Encourage Someone Encourage Yourself

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Encourage Others 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (NASB95)

  • Encourage – to fill with courage or new zeal; to lift up the low in spirit or despondent; to give strength and hope to overcome and endure
  • Exhort – to make urgent appeal; to give advice; to strongly urge or advise
  • Comfort – to give strength and hope; to give cheer; to ease grief or trouble
  • Lift up – to raise up; to stand up when fallen; to raise to a higher standard; to bring up from lowness
  • Build up – to restore brokenness; to add new hope or zeal; to provide additional good

Strengthen and Remind

We encourage each other by systematically and consistently reminding each other of the great truths we already know.

Comfort and Hope

Primarily, our comfort and hope comes from reminding each other of God’s truth.

Listening

How powerful is the simple act of listening? Many times a hurting person just needs someone to stop and truly hear them.

Understanding

How comforting it is to have someone who understands what you are going through; someone who can relate to your circumstances and can identify with the discouragement you are feeling.

Empathy

Put your self in the other person’s shoes and try to feel what they are feeling. Empathy is the effort to be sensitive towards another’s hurts, to take part in the emotions of the situation so that you can relate to the person more closely.

Compassion

To have compassion is to have a sympathy towards another person’s distress, coupled with the desire to want to do something to alleviate it.

It is no accident that compassion is the most
frequently mentioned emotion of Jesus in Scripture.

Prayer

“I’ll sure pray for you about that”…. and then you never do. How AWFUL!!! When you offer to pray, ask SPECIFICALLY how you can pray for them.

Encourage Yourself 

Sometimes the reality is that there isn’t anyone around (humanly speaking) to encourage us.

Great hope and joy…

Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. (NKJV)

Psalm 16:10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (NKJV)

Faithfulness and mercy (Lamentations 3:21-26 NKJV)

Lamentations 3:21–26 (NKJV)  21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.   22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.   23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.   24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”   25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.   26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.

Contemplation: When is the last time you took your time, energy and attention to encourage someone? When was the last time someone did that for you?

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. If you are blessed by what I write, would you be so kind to share this post with others by clicking the Bless Others+ button below?  You never know who might need these exact words in their life today. To give a gift of support, click here.

The ‘RE’ Thread – Redeem – Part 3

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Revelation 21:1, 4 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (NKJV)

One day it hit me, “the Bible shows a consistent picture of us returning full circle to where we started – restoring all that God had always intended for us to be – and more.”

Does this mean that man, or even Satan, somehow threw a wrench into God’s original plans, to which He is now having to react or recover (there’s those “re” words again)? To believe that for even a moment is to simply misunderstand, or be ignorant of, God’s nature.

Neither man nor Satan caught God off guard
when sin entered Creation.

God is omniscient: ALL knowing. God is omnipresent: present at ALL times, in ALL places. God is omnipotent: ALL powerful. That is hardly the description of a God who was blindsided by an act of one of His creations. Well that just begs a few questions then, doesn’t it?

  • Why did God create us, or Satan, if He knew sin would occur?
  • Couldn’t God have created everything with no chance of sin, and still give man free will to love Him (an essential ingredient for TRUE relationship)?
  • Couldn’t God just choose all men to be saved and cause them all to repent?
  • Couldn’t God just snap His fingers, end all the pain and suffering and bring us home now?
  • Why doesn’t God just annihilate those condemned to hell rather than having them suffer for ALL eternity?

Yeah, why? Good questions which God does not specifically clarify in the Written Word. I think there are theological concepts that give partial insight to some of the questions, and others we just simply leave as God’s business.

Is that a cop out? Hardly. How powerful is a God that we can know everything about, understand in every way, and be able to comprehend all His decisions? Not a very big God at all.

What kind of parent would you be if your two year old
understood perfectly each and every decision you made?

When compared to God, we are infinitely more “childish” than a two year old compared to a human parent. In the same manner that I occasionally tell my children, “that’s adult business”, there are many things that simply fall into the realm of “God’s business”. As my dear Shepherd, Bruce Hess, reminds me, these are the “inscrutable things of God”. (Bruce is a worldclass Bible teacher and you can find his messages here: http://www.wildwoodchurch.org/messagearchives/wildwoodmessages.htm).

