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SEVEN DAYS OF LOVE AND ENCOURAGEMENT
Each person who is a Christian needs encouragement, and each person who is a Christian needs to encourage others. The Bible says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13) The need for encouragement is one of the things shared by all of humanity. Circumstances can be very difficult in life. Isaiah said that people should, “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17) The expression “relieve the oppressed” means that we should encourage the oppressed. Faithful preachers must exhort or encourage as a part of their preaching. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Encourage means to, “to inspire someone with the courage or confidence to do something.” Encourage means to, “stimulate someone by approval, help or support.” It is God’s desire that we love and encourage one another. The expression “one another” is found in 57 verses in our King James Bible. “One of another” is found in 10 verses in our King James Bible. “One to another” is found in 49 verses in our King James Bible. The beautiful expression “one for another” is found 3 times in the King James version. God’s people must show love and encouragement one for one another seven days each week.
Paul experienced much difficulty; he needed love and encouragement. After Paul became a Christian, things were not easy for him. In 2 Corinthians 11:21-33, Paul gave a list of some of the things that he suffered. He said, “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.” Paul loved and encouraged others. He also needed their love and encouragement.
Paul was arrested for his preaching; he was imprisoned, he suffered shipwreck and was taken to Rome to appear before Caesar. Paul needed encouragement and he needed to encourage others. In Acts 28:13-14 we read, “And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.” At Puteoli there was seven days of love and encouragement. These brethren encouraged Paul by not looking at him as some kind of criminal. He was their brother in Christ. Paul, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, must have also been a great encouragement to them. This must have been a wonderful occasion as these brethren knew that they had only seven days to encourage each other. They must have taken advantage of every opportunity during that brief time. These brethren wanted to build up Paul in case he had to die for the faith. Paul wanted to build up these brethren so that they could live for the faith. Often in Paul’s writings, there are words of encouragement. In his letter to the Romans, we read, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Romans 15:1-3) Those of us who are Christians today should see the need for seven days of love and encouragement.
Paul and the Brethren at Puteoli shared seven days of love and encouragement and we can do the same! Remember the encouragement from the book of Hebrews, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13) There are many things that each of us can do to be an encouragement to others during the seven days of each week. Write a note of encouragement to someone and send it immediately. Written words can be a special blessing of love and encouragement. You can encourage someone with a phone call or a visit or with some small act of kindness. You will also be encouraged as you reach out to encourage others. Seven days of love and encouragement can be a special blessing to you and to others. One of the greatest encouragements that you can offer others is by sharing the word of God with them. Paul wrote of the return of Jesus; He would bring with Him those Saints, who had already died. Before they were blessed the righteous dead would be raised to be with them forever. Paul then wrote, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18) The word of God provides comfort and encouragement to those who share it and to those who hear it.
Every human being has an overwhelming need for love and encouragement. Take every opportunity to give seven days of love and encouragement to others. Paul wrote, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14) To put on Christ you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess Christ (Acts 8:37) and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) God says wonderful things in His word to give us love and encouragement. For example God said, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10) It should bring us seven days of encouragement to remember the words of Deuteronomy 31:8. “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”
---- Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: Jackson Hospital: Alice Padgett, and Stabler Hospital: Teresa Boutwell. In Need of Prayer: Paige & Briley Barr, Rex Blackburn, Terry Claunch, Camren Coleman, Lisa Cook, Tim Croley, John Curry, Nell Daughtry, Nelson Daughtry, Haley Fortune, Richard Harrell, Michael Hartin, Devin Hawkins, Darlene Herring, Orene Johnson Stephanie Maddox, Katherine Myers, Ramona Newton, Bill & June Perry, William Pierce, William Poole, Linda Reynolds, Nathan Simmons, Evelyn Smith, Eleanor Stabler, Ed Starkie, Vickie Starkie, Andy Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Alice Thompson, Leroy Waller, Cleo Wilson, and Barbara Woods. Crowne Health Care: Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Ruth Davis, Betty Findley, Betty Garlock, Davis Hester, Ruth Hester, Jim Holmes, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Arthur Little, and Annie Ruth Tetter. Pine Needle: Lydia Ann Raybon and Elizabeth Perdue
2. Sympathy Expressed: Our love and sympathy is expressed to Susie McGough and her family in the death of her father, Glenn Tillery.
3. Welcome Home Jason Godwin: We join with Meredith and the boys, along with Jimmy and Barbara Walker in welcoming Jason Godwin safely home from his latest deployment. Thank God for protecting Jason and other men and women who serve in our military.
4. Help Marty and Alisha Celebrate: We want to help Marty an Alisha Sexton celebrate the adoption of their precious daughter, Quinn. On Sunday night, February 23rd we will share a covered dish meal together after the evening service in Quinn’s honor.
5. Anniversary: Celebrating an anniversary this week: February 7th Ricky and Terri Bagents.
6. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: February 6th Adam Garlock, February 7th Terri Bagents, and February 8th Chris Bagents and Mary Lou Terrell.
7. Thank you: (a) A note of thanks: Dear church family, just a little note to let you know that everything you do and everything you are is very much appreciated. Thank you for your prayers, the beautiful plant and other acts of kindness. Love, Ed and Sue Bagents and (b) Thank you for your kindness and for your continual thoughts and prayers. The church has been so good to me during the loss of my brother. Reese Raybon
8. Religious Debate: The University of North Alabama Christian Student Center is hosting a religious debate all April 4 beginning at 6 PM. Bart Ehrman will affirm the proposition, “The pain and suffering in the world indicates that the Christian God does not exist.” Kyle Butt will deny that proposition. For more details visit www.unacsc.com.
9. Some Immediate Needs For Our Mission Work In Guyana: We have some immediate needs for our mission work in Guyana. Please check the list and see if there are any of these things you could help with, better yet if you could help with all of them! Thanks ahead of time for what you will do. (1) Rebuilding Bridge at Witfield Collins’ House where our mission Truck stays -- $800. (2) New Off-Road Tires for Mission Truck -- $900. (3) New Belts and Hoses for Truck -- $100. (4) Balls Joints and Spider Bearing for Truck -- $150. (5) Breaks for Truck -- $100. (6) 4,000 Brick to complete Building in Annai -- $700. (7) Cement to finish Building in Annai -- $810. (8) Moving fill-dirt to building in Annai -- $500. (9) Wiring & Lights for building in Annai to use when the community Generator in Annai is working -- $950. Total Amount Needed: $5,010. Anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you
10. Area Event: February 7th – Singing – Panama Street Church of Christ – Time 7:00 p.m.
Where Knowledge Begins
Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Noah possessed such knowledge that he was the only man in the entire world who was able to save his family from God’s wrath, which came to life in the great flood. What made Noah different? (Heb 11:7) He was “moved with fear.” There was no logical reason for Noah to build a great barge-like boat. It is believed by some scholars that there had never even been a rainstorm up to that point in the world! A knowledge that came by fear separated Noah from the rest of the world. People in Noah’s day knew some things, but not what it took to save them from the flood. The “knowledge” that is referred to in Proverbs is more than facts and information…it is the knowledge that counts! And only the fear of the Lord will lead you to that knowledge.
The fear of the Lord comes in different stages. First, fear comes as a natural reaction to something that frightens us. Learning of God’s might and wrath for the first time will incite this reaction. Second, fear should become productive. This fear motivates one to act. A follower of God will begin to hate evil. (Psa 119:104) Third, fear causes a person to stand in Awe of God. This is when we begin to learn that the Lord is compassionate. Hope begins to surface! The fourth stage is reverent fear. At this stage, we have established a relationship with God. We have made God the ruler of our lives, submitting completely to His will. (Adapted from “Wisdom’s Call” by: Drew Kizer)
Sometimes you will hear of people’s fear “paralyzing” them and hindering them from functioning properly. This reaction is not what God intends our righteous fear of Him cause. He wants us to be like those whose fear starts the adrenaline flowing and triggers swift, deliberate action. Our fear of the Lord should be a productive fear that stimulates awe and reverence for the almighty, loving God! Make sure that your “knowledge” starts where it should, with a healthy fear of God.