Encouragement Note: August 2018

By Christopher Underwood

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Each day we have a choice to serve the Lord at home, or school or at the job. When studying for the new semester of school, plan to do it to the best of your ability as if serving the Lord.

When working on the job find a way to work joyfully as serving the Lord.

It will put your effort in perspective to gain more than just a perfect score on your exam, or get a raise from the company.

Your example can be the seed of influence to others. Just as grumpy people can spread grumpiness, you and I can reflect the joy of the Lord and spread hope.

Have a great day and ask God in prayer for guidance to obey the Lord faithfully.

#encouragement #service #example #encouragement-note

Source of encouragement

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10 ESV)

Бог же всякой благодати, призвавший нас в вечную славу Свою во Христе Иисусе, Сам, по кратковременном страдании вашем, да совершит вас, да утвердит, да укрепит, да соделает непоколебимыми. (1-e Петра 5:10 Russian)

Most holy LORD God, my dear heavenly Father ~ thank you Lord for the gift of life on this new day that already demonstrates abundant evidence of your work as Creator of everything. Help me dear Lord to be a source of encouragement to those who are feeling weak and downtrodden by all the cares of this life. Be with us as we wait for the glorious appearing of our dear Savior. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

Cedar Key Church of Christ

#david-binkley #encouragement

Encouragement Note October 2017

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7

The strength that we have each day is connected by how deep our body, soul, and spirit are firmly entrenched in the Word of God.

Strong roots, or foundation allow each one to add faith, temperance, and love to keep us from falling (2 Peter 1:5-10)

Today decide to grow your physical and spiritual roots deeper as taught by command and example in the Bible. Choose to encourage someone to have deeper roots in the word to show how we are thankful for the gift of salvation through The Son of God.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

Christopher

#encouragement #spiritual-growth #encouragement-note

September 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Philippians Chapter 4)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Help Those Women (Wade Webster)
  • Towards Spiritual Success (Cody Westbrook)
  • I Can Do All Things (Rob L. Whitacre)
  • The God Who Supplies (John Baker)
  • Farewell (Kevin Rhodes)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#christian-women, #christian-worker, #encouragement, #financial-support, #philippians, #spiritual-strength, #success

Chris Underwood: Encouragement Note, May 2017

“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

Each of knows that what fills our eyes and ears causes a reaction within our brains. Those thoughts translate into actions that are obedient to the will of God, or disobedient.

Thankfully the Bible scriptures remind us daily to think of the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and anything else that we want recorded in the book of Life.

The positive virtues help shape us to be filled with strength of the Lord, and makes it possible to repent of sin. Consider some or all the sin that once were a struggle to reject in your life. Those obstacles are eliminated or greatly reduced from your life through the blessing of the Jesus who gave his life for our redemption.

We still have to be careful with our words that come out of our mouths. The beginning of those words are a reflection of our thoughts. Think on being humble in the daily presence of the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Have a great day.

Chris is a brother in Christ from Chicago who works in aviation electronics. He worked recently for three months in São José dos Campos, Brazil.

#thoughts #words #encouragement #encouragement-notes

Determine your year ahead

train-motion

One writer described the year 2016 as the year of disruption. I dare say he’s correct in many ways, speaking as he is from an American perspective. Disruption was true around the world as well, with Brexit, Fidel Castro’s death, China’s growth, Venezuela’s continued death spiral, and a host of other sad tendencies.

Brazil was no exception. President Dilma was impeached and removed from office. The economy slowed and joblessness grew. Corruption went beserk. Continue reading

#corollaries, #encouragement, #intention, #new-year, #planning

My brother is dying with bladder cancer We…

My brother is dying with bladder cancer. We visited him yesterday probably for the last time this side of eternity. My heart has been heavy since that visit, and today I wrote this poem as I thought of him and what he would say to me, his little sister.

When I become a memory
Think of me with a smile.
Tears may fill your eyes,
But only let it be for a little while.

Remember all the good things we did.
Remember when I was at my best.
Remember only the good times
And let go of all the rest.

Remember when I was healthy
And so full of life,
Remember me young and happy,
With a life free of strife.

When I become a memory
And am no longer here with you,
Smile and be happy and remember
My love for you is true.

-Glenda Williams 3-05-2015

#death, #encouragement

Illinois native Army Specialist Gabriel Garriga suffered from…

Illinois native Army Specialist Gabriel Garriga suffered from the severe burns he suffered when his Humvee exploded in a raging fireball in Iraq. Medics gave him a one in one hundred chance of survival. But in spite of the odds and after 29 surgeries, Gabe, as his family and friends call him, traveled the long road of recovery. For a long time he went through the process of rehabilitation in San Antonio at the Brook Army Medical Center. At the time he was just happy to be alive. Now he spends a lot of his time encouraging other soldiers recovering from their injuries. When I last read of him he was 20 and he was looking to the day when he could return to his Illinois home and resume a normal life. In my book Gab is a hero and is owed a great debt of gratitude from America. This is Just A Minute

#army, #encouragement, #gratitude, #just-a-minute

Mama said, "Everybody needs a church home…"

Mama didn’t have a high school diploma, but she was wise beyond her years. I’ve often thought had she been allowed to go to college, she would have been a great success at whatever she chose to do. With 17 brothers and sisters, she had to stay home after finishing the ninth grade to help out with things around home. She and I went to the same country school.

