The Basis for All Encouragement

Scripture is full of encouraging words.  Each one of us is an individual with our own circumstances, trials and temptations. However God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, has given us a Word so complete that there is no difficulty that can afflict any one of us which His Word cannot counter.

While some passages of Scripture are more specific in their application, I find one this morning that is more general, but which strikes me as “the basis for all encouragement.”  The apostle Paul began his letter to the Galatian Christians with a simple greeting which says, in part:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age… (Galatians 1:3, 4).

What God expects of us in order to receive this grace and peace is described in the rest of the New Testament, but I know of no other words that offer more encouragement to those suffering affliction than to know that Jesus gave Himself so that we might have hope of something better than this present evil age.

Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

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What Can I Say?

Reading through the book of Job used to be difficult for me. I mean, chapter after chapter of Job’s insistence that he was suffering unjustly and his friends’ equally adamant insistence that he must be guilty of something because God simply will not allow the innocent to suffer so. I now understand that the book isn’t designed to definitively answer the question “Why do we suffer?” Rather, it teaches that in our suffering we must rely on God, not blame Him.

Near the end of the book, God offers a challenge to Job who has so vociferously protested his innocence, which suggested that God had unjustly allowed him to suffer.  “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it” (Job 40:2). I love Job’s answer:  “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth” (Job 40:4).

Humility before God and faith in His care is really our only legitimate response to…well…anything that life sends our way. It’s not popular to say we are insignificant, but don’t worry. The One Who really matters in our life isn’t insignificant at all.

Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

If You Do Well…

You remember the story of Cain and Abel, the first children born in human history, don’t you? You know the story of the jealousy and envy that ended with the first murder in human history.

Cain’s offering to God had been rejected and he became very angry and you could tell it by looking at him. “His countenance fell” (Genesis 4:6).  We might describe a fallen countenance as a dark or clouded face. A quick look at Cain might cause you to leave him alone until he calmed down.

Jehovah asks a question for the ages in Genesis 4:7:  “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?” In other words, when you feel angry, depressed, neglected, down for any reason, the answer, according to Jehovah, is to do something good.

I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of feeling sorry for myself; maybe you have, too. Or, perhaps it’s been anger, depression, or any number of other things that have brought you down.  Don’t wait for someone to lift you up. Go lift someone else up and see if that doesn’t lift up your countenance.

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates