23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Peer pressure is a bad thing, right? We are always told not to let others pressure us into doing bad things. If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you? Some more reasoning behind parenting. When talking about pressure to do bad things, peer pressure is bad. There might be a way to turn the table on talking about peer pressure.
When you play sports, you might use a teammate or even an opponent’s drive to inspire you to work harder. When you see someone shooting 100 free throws before school to make them better, you might pick up their example to become a better basketball player. If you want to be in the starting lineup, you will work harder to get there.
In verse 24, we are told to inspire or influence one another, to stir up love and good works. When we see others doing a good deed, we shouldn’t be jealous of their outcome, but inspired to achieve that as well. Faith is not a competition of one on one. It is a team sport where we are all collecting a better team for God. Then, everyone who was inspired to do good is a winner.
This world is full of people who are trying to pressure you into how to live your life. Remember that there are only two sides. Make sure you are inspired by the right type of people so you can continue to inspire others. Your soul and other’s souls will depend on it.
Paoli Church of Christ | 219 Stucker Street, Paoli, IN, United States
Twenty years ago yesterday, some will remember where they were. Some were young and will remember what they have read or been told, and some were yet to be born. This day forever changed/touched the lives of everyone in America from that point forward. I had the opportunity to visit the 9-11 Memorial a few years later and to read name after name of individuals who lost their lives that day was sobering.
Life is full of uncertainties; however, one certainty is that we can always count on our relationship with God and, by being part of his spiritual family, the church. Being part of the Paoli congregation brings numerous benefits such as being part of a physical and spiritual support group like none other.
The congregation has continued to support various mission works and several individuals who are training to become gospel preachers. These individuals will be filling pulpits and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ for years to come.
Bible classes for our kids are really showing growth. Some are learning the books of the New Testament and some have already memorized them in order. Adults are studying II Timothy, with great lessons we can apply to everyday life. If you are missing - you are missing… a lot.
Looking back to that time 20 years ago, I recall going outside at night, and the sky was void of all aircraft. It seemed as though everyone had been cut off. We are facing times today which seem uncertain, we simply need to remember that we are never cut off from God. He is always there, sometimes we just have to remind ourselves. We can also remind others by inviting them to services and sharing the Sunday morning worship services via social media.
REMEMBER… KEEP PRAYING, KEEP WORKING, KEEP LOOKING UPWARD. It will all be worth it one day
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Paoli Church of Christ
The Right Way Out
Yes, I am one of those! I am one of those people who do not use the garage for a garage. We have not parked a car in the garage in years. Instead, I use the garage as a workshop. I am a woodworker, another one of my hobbies in the line of many, and have woodworking tools and equipment scattered throughout the space.
Many times, I will open the overhead doors to let the air circulate through the shop, taking out the dust and the fumes from the work I am doing. Often, a bird will fly into the shop. Almost immediately, they see they have made a dreadful mistake. In fear, they desperately begin to fly around, looking for the way out of the garage. They fly into the windows repeatedly, thinking that they are breaking out into freedom, only to find that the way they thought was the way to freedom was just an illusion. Sure, they can see the sun and the trees on the outside, but they do not understand about glass. The bird does not know why he can see the outside but cannot get there.
We walk away thinking, "Why would they continue to try to fly out the window, when time and time again they found that it was blocked, and the door is still wide open?" There is a way that seems obvious to us, but the bird does not see the obvious way out and, instead, beats his head against the barrier that keeps him from freedom.
In the whole scheme of things, the big picture that makes up our lives, we sometimes seem to be like the bird. There is a way to freedom, and it is obvious, but we just cannot seem to get ourselves to the freedom we seek. The track to freedom may be clear, but instead of taking the obvious, we flit around in fear, continually beating our heads against a barrier that we do not understand. Life seems to have trapped us, and we cannot seem to find our way through.
Sadly, even though the way is obvious, we seem to ignore it and try to find something different. True, Jesus teaches us about how the way to God is through a narrow gate. However, when we become people of God, that narrow way becomes an obvious one for us to take. With our eyes of faith, that narrow way becomes like a huge door, and, even though it is narrow, it is obvious. Christ is the way to the freedom we seek.
The truth that leads us to Christ is the map that we use to get to that freedom. Jesus will say of Himself, "I am the way, the truth and the life…" (John 14;6). He will also tell us in Matthew 8:32, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Satan loves for us to be trapped in life. He loves to box us in, keep us confused and afraid. Jesus offers us freedom. He wants us to know the freedom He offers. He died so that we could see and obtain that freedom.
Christ has given us a way out of being trapped by life and by Satan. With Jesus, our relationship with God is restored. We have a home and a life beyond this life. Knowing that we are free from the constraints of this life, we are not trapped and are not even focused on this life. We have a home in Heaven - that is our focus.
Because of this home we have beyond this one, we are free from the hold life has on us here. Satan can use it against us when we let this life become our focus. When this life stops being our focus, Satan cannot use it against us. He cannot use this life to hold us and trap us. In a relationship with God and Jesus, we break free from Satan's power over us. That is why Paul will say in 1 Corinthians 15:55, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" Jesus gives us victory over death, over the fear of death, because He sets us free from this life.
We do not have to feel trapped. We have a life beyond this life, and no matter what happens here, we still have a home in Heaven. This life is all Satan has to use against us, and Jesus took that ability away with His sacrifice. Through the death of Jesus, we can be set free from this world and from this life because we can turn our focus to Heaven.
It is true, we must be connected to Jesus to get that freedom, and the good news is, we can be connected to Him. The connection to Jesus is our way out. Being connected to Jesus is our freedom. God's way, outlined for us in the Word of God, is the truth that sets us free. We can know Jesus and the freedom He brings.
Why would anyone what to live in the bondage of this life? Like trapped birds, we see people in the world around us flitting here and there, trying desperately to escape the prison, to find the way out. They see something that looks promising, only to discover that they have been tricked as they run headlong into the barrier that stops them in their tracks. Jesus gives us the way to freedom. All we have to do is follow Him to that freedom.
Let the Son Shine In
Gary's Teen Talk