2 Timothy 1:1-7 (MSG): “I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours! Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion. That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.”
This week let us:
Be grateful for encouragement and care from others. Just as Paul wrote to Timothy to remind him that he thanked God for his loving friendship, we also have friends in our lives, placed there by the Lord. May we be faithful to tell them how important they are to us – through a call, text, or even a letter. In Proverbs 12:25 (AMP), we read, “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, but a good (encouraging) word makes it glad.” Relationships matter! They help us feel valued, loved, understood and positive – because we feel that there is someone who cares, is willing to listen, supports us in prayer and gives us Godly counsel. As we read in Ecclesiastes 4:12 (CSB), “A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken.” Simply said, we need each other, and we need God. What better way to express gratitude to a loved one or friend than by being present through acts of kindness, or by showing our love towards them through gratitude, encouragement and blessing? To whom will you reach out today?
Pay attention to all that the Lord is doing in our lives, as a source of encouragement from our Lord to stay the course. Hebrews 2:1 (CSB) reminds us, “For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.” To pay attention or to be present in the moment, we need to slow down… This means that we need to be ruthless about eliminating distractions and busynessfrom our lives. Being present and paying attention require mindfulness – an awareness (deliberate attention) of ourselves, and being focussed on our Heavenly Father, who is always present with us. As Psalm 46:10 teaches us: Let us cease striving, be still, and know that with our eyes fixed and steady on Jesus, we can TRUST in our Lord! He never tells us to ‘be busy and know’ or ‘multi-task and know’… Our Lord created us with a need to slow down to know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. May we be still in the presence of our Lord today, knowing that God is with us (John 16:32); He is our help in need – He strengthens and encourages us (Acts 14:22). He is compassionate and gracious (Psalm 103:8). He ministers to us with a caring Spirit (1 Peter 5:6-7); and He will provide for us (1 Kings 17:2-6). Our loving Heavenly Father longs to refresh our souls, restore our well-being and redirect our lives along the right path for His glory!” (Paraphrased Psalm 23:3).
Slow down in God’s presence – remembering that our identity is not in the things of this world. Through the amazing sacrifice of Jesus, we are called beloved sons and daughters of our God most high – we are part of His flock. Knowing who we are and whose we are radically changes how we live. How encouraging to know that our inheritance is sealed through God’s glorious grace and favour, which He bestowed upon us as His children through Jesus Christ – our Lord and Saviour! So, may we always remember what it means to belong to God – the blessing of being wholly owned by our Good Shepherd! As part of His flock, how wonderful is it to experience His blessing, anointing, goodness and love all the days of our lives? May we always long to dwell in the presence of our Lord. May we ask God to help us lead any lost sheep to join our flock, His flock, for an eternity with Him! May the Words of Our Lord, through King David, always be a reminder to us as we read from Psalm 23 (NIV): “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” What a powerful reminder. May we go forth encouraged by our Lord, and may we be that encouragement to others too.
Dear God, thank You for Your beautiful love letter to us, that we can appreciate every day as it is right there in front of us. May we follow Your example, and Peter’s example, by expressing our love, appreciation and encouragement to those close to us.
Heavenly Father, we come before You today to thank You for Your Word. We thank You that despite the distractions that we may be encountering currently in our lives encounter, that You will bring peace and clarity that we can only find by running into Your Presence daily. Protect our minds and keep them free of every distraction and entanglement. For right now, our eyes need to be fixed on You alone. We put our trust in You.
Father God, I ask that You would be our refuge, that You will draw near to us… That You would restore and recover our lives for Your glory! Father, give us a taste of what it means to find our REST in You. Will you walk with us each step of our journey?
Lord Jesus, thank You that every beloved one in You can know that whatever the circumstances, whatever the world brings, whatever brokenness we encounter, whatever the enemy brings to us, it doesn’t matter. Lord, You are true to Your children. You hold the beloved, Your beloved children in the palm of Your hands. You will even take us through the valley of death. I just praise Your wonderful, wonderful name.
Lord Jesus, thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You – for what You did to save us, to buy us, to help us to be reborn into Your flock, so that we can experience the blessings from Psalm 23. We can look up to You as our good Shepherd, and know that You will lead us on the right paths. You know all the different ways and paths before us. Even things that we don’t know, You know, and You lead us on the right path. You bring us to waters: living waters. You are the breath that sustains us. Lord, thank You – thank You that we’re not lost. Lord, help us to live like Your sheep – in such a way that others will look and their mouths will water and say, ‘I want this life with the Shepherd’. We pray this in the name of Jesus our good Shepherd.
So Lord, as we enter this week encouraged by You, will You please lead us to see the need around us, and be an encourager to others. Show us how to do life based on Your unforced rhythms of grace, love and rest! In the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen.
(This WRAP is with great appreciation towards Jen, Johan, Chris and Retha)
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