One of the things mama taught me as a teenager was the importance of having a church home. I recall we were in the kitchen of our small country home when she said, “Everybody needs to be a member of a church. Then if they have a death or some trouble, they will have people who will help and support them. People that don’t have a church family don’t have people to help when they have trouble.”

She had already taught me the distinctiveness of the church of Christ. She said, “Jesus built one church. There’s just one.” I knew early on the church He built was the One that wore His name, and the only one we can read about in the Bible. Denominations hadn’t come into the picture when Jesus established His church, the first church. She taught me this long before we started going to worship regularly. That’s a long story, and for another time.

It’s true. Everybody needs a church home and for multiple reasons. Let’s consider some for a minute.

1. We need a church home for salvation. Jesus gave His life as a sinless sacrifice for us that we might live with Him eternally in heaven one day. We can’t separate Christ and the church (Acts 5:23).

2. We need a church home for fellowship. Christians are like family members. They laugh with us when we laugh, and they cry with us when we cry. They will stand beside us all the way. People seldom get into trouble when fellowshipping with followers of Jesus (John 17:12; 1 John 1:3).

3. We need a church home for spiritual growth, to learn more of God’s word. Preachers and teachers spend endless hours preparing Bible lessons to teach others about the Lord, to increase the listener’s knowledge. We need a church home to be built up in the faith (Acts 2:42-47).

4. We need a church home to obey the command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).

5. We need a church home for comfort in difficult times (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11).

The Lord intended the local church to provide much of the support and encouragement we need as His disciples.

#church, #death, #encouragement, #heaven

You May Never See Your Effect Here

I had a chance to actually sit down yesterday after all the family-to-do things were over, and while doing so I caught about the last half of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV. I don’t believe there are very many movies out there that capture the point that the movie makes – that being, you just never know how much of an effect you may be having on others for the better!

Sometimes it’s easy to get down when it comes to our outlook on life and the effectiveness that we may think we’re having on others as we work within and without of the church. A snail’s pace sometimes sounds like an improvement! Things can feel woefully mundane and monotonous. Our world can feel too small and our grasp on things too weak. And it seems like there are two hills to climb for every one to walk down…you know, the old “up hill both ways” story that all of a sudden feels like non-fiction.

But the truth of the matter is that the light is being seen and the salt is being tasted as long as we’re out there mixing it up and leaving off the basket, bushel and shade. Small things do make big differences, and there are people who love us, care for us, appreciate us, and need us. It may not always feel like it but feelings aren’t the deciding factor – actions are! Yes life will always go on, but on to what is the question.

Also keep in mind that the things that we do may not have an effect on the person we’re directly dealing with as much as it may the next person that they’ll be dealing with. Think of it like dominoes with a positive spin. Domino number three needs domino number one as much they needed domino number two! So just because you don’t see how you’re making a difference doesn’t mean that you’re not.

when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

#effectiveness, #encouragement, #faith, #influence

Encouragement for cold feet

Psychologists conducted an experiment to determine the capacity of people to endure pain. They measured how long a person could stand barefooted in a bucket of cold water. They discovered one factor that enabled some people to stay in the water twice as long as others.

If someone offered encouragement and support, the person could endure the pain twice as long as the one who received no encouragement.

1 Thess 5:11 – “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#encouragement

Let’s Help Someone Else Finish Their Race

There’s a wonderful story coming out of Minnesota about a 9-year-old little boy who was running in a 5K race but he began to run out of a little steam toward the end. The boy finished, but the way he finished is what makes the story so great.

As the boy found himself starting to run alone and getting discouraged he spotted someone who he thought might help him – Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr of the United States Marine Corps. The boy asked Mr. Kerr if he would run with him, and Mr. Kerr refused to turn him down and helped the young boy, Boden Fuchs, finish the race even when he wanted to give up.

What a story!

There are so many spiritual applications, the least of them being that we all need someone to run our race of faith with; we all need a little encouragement every now and then, and God’s word can provide the support and encouragement we need if we’re willing to listen to those who know what it’s like to be in our shoes: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [think Hebrews 11 here], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1). And this thought goes without leaving out the very next verse which says, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

There is no shame in asking for help while we run our race here on earth; there are days when we all run better than others and days when we run worse, and we should know how far a little bit of encouragement can go. The real shame comes from us having the ability to help others but leaving them behind to fail in their race. So let’s be the encourager that God wants us to be and helps others finish their race.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:23-24)

#bible-applications, #christian-living, #current-events, #encouragement, #news, #spiritual-applications, #spiritual-race, #united-states-marine-corps

Where Do We Go to Heal?

