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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Micah 4:1, "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it."

This morning, people undervalue certain things and overvalue others.  It takes no great or prolonged observation to see that people in this country overvalue entertainment, whether in Hollywood or sports.  Likewise, people undervalue the family unit as God instituted it by rising divorce rates and ignoring parental responsibility to the point of having unruly children for as far as the eye can see.  So, whether the ground of thought is current undervaluing of family, faith, or personal responsibility or the overvaluing of carnal pleasure, jobs in the pursuit of money, or self-interest, the point is easily made.  However, one thing today is perhaps more undervalued than at any time in recent history (if not ever).  That one thing is the perception and observed value of the church here in this world.  Such a priceless treasure is sadly neglected by many and completely scoffed at by many more. 

One of the truly interesting things about modern day man's perception of Christianity and the idea of church is just how flippantly it is handled.  Being a Christian and being associated with a "church" today is just as casual as what club you might belong to or what moniker you prefer to where (i.e. what denomination you associate with just to be able to answer the question).  Yesterday, I heard an interesting term while listening to talk radio.  The term was a "C E Christian."  Since yesterday is the day that many people observed the holiday Easter, I quickly figured out what the term meant.  Christmas and Easter Christians only attend church twice a year around or on those two holidays.  Sadly, many probably feel that they have discharged some duty and responsibility by doing so, when the landscape of our duty is far higher and more difficult than that. 

Looking at our study verse above, one thing to immediately notice is some language that appears over and over in Holy Writ whenever the Lord speaks about His church, His house, or His mountain.  Whenever the church (or house of the Lord) is referenced in the word of God, it is always in an elevated fashion.  Our verse references the house of the Lord not only as elevated but elevated higher than anything else in the earth.  Being in the mountains is high, but the church is established in the top of the mountains.  Nothing else on earth is higher, nobler, or more resplendent than she is. 

Taking the thought that she is situated in the top of the mountains, what connotations could we bring to bear on that thought?  Some people object to the church having rules, obligations, and duties for people to keep not only to enter but also to stay within her.  One preacher actually said in a rather sarcastic way (in the pulpit I might add), "Some people make the church harder for folks to get into and stay in than it is for them to get and stay in heaven."  He really popped when I said amen to the thought that he so callously abhorred.  Considering that our effort to either get or stay in heaven is zero, logically, any effort to get or stay in the church is more than to get or stay in heaven. 

To enter into the church and maintain good order as one of her members, our study verse's language requires that we "go higher."  Our moral conduct, personal business, spiritual uplook, and all other points relating to our walk in life needs to seek the higher ground.  No one can get to the top of the mountain without going higher to get there.  Considering some conduct today, it is not enough to simply be "above the world," because a consistently crumbling world gets worse and worse.  Therefore, our standard is not to simply be "above the world," but rather to try to hit "the mark" of Jesus Christ and honour His code and principles as upheld by His church in this world. 

When thinking about the now-termed "C E Christians" yesterday, I began to ponder again what the Bible says about our responsibility to the house of God in attendance.  When reading Paul's language in Hebrews 10 about not forsaking the assembling of the saints as some do, that particular "misdeed" is not nearly as flippant a problem as most today seem to believe.  Paul goes on to say that by missing service and not assembling with the saints, we are saying - through our actions - that Christ's sacrifice and blood is not worth enough to us to even put forth the personal effort to come out to His house.  By not going, we are trampling underfoot that very blood that redeemed us and saying it means very little to us.  Truly, our personal conduct between services is contained in the thought as well, for Paul encourages us to provoke one another to love and good works and so much the more "as ye see the day approaching."  That day, dear friends, is the day of worship and service.  Therefore, our conduct in the between times should also serve to show how much we think of Christ's sacrifice to us. 

If Christ's blood is truly important to us and if we are truly thankful for that most noble sacrifice, our thoughts should be invoked to the highest order to put personal gain, self-interest, and entertainment on the back burner to attending to the house of the Lord.  Jobs are important and money must be made to provide for our families and meet the needs of life, but the highest of all things in this earth should be our efforts to go higher to the top of the mountain. 

Likewise, the mountain must be scaled not only in personal conduct but also in truth as well.  Many today dislike the idea of absolutes.  Even though logical reasoning understands that they must exist else complete chaos would ensue, people still shy away from thinking about them.  So, the idea of absolute truth is unappealing to many today.  Yet, the church should stand for the pure, unadulterated, and absolute truth of Holy Scriptures.  Indeed, none of us know it all, but there should still be truths that we contend for in the top of the mountain that are essential and without compromise.   

Therefore, we conclude that the house of the Lord requires the highest order of thinking in both truth and ethical, moral, and righteous behaviour.  What would be the logical conclusion?  The logical conclusion is that such behaviour leads us to geography that experiences things other places do not.  I have had the privilege to scale, hike, or ascend to the top of natural mountains.  One thing that always strikes me about that scene is just how different everything is up there.  Things look different, sound different, and feel different.  Things are different in the house of the Lord than anywhere else.  Since the house of the Lord has its own feel, smell, look, and sounds, she enjoys something alien to anything else in this world.

The house of the Lord that people flow unto is where the Lord comes down very personally and specially in this world.  Since the Lord blesses obedience in this world, it is simply a logical conclusion to reach that the highest order of obedience would meet with the highest order of blessing.  The church experiences blessings that cannot be found or experienced anywhere else.  Miss church, and blessings will inevitably be missed.  Attend meeting without seeking to maintain the highest order of thinking and acting, blessings will be missed.  The top of the mountain is where the Lord is seen most vividly, felt most preciously, and heard most sweetly.

Truly, while many things could be undervalued more than they are and others overvalued more than they are, it would be difficult to value the church too highly.  One of the finest analogies I ever heard about the church and our mentality toward her came from my departed, natural father, "I can take a lot of personal abuse.  However, you pick on my bride or abuse her, I might just pop you on the nose."  Thankfully, no one ever experienced that, but friends, the reason that the church should be so special to us is because she is special to Him.  He loves and provides for her in special ways.  That care and compassion should never be taken for granted.  May we ascend to the top of the mountain, experience His rich presence, and seek to show forth our thanks to and for Him both in the assembling of ourselves together and in between by provoking one another to love and good works till the next meeting time.

In Hope,

Bro Philip