Encouraged, Exhorted and Rewarded

I went to a writers’ group last night. I left feeling encouraged with a plan for marketing and ideas for further chapters. That’s gotta be why the Apostle Peter wrote to Christians about not forsaking the fellowship of believers.

We need each other. Sometimes people can see we’re under spiritual attack and then they’ll promise to pray.

Besides, friends will listen to us and if they’re frowning, it prompts us to ask, “What’s wrong?”

Usually, I pray, “Lord, give me ears to hear what I should hear, and discernment to know what isn’t of You.”

When I used to volunteer at a ministry, I prayed the above plus asking God to limit what the other party said so I didn’t hear yucky things. Then, I’d pray I wouldn’t say things I shouldn’t say. That’s a prayer I ought to pray every time I interact with people. As a sanguine, my greatest gift can be my greatest weakness.

I was reading in the gospel of Matthew today and Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16: 24-27, (NKJV)

I never heard the lie when I came to Christ that everything would be better and that prosperity is an entitlement for those who give money to certain ministries. I heard that God wanted me to be in relationship with Him; that was news to me. I heard that when you go through the deep waters, God would go with me. I heard that if I cast my cares upon Jesus, He would care for me. If I’m having cares to cast, that means things aren’t going my way.

One prosperous lady I knew lost her husband in their sixties after he became a born-again Christian. She stayed at the church, and made many friends. Then, she became a born-again Christian. She told me immediately, things got worse. She fell at a grocery store and broke both wrists. That made her helpless and vulnerable. She needed basic human compassion and care. Her son kept making lousy decisions and she would bail him out, time and again. Talk about family strife. The last major blow, she contracted Parkinson’s Disease. Yet, she had more joy over the latter part of her life than when I first met her.

She made friends that stuck by her for years. She had an incredible sense of humor. She was loyal to me and others. She knew heaven afforded her the closest contact with God and a reunion with her husband. She would have a new body in heaven. She wouldn’t ever sin again in heaven and Jesus said those who loved Him would have a mansion up there.

I moved away before the disease got worse. I would imagine she grew closer to God through the pain. I’ve seen some suffering saints glow with the love of God. I wouldn’t choose hard times, but I’ve seen the radiance and the peace afforded by them. So, there are compensations for those believers suffering on this side of eternity.

May God bless you!

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