We’ve all heard the old spiritual “It’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer.” But how many of us live this way? Judging others is a job best left to God. He alone knows our hearts and our motives; He alone is qualified to judge.
When I think back to my years in university, I can’t justify church-skipping any more than I can defend missing class. I had a million excuses though. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t like the music, it was too far, etcetera.
Few things steal a church’s joy like discouragement…especially if that discouragement comes not from outside circumstances but from inside instigators. Scripture tells us that we are to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). But far too often we choose instead to speak words that dishearten, hinder, and deter each other from living the life God intends.
You never really know who is in need of encouragement. Encouragement spurs us on; affirms us. A word of kindness, an arm around the shoulder, a note, a phone call, a random comment said in passing... genuine encouragement never fails to help.
We can practice fellowship by seeing and getting in touch with the big picture and goal of showing God’s glory to the world. We do this in all the many ways He has instructed us in the Bible.
All of us need encouragement. We need somebody to believe in us. To reassure and reinforce us. To help us pick up the pieces and go on. To fuel our flame of determination as we face the odds against us.
Nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted. It’s never in vain. Even if you receive no credit or even a “thank you” don’t be discouraged! God promises you will be rewarded when the time is right.
By way of introduction, we want to get our foot in the door of this series by looking at the great biographical chapter in the New Testament—Hebrews 11—which has been called “God's Hall of Faith.” These men and women lived lives worthy of being remembered, so let's remember them—for they, being dead, still speak.
When the advent season begins, our stressed-out and overworked spirits are refreshed by renewed anticipation of all Christmas means to us. But how do we hold onto that hope and stay on course throughout the year?