Tag: encouragement

Words of wisdom and encouragement

Scripture reading for March 1st: Acts 27, Psalm 43, Proverbs 12

Acts 27:33-38 “As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten, they lightened the ship, throwing the wheat into the sea.”

Paul was a prisoner of Rome under the control of a centurion named Julius. He had favor with him and Paul was allowed to visit his friends before boarding the ship. It was nearing winter, and sailing was treacherous. Paul warned them about possible loss, but the ship’s owner and captain called the shots. During the trip, a storm arose that caused them to despair of life! For fourteen days they drifted in the gale winds. Paul spoke up as the time of approaching land drew near. He encouraged the men to take heart and eat. He told them not a hair of their head would perish. He blessed the bread and ate, along with the 275 others on this ship. He gave a word of wisdom–light and truth making souls glad.

Psalm 43:3-4 “Send out Your light and truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to Your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding Joy, and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving words of wisdom to Your servants to be a blessing and encouragement to all people and to show signs to the lost of Your love and care. Your Word brings light and truth to my soul. It leads me to Your holy dwelling and lifts anxiety from my heart replacing it with joy and gladness. Let Your Word bring hope, salvation and encouragement through my lips!

Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”

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Joy and encouragement in tribulation!

Scripture reading for February 10: Acts 14, Psalm 30, Proverbs 30

Acts 14:19-24 “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the Gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in Whom they had believed.”

Paul certainly suffered for the sake of the Gospel, as Jesus had told him at his conversion. God’s Word is truth! Preaching the Gospel often brings persecution and it also brings salvation to those who receive the Good News! The mourning of sinners is turned into joy and rejoicing in eternal life and freedom from the bondage of sin. This brings praise to God and thanksgiving from the saved and also from those sharing the Good News! The job of elders in the church is encouragement, teaching of all of God’s Word, and building the faith in new disciples through prayer, fasting, preaching, and teaching! Rejoicing follows!

Psalm 30:11-12 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to Your forever!”

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for Your amazing plan of salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I will praise You more and more, and not be silent! I will sing of Your glory and tell of Your Good News to all peoples. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit that I might powerfully preach to those still lost and make disciples who will be clothed in gladness and the white garments of salvation!

Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every Word of God proves true; He is a Shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His Words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar.”

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Living in harmony!

Scripture reading for March 1st: Romans 15

Key Scriptures: Romans 15:3-7 “For Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written former days was written for our instruction, that through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragements grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Life isn’t supposed to be about me or centered on my will. Jesus demonstrated His own life lived out to please God and serve others in perfect submission and obedience. This took patience and endurance and for Jesus, the ultimate in suffering and sacrifice. Paul encourages the Roman Christians to follow Jesus’ example and gain encouragement from Scripture of the blessed hope that is ours in Christ. Paul prays that the “God of endurance and encouragements” would empower and make the way for harmony and unity among God’s people, that they may glorify God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. He asked that they would speak and live the Gospel of God’s love with “one voice,” welcoming others in the unity of Christ’s body. As Christ suffered to bring us into God’s unified Body, we may also have to endure suffering for others.

Psalm 69:9 “For zeal for Your house has consumed Me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on Me.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word and Holy Spirit that gives me endurance and encouragement today. Help me to live in perfect harmony with my brothers and sisters in the church. Use me to build Your Church and welcome others into fellowship and harmony.

Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.

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Endurance, encouragement, and hope!

Scripture reading for June 11th:  Proverbs 16-18, Romans 15

Key Scriptures:  Romans 15:5-7, 13  “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of  God.” . . .”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

By God’s grace we are empowered to live in harmony with one another.  God gives us endurance and encouragement to stay in unity through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit gives us God’s power to rest in Jesus Christ and live in peace and joy because we know we are God’s children and declared righteous.  We have the Blessed Hope of Jesus’ soon return.