Inscrutable means the “impenetrable”… there are many things about God, and the way He does things that are “impenetrable”. We shouldn’t want it any other way lest we drag God down to our level. I’m not as smart as Bruce, so I just call it “God’s business”.

It is not always our place to figure out “WHY did God do it that way?” but rather to educate ourselves about WHAT God is doing. That leads us back full circle to our “re” study. We cannot fully understand or grasp why God started with Eden and perfection, then allowed sin to enter, sent Himself to die, and is taking us back to where we started… but the fact is, that is exactly what the overall message of Scripture is: a return to Eden, a return to perfection, a return to eternal fellowship. And oh so much more!

These facts are described by a series of “re” words in the Bible. Yesterday we looked at “renew, restore, return”. We saw the master plan of God and how He will renew the heavens, earth and man; how He will restore our fellowship with Him and how we will return to the perfection He originally created.

Let me clarify here that this is not some REVERSAL or rollback. It is all NEW, while maintaining a continuity with the original. You will be NEW, but you will still be YOU. The Earth will be NEW, but the Earth will still be the earth. That’s why I’m puzzled when people are so confused and unsure about what eternity holds for us. This comes from hundreds of years of perpetuation of unBiblical ideas that envision heaven as some mystical, other-worldly, not-physical existence. This is nothing short of a major coup for Satan and he has successfully robbed generation after generation of Christians of the joy of imagining heaven as God has revealed.

Look around you. Imagine the earth with no destruction, violence or wars. Now you can begin to imagine heaven. Look at the people around you and imagine them without sin, perfectly loving and in full fellowship with an ever present God and Savior. That is a real picture of heaven. Imagine the best of beauty, song, art, scenery, love and creation. You now have a very real glimpse at heaven and eternity.

God will renew, and restore, His creation in all it’s perfection… that is heaven. It is the reuniting of the physical Earth and Heavens (the universe) with the spiritual. That is heaven. All through Scripture, He reveals how (and often why) He is doing this. Many of these “re” words clue us in. Let’s look at one today that deserves to be considered alone:

REDEEM

  • to buy back:
    When we sin, we sell ourselves into slavery (Rom 6:20). Satan has claim to us because we are of the Devil (John 8:44) God sent His only Son to buy us out slavery (Rom 6:22)

  • to free from what distresses or harms:
    Again, through Jesus sacrifice we are freed from the sin that enslaves us and harms us; we are freed from the distress of eternal condemnation.

  • to free from captivity by payment of ransom:
    Slaves are captives; when we sin, we become captive to sin and death; God redeemed us from captivity through Jesus death (Isaiah 42:7)

  • to release from blame or debt:
    Satan the Accuser is ever ready to condemn God’s children, but we have a Savior who paid our debt, and the same Savior is now our Advocate, intervening on our behalf telling God that we are released from the blame of our sin

    Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. (NKJV)

    1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (NKJV)


We often cut redemption short thinking that only man is being redeemed. Not so. ALL of God’s creation is being redeemed, bought back from the curse of sin. The heavens and the Earth were created FOR MAN, not Satan… the New Earth and New Heavens are part of the redemption of everything God created originally and said, “it is good”.

Are you beginning to see the BIG PICTURE? Do you see all the questions that are answered when you finally come to understand these things? Everything God is doing, He is doing to restore, return and renew His creation: the heavens (the universe) that were created for the Earth, the Earth that was created for man, and man, who was created to have a perfect and eternal love relationship with God.

Man sinned and God’s perfect creation was tainted. All these “re” words describe how God has bought back and is restoring what He originally created. Again, it’s not a “clean up”, it is a true renewal, a rebirth… but a restoration in the sense that there will be a familiar continuity. I emphasize again: you will be you, I will be me, and the Earth will be the Earth. All new and perfect and eternal, but just like we already know it be. Are you starting to see it? I often draw this as circle on a chalkboard showing that we are headed full circle back to the perfection God has planned for us, that Adam and Eve got a taste of.

