The Encourager

The Encourager

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Be an Andrew

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Be An Andrew

by Heath Rogers

Little is known about the apostles that aren’t named Peter, Paul, James, and John. However, there is an interesting trait that shows up in the life of the apostle Andrew, the brother of Peter.

It was Andrew who first brought Peter to the Lord. “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:40-42). We don’t know much about Andrew, but there wouldn’t be an apostle Peter if it hadn’t been for Andrew.

We know that Jesus fed the multitude of five thousand people with a small lad’s five loaves and two fishes. It was Andrew who brought the lad to Jesus. “One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?’” (John 6:8-9).

During the week before our Lord’s crucifixion, there were some Greeks in Jerusalem who wanted to see Jesus. “Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus” (John 12:20-22). Although the Lord did not allow this meeting to take place, Andrew had put forth an effort to bring them to Jesus.

We need more people like Andrew – followers of Jesus who try to bring others to the Lord. There are still people who are looking for the light in this dark world; people who are looking for the truth amidst a sea of error; people who are seeking their soul’s salvation. We need to be in the business of looking for those who are looking. We need to be bringing people to Jesus.

 

Prayer, Providence, and Open Doors

by Joe R. Price

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:2–6, NKJV)

Paul urged Christians to rely on the power of prayer and divine providence to spread the gospel. Thankful hearts are alert to blessings from God’s hand (v. 2). Trusting in God’s foresight and provisions, we pray for open doors (access, opportunity) for God’s word to reach hearts and lives. We pray for those who walk through those doors and teach others (3). Paul relied on brethren praying for him. Although in prison, he yearned for their prayers so that he (and they) would use wisdom in speaking the gospel to the lost. While God opens doors for the gospel, we must be wise, prudent, and gracious in choosing our words. Time is precious, so use it properly. Doors of spiritual opportunity are too often closed by impulsive words and unwise actions. So, let us work on aligning our motive (“to answer each one”) with well-placed, gracious words of truth. When we do, we trust God will work through us for His glory (Phil. 2:12-13).

A Challenge to God

Saturday, September 11, 2021

A Challenge to God

by Jeff Curtis

At least two passages in the New Testament are relevant to the scene of the three friends of Daniel 3 and the fiery furnace. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for men to die once.” This passage is often quoted in regard to the certainty of death. While that application is valid enough, the author was trying to build the faith of people who were being persecuted; therefore, he was really saying something more assuring. Everyone has to die; but no one has to die twice. Also, Revelation 14:10-11 refers to idolaters who will be thrown into an eternal fire. Other passages in Revelation refer to this fire as the “the second death.” Daniel’s friends had something of this concept in their minds. They believed that their God could deliver them out of the fiery furnace alive; but they also knew that if He chose not to do so, He would still deliver them from a second death that would be certain if they violated His law and worshipped the idol.

 

In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar defiantly challenged God. He set up an image to be worshipped in contradiction to God’s commands. Man has been contradicting God ever since Adam and Eve violated His first commandments in the garden. Only the patience of God has spared any of us from the wrath which we have stirred (Romans 1:18).

 

Then, Nebuchadnezzar challenged God defiantly saying, “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” Although this ultimately happened, the king didn’t believe it was possible. “Will God save?” is a challenge that, when spoken or silent, conscience or not, is asked by sinners. This challenge is to the grace of God.

 

Faith was challenged. The three Jews declared that God was able to save them in spite of appearances to the contrary. There is a difference between trying to “test the Lord your God” (Deut. 6:16) and declaring one’s faith in God to keep his promises. In and earlier day, Elijah had “reminded” God of His declaration that He would eventually shut off the rain if Israel turned to idols. At Elijah’s request God did just that. Earlier still, Moses had reminded God of His promise to make a great nation of the fathers. In effect, he challenged God to save a stubborn and rebellious people.

 

Some challenges defy God, and He will not tolerate them. Other challenges, God takes on, through us, to show His power, honor, and glory. He did so in this instance with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.

 

 

“Let Us”

by Heath Rogers

An important theme woven throughout the book of Hebrews is the admonition to endure and remain faithful. Several of these admonitions are introduced with the phrase “let us.”

· Let us fear (4:1).

· Let us give diligence to enter our rest (4:11).

· Let us hold fast our confession (4:14).

· Let us draw near the throne of grace to find help (4:16).

· Let us go on to perfection or maturity (6:1).

· Let us draw near with purity and faith (10:22).

· Let us hold fast our confession without wavering (10:23).

· Let us consider and exhort one another (10:24).

· Let us lay aside every weight and let us run with endurance (12:1).

· Let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably (12:28).

· Let us go forth to Him (be willing to bear reproach with Him and for Him - 13:13).

· Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise unto God (13:15).

The phrase “let us” indicates these are things we are to be doing together with other Christians. Faithfulness is something that can be achieved much easier if it is done along with the right kind of people. As faithful Christians, we are to work together and help one another towards the goal of reaching our eternal reward.

Displaying 145 - 146 of 319

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