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank You today for the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my life, bringing patience and endurance in this trying time.  May I live in the power of the Holy Spirit today to live in steadfast love and harmony with Your Church sharing the hope we have in Christ Jesus, making my enemies my peace-filled friends.

Proverbs 16:6-7 “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.  When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  

 

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The God of Endurance and Encouragement!

Scripture reading for July 3rd:  Romans 15, Psalm 132, Proverbs 8

Key Scriptures: Romans 15:4-6  “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  

Paul knew that the Roman believers needed endurance and encouragement to live by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ.  The God of endurance and encouragement is Jesus Christ!  This amazing Savior gives us the encouragement and endurance we need through His unchanging and true Word, also a source of fulfillment for our deepest need.

Faith Confession:  I believe that Jesus Christ is the God of endurance and encouragement and that His Word gives me hope as well.  I shout for joy at the gifts of hope, endurance and encouragement!

Psalm 132:8-9  “Arise, O Lord, and go to Your resting place, Your and the ark of Your might.  Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness and let Your saints shout for joy.”

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The God of Hope and Encouragement!

Scripture reading for July 3rd:  Romans 15

Paul identified himself with those who were ‘strong’ in their faith.  He understood the liberty that believers have in Jesus Christ.   He also knew that strong believers might become prideful and judgmental, as he had been towards followers of Christ before he was saved.  In order to encourage the strong believers, he asked them to bear with the failings of the weaker believers.  “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me.”  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  (Romans 15:2-4)

Christ, our example, always sought to please the Father and as a result suffered for it.  He was insulted and ridiculed as a ‘friend of tax collectors and sinners‘!   Those insults were directed towards Christ and the Father!  But Christ was on a mission to save the lost, not condemn them!  The Scriptures record the endurance and message of hope that Christ proclaimed in order to help us follow His example.   So must we be kind, patient, and encouraging to those who are weaker in their faith.  We must accept them as Christ accepted us and cultivate unity and love.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13)  It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are filled with joy and peace through faith in Christ!  The Holy Spirit brings a hope that ‘overflows’ into the lives believers encouraging all!

 

 

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Sunday rest and reflection!

Sunday September 28th, 2014

Dear Friends of Jesus,

How comforting are the words of these prophets!  God is a God of hope and encouragement!  Through Haggai, we learned the righteous must live by faith in the face of difficult times.  Through Zechariah, we learned that God would be a wall of fire around His people and that their enemies would be defeated!  We are the “apple of His eye”!

With these encouragements, we gather to worship on the Lord’s Day!  Today is a day of celebration and focus on the mission at hand:  reaching the nations with the message of a coming Savior!  Join us today for a mission’s banquet and a powerful message from missionary Bill McDonald!  You will be encouraged at what God is doing!

In His Love,   Pastor John and Mary

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Protected by the Glory!

Scripture reading for September 27th: Zechariah 1-2

God’s prophets used different styles to get the message to God’s people.  The prophet Zechariah prophesied during the time of the first return to Jerusalem after captivity in Babylon.  Zechariah is one of the longest of the minor prophets and he employed a very encouraging style of message designed to motivate the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem.

Zechariah began his message with a word from the Lord to Israel.  The Lord had been angry with their forefathers because they would not respond to His call for them to return to Him.  God’s word had promised consequences and curses for disobedience and these promises overtook them!  (Deuteronomy 28:15)  People just can’t outrun the word of the Lord! (Zechariah 1:6)

Zechariah was given a night vision of a man riding a red horse,  followed by riders on red, brown and white horses.  As he asked the Lord for understanding, an angel answered him.  These horses and riders were ones that the Lord had sent throughout the whole earth and they reported back that the world was at rest and peace.  The angel then turned to the Lord and asked Him a question:  “How long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem?”  (Zechariah 1:12-13) (Revelation 6:1-7)

The Lord answered with encouraging words about Jerusalem.  He was jealous for Jerusalem and would return with mercy.  The temple would be rebuilt and the measuring line again stretched over the city in order to build the wall and keep it secure.  Prosperity would again flow to God’s people and God, Himself, would comfort them.  (Zechariah 1:14-17) (Revelation 11:1-2)

Zechariah had another vision of  four horns.  He was told they represented the nations that had lifted their power against Israel and scattered them. (Zechariah 1:18-21)  They would be thrown down by spiritual forces of the Lord in the heavenly realm.  A spiritual conflict would go on as the temple was rebuilt, but God’s people would succeed!

