This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from professor and theologian Darrell Bock:
“The issue is not who we may or may not serve, but serving where need exists. We are not to seek to limit who our neighbors might be. Rather, we are to be a neighbor to those whose needs we can meet.” (Darrell Bock)
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11-12)
Paul in his letters to the various churches he helped to plant and support always loved to finish them with encouragement and love. Here in one of his letters to the church in Corinth it is again this kind of word that he wanted to send to the congregation.
Paul loved the people in Corinth and wanted to make sure that they were growing in their faith. He wanted them to be encouraged to keep going in their faith. He wanted them to be at peace with one another and he wanted them to be in fellowship with God and each other.
The same should be for us as well. We should be striving to love God and love one another more. We should be striving to become more mature in our faith and our walk with God. We should be encouraging one another. We should be striving for peace and unity at a time with divisiveness is very apparent.
This week, let us encourage one another like Paul encouraged the Corinthians. Let us be about rejoicing about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Let us love God and one another more and more. And let us be about sharing peace that comes through Jesus Christ.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe and has gathered them from the lands— from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
Some wandered in the desolate wilderness, finding no way to a city where they could live. They were hungry and thirsty; their spirits failed within them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress. He led them by the right path to go to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:1-9)
The first part of this psalm reminds me of a praise and worship song that I love. We are to give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because His love endures forever. He loves us so much and cares for us. He is faithful always.
The writer of this psalm speaks to God’s love and faithfulness throughout this psalm. Just in these few verses we see that to be true. The people were wandering and alone and cried out to the Lord. They were hungry and thirsty. They were tired and alone. The Lord heard them and led them out and brought them home. He took care of them.
The Lord does the same for those who love and follow Him He hears us when we call out to Him. He will lead us out of despair and into hope. So this week let’s us give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love that endures forever.
“Others went to sea in ships, conducting trade on the vast waters. They saw the Lord’s works, His wonderful works in the deep. He spoke and raised a tempest that stirred up the waves of the sea. Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths, their courage melting away in anguish, they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and all their skill was useless. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people and praise Him in the council of the elders.” (Psalm 107:23-32)
We all have storms we have to deal with in our lives. They come both literally and figuratively. We’ve seen in recent days and weeks dealing with storms such as Hurricane Harvey and Irma. We also see it in our lives figuratively when the troubles and hardships that come our way. Throughout it all, God is still there in the midst. He is still in control.
Like the Psalmist writes here in Psalm 107, God is right there to hear us when we call out to him in the midst of the storm. He knows what we’re going through. He is able to guide us “to the harbor”. Sometimes it’s hard in the midst of the storm to feel his presence but He is there. If we call out to Him, He will hear us.
This week, let us pray for those that are in the midst of storms both literally and figuratively. And let us give thanks to the Lord, for His faithfulness and His love. Let us give thanks that He does hear us and that He will calm the storm and will guide us to the harbor.
“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them.You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations.But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour,because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death.You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.When they persecute you in one town, escape to another. For I assure you: You will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:16-23)
Jesus spoke these words to the 12 disciples before sending them out on mission to preach the Gospel. He was letting them know about the dangers and risks that were in front of them. He was informing them of the harshness that they would face. He was telling them the truth about how hard the mission would be. It was not going to be easy but it would be worth it.
The same is true today. We will face hardships and persecution when preaching the truth of Jesus Christ. We will be hated. We will be despised. We will be rejected. Jesus Himself was despised and rejected. We as his followers should not expect less. But Jesus promised us we would never be alone. He has promised the Holy Spirit with us. And one day He will return.
In the meantime, we are called to share the truth in love. We are to keep sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of hardship and persecution, in the midst of being hated and despised. We are to keep fighting the good fight for the sake of the Gospel.