Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ category

Morning

January 17, 2012

I’ve never been a joyful riser in the early hours. I try to have only one 7:00 in my day. However the past two weeks my wife and have been going to the gym at 4:30 each morning.

It is interesting how the world comes to life. Birds are already singing at 4:30. This gave me the idea that maybe that is the way I should start my morning. So I quietly sing a hymn of praise and thanksgiving while my body tries to begin the day.

Songs in the morning don’t have to be songs of mourning either. In facts as the new day brightens so do the prospects for greater accomplishments during the day.

I don’t know if I am a total convert to early rising but I am for singing and cheerfulness for each day.

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Assurance for the Fainthearted

December 28, 2011

Everybody is prone to doubt. The devil does all he can to steal confidence from the Christian. If he can get us to doubt our salvation, God’s goodness or the efficacy of Jesus sacrifice he can get us to give up.

John’s first letter serves to bolster our confidence. The phrase “we know” occurs no less than 14 times in the brief letter. The Christian needs assurance to face the struggles of living in a wicked and fleshly world. So John lists for us things we can know and how we can know them.

(1) “Beloved, now are we children of God, and what we shall be has not yet been manifested; we know that if it is manifested we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

(2) “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love [his] brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14).

(3) “And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, …”

(4) “… We know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:15).

(5) “We know that every one begotten of God does not sin, but he that has been begotten of God keeps himself, and the wicked [one] does not touch him” (1 John 5:18).

(6) “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked [one]” (1 John 5:19).

(7) “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding that we should know Him that [is] true; and we are in Him that [is] true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

(8) “And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).

(9) “… But whoever keeps His word, in him verily the love of God is perfected. Hereby we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:5).

(10) “Little children, it is [the] last hour, and, according as ye have heard that antichrist comes, even now there have come many antichrists, whence we know that it is [the] last hour” (1 John 2:18).

(11) “And he that keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given to us” (1 John 3:24).

(12) “We are of God; he that knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).

(13) “Hereby we know that we abide in Him and he in us, that He has given to us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:13).

(14) “Hereby know we that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments” (1 John 5:2).

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It is too bad that we live in fear and doubt when God has told us we are winners, over-comers and conquerors. We we can boldly stand on ground given us by the captain of our faith. Don’t draw back but forge ahead in your faith reaching higher, richer and better blessings with every new success in the Lord.

Heaven and salvation is ours to lose if we so choose. Don’t let that happen.

Assurance for the Fainthearted

December 28, 2011

Everybody is prone to doubt. The devil does all he can to steal confidence from the Christian. If he can get us to doubt our salvation, God’s goodness or the efficacy of Jesus sacrifice he can get us to give up.

John’s first letter serves to bolster our confidence. The phrase “we know” occurs no less than 14 times in the brief letter. The Christian needs assurance to face the struggles of living in a wicked and fleshly world. So John lists for us things we can know and how we can know them.

(1) “Beloved, now are we children of God, and what we shall be has not yet been manifested; we know that if it is manifested we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

(2) “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love [his] brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14).

(3) “And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, …”

(4) “… We know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:15).

(5) “We know that every one begotten of God does not sin, but he that has been begotten of God keeps himself, and the wicked [one] does not touch him” (1 John 5:18).

(6) “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked [one]” (1 John 5:19).

(7) “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding that we should know Him that [is] true; and we are in Him that [is] true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

(8) “And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).

(9) “… But whoever keeps His word, in him verily the love of God is perfected. Hereby we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:5).

(10) “Little children, it is [the] last hour, and, according as ye have heard that antichrist comes, even now there have come many antichrists, whence we know that it is [the] last hour” (1 John 2:18).

(11) “And he that keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given to us” (1 John 3:24).

(12) “We are of God; he that knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).

(13) “Hereby we know that we abide in Him and he in us, that He has given to us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:13).

(14) “Hereby know we that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments” (1 John 5:2).

.

It is too bad that we live in fear and doubt when God has told us we are winners, over-comers and conquerors. We we can boldly stand on ground given us by the captain of our faith. Don’t draw back but forge ahead in your faith reaching higher, richer and better blessings with every new success in the Lord.

Heaven and salvation is ours to lose if we so choose. Don’t let that happen.

It’s Cool

November 5, 2011

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It was 37 degrees this morning here in East Texas. I wore a jacket and a hat. It is nice.

Cool is a blessing. God made us so we can feel temperatures. We rejoice in the cool and are driven to pray for relief from oppressive heat. Pretty cool that cool is so cool. Enjoy the simple blessing of feeling the cool.

Remember even God enjoyed the cool of the evening (Gen. 3:8ff).

Why Did God Make Me Like This?

October 19, 2011

On a recent Facebook post, I read from a mother with a little girl with several birth abnormalities; “My little girl asked me today, “Why did God make me like this?” The loving mother shocked by the question answered, “you are beautiful and God doesn’t make mistakes.” That answer was enough for this little girl who ran off to play again.

I’ve known several parents of children with various physical, developmental and mental struggles and issues. I applaud them for their hard work in caring for their children. Most of those parents relate to me the joys of having a special needs child. They tell stories of how the struggles are difficult but never a burden. I am grateful for parents who see the blessings in the difficulties.

