Encourage & Build

Encourage & Build

Have you ever heard this saying?  “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”  Such a person is an ENCOURAGER!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 NIV)

There are at least thirteen passages in the New Testament alone about encouragement.  Encouragement means inspiration, reassurance, and support.  Encouragement is a combination of all three.  It has great potential for fostering and advancing critical moments in a person’s, a church’s, and or a nation’s history. 

But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.  (Deu 3:28 NKJV)  As this verse in the Bible demonstrates, encouragement is able to strengthen a person’s soul (mind, will, and emotions) and help them to push ahead to accomplish their goal.  Thanks to encouragement and God’s grace, Joshua accomplished great things for God.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Acts 11:23)  This is when Barnabas visited the church at Antioch:  He supported them in their faith in God and emboldened them to continue in it.

Here is something interesting to know about Barnabas

“Barnabas” wasn’t his birth name (it was Joseph); Barnabas was his nickname meaning “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). This rather obscure Bible character was so encouraging that it became his name.” ~ Source:  https://www.leadershipresources.org/who-is-barnabas-in-the-bible-10-things-to-know.

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)  These words of the Apostle Paul’s are inspiration to the church of his day—as well as to us.  He is nurturing our unity, our faith in and understanding of the Gospel, and our perseverance in faith.

. . . and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith . . .  (1 Thes 3:2)  The Apostle Paul is writing from Antioch about sending Timothy to confirm, reassure and to strengthen the faith of the Thessalonian church during persecution.

As these passages reveal to us, encouragement is powerful!  It has the potential to build (develop, shape, and foster) a person’s faith in God as well as a confidence in their calling to such an extent that they are enabled to accomplish mighty deeds and to produce pivotal moments in history. 

Boldly encourage someone that you care about today.  Blessings upon you!

Yes & Amen

Yes & Amen

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  (2 Cor 1:20)

This is a wonderful, blessed, and encouraging Bible verse.  It means that every promise in the Bible is fulfilled through, and guaranteed by, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

But what does that mean, in everyday life, to a believer?

First, the key is to remember that all of God’s words are reliable.  They are firm, constant, and steadfast. God cannot lie. (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Heb 6:18; Tit 1:2)

These promises are fulfilled IN JESUS so it’s crucial to remember that Jesus never changes. (Heb 13:8)  Neither will His promises nor His support of God’s Word ever change.

God is consistent and His love is consistent.  That means that He, His love and His words NEVER FAIL.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  (Ps 13:5)

For with God nothing will be impossible.  (Lk 1:37)

He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever . . .  (Ps 18:50)

And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.  (Josh 23:14)

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.  (Ps 33:5)

. . . so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  (Isa 55:11 NIV)

So, our question from the top of the article is what does this mean for the believer.  First, here are the definitions of the words:   The word Yes means “certainly, absolutely, and positively.”  The word Amen means “I agree” or “Yes, indeed.”

In everyday life, this means that you may choose a Bible verse or several that you would like to come to pass for you in your life.  As you meditate upon the verse (or verses) and keep it in front of your eyes, know that through Jesus, the Lord has already answered:  “certainly; I agree; absolutely; yes, indeed; and positively” to your need.

How glorious!  We serve the God of the impossible!

Sharing Our Burdens

Sharing Our Burdens

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal 6:2 NIV)  It’s our duty as believers to help bear each others’ burdens.

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:13-14 NKJV)

The first person with whom we share our burdens, after receiving Christ as our Savior, is with the Lord Jesus.  He truly removes our burdens by removing all of our sins, and by continuously cleansing us from unrighteousness.

The troubles in this life are diverse and seem unrelenting at times. In the midst of pressure and heartaches of various kinds, people can stumble.  Even devout followers of Christ may worry and grieve over their circumstances—to the point of feeling crushed by them.  This is why it is so very necessary for Christians to help one another with their burdens, problems and cares.