Jerusalem would be a city without walls!  God, Himself, would be a “wall of fire” around the city and its Glory! (Zechariah 2:4-5) What a glorious vision of encouragement to those who had by faith come to rebuild the city!  God further stated that His people were the “apple of His eye” and that He would deal with anyone who would oppose them!   Let these promises encourage you today as you are the “apple of His eye”!

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Connecting with courage!

Scripture Reading for March 3rd:  Joshua 1-5

Walking with God is not for wimps!  God leads His people in paths of righteousness and truth.  He is a mighty warrior and a conqueror!  His reputation for war is known far and wide!  He often employs some very unconventional battle strategy (Joshua 6:2-5) and uses only those willing to follow His leadership.

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9)

Possessing your inheritance requires strength!   The ground you cover will have both mountains and valleys.  You must have strength of mind to keep your thoughts focused on God’s promises.  You must possess strength of character and soul to keep from falling for the temptations of the enemy and the flesh that would trip you up.

Courage is the ability to face tough situations with confidence.  Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to face fear with truth and keep moving toward the goal.  Confidence must not to be in your own strength, mind or ability, but comes from a relationship with God.  Joshua was told not to let God’s Law and Word depart from his mouth or mind.  He was guaranteed prosperity and success as he meditated on the Word and was careful to obey. (Romans 10:17) (Hebrews 11:6)

Let Joshua’s call to strength and courage become personal.  Jesus Christ is our “Joshua” and has blazed a trail of perfect obedience to God’s Word.  His leadership in our lives today will give us the strength and courage to conquer the obstacles in our path!  “Be strong and very courageous!”

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God’s encouragement!

Scripture reading for June 27th: Acts 18:1-21

The apostle Paul always seemed to get in trouble as he preached about Jesus Christ in the synagogues.  After leaving Athens and the confrontation with the intellectuals on Mars Hill, Paul went to Corinth and again went to the synagogue.  There he encountered some interest at first, but soon was being opposed by some abusive Jews.  Paul did as Jesus instructed, shaking out his clothes and stating, “Your blood be on your own heads!  I am clear of my responsibility.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles!” (Acts 18:6)

He went next door to the house of a man named Titius Justice, who was a worshiper of God.  This means that he was a Gentile seeker who had attended the synagogue.  Paul used his house to preach and the synagogue ruler Crispus and his entire household was saved!  Many others were saved and baptized! (Acts 18:7-8)

Sometimes leaders need fresh vision and encouragement.  Even though we are living life one day at a time, we need to know that we are in line with where God wants us.  Sometimes we can feel His pleasure, but other times we feel opposition and even fear.  God knew that Paul needed encouragement to stay in Corinth for a more extended period of time so He gave him a vision.  “Don’t be afraid; keep on speaking, don’t be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:10) Many of God’s mighty saints struggled with fear.  The Holy Spirit gave them great boldness and vision and words of encouragement to keep them on track. Paul stayed in Corinth teaching for a year and a half.

As Paul left there, he went back to many of the churches he had started and encouraged them.  He had a ministry of encouragement and disciple making that was ordered by his commitment to listen to the Holy Spirit.  When asked by some Jews at Ephesus to stay and spend more time, he declined.  He told them that he would come back if it was the Lord’s will.  (Acts 18:21)  God knows how to direct His disciples.  We are all on a directed journey to accomplish God’s will and must finish our course!  Are you listening to the Holy Spirit today?

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