The Ways We Can Encourage Others- Purity 849
Purity 849 09/29/2022 Purity 849 Podcast
Today’s photo of the sky reflected in the waters near Murray Bridge in South Australia comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) who shared this pathway on social media back on June 17th, stating: “Another reflection image from our day at Murray Bridge. We spent hours hiking around the place and enjoying scenes like this all day long.”
Well, It’s Thursday again and I thought I would use Dave’s photo as a visual representation of the hope we have for those of us who are “going from here to there” on the pathway of Christian discipleship and it is my prayer that my fellow travelers on Christ’s narrow path will have joy in their journey.
In Christian circles where people are actively pursuing all that God has for them by following the Lord’s wisdom and ways as outlined in the Bible, you may have heard the familiar testimony that Christians may not be perfected like Christ yet but they are no longer who they once were. Apparently this adage was expanded upon and the following quote is attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
“I may not be the man I want to be; I may not be the man I ought to be; I may not be the man I could be; I may not be the man I truly can be; but praise God, I’m not the man I once was.” – (https://quotefancy.com/quote/864928/Martin-Luther-King-Jr-I-may-not-be-the-man-I-want-to-be-I-may-not-be-the-man-I-ought-to)
As a Christian, Dr. King knew about the transformative power that comes through Christ and His dream was that people could get past their differences caused by group identifiers such as race and be united in harmony where people were not judged by the color of their skin but because of the content of their character, knowing that Christ can change people’s hearts.
And so I encourage people to not just believe in Jesus but to follow Christ in the way they live their lives, to compassionately love and serve others by sharing with them what Christ tried to show us through His teachings in the word of God.
I know you can’t push people into faith and so I just try to encourage people to seek the Lord by “walking and talking with God” and being open to the possibility to follow where He leads knowing that God is the one that will have to break though the walls that people build between themselves and his love and sometimes His “hard truth”.
So I just encourage, “go that way “and point to Jesus.
So knowing we can’t affect those changes in people for them, what can we do to encourage them?
Well Dr. Charles Stanley just happen to send me a letter that shared his wisdom on how we can encourage others. Okay it was a mass mailing from his ministries and not apersonal correspondence from the good Dr. , but it was addressed to me, in fact I got two copies, one to Marc Clark and another to “M. t. Clark” (small t?, typo I guess). Anyway Dr. Stanley shared that we can encourage others by:
1. Giving people our time and attention
2. Meeting their emotional or physical needs
3. Building each other up spiritually
4. And by trying to be a “motivator”.
So while, I may not be doing all of the above perfectly in all situations, Dr. Stanley and I have the same teacher, the Lord and His word, and apparently I was following the right path in terms of how I try to be an encourager.
I do my best to give my time and attention to others. I try to meet their emotional and physical needs, where I can. I try to build people up spiritually and I try to motivate others to seek the Lord and to solve their problems with His help.
My “ministry work” is all about showing others how the Lord can help them with these things and how a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ can help them “cross that bridge from here to there”, to walk toward becoming the person God made us to be and to leave behind the troubled person we once were.
So be motivated by Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote, consider Dr. Charles Stanley’s “prescription” for being an encourager, and follow the Lord in all your ways and you will discover that when you encourage others, the person that is most encouraged is you.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Isaiah 53:5-6 (NLT2)
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
Today’s Bible verses were shared in our resource under the heading “When you wish that some else could carry your problems…” so while this passage of scripture can serve as evidence for Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah, our simple devotional resource shows us that we can also use today’s verses to find hope and comfort in our walk by putting our current burdens on to the Lord just like the weight and punishment of our sins were laid on Christ on the cross.
In our Christian walk we will go through trials and tribulations and be rejected by men just like Christ did, but just like Christ endured suffering on the cross for the joy set before Him (our salvation, for the glory of God), we can bear the burdens of our sufferings and rejections because of our communion with Him and we can do it as a continual practice of our faith.
As the NLT Bible Promise Book for Men indicates, when you wish someone else could carry your promise, you can look at these verses in Isaiah and two things could happen.
1. In light of Christ’s sufferings on the Cross to save us our earthly problems may seem somewhat insignificant. Christ’s suffering may put out “suffering” in proper perspective, especially if our problems aren’t as painful as Christ’s passion. So we could feel relieved and motivated to endure because of Christ’s example.
2. We can “give” the Lord our problems by going to the Lord in prayer and asking Him to give us strength by “releasing” or “surrendering” the weight of our problems to Him by making the choice to trust the Lord to help us, to do the best we can and to leave the results up to God.
I have just suffered another loss and disappointment in my life and at first I agonized over it and tried to “Monday quarterback” the situation and contemplated what I could have done differently that could have changed the situation to avoid this negative outcome. But after a far amount of thinking about the situation, and the fact that it involved another person, I realized that some of the factors in this situation were simply beyond my control and I took to forgiving myself for anything that I may have inadvertently done to cause offense and then I forgave the other person for the hurt of rejection that they inadvertently caused me. Sometimes people go separate ways and it isn’t necessarily because of anything we did but our selfish view in life makes it all about us.
