Posts Tagged ‘Encouragement’


Numbers 9:1-3,6-8,10-12,17,23 A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. In the first month of that year he said, “Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. Be sure to follow all my decrees and regulations concerning this celebration”… But some of the men had been ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, so they could not celebrate the Passover that day. They came to Moses and Aaron that day and said, “We have become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead body. But why should we be prevented from presenting the Lord’s offering at the proper time with the rest of the Israelites?” Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the Lord”… “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people now or in future generations are ceremonially unclean at Passover time because of touching a dead body, or if they are on a journey and cannot be present at the ceremony, they may still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. They must offer the Passover sacrifice one month later, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month. They must eat the Passover lamb at that time with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover”… Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp… So they camped or traveled at the Lord’s command, and they did whatever the Lord told them through Moses.

What amazes me about this Biblical record is the specificity and clarity with which all that occurred in the lives of God’s people was recorded and is available for us to study and understand.

Obviously what we have documented is what is relevant to us for our spiritual edification but what do ceremonial instructions mean to our lives today? (more…)

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1 Thessalonians 3:4-8
In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.

When we take a stand for Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we go against the grain of this world and against Satan who is like a roaring lion, waiting to devour people (1 Peter 5:8). Paul reminds us of the reality of persecution but that is not the point of God’s message to us today. When Paul, Timothy and Silas were being persecuted, they were concerned that the Thessalonians would start to lose their faith and drift away from God. The fact that sincere followers of Christ were not blessed but rather were being attacked constantly would cause anyone who believed in Christ to doubt if their faith was rightly placed. Is this what you have experienced or witness in other believers? What is God’s response to this?

As you can note from Timothy’s feedback to Paul, the Thessalonians were not discouraged but instead full of faith and love. They had good memories of them and were longing to see them again. That was only possible because their faith was correctly placed. When we fully understand God’s calling in our lives and are willing to follow Jesus, we know that we will be persecuted just as He was for our faith in Him. Therefore when we suffer or see other christians suffer, we know that it is our responsibility to pray for them and our Lord and Savior is in complete control. When I think of suffering, I praise God because through suffering, our faith is strengthened and our desire for God is intensified. Lets not be shaken and tossed like the people of this world because our God is bigger than the little storms in our lives and our lives are secured by Christ’s resurrection.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

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Philippians 2:1-3, 5-8
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose… Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

According to my dictionary, humility means a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness. This is something we can ascribe to people with low self esteem or people who feel they are less than those they serve. It is a very defeated attitude in today’s world and therefore as much as we talk praise about people who are humble, we cannot aspire to it because it is not in us. When I had the inspiration for ServantBoy as a handle, it seemed to the world the worst way to portray oneself and I was told more often than not to change it as it embarrassed people who knew me. When I look at today’s passage, I am encouraged by Christ’s example and feel inspired once again.

So many traits of Jesus in His earthly life are painted by the picture of humility. He was born in poverty, He knelt and prayed to God the Father, He was surrounded by the lowest in society, He amassed no wealth, He rode on donkeys and He was even stripped, beaten and humiliated by being hung on the cross beside two criminals for no fault of His. If we are to serve Him as our God, how can we not humble ourselves below Him? How can we seek our own comforts before the comforts of those suffering around us? How can we justify our gain at someone else’s loss? God rewards us for loving His Son and living a life worthy of His name and that reward will be for eternity but to be blessed, we need to first seek His Son Jesus and live by His example. I hope you are encouraged by Jesus’ example and are proud to call yourself His own and live a life worthy of His name?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.


1 Corinthians 14:1-4, 39-40
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church… Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

With our feet based on a foundation of love, Paul encourages us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. He clearly explains that the gift of prophecy is of more value than the gift of tongues because of the basic fact that it edifies the church rather than self and our goal is to love others as God loves us. Rather than getting into which gifts, what they are and how to use them, God’s direction to me from today’s chapter was the whys of spiritual gifts. Why are we given spiritual gifts?

Our spiritual gifts are given to us to edify the church through the working of the Holy Spirit in us. We are reminded in 1 Peter 4:10 ‘Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.’ Again in 1 Cor. 12:7 we are reminded that these gifts are for the common good. We now know that God has given all believers spiritual gifts, that we should desire them and when they are given to us that we should use them to serve Him to the world. Paul also reminds us about using these gifts in an orderly and fitting way because they are from God and God is orderly, not chaotic.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Romans 15:5-6
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I read the above passage of scripture, I dwelt upon how Paul talks to us as individuals and as a team, giving us direction. In recent times, watching sport has caught my fancy courtesy the winter Olympics and Paralympics that took place here in Vancouver a few weeks back. Several events were individual and the rest were team events. Every medal was a joy whether individual or team but what it all added up to was victory for the country they represented.

The Church is supposed to mean the body of Christ (Not the building) and we are the bride to the most wonderful and perfect groom, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In our daily walk, we are ambassadors for Christ in our homes, communities, schools, workplaces, etc. and we are called to serve Christ’s love for all to all. We are therefore individual and team players and are called to be united under the banner of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to serve Him because of what He did for us and not to dwell on our differences. Our joy is to revel in the joy of serving the King of Kings and not to argue like the disciples about who is to sit and the right or the left of Jesus in heaven. I pray we are encouraged to simply serve Jesus!

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Acts 27:21-25
After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

Eventually Paul was sentenced to prison based on King Agrippa’s ruling and this began a treacherous but significant journey for Paul, the other prisoners, the guards and the crew of the ship transporting them. Against Paul’s advice, the centurion, based on the ship crew’s advice, decided to proceed to Phoenix because they believed it to be safer to berth the vessel there rather than Crete. Paul spoke up after many days of suffering in the storm and gave them an assurance of safety revealed to him by an angel of God. This might have sounded reassuring to those seeking God’s intervention or ridiculous to those who were cold to the very mention of God. What is God saying to us this morning?

We like to hear good things about ourselves and our situations and dislike being corrected. Paul’s initial warning might have sounded silly to anyone who had no faith in Paul or his God or to anyone who felt they knew better. Doesn’t that sound like us? We would rather focus on reading what astrologers have to say because they always have nice things for us than read God’s word which seems harsh and painful. God’s direction is like our parent’s advice that seems hard and painful but really is meant to build us up. We need to open our hearts and minds to Jesus through his word because through obedience to him, we have an assurance of salvation, forgiveness of our sins and an eternity in God’s presence whereas without him, we have the world and all the frustrations and disappointments that come with it.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy