Sunday, April 26, 2015

Finding Encouragement on the Way

"To us on earth still dwelling, Thou dost descend to give, In love all love excelling, Thyself that we may live. - Thy children Thou didst ransom, And willing forgive, With comfort and salvation, Thy blood has made us live. - Thine own, O loving Saviour, Thou biddest come to Thee, As members of Thy kingdom, Thy grace Thou givest free."

Last night, I was tired and discouraged and longing for a friend to come cheer me up. Granted, I did visit with a couple friends but what I really was longing for was a good sit down, deep discussion on matters of faith. Just now, I feel like I am so weak and failing that I need encouragement. Anyway, I sat down at my organ and flipped to the Communion section of the songbook and began playing. The words really spoke to me, as I prayed that they would, and I found encouragement in them! I could only say "Thank you Father!" It is a joy to know that He did descend and does descend to us, to give us peace, love, and hope. That He died and gave His all: His life, His love, and His blood, that we, poor, needy, and dying sinners may live. And not only live in this life, but we know that we have a hope for life eternal through His bleeding and dying for us. I don't think that I could write on this matter enough because it is so much beyond marvelous that my vocabulary can never express it in its' fullest extent. But when we get to Heaven, we will sing that everlasting song of "Thank you Father" and "Hallelujahs"!

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.   Revelations 14:3

Today, we had church in a small country church in Belden, ND. The Eastern Mission sent a preacher up, and we had a Communion service. It is a wonderful thing to be able to share our trials, struggles, burdens, experiences, joy, whatever we may be feeling, with brothers and sisters on the way. Not only is it encouraging and uplifting, it is a defense against the Devil. How can the Devil prevail, if we have the words of our Heavenly Father being preached onto us?

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31

On my way home, I had another uplifting and encouraging conversation via modern communication (AKA text) with a new friend. As hard as it is, I am beginning to see that even in the down spots in life, there are always those lights that light up the bleak places on the path that we walk on in this life. I find it amazing how the people that we would least expect to befriend are often the ones that become the closest to us.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.   Proverbs 18:24

So just now, I am thanking my Heavenly Father that He has given to me all the many blessings that I have and the many that I don't even know of. That He has blessed me with true Christian friends who love me enough to speak the truth even though it hurts some times. That I can attend church and hear His living word preached and find encouragement through it. And that I can sleep in peace, knowing that He came to save those that who are lost, and that He came to save me.

“Let this one great, gracious, glorious fact lie in your spirit until it permeates all your thoughts and makes you rejoice even though you are without strength. Rejoice that the Lord Jesus has become your strength and your song – He has become your salvation. “  - Charles H. Spurgeon
There was a time in my life where I knew that He died, but I couldn't believe that He died for me. It was a dark time in my life, for what is the point of living if you have no hope? But when I was given the grace to know, really truly believe that He died for me, my life changed. Maybe not so much outwardly but inwardly, I had a joy that no one could take from me!

"There's a peace in my heart that the world never gave, A peace it cannot take away; Tho' the trials of life may surround like a cloud, I've a peace that has come there to stay!

Dear Father, give us strength that we could remain faithful and fight a good fight, even to the end! Let us be fervent in love to Thee and our brothers and sisters around us. Let us speak to those who need encouragement, pray for those who are struggling, uplift those who have fallen, and sing with those who are praising Thee. Let us be bold and proclaim Thy saving grace to those around us, that they too could be partakers of Thy saving grace. Keep us onto the end, dear Father. AMEN

“For most of my life I have thought of grace as a hope of a bright tomorrow in spite of the darkness of today–and this is true. In this way we are all like Pamela, walking a road to grace–hoping for mercy. What we fail to realize is that grace is more than our destination, it is the journey itself, manifested in each breath and with each step we take. Grace surrounds us, whirls about us like the wind, falls on us like rain. Grace sustains us on our journeys, no matter how perilous they may be and, make no mistake, they are all perilous. We need not hope for grace, we merely need to open our eyes to its abundance. Grace is all around us, not just in the hopeful future but in the miracle of now.” ―Richard Paul Evans