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I Remember Sister Coleman

Psalm. 5:7


Multitudes today who profess to be Christians, lovers of God, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and promoters of righteousness, willfully absent themselves from the house of God and despise the blessed privilege of public worship. They justify their actions and excuse their disobedience by pointing to personal responsibilities, inconveniences, or objectionable things connected with the local church. A person determined to walk in a course of disobedience never lacks for excuses to do so. But you will never find justification for neglecting the worship of God in Holy Scripture.

      In Nehemiah's day, the children of Israel who had long been without the privileges of worship in the house of God, made a covenant and took an oath saying, “We will not forsake the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:39). The Shunammite woman rode a donkey every sabbath day to hear God's prophet at Carmel, though her husband objected to it (2 Kings 4:23). In David's time, the saints of God “passed through the valley of Baca” to worship God at Zion (Psalm 84:6). In Daniel's day, the children of God ran to and fro “to increase knowledge,” to know more of the Lord God (Daniel 12:4). Zechariah tells us that in his days the inhabitants of one city went to another, saying, “Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 8:21). Our Lord and his disciples went to considerable trouble and inconvenience to meet together and worship God (Mark 1:21; Luke 4:16). The Ethiopian Eunuch journeyed from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to worship God, seeking to know him of whom the prophets spoke (Acts 8:25).

      I remember Sister Clemmie Coleman. She was a faithful member of Bible Baptist Church in Madisonville, Kentucky, until the Lord called her home. Until she was nearly 90, she worked every day, keeping other people’s children. I have visited the church in Madisonville many, many times, both as a guest preacher and to hear others preach. Until the Lord took her to Heaven, I was never in a worship service there when Mrs. Coleman was not in her seat, and in it early.

      The last time we saw her, my wife commended her for her faithfulness in the house of God. Her response was something to this effect, “Well, I want to be here; and I know that I am responsible not only for everything I hear, but also for everything I had the opportunity to hear and didn’t.” Every time I hear someone half Mrs. Coleman’s age (or less) offer me some lame excuse for absenting themselves from the worship of God, I think of that dear lady (and many others I know like her) and say, “I understand.” Believe me, if you hear me say that to you, I do understand. We all do, in so far as we have the ability, exactly what we want to do.

      Call it fanaticism if you choose, but I say without fear of contradiction that anyone who talks about being a Christian, who talks about worshipping God, who talks about being a believer, and yet willfully neglects the worship of God, ought to blush with shame for his obvious hypocrisy! All who know God in the experience of his grace delight in worshipping him. — “As for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.




Don Fortner








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