Take your understanding of “redeem” and read the book of Ruth. While it is a beautiful story of love, family loyalty and God’s divine intervention, Ruth is MUCH more than that. It very well could be the most pivotal and revealing book in the Bible.

The entire account is a perfect picture of Christ, though His name is never mentioned nor is He prophesied about. Every detail of the book of Ruth is a clue and symbol of God’s plan, and unlocks countless treasures about “the big picture”. An understanding and knowledge of Ruth through the filter of redemption, reveals the entire plan of God from start to finish.

We are redeemed. The earth will be redeemed. The heavens have been redeemed. All of God’s creation has been redeemed. Some of His creatures have, and will, reject this redemption but in the end, everything will be restored, renewed and returned to the perfection God has always planned for us. If you know the Redeemer, you’ll be part of the New Perfection. If you do not, there is still time.

Lord God, Help us to understand the true meaning of redemption. Open our eyes to see Your Master Plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Could you explain redemption to others? Do you see how it fits into the master plan? Are you beginning to see “the big picture”?

Application: Think about these words now, and see if they mean more to you after we study each one. God’s plan is to make all things new, again; to restore all that has been lost or temporarily distorted, and return to a perfect Earth, perfect Heavens and a perfect relationship with sinless humans. God has redeemed all that was lost, and soon, very soon, we will realize the fullness of that redemption. Look up! Your redemption draws near!

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. If you are blessed by what I write, would you be so kind to share this post with others by clicking the Bless Others+ button below?  You never know who might need these exact words in their life today. To give a gift of support, click here.

The ‘RE’ Thread – Return, Restore, Renew – Part 2

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Revelation 21:1, 4 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (NKJV)

There is a list of words starting with “re” that creates an unbreakable thread in Scripture, revealing God’s plan for mankind and creation. I want to start today with “return, restore, and renew” because they provide us a picture of God’s master scheme starting at with the first Adam and culminating in the eternal heavenly reign of the Second Adam.

  • renew: to make like new
  • restore: to put back into a former state
  • return: to go back to

God created the heavens and earth, and then man (Genesis 1). After creating all, He pronounced it as “good”, meaning perfect. Sin had not yet reared its ugly head in the spirit of man, and the earth and humans were exactly as only a perfect God could create them. This was, and will be, life the way God ultimately intends: sinless, beautiful, fulfilling and in perfect fellowship with God. ALL creation: physical and spiritual was perfect, and will be perfect again some day.

In the same manner that sin and death entered by one man, we will ultimately return to this perfection by, and because of, One Man as well.

Romans 5:18-19 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Renewed: to make like new

The earth and heavens will be made new. Our bodies will be made new. All things that God created perfectly will be made new. Everything that was perfect before tainted by sin, will again be renewed to perfect: man, earth, heaven – ALL creation both physical (future) and spiritual (already done).

1 Corinthians 15:53-54 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (NKJV)

Restore: to put back into a former state

Many Christians will reply “I don’t know what heaven will be like, but I know it will be great”. Why? How come the average Christian can’t talk all day about what heaven will be like? The Bible is full of descriptions of heaven. Creation is full of description. Man’s mind and heart is full of description. God has given us PLENTY of both facts and indications of what heaven will be like both divinely written in the Word, and divinely written on our hearts that are created in His image.

Foremost in description is Genesis itself. God created the Earth and Man to be exactly what He wanted. What we read in Genesis that is true about the perfect creation will be true of the perfect new Earth. “Heaven” is the New Earth, New Heavens and new glorified bodies reunited with the dimension of God and the angels. It will all be “new” in the sense that the “sinful old” will be destroyed and gone forever, and the perfect “new” will be reborn. Earth and man will be “restored” in the sense that God’s original perfection will once again be reality without NO chance of being corrupted for all eternity.

