Inspirational Thought of the Day:

The church is much more than a building or an organization – it is a house of prayer.

Scripture of the Day:

Luke 19:46-47

“He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” 47 After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him.”

A person’s final actions and words on this earth are significant. None moreso than the words and deeds of our Savior. The day after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus resolutely set on his mission and began with the house of God. Almost symbolically, he cursed a fig tree that was not bearing fruit on his way to clear God’s temple of moneylenders. Judgment would start with the church. And, I might add, He was not very politically correct about it, either.

The ire Christ demonstrated ought to get our attention. We do not see the gentle Shepherd speaking to His people. We see a zeal for God’s church exhibited in a righteous anger. And we see it more than once. Christ cleansed the temple at the onset of His ministry and again at the end. The church is much more than a building or an organization – it is a house of prayer. Not a place of position or power, but communion and relationship.

The church is to be a beacon – a light to show the world what it means to know God. But sometimes we can get entangled with our programs or inner struggles that we, too, can be guilty of losing perspective. Christ wanted His bride, the church, to be a place of prayer. She was, instead, like a marketplace. The focus had shifted to being like a business. Ouch. Can we get so comfortable doing church that we forget why we are there in the first place?

Prayer being what Christ emphasized, He was reminding the church of her need to be close with God. God’s people were not to be characterized by empty, rote prayers offered religiously, but fervent prayers of a people seeking to do God’s mission. How did the church get so off track that when God Himself came to visit, the leaders sought to murder Him? Had they been closer to God, perhaps they would have recognized Him coming to His people?

As we reflect on Christ’s mission this holy week, may we remember that the church is to be an ambassador for Christ. We hold the truth within our walls and must not allow the pure message of the Gospel to be snuffed out by “playing church”. The church needs to extend past her walls and reach the hurting world around her with an invitation to know our God, not just know about Him.

This week as we remember Christ’s actions the week leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection, may we remember that His entire mission was to restore us to relationship with God. Some thought that He would conquer the world system of the day, some thought He was a prophet. But His own people missed Him. May it not be so with us today. Be ready, people. Jesus is coming again.

Oh God, may Your people be ready and may we be focused on Your mission and not lose sight of what matters most – knowing You and making You and Your great love known.

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