Closing the Gap 4.16.18

Week 15 “Encourage One Another”

Day 1

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

1Thessalonians 5:9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Reflect:

“Will everything be alright?” This is the question people ask when they are afraid.  Sometimes friends and family will say, “Yes, everything is going to be fine.” Is that a promise that anyone can really make?  It is understandable and laudable that people will try to instill courage into failing hearts with those comforting words. But it can be false courage, a promise that will fail them in the end.  We may try to make things turn out “alright,” but no human has the ultimate power or authority to ensure this will happen. James reminds us that we don’t even know what will happen tomorrow, because our lives are like “a mist” (James 4:14).  We cannot control all the outcomes. We can’t know if “everything will be alright.” Or can we? It depends on what you mean by “everything” and “alright.” God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through Jesus Christ.  This is the fact of the gospel that is to be the ultimate source of our courage. Will you keep your job? Maybe. Will your loved ones be healthy? Perhaps, but all will die in the end. Will I suffer God’s wrath if I have believed the gospel? No.  When I die will all be lost? No. If I trust Christ and live for his glory, will all I give my life for be a waste in the end? No. So, will everything “be alright?” Have you believed the gospel? Then, yes! Now go and encourage one another with these truths.  You can act courageously and still feel fear. Feeling fear is a normal human response. The question is, “Will you be courageous?” The question is not, will you be “free of fear”? Courage that is fact-based is courage that is gospel-based. Pour courage into your friends, your family, and yourself, all while thinking often and deeply about the gospel.  As fear rises up in your own heart over things that are out of your control, do not try to stop “feeling afraid.” Instead, remember what the foundation for your courage is. He died for you so that you will live together with him.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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