As I understand more of what I’m studying, the more I feel the depths of which I have yet to learn.
24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24)
I have been “going to church” by watching worship services online from Willow Creek Community Church. I attend a Bible study, in person, on Fridays with a church in the city. I keep remembering a sermon preached by a Willow Creek youth pastor that a Christian must always be part of a community, which one can transform and be transformed by. I feel really torn on Sunday mornings whether to attend a local church or to attend service online.
All that to say, I feel called out by this passage this morning, to consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds. It’s hard to provoke one another to love and good deeds when neglecting to meet up with my local community church. Perhaps though limiting my view to only my local church isn’t doing justice to the vest. How do I provoke myself and others to love and good deeds? I’m not sure I have “an” answer but for sure, my loving and doing good deeds may inspire others to do the same in their lives. So here we go, will try to live out a day of loving and doing good deeds.
“For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)
Dear God, as I look around the snow and see how beautiful it is, I see that what you have created is good. On this day, as I go about the day, help me to focus, help me to be productive and help me to feel your presence in my heart. You are my hope and my trust. In you I delight in the promise of knowing you daily and eternally. Thank you for this weekend, the opportunity to write the paper I will be writing today, and thank you that I can worship you through the gifts you have given me. God you have loved me first. For that I am thankful and happy. Your loving kindness overwhelms me. I love you, God. Help me to be a blessing, to bring light unto the world, and to bring hope of joy to those you love. Amen.
“You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you” (Psalm 118:28)
Dear God, you are my God. You have created me, you have sustained me, you have brought me out of darkness, you gave me life that I could live, testifying to your goodness. You have healed me, God, from an unrelenting depression. I am now working as a chaplain helping others who need to be comforted.
In a thousand years, I did not imagine I would ever recover. I thought every moment being crushed in pain was the life I would know until my death. You are my God and I give thanks to you. You have shown me mercy I did not deserve but desperately needed. God, help me to remain helpful, not to lose heart at the first sign of difficult or discouraging emotions. Let my life be an encouragement to others who need you.
God, you know my thoughts and my desires even before I can clearly articulate them myself. God help me to be a faithful servant, good steward of the resources you have given me. Thank you, God. I praise you, for you are my God.
“I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation” (Psalm 118:21)
I thank you, God, for today. I have the day off from work. And I am able to relax, drink coffee, read the Bible and to pray. I am so thankful this morning for my life. Lately, I have been feeling sad and unmotivated on weekends, which at times cause me to think life is but a misery. God, give me strength and hope that I can live through such moments/days of sadness and hopelessness. Let me live in reality that you are my salvation!
yesterday, I visited a patient fourth day on a row. first time I met the patient was on Sunday by on-call page. I didn’t realize he was in critical condition. only the next day when I visited him had he visibly deteriorated. on my last visit, he was sleeping, morphine induced sleep I think. I talked to him, reminding him how he joked with me first time I visited him, sang to him amazing grace. last going I said up him was that he was in good hands. I found out this morning that he passed few minutes after I left him. he and I shared a beautiful moment minutes before his death. I imagine he’s in a better place much like the feeling I get from this picture of a garden in the middle of downtown.
I am so encouraged, beseeched, and exhorted by Tim Keller’s sermon from yesterday, March 24th, 2013. He preached about the need to “encourage” each other in christian community. Paraclao (I think) is too strong a word for encourage, and yet too gentle for another word which I can’t remember. We are to model ourselves after Jesus who is the first paraclete and Holy Spirit who is the second paraclete. Only as we are advocated by the Holy Spirit of what Jesus has done for us that we can advocate on behalf of others: to encourage, comfort, beseech, advocate. After I heard this sermon, I was inspired to write texts to many of my friends that I interact with daily or weekly. Sent text to my boyfriend, my community group co-leader/friend, and others who encourage me. I am so thankful, so thankful to be in daily interaction with one or more of such paracletes in my life, paraclete embodied in flesh and blood. You have to speak in love and truth. You can’t be all accepting of everything someone does. Nor can you be too quick to critique someone. Ever so gently, and ever so patiently, and humbly we are to encourage (paraclao) each other. Have you acted as an advocate for someone you love today?