I am encouraged about many things, and I want to share some of these with you.
I am encouraged about people who are turning to God for their problems. Our pastors get to see many people with deep problems. That is always sad, but it gives us a lift to hear people say, “I’ve realized that I’ve left God out of my life, now I’m turning back to Him.”
It’s discouraging to see people who are hurting, but encouraging to see people get it right about where the answer lies. God Himself calls us to return to Him. Joel called people to repentance: “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Joel 2:12-13).
Jesus said: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). What I find is that I am the source of most of my burdens. I have brought them on myself, but I desperately need help to remove them.
I am also encouraged about those parents who are raising the next generation of Christians. I am encouraged about the training parents are giving at home and training the children are receiving through God’s church.
That leads me to the second source of encouragement. People are attending church to find help. I have no idea whether that is a nationwide or statewide trend, but it is a significant trend at FBC. For the past several months, we have seen attendance in our worship and Bible Fellowship groups trending significantly higher. Each week basically sets a high attendance for that same week over any other year in our history.
On January 8th, we had 1455 people in Bible Study, a record high. This number does not include our women’s Bible studies or Wednesday nights (many people attend these groups who are not involved in Sunday morning Bible studies). That is truly encouraging.
Finally, I am encouraged by the number of people who are praying for spiritual awakening. Could the previous two sources of encouragement be caused by the third?
God told us to seek His face and His favor. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
Please continue to seek God and His blessings for His people.
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