Encouraging Devotions Blog

Therefore Go & Lift Him High

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"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." John 12:32

[SPOILER ALERT]: In the World War 1 movie "1917," there are two young British soldiers who are chosen and sent with a message on a critical mission that could mean life or death for 1600+ of their comrades. Mostly, they have to travel passed the front line in France, and make their way through a German-occupied territory to save the day — And they had one day to do this. A seemingly impossible task.

Now, at some point, one of the British soldiers is killed, leaving the other to complete the mission on his own. As this lone soldier enters into the German-occupied City, evading the German soldiers, he accidentally encounters a young french woman and a baby. She urges him to stay with her to keep her and the baby safe and wait out the war. With tears in his eyes, he refuses, leaves her in her basement hideout, and continues on the mission. Long story short, he gets to the other troops in the knick of time to rescue them.

This British soldier could've given up at any point. He could have been easily discouraged being left all alone after seeing his fellow soldier killed. He could've been overwhelmed with fear for that the fact German soldiers constantly surrounded him. He could have even given into his over-bearing emotions for the young woman and the baby. But instead, he chose to finish the mission. That was what pulled him through every barrier and obstacle he faced, and the result: countless lives were saved.

Similarly, we can see a glimpse of the mission of Jesus in this. Jesus was ultimately sent for one purpose: To be sacrificed on the cross, so that Christ may be joyfully treasured in the heart of every man.

Yes, Jesus, of course, did many other incredible signs and wonders during His time here on earth, but not once did He ever allow Himself to be distracted from accomplishing His mission. John 12:32 is one verse that sums up what Jesus came to do:

"But for this purpose, I have come to this hour." John 12:27.

He was given orders from our Heavenly Father, and Jesus was obedient.

In the same way, we who follow Christ have also been given a mission: We are to continually lift Him high in our own lives for people to see Him. This can be done in many different and practical ways, but here is one that is non-negotiable:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…" Matthew 28:19-20.

This is our Great Commission, making disciples is not only a command, but it is one of the most selfless, Christ-magnifying things we can do. We are to make disciples and teach them to see Christ as their highest treasure. Our Heavenly Father delights in this obedience.

"His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice.” — John Stott

We have no other choice, “therefore GO and lift Him high.”

“A Fruitful Bough” – Five Ways to Bear Fruit in a Pandemic

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“Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over the wall.” – Genesis 49:22

As Jacob was on his deathbed, he brought all of his sons near and began to prophesy about how the rest of their days were going to play out. In Joseph’s case, Jacob praises Joseph for being “a fruitful bough.”

So how do we, sons and daughters, receive the same praise from our Heavenly Father in the middle of a pandemic? How can we bear fruit in quarantine?

It is possible for a Christian not only to be fruitful in EVERY season but to bear multiple types of fruit. Here are five types of fruit we can bear in this difficult season:

1. SERVE OTHERS

Paul tells us in Colossians 1:10 that we can bear fruit in “every good work.” As we make ourselves available to serve God by serving those around us, we glorify our Father and demonstrate the very heart of Christ. Our “good work” is not a means to earn heaven or salvation but serves as evidence of the gratitude of our salvation. In this season of isolation, there are still opportunities to serve God and others. Practical service at home to our families or neighbors, offering encouragement on online platforms, and laboring in prayer for the needs of those around us are all ways we can engage in serving at this time. If we ask God for opportunities to love others, He will be faithful to provide! Check out the CCWG COVID-19 Resources page and consider serving our church body!

2. PRAISE

Another evidence of a Christian bearing fruit comes in the form of praise. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Singing spiritual songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts, praising Jesus with a thankful heart is fruit. Let us be diligent to enter into God’s presence and worship Him for still being on the throne, sovereign over all things, and give Him the praise He’s worthy of in this time of trouble.

3. GIVE TO GOD AND OTHERS

When we willingly, cheerfully give to the Lord or the Lord’s work from our resources, we are investing into a spiritual account that will result in fruit. Jesus said we are storing up treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. There can be a real temptation for us to fear not having enough for ourselves. This is a real opportunity to bear the fruit of faith as we trust the Lord to provide for us as we choose to be generous with what we have.

4. EVANGELIZE

When we share our faith with others, share the good news of the Gospel, or evangelize, the souls that come to Christ are fruit. Paul said this in Romans 1:13: “Often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.” In times of crisis, people are more receptive to the Gospel. Let us be willing to take risks and speak the truth to those around us. May there be a great harvest of souls as a result of this time!

5. WALK IN HOLINESS

As we pursue holiness, as we take up our cross daily, as we make no provision for our flesh, we are being set apart and conformed into the image of Christ. Galatians 5:22–23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.

Joseph bore fruit in all of these areas. Jacob made mention that Joseph was by a spring. This statement parallels that of Psalm 1:1-3. Joseph did not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor did he stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers, but Joseph’s delight was in the law of the Lord. He was like a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yielded fruit in its season; his leaf did not wither, and whatever he did, he prospered.

We have the ability, through Christ, to bear fruit in our service to others, through our praises, through our giving, through sharing the Gospel message, and through walking in personal holiness.

Jacob also made mention that Joseph’s reach extended “over a wall.” May we take that same approach as Christians; that our range would go beyond the wall of our Christian social circles, but out to a lost and dying world. Lest we forget what Jesus said in John 15:2:

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away.”

The good news is every branch that does bear fruit; He prunes so that it may bear MORE fruit. As this trial prunes our lives, may we be branches who bear much fruit in this season!

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