Bringing it all togetherToday we look at one of Paul's prayers for one of the churches under his care. In this prayer he prays for two really important things: Encouraged Hearts and Strengthened Lives.
An encouraged heart is full to the brim with the deep conviction that God, out of staggering, amazing and gracious generosity, gave us His Son. This act of grace gives us eternal encouragement and good hope. Encouraged hearts become the engines to lives that are strengthened for good deeds and words.
In theory it seems unthinkable that just thinking about an "old old story" can encourage us, but in practice we have all seen that when people receive and understand the Gospel message either for the first time or afresh, it can transform their lives.
How is this possible?
Through the work of the One who is implied but not mentioned - the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit makes the truth of the Gospel so real to us that our hearts are encouraged.
But more than encouraging our hearts, the Holy Spirit strengthens us to "fight the good fight."
So, if we're to keep going, we don't need a pep talk or pep vitamins.
To keep going we need to keep a strong and clear focus on the gift of God's Son.
This is what Paul did throughout his ministry:
- I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.. (Rom1:16)
- When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom... I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1Cor2:1-2)
- The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal2:20)
So if Paul was kept going by being focussed on the simple Gospel Truth of the "Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me" then so can you and I!
This brings us to the end of the series, so now it is up to you:
Read Paul's prayer for you and keep going!
|May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, |
who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
encourage your hearts
and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2Thessalonians2:16-17)
EmmDevs will take a break over the school hols and return on Tuesday 9 July.
God bless and love,