|This beautiful, most meaningful graphic is from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings|
The final reading was titled "My Lord and His Return" and centered on how believers should live while they wait for Christ's return. I found it tremendously encouraging and helpful to push me to just keep on keeping on, so naturally enough I thought others might be blessed by this as well.
Swindoll writes that the Bible "is full and running over with promises and encouragements directly related to Christ's return. In the New Testament alone, the events related to His coming are mentioned over three hundred times."
He adds [I am paraphrasing in places; this is from my notes]: "The return of the Savior will continue to be attacked, misused, and denied by skeptics and cynics. But there it stands, solid as a stone, soon to be fulfilled, ready to offer us hope and encouragement amidst despair and unbelief.
"What should we be doing in the meantime? We get our act together. We live every day (as if it's our last) for His glory. We work diligently on our jobs and in our homes for His name's sake. We shake out salt every chance we get ... and shine the light ... and remain balanced, cheerful, winsome, and stable, anticipating His return day by day."
For the Come Aside section, the assignment was to review 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, "soaking up the glory and encouragement", and to commit ourselves afresh to the goals in verse 58, asking the Lord to make clear to us any slackness in our own faith or obedience.
So here is 1 Corinthians 15:58:
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
And below are my thoughts.
These are such wonderful goals:
* Be steadfast
* Be unmovable
* Be always abounding in God's work
* Because I know that my labor is not in vain in the Lord.
And these have been my goals and my motivation. But these last few years have been challenging ones. I see others who are not steadfast, who have been easily moved, who have either given up abounding in God's work or never began. This does not discourage me in my personal walk with the Lord (although obviously I must keep my eyes on Him and not other people), but I do find it a bit disheartening. That said, I know I'm not the only one. I recently was challenged by this post from Sarah Beals, for example.
However! What others do or don't do should have no bearing on my personal commitment to the Lord. I can and must keep on keeping on. My service is to be done as unto Him, and as such it is not in vain!
May we as believers recommit to shaking out salt, shining light, and living life to God's glory every day.