Friday, August 16, 2013

Built Up And Encouraged

When working with people in counseling situations I frequently find that they do not have a regular practice of reading the Bible. Along with selecting passages of Scripture for them to consider, I also encourage them to start with a daily devotional. In doing this I encourage them to stick with the day, but not to feel that they are locked to that day as the most important thing is to read, think, pray, and meditate on. And if the devotional they opened up to for the day just did not connect, rather than blowing it off, just turn to a different day. Some devotionals even have themed or passage directories in them.

On the 14th I read “Jesus Calling” for the 16th, and then I continued that into the next day as well. So, being flexible, I just switched the dates. And in switching the dates I am reminded today about our God who never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He speaks to us from an eternal perspective, addressing our daily condition and needs. When everything around us is changing we can be certain that He doesn’t and as such He is indeed our firm foundation.

The Word of God was penned thousands of years ago, and it is the Word of God that is alive, totally accurate, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). On the other hand, when someone writes a devotional well in advance of the day it will eventually be read by another, it is hopefully written from the vantage point of accurately handling the Word of God and drawing appropriate and wise insights related to it. They are not the same, but the same God is at work to speak to us as we commit to spending time before Him, seeking His face and following His direction for our lives. Scripture tells us to accurately handle the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), to take what we have learned and to teach it to others who in turn will do the same (2 Timothy 2:2), and build up and encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Being in the body of Christ is indeed a privilege, and having the benefit of being built up and encouraged in the Lord by others is a real blessing. Being able to do the same in return is how God designed we should function.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 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 10:19–25, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (8/14)

I am yours for all eternity. I am the Alpha and the Omega: the One who is and was and is to come. The world you inhabit is a place of constant changes – more than your mind can absorb without going into shock. Even the body you inhabit is changing relentlessly, in spite of modern science’s attempts to prolong youth in life indefinitely. I, however, am the same yesterday and today and forever.

Because I never change, your relationship with Me provides a rock-solid foundation for your life. I will never leave your side. When you move on from this life to the next, My Presence beside you will shine brighter with each step. You have nothing to fear, because I am with you for all time and throughout eternity.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. Psalm 102:25-27

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:14

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