March 20

The theme this week has been trusting in God (based off Proverbs 3:5-6). For some of you it may behoove you to post up verses around your house, on your bathroom mirror, on your fridge, etc. that will continually remind you to trust in God. Here’s a few examples:

  • Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
  • John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
  • Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
  • Psalm 32:10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.
  • Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

But, the other thing that we must always remember is that our faith is to be in God and in His will above all else. There are false elements of Christianity today that try to tell God what He will or will not do, and try to use faith as a means of achieving one’s own will. One well-known prosperity gospel preacher has preached that we are not to ask for God’s will because those are “faith-destroying words”. His instruction is instead to tell God what He is to do. Folks, that is some very dangerous, disrespectful ground.

My encouragement this week is to be balanced between trusting our perfect, loving heavenly Father and facing/accepting the reality that we are sinners in a fallen world with the results of sin and Satanic attacks. Things may not work out the way that we would like, but we know that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us and that His perfect plan is in place for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

So, what can you all do?

  1. The Day of the Lord is coming when no one is looking for it:
  • For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. —I. Thessalonians 5:2-3
  1. But, we who are in Christ will not be part of that day of judgment, so keep watching for Him:
  • But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. –I. Thessalonians 5:4-7
  1. We need to remember our foundation is always in the Gospel:
  • But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. –I. Thessalonians 5:8-10
  1. And, with this great truth, no matter what goes on around you, reach out to your church family as well as to others:
  • Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. –I. Thessalonians 5:11

See the emphasis? Paul did not simply say, “encourage one another”. Heck, the lost world will try to do that. Paul begins by discussing the source of our personal encouragement and strength in the fact that God’s future judgment is not for us, and that God’s plan for us is rooted in the Gospel. In verse 11 Paul says, “Therefore…” That is a very important word because it’s used to link this verse with the verses that came before (verse 11 does not stand on its own, in other words). Paul is instructing us to encourage each other in the Gospelmessage of eternal hope in Christ.

Isn’t that awesome?

A motivational speaker may try to give you support and encouragement in yourself. Or, you may try to be encouraged by positive people, family members, your government, or the solidarity of your friends. But none of those things can provide you any real, lasting, eternal encouragement since they’re all rooted in finite, limited, temporal things.

  1. Who can you reach out and encourage today while the Coronavirus is gripping the hearts and minds of so many people? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. And, what Gospel-laden words can you encourage them with so as to provide true peace and confidence in Christ? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. What can you do to encourage them to take their eyes off the news and social feeds and place them on Christ? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    3. Remember, biblical encouragement is alwaysrooted in the Gospel!
  • Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
  1. Our greatest encouragement in life has to be God’s Word. Read large amounts of it and you will have large amounts of His Gospel of peace, His love for you, His care for you, and the confident knowledge of His control of the future.
    1. Have you read 30 chapters this week? _____________________
      1. If not, then how many? ____________________________
      2. Notice, Jesus used the Word of God to instruct us to live on the Word of God.
  • Think about this: You eat food every day, and probably spend 30-40 minutes total eating (some less, some more). If man cannot live on physical food alone, then why do we skimp on reading God’s Word of life? Why do we often fast from it?
  1. What have you read this week that encourages you? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
  1. For some devotionals I’ll end with a hymn or Christian song. I find that hymns are usually more theologically rich than most Christian songs, so I provide those more often. This connects up to our theme today because the theology of the Bible is our foundation, the Gospel being what defines our theology.
    1. Take time and go through a hymnal and read the various hymns of hope from yesteryear.
      1. Notice how the writer encourages you through the Gospel message.
      2. Notice also how the writer founds his/her message on the Bible. It is our rock that we build our house upon (“all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand”—Edward Mote).
    2. Read through the Psalms as that was the Old Testament hymnal for the Jews. The truths of the Psalms are relevant today, and its encouragement is rooted again in the Gospel.
    3. If you gather with friends, take time to sing unto the Lord together. Sing praises to Him, sing thankfulness, and remind each other that He has every microsecond mapped out into eternity and He is in control of each and every moment, each and every little or big thing that happens. Nothing encourages me more than to know this truth about His sovereignty and to internalize the reality that I have absolutely no control. He’s in charge, so sing unto Him the praises that proclaim such!
    4. What are a few of your favorite songs/hymns of encouragement: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

He Hideth My Soul Hymn by Fanny Crosby

1 A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,

a wonderful Savior to me;

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,

where rivers of pleasure I see.

Refrain:

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock

that shadows a dry thirsty land;

He hideth my life in the depths of His love

and covers me there with His hand,

and covers me there with His hand.

 

2 A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,

He taketh my burden away;

He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved;

He giveth me strength as my day.

[Refrain]

 

3 With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,

and filled with His fullness divine,

I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God

for such a Redeemer as mine!

[Refrain]

 

4 When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise

to meet Him in clouds of the sky,

His perfect salvation, His wonderful love

I’ll shout with the millions on high.

[Refrain]