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!

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

When we have fellowship with other believers, we can influence one another to perform acts of kindness out of love for the Lord Jesus and thereby bring glory to God.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Heb 10:24-25 ESV)

. . . but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  (Heb 3:13) 

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  (Act 2:1)

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11)

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless . . .   (2 Pet 3:14)

These Scripture verses shown above demonstrate a number of good examples for us believers today:

  • As we have regular fellowship, and we have the privilege of comforting and improving each other.
  • It is good to encourage one another to perform kind and loving deeds.
  • We should exhort (urge) one another to live holy lives, even as Jesus did.
  • We should live in peace, harmony, and holiness.
  • It is good to meet with other believers very frequently or to have fellowship through a phone conversation.
  • Do not allow ourselves to become hard-hearted.
  • When we do meet with fellow believers, it is important to be in one accord (unity, harmony).

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be an incredible blessing and encouragement to one another.

Friends

Friends

Have you experienced some relationship catastrophes in your life?  Have one or two friends decided, for various purported reasons, to “unfriend” you?  Well, I want to reassure you that you have a Friend who will NEVER treat you like that!

Jesus is your Friend who sticks closer than a brother, and He told us that He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us!  (Pro 18:24; Heb 13:5)  Hallelujah!!

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Joh 15:15 ESV, emphasis added)

Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13 ESV)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Prov 17:17 ESV, emphasis added)

What kind of “friend” decides to end a relationship of many years’ standing simply because of one or two tiny incidents?  Why would they not rather choose to communicate with their friend about what happened and how they felt, in order to restore harmony and unity in the relationship?  This person would be a poor example of a friend.

Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Mt 28:20 NKJV)  Jesus is the friend who will never leave us.  He promises to be with us ALWAYS.  Glory to God!

Not only are these points significant, but Jesus is a very special Friend indeed.  (All verses below NKJV)

  • He is our Friend who LOADS us daily with blessings and benefits (Ps 68:19).
  • He gives us the desires of our hearts, as we delight in Him.  (Ps 37:4)
  • He gives us great and precious promises through which we be may be partakers of His divine nature.  (2 Pet 1:4)
  • He does whatever we ask Him to do!  (When we ask in His name – Joh 14:13-14)
  • In Christ Jesus, our Friend, all of God’s Biblical promises have been answered:  “Yes!” and “Make it so!”  (1 Cor 1:20)
  • If we ask anything according to God’s will (which is His Word), we know that the Lord hears our request.  And when we know that He has heard our prayer, we know that He has answered our prayer, “Yes”.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)
  • Jesus is our healer.  (Isa 53:4-5; Mt 8:17; 1 Pet 2:24)

There is no other Friend who loves us, blesses us, and cares for us like He does! 

Banner of Love

Banner of Love

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.  (SOS 2:4 NKJV)

In the Bible, many times when the word banner is used, it is referring to a flag.  Armies carry flags and kingdoms display flags to identify and declare several things: 

  • The identity of the King who rules in a certain country and in whose name a particular army fights;
  • The identity of the kingdom to whom an army has pledged its loyalty and steadfastness;
  • The identity of the kingdom that has supplied (and will continue to supply) an army;
  • The identity of the King and the kingdom which will protect an army or a country.

In the instance of the verse shown at the top of this article, the word banner has additional implications to those mentioned above:

  1. The King signified by this banner is King Jesus (the King of Kings and Lord of Lords), who has established His banner, authority, and might in LOVE;
  2. The Kingdom that displays this banner of love not only supplies food, armaments, and other supplies but it also supplies grace to its army and to its people;
  3. This banner represents a Kingdom of loveliness, security, unity, and loyalty;
  4. One of the seven names of God, Jehovah Nissi, means “The Lord our Banner.” (Exodus 17:14-15) The Bible reminds us that God is love.  (1 Joh 4:8, 16b)  Praise the Lord that His banner over us is love!

In John Gill’s Exposition on Song of Solomon 2:4, he says:  “ . . . the covenant of grace and the Scriptures of truth may be thought of as a banqueting house, well stored with blessings, and promises, and rich provisions; which, to be led and let into, is a singular kindness . . .”

As the children of God, we are a blessed people and I recommend thinking about this at length. 

We’re One with the Lord

We’re One with the Lord

But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  (1 Cor 6:17)

. . . as He is, so are we in this world.  (1 Joh 4:17b)

When we become born again (saved), one of those mysteries occurs that the Bible mentions. “What mystery?” you ask.  The mystery of our spirit being joined to the spirit of Christ.  The mystery that the Bible reveals in 1 John 4:17 that as Jesus is—right now in heaven—so are we (believers) on earth.

How is that possible?  That is why it is called a mystery, because we will understand it fully when we are in heaven, face to face with the Lord.  Until that day, we trust in this verse by using the gift of faith that He gave to each one of us.

Because we are one spirit with the Lord, we have intimate communion with God through Christ.  Our salvation experience has baptized us into Christ.  We have “put on Christ.”  (Gal 3:27) 

Being “in Christ” allows us to experience this new life that we’ve been given in community with all those who are also in Christ.  We have fellowship as well as unity.

To my thinking, Jesus, Himself, is the robe of righteousness to which Job 29:14 and Isaiah 61:10 refer.  (Rom 8:1; Gal 2:16)

Daily Bible reading will keep us attached to the True Vine.  (Joh 15:1-11)  The more the word of Christ dwells in us richly, the more fully the joy of Christ will dwell within us.

As you ponder this mystery of being joined to the Lord, take time to thank and to praise God for it.  Allow yourself to celebrate and to enjoy the sense of awe and wonder that this living mystery deserves.

No Condemnation

No Condemnation

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24 KJV)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  (Rom 8:1)

The free gift of salvation by faith which we received through Jesus Christ results in our justification!  We have truly passed from death (eternal condemnation and punishment) into LIFE—eternal love and unity with the living God.  We’ll spend eternity living and serving God in the light of the love of Jesus Christ.

Because we are not under condemnation (Rom 8:1), and because we have entered into eternal life NOW, we have a Mediator and an Intercessor:  Jesus Christ!  He represents us and fights for us!

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.  (Heb 9:15 NKJV)

A Mediator is an arbitrator; umpire, referee, or intermediary.  Jesus is all of these things for us.  Jesus is our Mediator SO THAT we may receive our eternal inheritance!  Our eternal inheritance is rich and abundant; it is available to us NOW.

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.  (Job 16:19-21 NIV1984)

Jesus pleads with God, on our behalf, as Someone pleading for a friend!  Jesus is our Witness—He knows and TESTIFIES that we are justified and set free because He gave His ALL for us! And we accepted His free and generous gift.  We accepted not only salvation, but all of the blessings, benefits, and promises that are part and parcel of that perfect and eternal salvation!

As we live out our salvation, life (and people) may still inflict hurts.  Yet, our God provides a remedy:  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [sorrows].  (Ps 147:3)  The Holy Spirit is your Comforter who pours out love upon you.  (John 14:16; Rom 5:5)

 Abundant life is ours!  (John 10:10)  A life rich in freedom, health, healing, reconciliation, prosperity, mercy, wisdom, grace, joy, and many more blessings are ours—in Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God that was slain!

You are without condemnation.  You have been and are justified—you are redeemed!  You are consecrated to God in order to live for Him.  Enjoy the blessings of eternal life, O child of the Most High God!