WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 19, 2021
TOPIC: BE PLANTED IN THE HOUSE OF GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God” (Psalm 92:12-13 New King James Version).
It is one thing to give your life to Jesus but another thing for you to grow. God’s will is that a child of God should be growing after accepting Jesus as his/her Lord and Saviour.
1 Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (New King James Version). A new believer feeds on milk until he/she is able to eat solid food. Paul said to the Corinthians, “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able” (1 Corinthians 3:2 New King James Version).
The writer of the book of Hebrews also talks about milk for baby Christians and solid food for mature Christians. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14 New King James Version).
Just as a new baby needs a family where he/she will be nurtured to grow, so does a spiritual baby, a new Christian need a church family within which to grow unto maturity. Nobody gives birth to a child and leaves him/her in the hospital to grow there. Even if the new baby has health challenges, he/she will be brought home eventually.
Similarly, it doesn’t matter where someone got born again, he should settle down in a church family and grow. That’s where he/she will be fed with the milk of the word of God that he/she may grow thereby. And because Christian growth never ends, the believer must continue to belong to a Church family.
Some people make the mistake that they can grow and mature as Christians on their own. They think they can stay at home, study their Bibles, pray and do other things – they don’t need to belong to a church! This is a great error. If you’re such a person, you can’t be wiser than Jesus, who established the church as His body on earth. Jesus said He would build His church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Colossians 1:18 says Jesus is the head of the body, the church.
You are outside the will of God if you don’t belong to a church. The church is not heaven so there is no perfect church. You could have your reasons for not going to church or not being a member of any church, but your reason is not superior to the Word of God. Hebrews 10:25 says Christians should not forsake assembling together with other Christians, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the Day approaching.
Some good things happen in the church that will never happen in anybody’s home. An online church is not a substitute for a physical meeting where the condition is right for it. Where normalcy has returned, sitting at home for service is a wrong decision. We need Church online and online church! But they must never replace physical church membership where one is fed with the Word of God and one can be a worker in the kingdom of God. You receive and give in a family.
It is wrong when a Christian moves from one church to the other without having a particular church he/she belongs to and no particular pastor as his/her shepherd. Some people even say ridiculously that Jesus Christ is their pastor! That’s a lie. Jesus is not pastoring anyone directly although He is the Shepherd and Overseer/Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
The Bible says that when Jesus ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men (Ephesians 4:8). “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (verses 11-12 New King James Version).
As imperfect as the church is, those who don’t belong to a church miss a lot. The other day, I heard someone expressing regret for stopping going to church. Many like her may have realized their mistake already. Church membership has immense benefits, but this is not really my main focus.
The writer of Psalm 92 says, “Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God” (verse 13 New King James Version). Did you see that flourishing comes from being planted in the house of the LORD? Because in the house of the LORD, those who are planted receive what they need for growth and flourishing. That is the difference between the righteous and the wicked.
Psalm 1:3 says the righteous “shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (New King James Version). The water that the righteous who is planted in the house of God receives is the ministration of the Word of God and of the Holy Spirit.
Referring to the Word of God as water, Ephesians 5:26 says, “That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (New King James Version). The Word is a cleansing agent for a child of God. And the Word and the Spirit work hand in hand.
Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as rivers of living water. John 7:37-39 says, “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39 New King James Version).
Be planted in a church where the Word of God is and there is a ministry of the Holy Spirit. And the two will make you grow and flourish. As Psalm 92:12 says, the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
See the importance of water in the growth of Cedar in Lebanon as underscored in Ezekiel 31:3-4: “Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with fine branches that shaded the forest, and of high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs. The waters made it grow; underground waters gave it height, with their rivers running around the place where it was planted, and sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field” (New King James Version).
Be planted in the house of God. Don’t be a rolling stone that gathers no moss. Don’ be a wanderer; be a labourer (in the house of God). Not only shall those who are planted in the house of the LORD flourish in the courts of our God, “They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Psalm 92:14 New King James Version).
Don’t continue to visit churches. What are you looking for? Enough of wandering! Prayerfully decide the church to join if you haven’t. Become a functional member, not a spectator. Contribute to the growth of the church as a responsible family member. Work for her good. Don’t let church attendance become a burden to you. David said he was glad when they said to him, “Let us go to the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1 New Living Translation).
Be excited about going to church. Join others to worship the Lord. “Happy is the worshipper of the Lord, who is walking in his ways. You will have the fruit of the work of your hands: happy will you be, and all will be well for you” (Psalm 128:1-2 Bible in Basic English). Be planted in the house of God. If you are already planted in a church, serve the Lord faithfully and with gladness. Don’t let another person take your place (Psalm 109:8; Acts 1:20).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. I shall be planted in the house of the LORD and flourish in the courts of our God. I shall still bear fruit in old age and I shall be fresh and flourishing. Nothing shall slow down or retard my spiritual growth. I shall not be feeding on milk when I am supposed to be eating solid food. I shall be at the level God expects me to be. Father, cause everyone who has abandoned church to return today in Jesus’ name. Let all who have never been members of any church go to church, give their lives to Jesus and become functional members.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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