My NIV Study Bible takes 1 Thessalonians 5: 11-23 and lists, from this short passage alone, 16 examples of the way that we are to be encouragers of one another. Eugene Peterson in "the Message" expresses some of these verses in this way.
Verse 11: So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll be able to be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.
Verses 14-15: Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
What a refreshing way of expressing some well-known passages. These verses so clearly outline our responsibility to be people who build up, encourage, support and share hope. So let us continue in our calling to be encouragers of one another sharing the good news we have in Christ, building up and not tearing down. Let us be sharers of rainbows.
A thought for our time?
"The world is going mad in mutual bloodshed. And murder, which is considered a crime when people commit it singly, is transformed into a virtue when they do it en masse. The offenders acquire impunity by increasing their ravaging." St. Cyprian of Carthage (ca. 258)
In Association: Who belongs to the Network?
Walking The Desert Road - 4
Peter West shares another chapter in his walk through depression to healing.
The long deserted road winds endlessly through the landscape. Whether in a city or in a farming area there can be the loneliness of a space where there are no people. Facing it creates twinges of fear and the need for resolution in the discipline to set one foot in front of the other to keep driving onwards.
As I look backwards into my personal history , there is much that is 'ordinary', and yet there is the awareness that God has been present in every part. God has both created and sustained every aspect of my living. As I look back I realise that at every step God has been inviting me to walk with Jesus, encouraging, blessing and guarding me. As I turn around and gaze into the shimmering unknown of the future, I still can see the path. In the haze of the future the pathway leading to the sustaining oasis looks harsh, steep and almost too rugged to face. Why do I always struggle with finding the discipline I need to walk with God? That question is asked in every country in the world, poor and rich. The answer is frequently that the search for success is a different road. Do I have to choose?
We know that God created us and all the time, space and energy that is around us. God also created us to respond to that invitation to 'touch' the holiness of the love of God. The love that echoes all the way through the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. That love that touches human beings in the surprise moments that are so precious, which is the call to lift our eyes to the painful and disturbing vision of the Christ on the cross, believing that beyond there are the vista's of heaven. It's very personal, very subjective and linked to feelings, and yet very deeply set within so many of us.
The delightful picture of the person of Jesus refreshing and sustaining the pilgrim at an oasis of rest and healing does not take away the need for the discipline of belief. Those actions that flow from that belief that God is calling all of us to follow Jesus in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Without that discipline of purpose, the delightful picture quickly fades away into the problems of Church meetings, clashes with people in the Church, and even the institutional tangles in the Church. Without that inner discipline so many are quickly convinced that the pathway to God's presence can be walked in the comfort of our own home, own decisions, own prejudices.
To reach the oasis, discipline is needed to keep on when it's seems difficult. When the oasis is reached, where the healing and peace is beautiful, it is there that the discipline is needed to respond to the call of God to set out into the lonely desert road again - heading for the next oasis. It may seem a long way, but Paul says, 'Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ., through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. [Rom 5:1-5 NIV]
In the haze of the future the pathway leading to the sustaining oasis looks harsh, steep and almost too rugged to face. Why do I always struggle with finding the discipline I need to walk with God?
Reviewer: Ruth Manning. Clarkes Beach.
The One year Book of Hymns
365 Devotional Readings based on great Hymns of the Faith. Compiled and edited by: Robert K Brown and Mark R. Norton.
As the title suggests, this book contains one hymn for each day of the year. Following the hymn, there is a story covering the author and also the reason that this hymn came to be written. A scripture passage applicable to the hymn concludes the devotions. I find this a great way to begin my morning devotions. By reading one of these first it prepares my mind to be ready to hear from God.
Author: Dr Ben Carson. Publisher: Harper Collins
Dr. Carson tells his life story. When he was young his father left home to live with his second family. His mother brought Ben and his brother up single-handed while contending with her own health problems. Ben was the "dunce" of the class. However his mother persuaded him to read books while limiting his television and recreation time. Eventually Ben, at the age of 33, became a top neuro-surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical University. In the book he reveals how his decisions have been influenced through his faith and prayer. It is a very inspirational book.
Read a good book lately? Why not share the details with others? all contributions to E.Net gladly received although publication not guaranteed.
"TXT 2 U B HR OR B ?"
No this is not an intelligence test but rather is part of the invitation to children at Wakari Union Parish in Dunedin to attend the 4th term programme for Kids.com. The translation for those not into text messaging is " Text to you. Be here or be square."
Kids.com (Kids in divine service called on a Mission) is a creative Children's programme that we began this year. The title indicates that the emphasis is on a 21st Century format that is creative, energetic, heaps of fun.
We began the year with the children being challenged to join the "Mission Impossible" team. ID photographs complete with black sunglasses and dark jackets set the tone for weekly challenges. A banner with the words "Mission Impossible - Possible with God" set the scene for studying Bible Heroes.
In the 2nd term the theme became Kids .com WWW. (Wise Words for the World.) We adapted an OASIS programme to study the book of Proverbs.
The Mission Impossible headquarters became an Academy for Clowns and the children got to dress up, learn to juggle and generally clown around while exploring some of the wisdom of Proverbs.
The 3rd term saw the children setting out to cruise the Mediterranean on HMS Flagstaff. Each week the porthole revealed a new scene painted by our resident artist Evelyn Cadzow. The children ate ice cream in Rome (where ice cream was invented!) played "fear Factor" in Jerusalem, made fruit salad in Galatia (Fruits of the Spirit) and fought with balloon spears in Athens (Armour of God) as they followed Paul on his missionary journeys. This term we will be using cell phones and text messaging as the vehicle for exploring prayer.
Our aim with Kids.com is to provide a programme that has variety, is exciting, and at the same time encourages children in their Christian understanding and growth. The ideas are loosely based on programmes we have borrowed but come mainly from the creative minds of our leaders. A great spin off from the programme is the enthusiasm and energy that it has engendered in the congregation as well as with the children.
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