Thursday, February 28, 2013


“…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:25

Yesterday we looked at verse 24 which urged us to consider each other in love and spur one another on, to encourage each other.  Verse 25 teaches that the stimulating and urging is to include the getting of people together in worship. “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging (one another); and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”   He says they should not abandon their gathering together, their worship. You cannot be stirred up to love and ministry if you stay away from worship in the Father’s House.

Church going has fallen on difficult times lately. For some Christians it is a weak substitute for a picnic on a rainy Sunday. Excuses are as plentiful as quarters in the collection plate. The fact is many professing Christians don't think church is all that important. They think they can be perfectly good Christians without being part of a local congregation.

God disagrees! For one thing, our own spiritual welfare is not to be our only concern. We go to church not just to get but to give-to spur on other Christian to "love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). If we stay away, we may give them an excuse to be careless.

On the other hand, if we attend with enthusiasm, we encourage other believers in their ambition to draw near to Christ. If we are faithful in meeting together with them, we will honor the Lord, grow in our faith, and give a strong witness to the world.

The Christian faith allows no room for rugged individualists. To have a fire, you need more than one coal. You also need a spark and a draft of air. One humble, open, involved individual-perhaps you-set on fire by Christ, can be the spark. And the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, may blow on that spark and set a congregation ablaze. -Haddon Robinson

Our hearts are sometimes cold. Fellowship can kindle warmth and make our witness bold.  If we are honest, we must say that fellowship builds us up and binds us together.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that names on a church membership roll means we’re saved. That doesn't mean, however, that joining with other believers in a local church is not vital to our spiritual growth. Gathering regularly for worship and instruction encourages love for others, good works, and mutual accountability.

I read- an article some time ago that likened the Christian without a church to:
·      a student who won't go to school
·      a soldier without an army
·      a citizen who won't vote
·      a seaman without a ship
·      a child without a family
·      a drummer without a band
·      a ballplayer without a team
·      a honeybee without a hive
·      a scientist who does not share his findings with his colleagues

Don’t neglect one of God's greatest provisions for your spiritual growth. Get into God's Word and start attending church faithfully. Don't be a churchless Christian - get involved!

Scripture to Claim:
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
I Thessalonians 5:11

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…Hebrews 10:24 

This verse exhorts us to put our mind to the task of assisting others in their Christian life.  It begins “let us consider one another…”  which means “to observe attentively, or understand, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.” In short, we are to focus on encouraging one another. It is not to be accidental but intentional. I like how The Message says: “Let’s see how inventive we can be…” Let us think of creative ways of encouraging others.”

The emphasis is upon getting to know one another in our community of faith. The results are a creative interchange that leads to provocative stimulation of both love and good works. When a person is known for all he or she is, with all the wrinkles and foibles, and yet is loved, trust is engendered and creative risking becomes a possibility. We can say, “So what if I fail at a good attempt? I will be loved. I am confident of that. He or she knows me and still loves me; I can attempt my idea.” This then makes possible one of the goals of the Christian life—good works.  Such good works do not always come naturally or automatically.  Our exhorter encourages his readers to both love and good works.

Verse 24 continues, “let us consider how we may spur one another on…” To spur means “to stir up, provoke, stimulate or incite someone to do something.” In other words, to create a thirst. A thirst for what? “toward love and good deeds.” That’s how we measure encouragement. It is not a fuzzy feeling. If someone became a more loving person or a better person, then we really encouraged him or her.
Church can be a great place to get caught up on the latest football games, golf scores, family news, health concerns, or just to visit with friends. A cup of coffee together, a warm handshake, a friendly pat on the back are all part of the social interaction we need as human beings.  All of this is good, but New Testament fellowship goes much deeper than merely socializing when we get together at church. It takes place when we consider how we can lift up, build up, and brighten up our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christian fellowship takes place when we offer encouragement to our friends, pray for them, and confess our sins and weaknesses to one another. These are the elements that make fellowship genuine.  What about our church? Are we merely socializing? Or are we practicing true Christian fellowship? Christian fellowship builds us up and binds us together.

Now we've all heard SOMEONE COMPLAIN that the people in a certain church aren't friendly, or that they seem to be lacking in love. Although such criticisms may be true, the one doing the complaining is often a part of the problem.  A lesson I learned as a boy illustrates what I mean:
My grandparents used to draw their water from an old well with a pump. Many remember their first attempt to get water from that pump. They repeatedly jerked that cast iron handle down and up, down and up, but couldn't get any water. Then Granddad handed them a bucket of water. "Pour it down the pump," he urged. Then as they worked the handle, water came in abundance. There was plenty of water in that well, but first they had to "prime the pump."  To feel the love and. friendliness of an assembly of believers, we may need to pour a little of our own love in first. It was God's love toward us that prompted our love in return. This principle also works in our relationship with other Christians. Try it!  Your expression of love and concern and friendliness will most certainly stimulate a reciprocal love from hearts in dwelt by God's Spirit. When you meet together with the people of God, ask Him to help you "prime the pump."

Scripture to Claim:
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:13  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;” Hebrews 10:23

We must never loosen our grip on what we believe. The Confession of Jesus Christ is the Confession that any and all need to make if they would have eternal hope. Do you lack hope and expectancy? If so you need to make the good confession of faith in Jesus Christ.  Profess publically that you believe Jesus is God’s unique Son. That He died on the Cross for our sin; that He received the punishment we deserved and purchased our pardon from sin and hell by His shed blood; that He rose again conquering sin, death and the grave, and that He ascended back into Heaven and that He is coming again for His own.

Cynical voices try to erode our faith. Materialistic voices get us too busy for God. The events of life seem to conspire to shake our faith. But we who confess Christ are to persevere in and by giving a constant confess.  Perseverance in confessing Christ is the evidence that we have received the promise of God. If our hope is based on the unfailing promise of God we should confess it confidently and boldly. Has God ever failed us? Is God not faithful to His people and to His promises for all who draw near in faith?