An important side note is to remember to guard our hearts and minds when supporting another person or family through difficulties so that we’ll remain nonjudgmental and humble. 

We can’t always remove the stressful circumstance, but we can always provide support to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This can be done in practical ways, as well as through spiritual approaches. 

PRACTICAL METHODS

We can offer to help the brother/sister by running errands or babysitting.  If prompted by the Lord, we can give a gift of cash.  It’s considerate to phone the person or couple who’s in stress several times a week to let them know that we’re thinking of them, praying for them, and that we care about them.  Take the person or the family out to lunch or dinner to give them a temporary relief from the stress.  Or you can be more real by inviting them to your own home for a meal.  Depending upon the nature of the trial a friend is undergoing, we can be sensitive to practical things that we can do to relieve some measure of pressure from their daily walk.  If an emergency requires long-distance travel and the person can’t afford their ticket, we can help them to raise the money as the Lord leads us.

SPIRITUAL WAYS

We should pray faithfully for the brother or sister (or family) that is experiencing challenging circumstances.  Enlist other believers to join you in praying for the person or family in crisis.  From time to time, we can send an encouraging greeting card to our brother or sister, and mention an uplifting Scripture verse in a note.  We might make an appointment with our Pastor to inquire if there is any project or fundraising plan that the Church members might undertake that would assist the person or family who is in distress.  We can do some research to see if there are organizations or programs available that could assist the person or family who is in trouble.  If anything appropriate is discovered, we should give them the information. 

Showing our heartfelt concern and support for a person or family who is experiencing stress of any form is a loving, godly, biblical way to bear one another’s burdens. It is also obeying the Scripture that instructs us to love our neighbor.  God approves of our demonstrations of His love through our serving and helping our fellow believers.

Lastly, if anyone who is reading this is experiencing a calamity, please never be ashamed or reluctant to ask your brothers and sisters in Christ for help, prayers, and support. 

Unfailing Love

Unfailing Love

God, alone, is capable of bestowing UNFAILING love upon a person or a group of people.  Since God is love (1 Joh 4:8), we can see why this would be possible as well as understandable.

Here are three different versions of the same Bible verse about God’s love:

Because your faithful love is right in front of me—I walk in your truth!  (Ps 26:3 CEB)

For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.  (Ps 26:3 NKJV)

. . . for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.  (Ps 26:3 NIV, emphasis added)

There are many more verses in the Word that talk about God’s precious, beautiful, unfailing love (all NIV):

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.  (Ex 15:13)

Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.  (Ps 6:4)

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  (Ps 13:5)

See also Psalm 18:50; 21:7; 32:10; 33:5, 18, 22; 36:7; 44:26; 48:9; 51:1; 52:8; 62:12, and many more!  Further research into this truth will strengthen and support your faith in all circumstances.

What I hope to accomplish here is to remind us all how very deeply and how faithfully God loves each one of His children.  God’s love is unfailing, and it is unconditional.  There is no love anywhere else in creation like the love of God for His people.

God’s love is dependable, constant, consistent, unshakable, and enduring.  His love is more important than anyone else’s.  When you are the object of His love, His love for you makes you a better, kinder, and more loving human being.  His love enables you to love others in a more mature way than ever before. 

Meditate upon His unfailing love. Make it a practice to have an awareness of His constant, abiding love.  It will bless your life and faith immensely.

God’s Wonderful Counsel

This also comes from the Lord of hosts; He is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.  (Isa 28:29 ESV)

O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.  (Isa 25:1 NKJV)

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

The Lord has declared Himself, through His Word, to be our Counselor.  A counselor is one who gives advice, guidance, and direction.  A wise counselor also gives warning when they feel it is appropriate.

God, who our Savior as well as our Counselor, gives us:

  • Support,
  • A listening ear,
  • Help, and
  • Instruction

We receive many of these blessings through our church family in the person(s) of our Pastor, our elders, and our wise friends.  This is a matchless and precious gift to each one of us.  What a blessing are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Rely upon the Lord and His Word for the best counsel that exists anywhere in creation or in the universe!

