(adapted from article by Po Fang Chia)
Two are better than one, … If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
In order for us to arrive where God wants us, we need each other. No one can complete the journey alone.
In the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, two athletes in the 5K race distinguished themselves. About 3,200 meters into the race, New Zealander Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino ran into each other and fell. Abbey quickly picked herself up, but before resuming her race, she helped Nikki up. Soo after that, both rejoined the race, but Abbey began to falter as she injured herself in the collision and fall. Now, it was Nikki’s turn to stop and encourage her fellow athlete towards the finish line. When Abbey finally stumbled across the finish line, Nikki was there waiting at the finish for her and the first to embrace Abbey. What a beautiful example of mutual encouragement
That reminds us of a Bible passage: “Two are better than one, … If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
We, as runners in a spiritual race, need each other; perhaps even more so, for we are not competing against each other, but we are members of the same team. There will be times when we hesitate and falter and we need someone to pick us up. At other times, someone will need our encouragement, either through our prayers or our presence.
The spiritual race that God has marked out for us is not to be run alone. Is God guiding you to be an Abbey or a Nikki in someone’s life? Let us answer God’s invitation today and let us continue the race together
Food for thought
Thank God for the encouragement of fellow believers you have received throughout your journey. Ask God’s help as you look for ways to serve and encourage others along the way.
(adapted from “God Chose You” by Angela Perritt)
For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:4-5
“God chose you.” Let that truth sink deep into your heart.
I don’t know what this life has held for you. Maybe you were rejected by the university you wanted so badly to attend. Maybe you were rejected in your pursuit of a romantic relationship. Maybe you were not chosen for the soccer team. Maybe you’ve been passed over for a promotion…yet again. Maybe you were served divorce papers you didn’t see coming. Maybe you keep seeing pictures of friends getting together for a night out or coffee and yet your invitation never seems to come. You feel overlooked, unwanted and disregarded. You mistakenly think what others think of you mirrors God’s thoughts.
But you couldn’t be further from the truth. Look at Ephesians 1:4-5, you are not only loved by God but chosen. Regardless of how others view you, God chose you from the beginning of time. Before the foundations of the earth were put in place, God knew you, loved you and chose you. Even if no one ever sees your value, God does.
Not only does He dearly love you, He has called you. (2 Thess. 2:14) There is a grand purpose for your life…bigger than what your limited eyesight can see at this moment. All you see are your mistakes, your shortcomings and the reasons you give as to why you always seem overlooked, unwanted and disregarded. But when God sees you, He sees something entirely different. He sees His beautiful daughter/son, and He loves watching you grow into more His likeness as the Holy Spirit works in your life sanctifying you day by day.
You see, people’s opinions constantly, but God’s never does.
From the beginning of time God has loved you and chosen you, so stand firm in this truth. Regardless of how others treat you, choose to focus your mind on God’s truth and what He says about you, not what others say around you. Keep your eyes focused on Him. Stop looking to the right or the left but instead look up. Your worth cannot be measured in how others view you, treat you or love you, but only in Jesus’ love as He chose to go to the cross in your place.
You, my friend, were worth dying for. So regardless of what others think, stand firm in your faith knowing you are dearly loved and deliberately chosen.
Food for thought
How does knowing that you are loved and chosen affect the way you view yourself?
“14So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.’”
The people who accompanied Joshua in conquering the Promised Land was not the same that had bothered Moses so much during 40 years in the wilderness. That generation, according to the Word of the Lord, was wicked and without faith (Numbers 14:35).
This new people had learned the hard way the importance of obeying Yahweh’s commandments. Nevertheless, the challenge that the Lord posed to them was not without risk, as it is today with any faith adventure. The Lord instructed Joshua to have the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant and cross the river. They were told that the river would stop flowing before them, allowing all the people to cross. However, the priests had to get into the water, wetting their feet before the miracle could take place.
I would love to “freeze” this image in the exact instant when the water reached the ankles. This instant precedes God’s intervention. This is where we are prone to abandon our project. In that instant, doubts assail us and fear takes hold of our hearts. God had promised to open the waters. We are already in the river and nothing has happened yet! If we move forward, we will have to swim. Did we understand correctly what we were told? What experiences can help strengthen our faith? Only Joshua and Caleb had seen the waters open to make a way for the chosen people.
Everyone likes how the story ends, when the people are already on the other side of the river. We desire to be with those who joyfully celebrate the intervention of the Most High.
Few of us, however, are willing to get our feet wet, to plunge into the Lord’s seemingly absurd plans when the element of risk is at its highest. This stage of the adventure is the one that most troubles the disciple. He or she may be ridiculed by others. Here is the difference in the life of the committed follower of Jesus. They do not waver in what God has entrusted to them. Possessed by the same courage that Joshua had, they do not pay attention to the discouraging voices that come up in their hearts. They know Whom they trust. The uncomfortable moment will pass and they will be counted among those who celebrate the victory granted by the Lord.
Food for thought:
Courage does not mean an absence of fear, but the proper management of fear!
“In love 5He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.’” Ephesians 1:4b-5
Not a few Christians will often give you a blank look when inquired about adoption. The theological doctrine of adoption has often received little to no attention in theology text books and in the church’s confessions. Yet adoption is one of the most valuable, heartwarming, and practical of all of our theological beliefs. It invites us to consider the amazing blessing that we should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1).
One reason that we fail to appreciate adoption as God’s children is that we do not consider ourselves to be orphans. We tend to think that everybody is a child of God. The biblical doctrine of adoption begins with Adam and Eve. Created in the image of God, they were God’s children, and enjoyed close fellowship with their heavenly Father in the garden of Eden. Yet with their fall, the image of God in them was marred and their relationship as children of God was lost. They were driven from the garden, separated from God’s presence, children of His wrath. This is the condition into which all human beings are now born: aliens and strangers with respect to God (Eph. 2:3). But God had chosen from beginning of time to have a family for Himself (Eph. 1:5), He acted in history to make their salvation a reality. Whereas Adam was God’s son by virtue of creation, Israel became God’s son through adoption (Ex. 4:22). Adoption highlights clearly the element of grace in their relationship. Though Israel constantly turned away from Him, God still would not abandon her; her election as His adopted child was irrevocable (Rom. 11:29).
Our adoption as sons of God comes through union with Christ and cannot be experienced apart from it. When we are united to Christ by faith, in Christ, and in Him alone, we receive the adoption that gives us an undeserved share in the promises that were made to Him and the privileges that He has earned as God’s Son (Gal. 3:29). Indeed, the reason that Christ came to this earth was so that He might give us adoption as God’s sons (Gal. 4:5).
What are the blessings that flow to us as God’s adopted children in Christ? The first blessing that we have is fellowship with our heavenly Father, a fellowship that our first parents forfeited through their sin. Second, because we share a common Father in God, we have the basis for true spiritual unity with one another, we are all brothers and sisters in the one family of God. The third great blessing that comes to us in our adoption is the gift of the Spirit of God, whom Paul calls “the Spirit of adoption” in Romans 8:15. The final great blessing of adoption is the prospect of a glorious family inheritance — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, as Romans 8:17 puts it.
The day will come when God’s work in us will be finished and we will be free from corruption and sin, truly bearing the family likeness. On that day, however, we will grasp more fully how great and awesome is God’s grace and mercy to us in Christ, that has redeemed us from Satan’s family and granted us membership in His own family as His treasured sons and daughters.