"Regard others as more important than ourselves" and "encourage one another daily" are examples the apostle Paul encouraged the church to follow if they were to be successful in their Christian walk.
I'd like to share a story I recently heard. It has to do with helping your brother.
Two college football players were taking semester finals, which they each had to pass in order to maintain their eligibility to continue playing football that season.
Bubba was a 400-pound tackle and Tiny was the fullback of this small Southern college team.
The test consisted of three pages of questions, randomly selected by the coach for the two football players.
To pass the test they had to answer at least one question correctly. The test was simple.
Bubba was struggling through all the questions, ringing his hands as beads of sweat bubbled on his forehead and ran down the back of his neck.
Bubba finally said to Tiny, who was sitting in front of him, "Have you found any questions you can answer?" "Yeah Bubba, the last one," Tiny said.
Bubba jumped ahead to the last question, "Old MacDonald had a ______."
Bubba thought for a minute, scratching his head and squirming in his chair.
"I know the answer to the question, Tiny. I know it, but I just can't seem to scratch it out of my mind," Bubba said.
"Farm," Tiny whispered.
"Oh yeah," Bubba said, surprisingly smiling.
A moment later, Bubba tapped Tiny on the shoulder.
"Sorry Tiny, one last question ... how do you spell farm?"
Tiny turned around and grinned at Bubba and said, "Bubba, everyone knows farm is spelled E-I-E-I-O."
"Oh yeah, thanks Tiny."
Funny story. We might laugh at the comical characters in the story, but how often do we fall out of touch with our spiritual lives as Christians?
I must admit "encouraging one another daily" sometimes escapes my mind very easily, as does "regarding others as more important than yourself" when in my car, following behind a slow driver.
What's even worse to us is just as simple as Bubba's question, "How do you spell farm?"
We react the same way when we put our trust in men for the answers in our lives that only God can answer. Men can attempt to answer questions that seem simple, but more often, the wisdom of our God far surpasses the wisdom of men.
We as Christians are encouraged to go to our Lord in everything, every need, and pray in all things in the name of Jesus, who is our intercessor.
"There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus ..." 1 Timothy 2:5.
Jesus encourages us, "He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
"And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
"If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. If you love me, keep my commandments," John 14.
Doesn't this sound like a pretty simple solution to living a life with an open relationship with God?
Ask whatever you want. Seek and you will find.
Our God is a God of the living, whose ear is not deaf and whose hand is not so far away.
Yes, we are a "peculiar people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people," 1 Peter 2:9.
God has given us the power to overcome the obstacles of life, to get through the tough times. He is the strength we need and he says, "I will make my home in you," John 14.
Our Lord has given us his Holy Spirit also, to live and dwell within us, to teach us all truth.
I encourage you, if you are in need of an uplift of faith and encouragement, go to your manual of life -- the Bible -- and read again chapter 14 of John.
I pray not that God take our difficulties away, whatever they may be, but that he give us the strength to endure our way through them. Now, may the joy of the Lord be your strength!
Mark Conway is an evangelist living in Seward and attending Seward Chapel Christian Church. E-mail Mark if you wish at akmark firstname.lastname@example.org.
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