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PostSubject: Friends   Friends Icon_minitimeFri Dec 05, 2008 1:37 am

Strengthening & Encouraging

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith. (Acts 14:21-22, ESV)

Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith was important work for Paul and Barnabas.

Paul and Barnabas had been on a missionary trip preaching and teaching the message of Christ. And they'd returned to the cities where men and women had heard the Gospel and believed in Jesus as God's Son. They returned in order to strengthen and encourage the new believers.

And that's still important work today--not only for pastors but for all Christians. And each of us can do it.

We strengthen each other with our presence when we gather together for corporate worship. We strengthen each other when we read and study the Word in small or large groups. We strengthen each other when we support a fellow believer going through a difficult trial; when we share personal stories or testimonies; when we pray for one another.

Having friends who are Christians encourages us to continue in our faith. From more mature believers, we learn what to expect so we're not blindsided by temptation, those times when God seems far away, or the trials of life. Not only that but we learn how to deal with those trials, temptations and moments of spiritual barrenness when we hear how someone else dealt with the same issue.

It's important and worthwhile work, strengthening and encouraging believers and looking ahead with them to that day when we'll stand beside Jesus in heaven.

"Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm."
-Proverbs 4:25-26
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