The Encourager

The Encourager

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Three More Days

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Three More Days…

by Jeff Curtis

 

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living. (As defined by the Mayo Clinic).

 

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both. (ibid).

 

When we think of depression, we should understand that we can all be susceptible to being affected by it. It can affect our lives from a variety of things taking place around us. The world we live in may cause us to become depressed, especially if peer pressure becomes too great. People can be extremely cruel, and sometimes they may be in our closest circle of acquaintances.

 

They may think they have the “best” of intentions, but we should realize that not everyone takes criticism as well as others. When criticism is offered, we look at it and call it “constructive”, but it is still criticism.

 

I often think about Judas. You know, the disciple that betrayed Jesus? I wondered what he may have thought about his betrayal of our Lord. The Gospels all give an account of Jesus calling the twelve, and each account mentions Judas as, “the one who betray Him” (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:9; Luke 6:16; John 6:71). Have you ever considered why Judas was the one who held the money for the twelve and for Christ? I mean, Matthew was the “accountant” of the group, why was he not entrusted with the money?

 

This may have caused the others to question not only Jesus, and His decision, but also Judas. After all, Judas would question the use of oils and aromas used on Jesus’ feet, (John 12:3). The others may have had suspicions about Judas.

 

Do you think Judas may have picked up on these “feelings?” Do you suppose this could been the opportunity the devil was looking for? To cause Judas to become so depressed that he would take opportunity to do something so drastic as to betray our Lord?

 

We know the end result of Judas and betrayal of Christ. In Matthew 27:3, Judas makes an attempt to make things right by returning the silver back the chief priests and elders, making this statement; “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” It almost sounds as though he had just realized how desperate he had become, and now he knew he had made a mistake.

 

He may become depressed from what he may have thought the other disciples were saying or thinking about him. He may have thought he had no other option. And the only thing he could was to betray the Lord. Then…, he felt he was in too deep, and the only thing left for him was drastic measures. They wouldn’t take the silver back, what would everyone else think?

 

If Judas could only have waited three more days. Because in three days his Lord and Savior would have raised from the tomb. Proving there is a resurrection. Proving there was forgiveness. Some may say that he couldn’t be forgiven, but with Jesus anything was possible.

 

Paul stated; “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1Tim. 1:15). If we can just wait, and remember Jesus when we are depressed. If Christ can forgive Paul for having Christians in prison and put to death, why can’t He help us? Just have faith, and patience, to allow God to help us work out our problems.

Who's the Greatist

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Who is The Greatest?

by Jeff Curtis

 

     People sometimes may think that they are not making much of a contribution to the work of the church. They may feel that they are wasting their time and the time of others in worship. Maybe they have a difficult time paying attention because they have to wrestle with children, or because of some ailment they may not be able to attend every service or feel they are a distraction when they are in attendance. We may feel that because of our age we don’t have much to contribute in our service to God. We may get discouraged from time to time because of these thoughts or those similar.

     In Matthew 18:1, “…the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The question is “Who is the greatest in the kingdom or (Church at Eastside)? Since we may have these thoughts from time to time, we may think of others as being better than ourselves.

     We may think, well, we have elders so “I know they are greater” for the church than I am. We need to realize that they, too, were in your place at one time. They sat through services with children, who, were at times unruly, or sick or cutting teeth and seem to be fussy all the time.  You as a young parent need to realize that you have a very great responsibility. You hold the future of the church and the world and your family within your grasp. The church will cease to be if parents give up and decide its not worth the hassle of trying to get children ready and then trying to sit through services. In the above passage, Jesus answers the question of the who the greatest is by telling them, “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” Yes, parents who bring children to learn about God and how to worship the Almighty are the greatest in the kingdom.

     Marilyn and I have raised three children in the church. I served as a Deacon for many of those years, which left Marilyn alone during the services a lot of the time. We had a child who was fussy and crying during a gospel meeting once, and the visiting preaching (from the pulpit / during the service) told her she was going to have to take the baby out. That can be discouraging to a young parent who may be struggling just to be there with her babies. We appreciate your efforts.

     We may think that because we have some age on us and we don’t always feel 100%, that we have no business being at the service. After all, I am a distraction. I can’t sit still because my body doesn’t want to cooperate and allow me to sit comfortably for that long.

    Yet, the apostle Paul says that you are a part of what makes the church a sound church. In Titus chapter 2 he writes; “ But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

     Paul says there is so much that you have to offer to help the church future of the church. You can and should be a stabilizing force in the church. The young people should be able to look to you for advice and encouragement. You are a wealth of knowledge and experience that God understands should be used for the growth of the church. Remember, Paul said you are a contributing factor in the church being sound.

     So…, who’s the greatest in the kingdom /church? You are. Without you bringing your children to services, as tough as it may be sometimes, you are still the greatest because of the duty and honor you have in raising children in the Lord’s house. It is a great encouragement for you to be there with your children. Too many churches don’t have children.

     So…, who’s the greatest in the kingdom /church? You are. Without your age, wisdom, knowledge and everything that you have to offer to help maintain a sense of security and soundness in the church, where would we be without you? The fact that you are there, even when your health suggests that you stay at home, you are deeply appreciated.

     Everyone here is the greatest in the kingdom / church.

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