Preach on the Housetops

Preach on the Housetops

Good day!  As a believer in Jesus Christ, what is your calling or assignment in life?  Well, I’m sure it’s multi-faceted. 

You’re called by God to be a loving and faithful spouse (if married); you’re called to be a loving and responsible parent (if you have kids); you’re to be a good steward of all that God has given to you; you’re to bring glory to God by being a good, diligent worker; AND you’re called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As you can see, we all have multiple responsibilities to fulfill in life.  Not the least of these responsibilities, as a servant of Christ, is to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with everyone as we have opportunity.  We need to stir up our resolve from time to time to actually fulfill this crucial responsibility.

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.  (Mt 10:27)  When the Holy Spirit teaches us something through the Scriptures, He would like us to meditate upon it and pray over it; and then share it with others.  In other words, “broadcast” it to the neighborhood.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  (Mt 28:18-20)

We are given the assignment to preach and to make disciples of all nations!  Of course, the Lord will honor our support of our church ministry both in working as a volunteer and in our financial giving.  The Lord also considers us as taking part in preaching the gospel when we financially support ministers, evangelists, and missionaries who travel throughout the world sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It’s also a good idea to set a goal of some sort—known only to ourselves and God—of how many people we would like to share a testimony with in a given period of time (i.e., a month or a year). 

Any testimony that we share with someone gives them a glimpse of the love and faithfulness of God to us.  Our testimony also demonstrates that we have a strong, personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior; so it is clearly a powerful tool to use.

We’re called to preach on the housetops!  Be blessed!

 

What Did You Want to See?

What Did You Want to See?

But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  (Mt 11:8)

When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?  (Lk 7:24)

Jesus talked about a “reed shaken by the wind” because in Bible days, reeds grew similar to sugar cane. The reeds bowed nearly to the ground during the hot daytime. At night, thanks to the cool breeze of the Mediterranean, the reeds would stand up again. This singularity was a crowd-gathering event. Groups of people came out to see the reeds rise in the cool breezes of the night. Then they would return home, unchanged by what they had witnessed. 

Jesus was telling the people that they did not follow John’s teachings, but that all they wanted was to see a spectacle (similar to the reeds).  They were not willing to repent and to be baptized.

They were also coming out to listen to Jesus in the same way—without a willingness or interest in changing their lives. Jesus was showing them how empty and frivolous they were.  They simply moved through the events of their lives without ever connecting with God or His power.

We must determine that in the course of our everyday lives, we must “see Jesus” and His power come alive in our own lives and in our own experiences.  How do we do that?  We study the Word of God and we allow it—INVITE IT—to cleanse us, transform us, and empower us to act. 

We are Christ’s disciples and we are meant to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  We are called to support the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to work in our own neighborhoods to be an influence for good and a witness of Jesus Christ.  God bless you.

How to Live In the Word

How to Live In the Word

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”  (John 8:31)

How do you abide IN Jesus’ words?  First of all, the word abide may be defined as heed, acknowledge, or respect.  If our heart’s desire is to abide in His word, then we will depend upon the word as God intended us to do.  To depend on something means to rely upon it for support and help.

That means that whenever we have a concern, a need, or a challenge, we turn to the Scriptures to find a solution to our situation.  We look to the Lord and seek His face to hear what He has to say, and what wisdom He has to share.

Another way to receive God’s wisdom, of course, is to seek wise biblical counsel from a Pastor, an older believer, or a spouse or relative.  All of these advisors will be happy to refer to and to study the Word with you, searching for the help that only God can give. 

Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.  (Ps 25:3)

Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.  (Ps 25:20)

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  (Rom 10:11)

When we rely upon the Lord and His word, we will never be put to shame.  Turning to the Word in our daily lives, and understanding that God has imbued it with His power so that it has active power to impact situations in our lives is living in His word.