What strikes me most is that a child who is discovering that she is different from other children is able to rest in the assurance that her parents love her and that God is caring for her too. I look at myself and see so many shortcomings, brokenness, frailty, failure and wonder “why did God make me this way?” Why do I find sin easier than doing right. Why is my heart easily swayed away from good to bad? I recall that Paul said very similar things in Romans chapter seven. In deep frustration with his frailty he questions; “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” He calls himself a “wretched man.” That is a common chord between Paul and me.

It takes some serious self-examination and Bible study to remember that God’s grace and love is sufficient to overcome my faults. Though I am unworthy God is kind enough to fix me in my weakness and then strengthen me to become whole in Christ (Rom 5:8; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 4:13). I am learning that it is my weakness that leads me to God’s strength. My frailty is fixed by the “Great I Am.” Today, I celebrate the joy of knowing God loves me. My journey to heaven isn’t threatened by my weakness if I will let Him guide and protect me.

Dear God, Thanks for helping me see you when all I can see is my own sins, sorrows and shaking faith. Forgive me for failing and cleanse me so I can be all you long for me to be.

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Great Soul Winners Are Purposeful

September 27, 2011

People are not evangelistic by accident. They make up their mind that they will take the Lord’s work seriously and then adjust their lives to include this necessary work. As a full-time paid preacher I discovered evangelism is easily crowed out by important “church work.” Days can be overrun with hospital visits, writing sermons, editing the bulletin, making class preparation, counseling, teaching Bible classes at the building. The overwhelming amount of office work can stymie all evangelistic effort. It’s easy to have only Christian friends. It’s easy to pursue only good works within the “house of God.”

Seeking the lost was much easier before I started preaching full-time. Working outside of the church building offered a lot more opportunities to befriend non-churched people. I am not saying that everyone in our assembly is a saint but most of them are. Week after week my work focuses more on keeping the saved, saved than on seeking the lost. How did this happen? It is sort of the nature of church work to become a keeper of the flock instead of building a flock. So, my goal is to change that in my work.

Here is a prayerful plan of purpose for being more evangelistic:

Set a Specific Goal. Having a goal and committing to reaching it will pave the way to changing my schedule to include opportunities for evangelism. If I have a goal of evangelizing 12 people this year that means I have to find the time to do that. I need to find the places to do it and look for ways to follow through with it.

Plan The Plan. We fail to reach goals because we don’t plan for reaching them. Success is seldom unplanned. Good plans lead to finding a way to succeed when none seems to exist. Prayer and good hard brain strain is called for to decide how you are going to meet 12 new people this year and make opportunity to tell them about Jesus.

Work the Work. I wonder how many really wonderful plans are lost in committee? Hours of strategy laid out but never put into play. Getting things done happens when we get things done. Going from dream to actuality will only happen when we roll up our sleeves and start working the carefully laid out plan.

Recommit Every Day. People stay committed only when they review their success or failure and then adjust their efforts to accomplish their intended goal. Look at your goal, see if your plan is still viable, then follow through with enthusiastic work to reach your goal. Did I find a person this month to befriend? Did I make efforts to make a relationship with that person? Did I develop some interest in spiritual matters with that person? Did I tell them about Jesus? Which of these things needs changing to be successful?

Enjoy the Rewards. Nothing makes work more satisfying than seeing it completed. Sharing the gospel with people is a great work with many rewards. Not everyone you tell about Jesus will follow him but, you are successful when you plant the seed. You will make a lot of friends in this effort. Celebrate every victory and bask in the joys that come in ways you will not know until they come to you.

I pray that your goal will be to take Jesus with you everywhere you go. I hope you find a lot of open hearts who will receive the message of Christ. We’ve got to be ready to meet and befriend all kinds of people in all kinds of places. That is exciting let’s get purposeful with our Lord’s commission.

Share with us some of your goals for reaching out to the world with the message of Jesus. Do you have a successful plan? Make a comment or send me an email.

Joe Chase

Enough One Another for Everyone

April 5, 2011

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Christian faith is often thought to be a personal relationship with Jesus. But when you begin that relationship you will discover that you will soon be building relationships and fellowship with other disciples.

A quick read through the New Testament reveals over 50 “one another” or “each other” statements. It is surprising that such a personal faith reaches outside of itself to live (James 2:14-26). A large portion of practical faith depends on what we do “with”, “for”, or “to” other people. Jesus taught about loving enemies and helping needy folks in his sermon on the mount. It’s amazing that the Holy Spirit penned more than 20 letters to teach us how to live as Christians. Those letters contain dozens of commands and teachings on loving each other, carrying each others burdens, sing to each other and encouraging each other.

My Christian faith leads me to a roll of service to others of like precious faith. It also gives me the support of that same family. Paul keeps drawing us a picture of a body. Each part or member of the body supports all the other parts and members.

We are truly part of each other. I love the simile of a multi stranded rope. All the little strings are “involved” with each other. Not a single one of them could do the work alone that all of them do together. What strengths I lack are supplied by other members for the family of God.

I will never be fully equipped without being a part of the family of God, neither will the church be so strong as it is when I am fully giving all God gave me to share.