Posted tagged ‘encouragement’

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.

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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).

.

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.

Ways to Help You Help The Hurting

May 24, 2011

Our world is filled with people who carry burdens we never even know about. Nearly everyone you meet is bearing some sorrow, hardship or pain that may not show outwardly but nonetheless hurts indescribably. God wants us all to care about our fellow man whether they be friend or enemy. In an effort to help us be more aware here is a quick list of ways to bring cheer and support to others.

  • Be mindful of the lonely, extend a smile and a cheer bringing word.
  • There will be many who will slip our attention if we don’t watch carefully.
  • When people talk, listen to what they are saying. Often this is the kindest thing we can do for someone who is hurting.
  • As the old saying goes “walk mile in their shoes.” try to imagine what you would feel if you were lonely, poor, hungry, dirty, homeless, friendless.
  • Look carefully and compassionately into people’s eyes as they talk to you. Often tears are just below the surface of a brave facade. Don’t let an opportunity pass to give help just because someone is masking their hurts.
  • Learn to spend time with people who need you. Our retirement centers, hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, food banks, and many other places are filled with people who need human contact and compassion even more than food, clothing and shelter.
  • Give without expecting a return of gratitude. More often than not people are embarrassed by kindness freely given. They don’t really know how to respond. You are planting a Christ-like seed of love that will in time grow gratitude.
  • Look past the sins of the past and present to see the potential of a sinner saved by God’s grace. Don’t let your hatred of sin cause you to hate sinners. People lost in sin are in bondage, under the influence of the prince of the power of the air, the god of this world. You can only expect that they would live below the calling of Christ.
  • Realize you are not a police man over the gift once given. It is guaranteed that some people who receive blessings from you will misuse them. However, that is for God to judge. You’ve done the good by blessing.
  • Be especially careful of people’s privacy. If you are fortunate enough to share in carrying a burden count it a privilege that someone let you into their lives. Let them choose with whom they want to know their struggles and problems.

It is in giving to others that we serve the Lord. Opportunities usually come in ugly packages called problems. Those opportunities when taken will provide untold benefit to the giver, the receiver and the Lord’s Kingdom now and for evermore.

Dear Lord, Open my eyes and heart to every opportunity you send my way. Never let my selfishness hinder the goodness you intend to be done through me. Through Jesus I ask this prayer.

Joe Chase

North Loop Church of Christ

Gladewater, Texas

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Don’t Get Caught in Your Own Mouth Trap

November 4, 2010

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
(Ephesians 4:31)

Isn’t it amazing how quickly people will resort to harsh, gossip, slander and evil epithets. Even best friends have fits of anger bringing angry words that sever friendships.

It is often our speech that betrays us. Jesus reminds us that evil speech reveals an evil heart (Matthew 15:19).

Hateful speech is bewildering, especially coming from Christian folk talking about other Christian folk. How can we speak hurtful gossip or slander about another child of God? The wicked one loves it when he can sidetrack the church by division. That division can always be traced back to wicked hearts speaking evil words.

Sadly, the destruction spewing from hurtful lips is doing as much damage to the soul of the speaker as it is to the hearer. Giving in to the sinful desire to gossip or slander leads the heart deeper into sins dreadful ways.

Fix your heart and tongue and you are well on your way to living as God wants you too. You will feel better when you uplift instead of cut down. You will draw closer as family when you talk about wholesome, encouraging subjects.

Father, please help me to use my speech to build up and not destroy, to encourage and not divide. I need your help desperately to control my heart and lips.

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That Really Hurts!

July 14, 2010

Most everyone  who looks at YouTube videos has seen the “Charley Bit Me” video.  After Charley chomps down on his brother’s finger the brother exclaims “And that really hurt.”  That video became viral because the boys were so cute.  However, real pain is never really funny when it happens to you.

As children we used to proclaim “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  We all learned quickly that saying was very far from being true.  Words do hurt, they harm us sometimes for our lifetime.  Words of discouragement, slurs and cruel epithets bring pain and maim their recipients.  I don’t know how many thousands of times I was called “fatty” or “fatso” or “tubby”, or been the butt of a joke planned to bring laughter to the crowd and hurt me to my heart.  No matter how innocent people try to be in teasing;  joking at some one else’s expense wounds and scars.  You just can’t erase the pain caused by hurtful words.

Sadly, children often fulfill the prophecies of the words used to describe them by their loved ones.  The child who hears they are stupid, fat or ugly from a loved one will often try their whole lives to overcome those words only to see themselves as fat, ugly, or stupid in the end.

Isn’t it just as easy to say nice things, helpful and encouraging words?  Wouldn’t it make sense to implant into the hearts of others messages of esteem and encouragement?  Lets all try to say only kind words about and to others.  Let us all try to have people say of us as they did our Lord. “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 2:44).