March 23, 2017

Hebrews 12:1 – ESV~
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

I have read this verse many many times, but when I sat down to write this devotional, I read something as if for the first time. When I read it before, I tended to almost ”gloss over” the first part of this verse. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” I was just struck by that phrase and it stopped me for a second. That is one of the most important and most beautiful things about being in the church. Through Jesus, we are all one family, we hold each other accountable to our faith, goals, and dreams.
It reminds me of the verses in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” I took that from the New King James Version because of that ”section title”. In the NJKV that section is called, “The Value of a Friend” I love the way that is put. There is great value in friendship, when we go through hard times we will have people there with us to help us through them.
That is one of the reasons why it is so important to have a home church, a place where we are known and loved by a family. Even if you are not going through a hard time right now, you can benefit from fellowship. If you don’t need encouragement (you’re lying, because everyone needs to be encouraged but anyway…) then you can encourage someone else. There is always a benefit from community if for no other reason than to remind yourself that you are not alone. This is a big world and it’s nice to know we don’t run alone. We are all working toward one goal, and we need each other to get there.
Today’s challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to find someone to encourage today. Let them know that you are rooting for them, it can be as simple as a “good job” to a coworker, teammate, or classmate, or as elaborate as you can make it. Go out of your way to be encouraging and brighten someone’s day.


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