My journey of faith began in a family of faith and a family of worshipers (the Bible often calls the church a “household” or “family.”). My parents loved God and made assembling with other lovers of God a priority for us. They reminded us often that it was a privilege to assemble with other Christians, that in some nations it was definitely not a right to do so. While I have discovered that some communities of faith may be more toxic than healing, healthy faith develops best in community. There are times when we may need to go alone in prayer to express our pain and hurt to the Lord, but sometimes the occasions when we hurt the most are when the church that we thought didn’t care awakens to its responsibilities. Singing with a congregation, even listening if the pain is too great to sing or the song evokes particularly emotional memories, allows other believers to speak words of grace and love. Even when one’s presence challenges others to forgive or consider whether they should allow you to participate, growth in relationship to God and his people occurs. We all sin (Romans 3:23). We all need forgiveness. Assembling together allows others to bear one another’s burden (Galatians 6:1-2) and remember that being a part of Christ’s saved people is not an exercise in isolation nor about feeling good all the time about other Christians. Romans 15:1-3 says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'” We worship together to praise God, but also meet together to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). We should not gather as a church to hear a speaker verbally scourge the suffering, but we should search the scriptures together and pray fervently that we may help the damaged person heal and return to active service. If a person’s (or group’s) presence threatens the spiritual stability of the congregation, then we meet and discuss face-to-face how their actions endanger the health of the community while remembering to check our preferences to see if they align with the word and will of God.

Because my parents encouraged me to make assembling with Christians a priority, when I encountered a difficult time in my life when it would have been easy to suffer alone and stop “going to church,” I kept going. I found it hard to pray at that point in my life and it was difficult to sing some songs. Some sermons were harder to hear and some well-meaning brethren just did not understand what I was experiencing. Still I kept assembling and I continued to read the Bible regularly (Strange, I think, that I found it hard to talk to God for a while but still was willing to listen to him). The small congregation embraced me and helped me to heal, using me when I was willing and my work would help others. Some told me that my presence encouraged them. I survived spiritually because that church and my family of origin loved me.

Some hurting people have hurt themselves, and as part of the healing process, must realize and articulate the part they played in creating their pain. We call this repentance and confession; both acts are essential for spiritual healing. If they have never done so before, they will need (as did the apostle Paul) to wash away their sin in baptism (Acts 22:16). Some may be unable to reverse the effects of their actions; just as a physical amputee learns to function without a hand or with a prosthesis, they can learn to function in their new reality. Other hurting people have been abused – verbally, physically, or emotionally. They don’t need more abuse. They need love, and lots of patience.

So, if you’re hurting spiritually, don’t try to solve your problems in isolation. Reach out for help to a community of faith, a church that takes God, Christ, and the Bible seriously, but that remembers also that it is the family of God and the body of Christ, an entity that heals rather harms. If you’re within such a group, and someone confesses difficulty, pain, or sin, don’t rush to ostracize. Pray and study to learn how you may help this person to heal and to grow up to become the healthy disciple God wants them to be. As Paul the apostle wrote, ” Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7). In the end, we all have fallen short, and that is why we need a family, a church, where we may heal and feel safe.
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#abuse, #baptism, #church-of-christ, #confession, #encouragement, #family-of-god, #forgiveness, #healing, #recovery, #repentance, #toxic-churches

Give Someone an Ataboy…or an Atagirl

A little bit of encouragement can go a long way! And that’s good because it just so happens that a long way is how far many of us have to go.

See if you can give an “ataboy” or an “atagirl” to someone today.

Here’s some “ataboy’s” that I wanted to pass along with some links to boot:

  • Great job John T. Polk II for completing his posts on Psalm 1 through Psalm 150! Here’s the link to his last installment. – P.S. this praise is biblically (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and not the type of praise John talks about in the Psalm 150 🙂
  • Great job Stephen Bradd on a great Mother’s Day article on Audio Evangelism called “Shame to His Mother.”
  • Great job Mike Benson on an awesome post about the power and influence of godly women posted on Forthright. I’m going to put this in our bulletin soon.
  • Great job Don Ruhl on encouraging us to put our self in the shoes of another Bible character in another one of his short but challenging posts from his “Twice Blessed” devo’s.

I would add others but I’m out of time, but I would like to quickly say to those of you who work hard to present the truth over the web: Great Job and Hang In There – you never know who your work may be encouraging.

And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:36-37 – NKJV)

#blessing, #encouragement, #links, #team-work

Greetings

In this country we greet each other by saying “Hello” or “Hi” or even “How are you doing”. Sometimes we just pass people by without saying anything. Those greetings are a way of acknowledging the other person when they come into contact with you. They convey friendliness but no real concern or care. Even using “How are you” nowadays carries no real interest in the life.

What if we greeted people like Boaz greeted the reapers in his field. Boaz returning from a trip to Bethlehem greeted the reapers by say “The LORD be with you!” The reapers replied in kind: “”The LORD bless you!” What a way to start off the day. Boaz and his reapers obviously understood that our God was a part of their lives and took time to remind each other of it. Let us work toward doing that with our brethren today as a way of encouraging each other in our life for God.

In Christ, Steve Preston

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