Good morning my friends. As the New Year approaches we spend a lot of time reflecting on the past year. We hear the radio going over the hits from the past year, magazines and news papers do the top stories of the past year and we do our on top ten list, or at least I hope we do. It is good to reflect on the past year to realize the goodness of our God. It will leave us with a thankful heart, over flowing with praise. Well, it will if you look with the right perspective. In looking back we will also be reminded of our bright future and we should enourage one another.
We need to be encouraging one another. I don't know if you realize how important that is but each of us need to be encouraged. It is actually an enormous ministry in itself. There are many who want us to put the emphasis on evangelism and I agree we need to put more but Jesus said we need to make disciples not just lead them to salvation. The one thing new and old disciples need that all of us can take part in is encouragement as they are embattled by the world in their walk with Jesus. I don't mean necessarily hand holding, although there is a time for that, but speaking the truth of the Word into each other. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:
Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
That seems kind of useless without the words, right? I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that we are to speak encouragement to each other. Now here are the words:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
We need to remind each other that he is coming back for us. Jesus made a promise. He said:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3)
The day is approaching and we need to be reminding and encouraging each other with these words. It does not matter what kind of year you have had, good or bad, it was filled with blessings. Look for them. And it doesn't matter what you think your future looks like, good or bad, it is a bright one because Jesus promised. We don't live here to collect wealth and fame; we live here to serve the risen King so more and more people will be welcomed into the place he has prepared for us. We can't take anything of this place into the glorious place he has prepared for us so why are we so worried about these useless things? Why allow these things to taint our past and darken our future? We are bigger than these things because Jesus' promise is bigger. Why be worried over the scraps when we have been promised the full banquet?
I am not one you will find preaching on the end times because there are too many thoughts on it and it causes too many divisions. It is enough for me, and it should be enough for you, that Jesus will be coming back to take us home. Jesus told us not to let our hearts be troubled and Paul told us to encourage each other with these words. So let's do that now. Let us encourage each other in the faith and with what lies before us; it is bright and beautiful and freely ours. Jesus is returning and he is returning soon!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)