I was able to release some of my frustration and anger. I listened to a couple more songs. And then, lo and behold, I was interrupted, but at least I had been able to digest some of the Word before I was. The 1st Samuel scripture, albeit brief, put me in a good spot.

The church is not a building. Yes, there are buildings in which we conduct church services. But the actual church is you and I, those saints who collectively make up the body of Christ, with Christ Himself as the Head (Eph. 1:22-23). The word “church” is derived from the Greek word “ekklesia” which means “an assembly” or “called out ones”. In all essence, us saints bring “the church” to the building in which services are held. It’s not the other way around. The building that we refer to as church is for fellowship, teaching, learning, and practical applications of the Word of God.

With that being said I pray I’ll be back at 100%–well, I don’t know what 100% feels like anymore, so I’ll settle for my typical 70% LOL–so I can attend next Sunday.

Congratulations to my fellow graduates. I know a lot of them felt it couldn’t be done, but God is able.

 

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