Well the diehards were at church today because it was a cold one here. I looked at the thermometer early this morning and for a moment wondered if backsliding was a legitimate option on such a wintry day, ha ! All kidding aside, it was great to be in God’s house. Always the best way to start the week.
As I looked out at the faces in the crowd while preaching what I saw encouraged me. There were those who have been here a long time and have faithfully served the Lord and grown. They will one day stand before God and hear His “well done” and be rewarded at the Judgment Seat. And there were the newer faces, who have been saved shorter periods of time or come to our church not that long ago who have also grown too ! One young family who are really new braved the elements to do what’s right and come to God’s house despite the freezing and blustery conditions. One man even walked to church (we made sure he got a ride later !).
Another couple asked what they could do to serve in our church, so it was very encouraging to me to see how God is at work in our hearts ! When you read Paul’s epistles he did a lot of encouraging but there was what you might call “reciprocal encouragement”, namely he was uplifting to folks and they were to him too. One such place occurs in his final letter to his younger protege, Timothy: “I thank God. . . greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy: when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee. . .wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee. . . ” (2Tim.1:3-6).
Paul received joy from Timothy and his love and service to the Lord and Paul also was a blessing to Timothy and verbalized his postive spiritual traits thus motivating him to continue in serving the Lord well. Have you been encouraged lately? Why not tell someone how they have done this for you ! Keep the UN-vicious cycle going. Our world is so prone to criticize & complain about folks, we of all people ought to set a tone of encouragement and positive remarks that motivate and bolster folks to do what’s right. Maybe even this week at work or elsewhere find someone you can encourage in some way and show them God is at work in your heart ! Who knows, they may be very down and what you say may be used of God at just the right time to pick them up and help them to do what is pleasing to God too !