Do You Want To Be Encouraged?

It is apparent if I write a blog about prophecy, Israel or disasters it will receive about 100 more readers. When I write about living a spiritual and holy life it draws less than all others. Today I want to tell you what you may be missing with the hope of encouraging you.

John 18:25 – 27 – “As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, ‘You are not one of his disciples, are you?’  He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’ One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.”

Peter had stated that Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God. Why would he deny being a disciple of Jesus? I can only assume but I believe the Bible gives us an indication. A human reaction is to defend oneself. An association with Jesus at that time, Peter may have thought, could have meant death. He wasn’t ready to die. Yet, later in life he was willing to die a martyrs’ death. History tells us he was crucified upside-down. With the exception of the apostle John, author of Revelation and other Scripture, the other apostles died a martyrs’ death. What made the difference in Peter’s thinking?

I John 4:18 – “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I had heart bypass surgery in 1984. After a massive heart attack in August 2005, my family was told my chances of living were slim. There, supposedly, was little chance I would make it through surgery. My daughter-in-law, a nurse, knew a nurse in ICU and was told I had the least chance of surviving as anyone in ICU. My entire life I have been afraid of hospitals. It may be a result of my father dying in a hospital when I was six years old.

With the number of tubes and a week in preparation for surgery it wasn’t difficult to conclude my situation was serious. Yet, I do not remember at anytime having fear. I can’t say I had perfect love as Scripture says takes away fear, but I did not fear punishment. I can testify that when we are having serious problems the Holy Spirit can be our comforter. How can a person be petrified of hospitals and yet have no fear when they are near death?

Peter prior to having receiving the Holy Spirit had a very normal, human response. Accepting the Holy Spirit into his life made a very different Peter. I read a number of polls where Christians seem to think they have had little change in their lives since becoming a Christian. Are we satisfied with being like Peter prior to the Holy Spirit or being like Peter after having the Holy Spirit come into his life?

Many Christians do not receive what God offers when they accept Jesus as their Savior. It may be like a person who obtains a PhD and then works as a cab driver most of their life. Why would they seek a tremendous education and then not use it? Why become a Christian and then live as if they were still enslaved? Do they fear freedom?

Why are a number of Christians positive, at peace and have little stress? Why are others negative, worry constantly and seem upset most of the time? Is it because of personality or temperament? It is more likely those at peace are living a holy life. Those who are not are probably relying on their own strength and ignoring the Holy Spirit that is within them. Our flesh and our spirit influence our soul or mind. They are at war! The world makes their decisions based on the desires of the flesh. A mature Christian allows their spirit, guided by the Holy Spirit, to influence their choices. If you are a Christian allowing the flesh to influence your decisions you may live more like the world lives than as a Christian is suppose to live.

If we live as the world lives then we must expect to receive the consequences that the world receives. This is why it is so important to read and submit to Biblical teaching. We must have the self-control to reject fleshly desires and accept only what is in keeping with the Bible’s teaching. God promises that He would give us His Spirit to help us through life. Are we willing to accept His help or are we more desirous of what Satan offers? Are we more inclined as Eve and Adam to listen to the devil or are we more willing to obey God? We have a choice and with each decision comes a consequence. Which do you prefer? I am afraid too many Christians may be listening to the wrong spirit. God does not promise a trouble-free life. But He does promise us love, joy and peace if we are listening to His Spirit and being submissive.

Last thought: Fear has to do with punishment. If we make the right choices there will not be punishment to fear. Death can result in punishment or reward. Knowing that death will have a reward waiting can take away fear. I have just lost two Christian friends to death. They had nothing to fear and are obtaining the greatest experience a person will ever receive. Glory to God!

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