Tag: hope

A Sermon for Brian and Jayson

A Sermon for Brian and Jayson

The recent suicide of a colleague got me to thinking about the despair and depression that many face and it took me back to 2005 and the death of an old friend’s younger brother. This is the sermon I wish I could have been there to preach for Brian and I wish I could be there to preach this for Jayson. I could not, in either case, be there but I want to share their sermon in hopes that it will provide comfort for those who are newly grieving or are grieving still…

There exist what I call Psalms in the Key of Mourning. Let us look at one:

Psalm 88

Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out before you day and night. May my prayer reach your presence; listen to my cry.

For I have had enough troubles, and my life is near Sheol.
I am counted among those going down to the Pit. I am like a man without strength, abandoned among the dead. I am like the slain lying in the grave, whom you no longer remember, and who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit, in the darkest places, in the depths. Your wrath weighs heavily on me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah

You have distanced my friends from me; you have made me repulsive to them. I am shut in and cannot go out. My eyes are worn out from crying. Lord, I cry out to you all day long; I spread out my hands to you. 10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do departed spirits rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Will your faithful love be declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Will your wonders be known in the darkness or your righteousness in the land of oblivion? 13 But I call to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets you.
14 Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you hide your face from me? 15 From my youth, I have been suffering and near death.
I suffer your horrors; I am desperate. 16 Your wrath sweeps over me; your terrors destroy me. 17 They surround me like water all day long; they close in on me from every side. 18 You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me; darkness is my only friend.

 

We can relate to the psalmist, can’t we? What should we learn from the psalmist?

Cry out to God, He is there

In the blackest midnight, God is there. Another Psalm teaches “Even though I walk through the darkest valley of death’s shadow, I do not fear for You are with me.” God the Son, incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ, walked through the same valleys we walk. That is why we do not fear. The LORD has walked the path ahead of us, and guiding us by the hand, leads us along our paths.

He is El Roi (Pronounced as El Roe-ee), the God who sees.

Genesis 16:13, NASB: “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’

El Roi is best translated, “You are the God who sees me.” He is the God who is watching us and will tend to our needs.

There are times when we refer to YHWH Shammah, the Lord who is there. In those references, we are referring to God being in the midst of His holy people, the redeemed.

God understands your deepest pain and there is rest planned

Revelation 22:1-5

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

In the words of the song, “No more dying there, we are going to see the King.”

No longer will there be any curse-All of the attendant griefs and struggles that come with our fallen nature will be, in that moment, gone. When we shall see the King of Mercy, every tear is promised to be gone.

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

My dear friend, indeed you weep for the moment and my heart breaks for your pain so that I weep with you. But that weeping cannot last forever, God has promised not to allow it.

 Grieve the darkness

Weep and mourn; the Lord draws near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). The Lord God, Himself binds your wounds. The very One who cried out that God had forsaken Him can understand your despair and will pour oil on the wound and bind it up so that your hurt can heal.

Trust the Savior, he is an immovable rock

I have dealt with deep depression, though I do not share it much, and I want to share two verses from Isaiah the Prophet that have always been a comfort to me in the darkness of depression.

Isaiah 43:11 (KJV)

11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.

Isaiah 44:8

Do not be startled or afraid. Have I not told you and declared it long ago?
You are my witnesses! Is there any God but Me? There is no other Rock; I do not know any.

Like Spurgeon, I have learned to kiss the waves that cast me upon the Rock of Ages. A final verse for your comfort:

Malachi 3:6 (KJV) I, the Lord, change not.

God will not change. His promise to be with His people forever and death will not change that. Death is no more than God’s butler; he will show us to the King’s Throne Room.

