The Journey Thoughts

September 2, 2016

"Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those
without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please
his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even the Messiah did not
please Himself. On the contrary, as it is written, 'The insults of those who
insult You have fallen on Me.' For whatever was written in the past was
written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and
through the encouragement from the Scriptures." Romans 15:1-4  Sometimes it
seems hard to get encouragement from Scripture that tells us only to live
for others and to make sure we are building them up, especially when we have
been weary ourselves.  But that's the beauty of the faith.  If we all did
what the Scripture says, and build each other up in the faith, there would
be times when we are building others up, and times when others are building
us up.  Yet, we always think that we are the ones who have to be doing this
all the time, without relief or encouragement. But let me ask you something.
When was the last time someone encouraged you?  When was the last time you
encouraged someone else?  If we stopped to think of this awhile, we might
find that we are surrounded by encouragers, but when we are discouraged, we
fail to see the encouragement.  We fail to see that we are actually
surrounded by faithful, loving people who are not thinking of themselves.
So is this our true identity, that we are weak when we should be strong?
That all depends!  Are you trusting in Christ?  Are you leaning on and
learning from Him, in Scripture and prayer? He is the same Lord, who made
the heaven and the earth. He is the same God, who made all the animals and
man, and found no suitable helper for Adam, so made him a mate, a woman.  He
is the same Messiah, who purposely came to earth to grow as a man, yet very
much God; to humble Himself, yet was very much deity; to give His life, so
that you and I can be encouraged by His love.  That's encouragement from the
Scriptures.  So, we go through periods in which we feel without strength. I
get it, but after the pity-party, look around you. Don't you see the grace
being poured out from heaven and all over you?  Can't you see the blessings
of the Messiah settling all around you?  That's the strength that comes to
us as believers; that's the encouragement.  With that, if you honestly want
to be encouraged, try being an encourager, for that, within itself, is a
tremendous encouragement to us.  The things that make us stronger are
enduring during times when we feel weakest, and we learn to surrender to the
Lord, because our strength seems to fail.  That is when we go to Scripture,
and see the encouragement of the faith through the eyes of heroes past.  We
are able to realize that those who were the strongest were those who leaned
on the Lord the most.  But the best thing we learn is that He was always
there for them when their strength was failing.   So with surrender,
endurance, dedication, commitment, and love, we realize that our Lord is
very active in our lives.  He is still working to grow us to become more
like Him, and less like ourselves. After all, we are a new creation, created
long before we even existed, but created in Christ, for the very purpose of
being strength to our brother, our sister who is in a season of struggle.
When we take the focus off of self and put it on others, we grow, and become
stronger as we mature as believers.  I pray that this is an encouragement to
you this day, so that you can take your eyes off of your situation, and look
around you. The harvest is ripe, and there is much fruit to be picked, and
many injured souls to encourage.   Pastor Andy

Heavenly Father, thank You for making Yourself so evident, in my life, and
the lives of those I love.  I pray that we learn the lesson of being an
encourager. I pray that You will instill in us Your grace and mercy, so that
we might impart it to others.  Father, for today, I would like to lift up
each of these I list, and ask You Father, to touch them in a special way, so
that they will know You have visited them.  I pray for strength for: Linda
and her family; for Don and Lynn, Dwight and Sammi, Todd, Tonia, Aiden,
Liam, Jackie Ann, the Reed family, the Foster family, Adrian, Tuly, Tyler,
Kristen, Trevor, Terry's dad, Tim's mom, Shelly's mom, Pam and her son,
Julissa and her friend, Kelly and her son, Richard and his father, Ben and
his family, Maria, Tyson, Wendy, Montella, Joyce, Betty, David, Phyllis,
Devon, Cindy, Barbara, Terri, Marliana, Loren, Cynthia, Bill, Carolyn,
Tracy, Elijah, Abraham, Japheth, Jeff, Laura, Mike, Megan, Matt, Liz, Matt,
Bethany, Carmello, Kaitlyn, Tim, Michelle, BJ, Ida, Isabel, Angie, Kristen,
Shane, Choya, Alex, Ken, Eric, Sandy, JV, Nada, Andrea, Alan, Fisher,
Shannon, Robert, Pat, Ryan, Barry, Johnny, Annette, Kim, Gary, Gavin, Shawn,
Robbie, Laurie, Gary, Heather, Codi, Ron, Ada, Deane, Bill, Dan, Rheba, Pam,
Mike, Austin, Harriet, Gus, Lisa, Alice, Dotty, Fred, Mike S., James, Scott,
April, Craig, Ben, Ramona, Betty, Hunter, Asher, Lynette, Kathy, Jennifer,
Patrick, Candace, Abe, Trent, Garret, Mayeaux, Ben, Jason, Ashley, Marc,
Macy, Jake, Bob, Lisa.  Father, some of these I do not even know, but You
know, and for the sake of those who love them, I pray Your strength and
encouragement fall on them today, In Jesus name. Amen

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