1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

            The news is rarely filled with good wholesome edifying reporting; it is usually filled with the grit and grime of human depravity.  Whether it is terrible war and economic meltdowns half-way across the world, or child pornography, theft, and murder closer to home, we live in a time of both unprecedented communication and unparalleled evil.  So, where does God fit into all this?
            He is there, calling his people to a life of moral sobriety, spiritual holiness, and unflagging encouragement of one another.  In the midst of the sinful muck, the Apostle Paul made the astounding statement that “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  God is patiently and constantly working behind the scenes to overshadow the world with grace.  There will come a time when this present order of things will pass away and the fullness of God’s rule and reign will be established forever. 
            In the meantime, until that Day occurs, we are to be vigilant to “encourage one another and build one another up.”  While God works, we encourage.  We are to come alongside each other, speaking grace and helping one another become successful in our daily Christian walks.  That is no small task, considering the immense evil in the world.  Thus, no lone ranger Christianity will do.  Individual mavericks will not make it unless they accept the encouragement and help of God’s people.
            So, are you trying to live the Christian life in your own strength, on your own terms, in your own way?  “Private Christian” is an oxymoron.  Every believer needs the encouragement that God provides through his people, the church.  What will you do today to foster and/or deepen your bonds with other believers?
            Gracious God, thank you that I do not need to live the Christian life on my own.  Not only have you given me your Holy Spirit, but other believers to help and encourage me as I strive to walk in holiness each and every day.  Empower me to bless others, as well, through Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.

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