2 Peter 3:11-13 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (NKJV)

Return: to go back to

Like restoration, “return” speaks of something that harkens back to the way it was previously. For Christians, we are on a return trip to Eden, only better. We are returning to a perfect Earth where the veil that separates the heavenly will be no more. We will return to perfect dominion of a New Earth created perfectly for perfect humans (sinless) by a perfect God.

Many Christians are confused or baffled at the overall plan of God for man, but it is quite simple: He created a perfect heavens and earth as a home for sinless humans whom He could enjoy a perfect love relationship with through which ALL would glorify His Son who exists eternally to rule it all.

God knew that sin would occur as a result of the genuine free will of man to love or reject Him. He was not surprised or caught off guard. A perfect all-powerful God is never fooled, surprised or hindered by any thing, any one or any time. The over all plan of God is to thwart sin and death (which He has), and restore, renew and return His creation and creatures back to the relationship He intends (He has, and He is). Not just a return to ONLY what was, but a return to that PLUS much more… an eternity more!

  • Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (NKJV)

  • 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (NKJV)

  • Acts 3:19-21 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (NKJV)

When you think about “WHY?” concerning God’s plan, many of the answers will be found in words like “return, renew and restore”. We are returning to perfect fellowship made possible by Jesus’s sacrfice. The heavens, the earth and our bodies will be renewed to eternal perfection because Jesus conquered death. All things will be restored ultimately for the glory of God the Father and to praise of Jesus Christ the Lamb.

Why did Jesus die? Why will God burn up the heavens and earth? What is heaven like? Many foundational questions are answered by Bible words that start with “re”.

Lord God, Help us to understand all these important words and how they fit into Your plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: How many of these words can you define or explain related to Christianity? Do you see the over all plan of God to reclaim what sin temporarily side-tracked?

Application: Think about these words now, and see if they mean more to you after we study each one. God’s plan is to make all things new, again; to restore all that has been lost or temporarily distorted, and return to a perfect Earth, perfect Heavens and a perfect relationship with sinless humans.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



(seriesid:52)

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. If you are blessed by what I write, would you be so kind to share this post with others by clicking the Bless Others+ button below?  You never know who might need these exact words in their life today. To give a gift of support, click here.

The ‘RE’ Thread – Introduction – Part 1

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Revelation 21:1, 4 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (NKJV)

Okay, that’s one of the more mystical titles I’ve come up with, but it is completely appropriate and descriptive. There is a common theme, a thread, that runs through all of Scripture starting at the moment sin came into the world through the first Adam. It is common thread of words that start with “re”.

These “re” words reveal a remarkable thread of continuity in Scripture.

We are going to study a list of words over the next few days that constitute a remarkable thread of continuity that reveals the purposes behind God’s will for humankind:

  • renew: to make like new
  • redeem: to buy back
  • regenerate: formed or created again
  • restore: to put back into a former state
  • refresh: to restore strength or animation
  • reveal: to make known
  • reward: to give regard or recompense
  • regain: to have what once was lost
  • refine: to free from impurities
  • revive: to bring back to original state
  • repent: to change one’s mind
  • rescue: to deliver as a prize
  • remember: to be mindful of
  • return: to go back to

Why is it important to understand and study this thread? Many people often complain that they just don’t understand the over-arching themes of the Bible, God’s masterplan, the foundational “why?” of the Bible. Understanding this thread of words will answer many of these questions. It is in essence a look at the “forest” instead of the trees; a birds-eye view of God’s plan for us.

I think you will discover many common misconceptions about sin, heaven, salvation and God’s divine interaction with mankind have permeated Christianity in general, and an understanding of this list of words pulls back the “cloudy film” like a Claritin-D commercial.

Join me over the next few days as we discover this thread of continuity that ties together God’s plans and purposes all through Scripture.

Lord God, Help us to understand all these important words and how they fit into Your plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: How many of these words can you define or explain related to Christianity?

Application: Think about these words now, and see if they mean more to you after we study each one.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?

(seriesid:52)

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. If you are blessed by what I write, would you be so kind to share this post with others by clicking the Bless Others+ button below?  You never know who might need these exact words in their life today. To give a gift of support, click here.