Friday, March 11, 2011

Encourage Your Sister!

We are so blessed to be able to go to church in the United States. We have the freedom to worship God whenever and where ever we want. I love that about our country. Yet, so many Christians don't attend church.

God like communities of Believers joining together. God wants us to meet together regularly. His Word talks about community. His Word refers to Christians meeting together to worship, pray and celebrate together. If God is pro-church, then we should be too!

I love having a Bible study I meet with each week. I learn so much for these ladies. Sometimes I learn parenting skills and not a specific Bible lesson, but it's still great information! Sometimes I get the opportunity to encourage a sister that is down, and sometimes I get to be encouraged. Honestly, I'm not sure how life would be unless I had a great community of Believers around me!!

God has blessed us all with gifts, and not one gift is better than the other. All the gifts work together and all play an important role in supporting each other and bringing glory to God. But sometimes we as Christians compete with each other. We either try to be something that we are not, or we try to show that our gift is better than someone else's gift. And sometimes, we even judge other Christians that aren't as spiritually mature as us or have the same gifts as we have. And while we are focusing on that silliness, we lose sight of the non-Christians watching us. I think Satan loves to have us devouring each other instead of encouraging each other.

I'm going to make it a point to use my words for encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm going to make it a point to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Will you join in with me?

Lord, help me to be a good sister. Please show me ways to encourage the others Believers around me. Help me to show grace and mercy as you have shown me grace and mercy. ~ Amen

Check out Romans 14, Galatians 5:13-15 and Luke 9:46-48 if you have time to see some of the scriptures I've been reading.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Be One, Have One

Job 2: 11-13 "When three of Job's friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words."

I love, love, love this picture of friendship. I think this is the one of the best if not the best picture of friendship in the Bible. Job's friends had heard of the terrible tragedies that had struck., and what did they do? Well, they went to him! We should do the same thing. If we have a friend that is going through a hard time, then we need to SHOW UP! This is a key ingredient in the friendship recipe. Be there for them!! I mean, you wouldn't want to go through a hard time by yourself, would you?!?!? And it should be easy for us to show up today. A face to face meeting is the best, but if you can't do that then call or email or text or Facebook or Tweet your friend! There's no reason we can't be there with today's technology!

Once Job's friend's showed up, they mourned with him. In Ecclesiastes 3 it says "There is a time for everything....a time to weep and a time to laugh...a time to mourn and a time to dance." We see Job's friends supporting him by mourning with him. It was certainly time for that. When we have friends that are sad, it should make us sad too. And when we have friends that are celebrating, we should celebrate too.

I really love what it says in the last verse. I think I can relate to this verse the best. Sometimes, we just don't know what to say when someone is going through a tragedy. But you know what, we should follow Job's friend's actions and say nothing. Simply show up and say nothing. A lot can be said without us speaking. We can put our arms around our brother or sister that is suffering and just be there for them. We don't have to have all the right words.

If you continue reading in Job you will see that in Chapter 3 he says he wishes he was never born. You can see how upset he is, and rightly so. He had just suffered so much loss. But then in Chapter 4 when one of his friends finally said something, He pointed Job back to God. He reminded Job that God was faithful and would see him through this. We too should point our friends back to God in their times of trouble. We all need reminders from time to time that God loves us and has great plans for us!

I want to have good friends. But in order to have a good friend, I've got to be a good friend. I can't expect others to be there for me if I'm not there for them. Job 4 indicates that Job had "encouraged many people". I imagine that is why he had so many good friends.

What about you? Do you show up when your friends are in need? Do you mourn when necessary and celebrate with them when necessary? Are a friend to others like what you want others to be to you?

Lord, help me to be a better friend to those you have put in my life. Help me to encourage my friends, both in times of trouble and in times of celebration. Help me always to point my friends to You. You are the answer to all our problems and the reason we should all celebrate. ~ Amen