The Encourager

The Encourager

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Life is Difficult, but Take Heart - Jeff Curtis

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Life is Difficult, but Take Heart

By Jeff Curtis

 

M. Scott Peck wrote a book titled; “The Road Less Traveled” with a thought-provoking and powerful declaration: “Life is difficult.” One teacher, in an eloquent way, used to tell his students that life is full of “trials and tribulations, heartaches and heartbreaks, pressures, perils and problems.” In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world”

 

Because we are fallen people who live in a fallen world that is dominated by sin and the evil one, hardships will come to all of us; but we can take heart. Life is difficult, but reading through and studying the principles in the book of Job can help us in several ways.

 

First, the book of Job can help us see that God is still God. Regardless of what happens to us and regardless of the hand that we have been dealt, God is still God. There is nothing that happens in this book without God allowing it to happen or standing in the way of it happening. Regardless of what happens to us in life, God is still God. He is still on His throne, He is still in control, He is still for us (Romans 8:31), and He is counting on us to praise Him and to be faithful to Him.

 

Second, the Book of Job can help us to have a deeper relationship with God. When tragedies occur, isn’t it interesting that some people are driven toward God while others are driven from God? Job was driven toward God; and he asked questions and expressed his hurts, his anger, and frustrations to God – and that was okay. God could handle it. Ultimately, Job was left with a sense of God’s power and awesomeness, and he was drawn closer to God as a result of going through this terrible experience. Romans 5:3-4 says that “tribulation produces   perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

 

Third, the Book of Job can help us to praise God and to never take our blessings for granted. Who gave Job the cattle, his children, his wealth, and his health? It was God. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” What a blessing to have a wife and ten precious children. What a blessing to live close to your children. What a blessing to have children who enjoyed being together. What a blessing to be able to approach the throne of God freely on behalf of your family. Job was a blessed man, and we are also blessed people.

 

The words of a familiar hymn can teach us a lot: “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Our God has opened up the windows of heaven and poured out His blessings upon us. We should never take those blessings for granted, and we should thank Him daily for being so good to us. What we have today may be gone tomorrow, so it’s important to have a daily appreciation for our blessings and express that appreciation daily to our God. Are you more like the nine lepers who were cleansed and didn’t return to give thanks, or are you like the one leper who returned to thank and praise Jesus for His blessing? (Luke 17:11-19). Rather than blaming God for his troubles, Job praise God and said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

 

Fourth, the book of Job can help us to preserve and remain faithful. Perseverance is a major biblical theme. James 5:11 says, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job…” Jesus told the church in Smyrna, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer…be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

 

 

Meditate on these things:

 

Proverbs 18:24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

The Benefits of Humility - Heath Rogers

Saturday, March 16, 2024

The Benefits of Humility

by Heath Rogers

“Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Pet. 5:5).

As a rule, the world around us doesn’t value humility. Those who are self-assertive and uncompromising get all the awards and attention while the meek are, at best, given only token recognition. God has always promised to bless those who humble themselves before Him and others. The Bible speaks of some benefits and blessings promised to such individuals.

Saves us from shame. In Luke 14:7-11, Jesus spoke a parable to those who positioned themselves to enjoy the most honorable seats at a feast. If they placed themselves in the most important seat, and the master makes them move, the only seats left will be the lowest, “and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place” (v. 9). Instead, they should seat themselves in the lowest place and allow the master to move them to a higher position in the presence of all the guests. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 11). Even if they aren’t moved any higher, at least they won’t be put to shame before the other guests.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). Sometimes the “destruction” caused by our pride is a shameful “fall” from grace before others. This is prevented when we practice humility.

Promotes unity. Members of a local church are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). Before speaking of the doctrinal foundation for this unity, Paul first presented the attitudes that make this unity a sustained reality. “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (vs. 1-2).

In another epistle, Paul instructed the Colossians to put on these characteristics like a garment. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:12-13, emphasis mine - HR). Dressed in these virtues, we are now ready to work together in harmony in the local church.

Justifies us before the Lord. In another parable, Jesus spoke of two men who went to the temple to pray (Luke 18:9-14). One was a self-righteous Pharisee who praised himself before God by elevating himself above others. The other was a humble tax collector, who “would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” (v. 13). The divine pronouncement was “this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbles, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14).

Please note, humility alone will not justify us before God. The Pharisee was doing the right things according to God’s law. He avoided sinful conduct, fasted, and gave tithes (vs. 11-12). However, his pride made him an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 16:5). We make mistakes as we strive to serve the Lord faithfully. It is our humility that allows us to come before God and seek His forgiveness.

Humility does not come naturally to most people. This is why the apostles tell us to “put on” and “be clothed with” humility (Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 5:5). When we do, great blessings will follow.

Meditate on these things:

Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.

The Benefits of Humility

by Heath Rogers

“Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Pet. 5:5).

As a rule, the world around us doesn’t value humility. Those who are self-assertive and uncompromising get all the awards and attention while the meek are, at best, given only token recognition. God has always promised to bless those who humble themselves before Him and others. The Bible speaks of some benefits and blessings promised to such individuals.

Saves us from shame. In Luke 14:7-11, Jesus spoke a parable to those who positioned themselves to enjoy the most honorable seats at a feast. If they placed themselves in the most important seat, and the master makes them move, the only seats left will be the lowest, “and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place” (v. 9). Instead, they should seat themselves in the lowest place and allow the master to move them to a higher position in the presence of all the guests. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 11). Even if they aren’t moved any higher, at least they won’t be put to shame before the other guests.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). Sometimes the “destruction” caused by our pride is a shameful “fall” from grace before others. This is prevented when we practice humility.

Promotes unity. Members of a local church are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). Before speaking of the doctrinal foundation for this unity, Paul first presented the attitudes that make this unity a sustained reality. “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (vs. 1-2).

In another epistle, Paul instructed the Colossians to put on these characteristics like a garment. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:12-13, emphasis mine - HR). Dressed in these virtues, we are now ready to work together in harmony in the local church.

Justifies us before the Lord. In another parable, Jesus spoke of two men who went to the temple to pray (Luke 18:9-14). One was a self-righteous Pharisee who praised himself before God by elevating himself above others. The other was a humble tax collector, who “would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” (v. 13). The divine pronouncement was “this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbles, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14).

Please note, humility alone will not justify us before God. The Pharisee was doing the right things according to God’s law. He avoided sinful conduct, fasted, and gave tithes (vs. 11-12). However, his pride made him an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 16:5). We make mistakes as we strive to serve the Lord faithfully. It is our humility that allows us to come before God and seek His forgiveness.

Humility does not come naturally to most people. This is why the apostles tell us to “put on” and “be clothed with” humility (Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 5:5). When we do, great blessings will follow.

Meditate on these things:

Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.

Displaying 3 - 4 of 310

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