Encourage One Another

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The Truth and the Life
If you study history and look at the lives of the twelve disciples after Jesus’s ascension, we see that most of them died defending the Gospel and their belief in Jesus Christ. Rarely did any of the disciples die of old age, unfortunately. The Gospel and the hope of Jesus was something they were willing to die for so that others could hear the good news and receive the salvation that only Jesus offers. If you also look at the letters that Paul wrote to the early Church and his friends like Timothy and Titus in the New Testament, you will see that encouragement was a consistent part of his letters. While there were definitely times of instruction and correction, we see that Paul knew the value of encouragement and how much the Church and his friends would need it in such a hostile world towards Christians.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to be a united community who has one another's back, who builds one another up, who pray, and who hold firmly to the Word of God, because we are getting closer to the home stretch with every passing day. We want to be the body of Christ, and body of Christ that rejoices with those who rejoice and mourns with those who mourn. We want to be a source of encouragement where we pour encouragement into others and give hope to them. When times are tough, we need to keep our eyes on the Author and the Perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ. And let's pass that encouragement that we have received onto others to encourage them! Discussion/Reflection Question: How does the example of disciples and Paul encourage you today?
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Help You Finish the Race
Life here on earth can be so difficult and challenging at different times and seasons. We each battle and struggle with our own sins in own ways and need one another to get through the hard times in life. There are some pains and struggles we experience that will, unfortunately, never be understood on this side of Heaven. Even the strong encouragement of a family or friend can be hard to hear or accept when an unexpected and unexplainable tragedy has occurred. However, Scripture tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that “...so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” No matter what the enemy or life throws at us, if we have put our hope and faith in Jesus Christ, our hope of Heaven cannot ever be taken away. Encouraging another Christian to continue their walk with the hope and reality of Heaven can drastically change the way that they approach or view a particular circumstance or situation. Throughout the New Testament, Paul encourages his readers by talking about the hope that they have in Heaven and the hope they have of being reunited with their friends and family, several of whom had been martyred for their faith in Jesus. Trials and pains of this world that we experience due our belief and faith in Jesus are of no consequence when compared to the glory and beauty that we will experience someday in Heaven; whether when we pass away or when Jesus returns for the second coming. Discussion/Reflection Question: Who in your life needs to be reminded of the hope we have in Heaven?