So after forgiving myself and the other person, and knowing that everything I did was motivated by my desire to help and encourage the other to follow the Lord, I prayed to “surrender” this person to the Lord knowing that God’s plan for this person’s life is perfect and it just won’t involve me anymore.
When our relationships break down in any sense, in order to move on we need to say “good bye”, and the faithful men and women of God that have contributed to my maturity in my Christian walk have taught me to “let go, and let God” by “surrendering” people, things, and situations that are beyond my control to the Lord.
So if you wish that someone else could carry your problems and you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, there is good news. Christ took all our sins on Him on the Cross and at the time all of those sins of ours were “future sins”, that means that any sins, problems, or burdens, that we encounter now or in the future can likewise be given to God through Christ. We can surrender our sins, our pains, and our problems to God and endure.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
Discipleship and the Cross - continues
The cross is neither misfortune nor harsh fate. Instead, it is that suffering which comes from our allegiance to Jesus Christ alone. The cross is not random suffering, but necessary suffering. The cross is not suffering that stems from natural existence; it is suffering that comes from being Christian. The essence of the cross is not suffering alone; it is suffering and being rejected. Strictly speaking, it is being rejected for the sake of Jesus Christ, not for the sake of any other attitude or confession. A Christianity that no longer took discipleship seriously remade the gospel into only the solace of cheap grace. Moreover, it drew no line between natural and Christian existence. Such a Christianity had to understand the cross as one’s daily misfortune, as the predicament and anxiety of our natural life. Here it has been forgotten that the cross always also means being rejected, that the cross includes the shame of suffering. Being shunned, despised, and deserted by people, as in the psalmist’s unending lament, is an essential feature of the suffering of the cross, which cannot be comprehended by a Christianity that is unable to differentiate between a citizen’s ordinary existence and Christian existence. The cross is suffering with Christ. Indeed, it is Christ-suffering. Only one who is bound to Christ as this occurs in discipleship stands in seriousness under the cross.
“… let them take up their cross …” From the beginning, it lies there ready. They need only take it up. But so that no one presumes to seek out some cross or arbitrarily search for some suffering, Jesus says, they each have their own cross ready, assigned by God and measured to fit. They must all bear the suffering and rejection measured out to each of them. Everyone gets a different amount. God honors some with great suffering and grants them the grace of martyrdom, while others are not tempted beyond their strength. But in every case, it is the one cross.
It is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering that everyone has to experience is the call which summons us away from our attachments to this world. It is the death of the old self in the encounter with Jesus Christ. Those who enter into discipleship enter into Jesus’ death. They turn their living into dying; such has been the case from the very beginning. The cross is not the terrible end of a pious, happy life. Instead, it stands at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Whenever Christ calls us, his call leads us to death. Whether we, like the first disciples, must leave house and vocation to follow him, or whether, with Luther, we leave the monastery for a secular vocation, in both cases the same death awaits us, namely, death in Jesus Christ, the death of our old self caused by the call of Jesus. Because Jesus’ call brings death to the rich young man, who can only follow Jesus after his own will has died, because Jesus’ every command calls us to die with all our wishes and desires, and because we cannot want our own death, therefore Jesus Christ in his word has to be our death and our life. The call to follow Jesus, baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, is death and life. The call of Christ and baptism leads Christians into a daily struggle against sin and Satan. Thus, each day, with its temptations by the flesh and the world, brings Jesus Christ’s suffering anew to his disciples. The wounds inflicted this way and the scars a Christian carries away from the struggle are living signs of the community of the cross with Jesus. But there is another suffering and another indignity from which no Christian can be spared. To be sure, Christ’s own suffering is the only suffering that brings reconciliation. But because Christ has suffered for the sin of the world, because the whole burden of guilt fell on him, and because Jesus Christ passes on the fruit of his suffering to those who follow him, temptation and sin fall also onto his disciples. Sin covers the disciples with shame and expels them from the gates of the city like a scapegoat. So Christians become bearers of sin and guilt for other people. Christians would be broken by the weight if they were not themselves carried by him who bore all sins. Instead, by the power of Christ’s suffering they can overcome the sins they must bear by forgiving them. A Christian becomes a burden-bearer—bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). As Christ bears our burdens, so we are to bear the burden of our sisters and brothers. The law of Christ, which must be fulfilled, is to bear the cross. The burden of a sister or brother, which I have to bear, is not only his or her external fate, manner, and temperament; rather, it is in the deepest sense his or her sin. I cannot bear it except by forgiving it, by the power of Christ’s cross, which I have come to share. In this way Jesus’ call to bear the cross places all who follow him in the community of forgiveness of sins. Forgiving sins is the Christ-suffering required of his disciples. It is required of all Christians.
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Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 86–88.