Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches. Hebrews 10:23-25

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

Today’s Scripture speaks of a promise from God. It is a promise that we need to hold on to strongly without wavering as he faithfully helps us fulfill our commitment to him and all that he has in mind for us. What is that promise? The following Scriptures clearly tell us what that promise is:

As for me (John the Baptist), I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.” John 7:38-39A

Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He (Jesus Christ) has poured fourth this which you both see and hear. Acts 2:33

Peter said to them, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself. Acts 2:38-39

In Him (Jesus Christ), you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:13

We were reminded yesterday that God is at work in each of us and that he does so by means of the Holy Spirit. The life of God is in each of us because we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit of promise (verses above). Yes, we have received the Holy Spirit that was promised, but we need to hold on strong to the confession of our hope, which is that we will see the life of God fully manifested in our lives through the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. It was also said that our natural tendency is to slip away from being close to God and having his life be active and full in us. God uses the influence of his people on each other to keep this from happening. The life of God in us needs to be supported and encouraged by others who have the life of God within them. 

Ministering to each other in ways that support and encourage the life of God in each of us is the focus of today’s Scripture. But we are reminded of another natural tendency we have. In addition to our proneness to slipping away from a close relationship to God, we have the proneness of slipping away from close relationships with each other. Getting together regularly in community with other believers (small groups) is essential. Consistently meeting in ways the truly support and encourage the life of God in each other will make all the difference. Truly, we are better together when through our togetherness we are inspired “to greater love and to righteous deeds (sounds a bit like the fruit of the Spirit).” 

Earlier in the week we said this: “Staying close to God, following his ways, and serving the kingdom requires support from others who are seeking to do the same. When we each have a vital relationship with God, we will faithfully and effectively serve his kingdom and do his will on all levels, including impacting our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A healthy church is God’s one and only means for reaching the world for Christ.”

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, may the “living waters” of the Holy Spirit bubble up out of me to encourage and inspire my brothers and sisters in Christ. May the “living waters” of the Holy Spirit bubble up in my brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and inspire me. Lord, may a waiting and watching world be wonderfully impacted by us, your church, as they see “love and righteous deeds” flowing from your people. May they conclude that the only explanation for it is you. May they want you and respond to you as we faithfully share the reason for the hope that is within us. Amen!