12/6/1998 6:00 PM
Luke 22:31, 32
Christ is here preparing to go to the cross. While he made his preparations for this event... he did not focus on only himself, but his concern and interest was to prepare the disciples for what was coming. The disciples failed and did not stand by Christ then, but his prayer was that they would return to him... that Satan not keep them. Christ told Peter that after he should get past this and come again to him, that he should strengthen the brethren. Christ desired that all should make it through. God wants us to strengthen and help to build up others.
This scripture foretells of Christ... Christ was not a popularity seeker or a politician. He was the ultimate encourager. He was looking for what strength was there. He was not out to quench or take away, but he was looking for what was there to encourage it. We're not out to remove anything from people (in regard to faith)... but if there is nothing there we want to show this to that that one... that they might recognize and go on to find God. We want to encourage people to build on what is there. We're here to help people, to strengthen them in the way that is right.
"Fear thou not" We can let fears of all kinds work on us. Many of the troubles of life are of our own making. Many a person has had anxious fears about things that never happened. Don't give in to your fears... "I am with thee... I am thy God... I will strengthen... I will uphold..." If you focus on your fears it can leave you worn out, depressed, and anxious. It pays to put our confidence in God. The thing you're worried about is because youre focused on the wrong thing. We need to help to change one another's focus. Do you hear God saying... "Fear not; I'll help?" Do you listen for that? He promised to be our helper and strength. When you feel little - you don't have to be discouraged... when you feel overwhelmed... you don't have to fear, for God will help.
Fear not, God bought you... you are his. He'll take care of his own. If you have to cross the creek ahead... you don't have to build bridges in advance... he promised to take care of it. We have a recorded example of his faithfulness to keep us through the fire, and the three Hebrew boys didn't even SMELL like smoke!! When God promises to take care of us and help us... he will, sometimes even miraculously. When God sets things up, unless we work hard to convince ourselves otherwise, it will be clear what he has done. God is still creating us for his glory. He has created all mankind for his glory... though some are still coming short of it through sin. We want to encourage people to go God's way and bring glory to his name.
"Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." Birdwatchers don't value sparrows very highly, but God sees even the sparrow's fall. The emphasis in this passage of scripture is that God notices even things that seem so small and insignificant. We don't notice how many hairs we lose. God takes note though. Isn't it encouraging to know that he cares that much?!? If he values the seeming insignificant... (knowing even which sparrows the cat got)... he won't overlook the significant. Though a few sparrows doubtless get fed at our house... we don't let those in the house go hungry that the sparrows might have something to eat. You can encourage the small and the great that God knows and he cares. Sometimes things will take a wrong turn, but God still cares. He said, "I'll help ya."
II Timothy 4:6-18
Even when no one else stands with you, when it seems that you stand alone, don't be discouraged because you really aren't standing alone.. God stands with you. He said he'd be there to help. To be an encourager you can't always be looking around for encouragement from others. The Lord will give strength and encouragement that we might encourage others. Paul was drawing his strength from God and gave it out to others. We need not always be sitting and waiting for others to help us (not that it is a bad thing for others to encourage us... and not that it shouldn't ever happen). We need to be like Paul was here, strengthened by the Lord. He had his confidence in God. He wasn't focused on the "what if's".
Paul prayed for the strength of others. He prayed that they would find the inner strength of Christ. We need to be encouragers, in word, in deed, and in prayer. Hold on to the promise, whether it be fiery trials or deep waters... it won't overwhelm or overflow if we trust in God.