“Let us hold fast the confession...”
The Greek verb translated “hold fast” has the sense of holding firm, securing or tightening down our confession of hope. This we must do without. We must not go off balance or become unleveled as does a faulty foundation. We must not bend or yield to winds of pressure that blow upon us from a seductive yet hostile world.

There is reason to hold firm even though the circumstances of life appear to be haunting us. Even if things have become difficult and at the moment we feel there is little reason for keeping on. The One who made the promise “is faithful” and will not let us down. He does not count time in the short segments by which we count it; therefore, we should not let momentary discouragement cause us to turn away. Hang on; God is on His way with resources for endurance. Though things might become even more difficult God uses the very process of enduring, to discipline and strengthen you to grow His rich fruit in your life. The tragedies of today will become the triumphs of tomorrow.  God is faithful, and He is faithful to His promises.

A YOUNG PARATROOPER admitted that he had been frightened the first time he jumped. There was nothing but a big piece of fabric between him and death. What if that fabric accidentally ripped apart? What if his ripcord didn't work and the parachute failed to open?  But when he jumped, everything functioned perfectly. Supported by that life-preserving umbrella over his head, the soldier floated earthward. He said, "I had a release from fear and a marvelous feeling of exhilaration."

What about the promises God makes in the Bible? Will they uphold us in times of crisis? It all depends on whether we believe them to be God's promises or merely printed words, black marks on white paper, or simply the guesses of fallible human beings like ourselves. Because they are the promises of God, we can cling to them with assurance. This will bring relief from fear and impart a deep inner peace. Throughout the ages, our God has been trusted millions upon millions of times. And He has never been proven untrustworthy. So let's trust Him and add our personal testimony to that of the countless host of fellow believers who have found that our promise-keeping God is unfailingly faithful.

Scripture to Claim:
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.  Psalm 89:14

Monday, February 25, 2013

Considering Encouragement

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

While the joy of the Lord truly sustains and strengthens us, there are times when we all need encouragement.  This world is hard; especially on Christians.  Elijah, Jonah and Job were at times suicidal.  Paul, Jeremiah, and even Jesus, all had to deal with the sorrow of watching people reject God, and reject His truth.  Their hearts were heavy and the burden great.  It’s very simple…we all need encouragement.

These devotionals on Christian encouragement are intended to strengthen you, give you hope and help you to become an encourager.  It's not always easy to walk by faith in difficult times.  It's not always easy to obey God as we know we should.  It's not always easy to live according to God’s will for our lives.  Sometimes we need help... a little motivation to do what we know is right, to stand up for what we believe, and to spread His Word throughout the whole world.  We each need to be encouraged.
One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.  Encouragement is awesome.  It can actually change the course of another person's day, week, or life.  You will find that the people who have influenced you the most are the people who have listened to your heart, believed in you and encouraged you.

There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come about through the encouragement of someone else.  I don't care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for encouragement; just someone to say they heard us and believe in us.  Correction does much, but encouragement does even more. 

At the time of the writing of Hebrews, there was life-threatening persecution.  Our tendency during such trying times would be to save our skin or shout “every man for himself!”  But, the book of Hebrews encourages us to encourage one another in just such times.  Someone wrote, “Encouragement is the kind of expression that helps someone want to be a better Christian, even when life is rough…To encourage is to inspire another with courage.”

When a person is discouraged, when we fail to encourage, sin can deceive and harden their heart to the point that it becomes sinful and unbelieving, leading that person to turn their back on God. Someone wrote, “People live by encouragement. Without it they die. Slowly... Sadly... Bitterly.”

Hebrews commands us in Hebrews 3:13 “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today.”  The word “encourage” is in the present tense.  It indicates a habit or a way of life. It is also in the active voice.  It means we don’t wait for others to encourage us but we take the initiative.  We must encourage even if others could not, even if others would not.  Can you imagine a fellowship where everyone is responsible to encourage everyone else?  Evidently God can.

Scripture for Today:
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Basin and a Towel

John 13:1-15
As we approach the Lord’s Supper we find in scripture that there were actually two meals served that night in the upper room.  Passover was the first meal eaten with the eating of the Lord's Supper.  The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) speak of the announcement of the betrayal and the instituting of the Lord's Supper.  However John’s Gospel gives a look at the "in between meals."  It is in the “in between” that we find Jesus loving and serving.

I. Jesus’ Love was a Constant Love  v.1

·      Constant love issues from character more than commitment.

·      Constant love creates trust.  I John 1:8 

·      Constant love is a drawing love.

·      Seekers today will belong before they will believe.

II. Jesus’ Love was a Selfless Love  v.2-3

Self-interest can keep you from serving like Jesus.

III. Jesus’ Love was a Spontaneous Love  v.4

·      Love “reacts” more often that it acts.

·      Sensitivity to need over ritual assists worship.

·      Jesus loved them in an unexpected way.

·      Jesus loved the unsuspecting sinner.

IV. Jesus’ Love was a Servant Love  v.4-5

·      Jesus was a servant in spite of His circumstances.

·      Jesus had to get wet and dirty.

·      Jesus was not in a hurry.

Serving others takes time and our attention
It is important to know what it feels like to be served before we truly understand service.

V. Jesus’ Love was a Humbling Love  v.6-9

·      The disciple who will not humble himself to be served is not fit for service. v.6-8a

·      The Demand of Holiness by Christ v.8b
Humility is the beginning of holiness.
·      The Desire for Holiness by Disciples

VI. Jesus’ Love was a Model Love  v.12-15

Christian fellowship is in serving together, not sitting together.

Devotional Archive