January 21

When we went to church there were unwritten, but clearly understood rules for our family.  These were not “church rules” established by the Pastor or the Deacons.  These were rules that were set in place for our four-person family.  There was not an arbitration committee to solve differences, or disputes.  There was no room for a lawyer to plead our case, or to stand in our defense if we violated.  The only justice we knew was in the form of the famous “wooden spoon” that somehow made if from our kitchen into my mother’s purse.

Let me give you some idea of the rules that were in place for our family (in no particular order).  Rule #1 – Be early for every service – showing up just before the service was not on time – at least twenty minutes before was on time.  Rule #2 – Sit still and face the front of the church at all times – there is no excuse for turning around to see who is behind you, or what they are doing.  Rule #3 – When it is time to sing, you sing with your whole voice (musical ability was optional).  Rule #4 – Always bring your Bible to church – there is no reason to go to church without a Bible.  Rule #5 – Dress in the best clothes you have to go to church – you are going there to honor the King of kings – dress like you are going to visit the president of the United States.  Rule #6 – Absolutely NO goofing off during the invitation time.  Rule #7 – There is no excuse for missing a service without a doctor’s excuse.

All these were rules that we followed as a family and I find that they are still firmly settled in my heart.  God spoke to His children and told them, “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself:  but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes” (Psalm 50:21).  I am thankful that God has rules that He will enforce.  When I think of the benefit to me and now our children and grandchildren, I am grateful for a good foundation to build a life upon. God promised in this verse to “reprove” us and to “set them in order before thine eyes.”  God has standards and principles that are meant for our good.  I will tell you that my folks were criticized for the strict rules we lived by, but now that I am a father and grand-father, I am thankful for the guidelines put in place for me to help guide my life.  I thank God for His reproof and rules that He sets in place for my life.  I know they are good for me.

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