"IN THE SAME WAY, LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN, SO THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS AND GIVE GLORY TO YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN." MATTHEW 5:16
Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The truth is, the same time we have time to worry and ruminate on our fears, is the same amount of time we have time to pray instead. It’s all about what you choose to give your energy and your spirit over to in these moments. The difference is that one will keep you bound and the other will set you free.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
It's easy for us to quote this verse when we are in the good times. When times get rough and when we are experiencing pain and hardship, however, it is sometimes difficult to hold on to this verse. Notice that Paul does not say that "all things are good" but rather "all things work together for good" for them that love God. The honest truth is we may not see this until we enter glory. But we can take comfort now in knowing, God will work all things together for the good of those who love HIm even though we may not understand it now.
Psa 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
King David knew where his strength and security came from. We too can know that if we set the Lord Jesus always before us we shall not be shaken! What a promise! What a God!
After listening to a typical day’s evening news it is easy to get discouraged. It seems that everywhere you turn something bad is happening. As Christians we must ask; “What should our response be”? In responding, a few verses in Philippian’s come to mind. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,16holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippian’s 2:12-16 We must ask ourselves a question… “Are we bearing the light of Christ in spite of what is going on around us”? If not, we can draw encouragement from the fact that as long as we have breath in our lungs, Jesus stands ready to forgive, forget and work in and through us!
Christian Encouragement (9-26-17)
God commands His people to encourage one another because He knows that we need it. Each day we are reminded that we live in a broken world. Sin steals our joy, our bodies break down, our plans falter, our dreams die, our resolves weaken, our perspective dims and on top of it all we are promised persecution and trials will be a part of our life on this earth. It is in view of all this that we see the importance of daily encouragement.
In the gospel of John, Jesus warned that “in this world you will have trouble” which He then followed with the much-needed word of encouragement
“But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)
As Christians, it gives us great peace in knowing that whatever life throws our way we will overcome it because we are in Christ and Christ is in us.
In John 13, after Jesus had washed His disciple’s feet, He predicted that He would be betrayed by one of His own which would lead to His crucifixion and glorification with His Father. He tried to explain that during this time they could not come with Him. As we can imagine, this news brought them great distress! After all, they had left everything to follow Him and now He was telling them that He was leaving and they couldn’t come with Him!
Thank God for the encouragement in John 14. Jesus reassures us that He will return for us!
John 14:1-6 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (2) In my Father's house are many mansions (rooms, dwelling places). If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (4) And you know the way to where I am going.” (5) Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Fast forward a few years and we see the apostle Paul preaching the same thing.
1Co 15:1-4 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, (2) and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. (3) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (4) that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
It is upon this gospel we place our faith and draw our encouragement.
Rom 10:9-13 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (11) For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (12) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. (13) For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
In First Thessalonians Paul gives us a little more information and encouragement though only God knows the exact timing of this event.
1Th 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (14) For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (15) For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (18) Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The previous passage refers to future Rapture of the church. Only God knows when this will happen. In the following passage, we can draw encouragement knowing that should the Lord tarry in His coming, the very moment we die, our spirit will go to be with Him.
2Co 5:1-10 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, (3) if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. (4) For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (5) He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (6) So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, (7) for we walk by faith, not by sight. (8) Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (9) So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The comfort and peace we have as Christians is drawn from the fact that whether this body lives or dies, there will never be a time when we will be separated from our Lord. Oh what a comfort!