i worked out this morning for the first time in about 7 weeks. yes, 7 weeks. i'm ashamed to say. i was always determined to remain somewhat active when i became pregnant. my mom said that she always walked a lot when pregnant and that activity really helped her. but, anyways, little did i know how sick and tired i would feel at first and that exercising would be next to impossible. but i've been feeling better the past few weeks and yet still did not start back up exercising. and as a result, whenever i do anything, like even carrying a basket of laundry in and out of the laundry mat, or rolling the portable dishwasher around, things that i absolutely have to do, i strain this muscle in my lower back and feel like i'm 80 years old. well, really, i have no idea what it will feel like to be 80....but anyways, i know from previous experience that the only times i ever strain this muscle is when i'm desperately out of shape. and considering i'm going to be giving birth naturally in a few months, i really don't want to be desperately out of shape. so, today i said, enough is enough. no more excuses. i must start walking at least. so dave helped me move a bunch of paint cans and building supplies out of the way and he folded down the treadmill for me before he left for work. and i just made myself (despite all the excuses that i could come up with) walk for 30 minutes. i did not walk very fast as i did not want to raise my heartrate very high, and since i've been so sedentary lately, it didn't take much to do that. but i did walk 1.25 miles. anyways, i kept looking out the window dreaming of spring. because then i will walk outside!! and that will be even more enjoyable. and then probably i'll be back inside in the summer, cuz i hate walking in thick humidity. :) anyways, i'm glad i did it. i'm feeling better and more energized already. of course, part of that might be due to the fact that THE SUN IS SHINING!!!
while i was walking i was listening to moody radio. and although i didn't glean that much from what the guy was talking about, i started thinking about Christianity and questions that people have asked me in the past. one in particular being:
why do i have to go to church? i believe in God, I have my own relationship with Him, so why do i have to go to church? most people there are just a bunch of hypocrites anyways.
this is a very good question. i often wondered it when i was a teenager too. and i never really have a well though out answer for this so i decided to google it (my source of all information these days) and see what some experts sight as reasons why Christians should attend a local church..and if i agree with them.
and here are some things i found, which i wholeheartedly agree with:
- 1 Corinthians 12 states that each believer has a certain role in the church, they are "part of the body of Christ"- by not attending church, or not being actively involved in your church (like we tried for 4-5 years) you are really robbing the rest of the body from what God wants you to provide to the rest of the believers. For example, we felt called to help people thru FPU for some time, but held back from actually holding the first class due to various reasons. When we finally did, God brought 90 people into the class and we were so blessed by facilitating it!
- 1 Cor 12:27 - all believers are members of the body of Christ - when someone accepts Christ, they automatically become part of the church....however, it is up to that person to then make that truth evident to all by officially joining a local church and actively participating in that assembly of believers. I have been at large business functions where people became Christians on Sunday morning, and the leaders' first point of advice was that the people go home, get a Bible, and find a good local church that preaches the Word of God.
- In his book, Introducing Christian Doctrine, Millard J. Erickson goes as far as to say that it is actually impossible to live a Christian life apart from the church. This is based on Colossians 2:19. It speaks of a person who lost connection with the body. This is apparent because he is suffering from "false humility" and "idle notions" that would not occur if God was causing him to grow within the unity of His body.
- Ephesians 4:12-13 speaks of the importance of believers being a part of the body of Christ so that they can be unified in their belief, knowledge, and be maturing in their walks with the Lord. If one is not a part of the body of believers, it becomes more difficult for them to carry one another's burdens as Galatians 6:2 says should happen.
- Acts 2:42-47. These functions include: worship of God, discipleship/teaching, proclamation, fellowship, and service. This passage says that the believers were praising God together.
- Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." - when you are not around other Christians, you are not challenged to live as a Christian. David works with a lot of non-Christians, and often feels like the only way he maintains his faith is by going to church on Sundays and immersing himself in the Word with other believers, seeing that others actually do believe this stuff, because he feels so alone all week long.
- It is our chance to gather with other believers and publicly express our faith, love and trust in God, which all Christians are required to do (Matt 10:32-33)
- It builds up our spiritual strength, so we can resist the devil. We need to put on spiritual armor (Eph 6:10-18) and Rom 10:17 says "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" - church is an opportunity to hear the Word and to build up our strength.
- The Lord is present there (Matt 18:20) - "For where two or three are gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." How cool is that???
- It is an act of obedience to God. Heb 10:24-26 says “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” We are to come together and encourage one another. To reject church attendance is sin. James 4:17 - “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin”
- It provides accountability to other believers and spiritual leaders. “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17). You cannot genuinely be under submission to a TV pastor who has never met you.
- There is a multiplied strength in several believers praying. Matt 18:19 - “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven”
- It honors the Lord's Day. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). This day of Christian worship came to be called the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10), a day to fellowship in celebration of the resurrection, to worship, pray and study the Word together.
Anyways, I hope that some of you may find this helpful. I know that once David and I found a good church, we have been so, so, so eternally grateful for all the stuff we've learned by associating with other believers. Our walks are stronger because of it. We have learned so much. It makes me sad to think that others may be missing out on this type of sharing with other believers.