Let us pray:

Almighty and most merciful God, we call out for your comfort. Our hearts grieve with words we cannot express. We can only groan in our despair but You search the heart and know our pain. Would you bind up our wounded hearts and minister peace to us? Amen

 

Verses of Hope

Verses of Hope

Often in times of struggle, we ask the natural question, “Does God care?” Not only does He care, He also gives us messages of hope in the Bible (The following verses are from the Christian Standard Bible)

  • And at the end he will stand on the dust. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. I will see him myself; my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger. My heart longs within me. –Job 19:25-27

  • For the needy will not always be forgotten; the hope of the oppressed will not perish forever. Psalm 9:18

  • The Lord will send his faithful love by day; his song will be with me in the night—a prayer to the God of my life. . . . Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God. –Psalm 42:8,11

  • Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. –Psalm 62:5-6

  • “For I know the plans I have for you”— this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

  • For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. –Romans 8:20-22

  • Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

  • I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints. –Ephesians 1:18

  • . . . while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. –Titus 2:13

  • . . . so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:18-19

  • Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. –Hebrews 10:23

  • He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. –1 Peter 1:20-21

The Bible’s Answers to Fear

The Bible’s Answers to Fear

This is a season when many are in fear and so we are providing this Reference Guide on Fear in hopes it will help you.

 

  • God promises to protect us (Genesis 15:1)

  • God will not forget us (Genesis 46:3)

  • God leads us through the dark, frightening valley (Psalm 23:4)

  • The Redeemed have no need to fear any longer (Psalm 27:1)

  • God is our source of strength (Psalm 46:1-3)

  • We need not fear darkenss nor violence (Psalm 91:5)

  • We need not fear bad news (Psalm 112:7)

  • Nothing is outside God’s control (Isaih 46:9-10)

  • God does not chnage so we need not fear (Malachi 3:6)

  • We are seald in the hands of Jesus (John 10:28)

  • We are secure inthe Holy Spirit until the Day of Redemption  (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30)

  • Love drives out fear (1 John 4:18)

The Bittersweetness of Suffering (Sermon Notes)

The Bittersweetness of Suffering (Sermon Notes)

“Tribulation” This is not the Great Tribulation; it means simply trouble. Since the awful persecution of the church by the Roman emperors is not called the Great Tribulation, surely our small sufferings are not the Great Tribulation. But the church in Smyrna endured much tribulation, and they suffered for the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Suffering is assured to the believers

         It was promised to us by Jesus

John 16:33 “In the world ye shall have tribulation”

Suffering perfects our faith

James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

 

We sometimes walk through the dark valley of the Shadow of Death

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 

There are different types of suffering for the Lord: Persecution, sickness, loss. Any type of suffering is permitted by our Lord Jesus for His glory.

 

“Poverty” denotes the lack of material possessions. The early church was made up largely of the poorer classes. When the wealthy believed in Christ, their property was confiscated because of their faith. “But thou art rich” denotes the spiritual wealth of the church—they were blessed with all spiritual blessings. Notice the contrast to the rich church in Laodicea. To that church He said, “You think you are rich, but you are really poor and don’t know it.”

 

Let me drive this home for you. Neither physical riches nor physical poverty is a measure of God’s favor on your life. It is no sin to be wealthy but it is a sin to lust after money and riches. Any finances that God puts into your hands are for you to use to bless others. (James 1:27)

 

The Christians of Smyrna knew poverty because they were robbed and fired from jobs in persecution for the gospel. Early Christians joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven (Hebrews 10:34). This kind of economic persecution was one important reason why Christians were poor in Smyrna. Even today, this is a common form of persecution against Christians. Think of the bakers who are dragged into the courts or the photographers and florists, all because of their faith and unwillingness to celebrate unrighteousenss.

 

 

“The blasphemy of them which say they are Jews … but are the synagogue of Satan.”  Insofar as we can tell, the synagogue in Smyrna was aiding the Roman persecution of the Jews. These are not Gentiles who call themselves Jews but are not. History tells us they were very hostile to the Church in Smyrna and, consequently, hey are a synagogue of Satan. Perhaps they were like the Members of the Circumcision faction in Galatia, who sought to force non-Jews into receiving circumcision in order to have a relationship with God, thus subjecting themselves and their followers to a legalistic perversion of the Torah. To be clear, this was not all of the Jews in Smyrna and probably not even the Jewish laity. It was most certainly the leaders of the synagogue and, possibly, the more civically prominent members of the congregation.

 

Do not fear: Literally, this is better translated “stop being afraid.” The Christians in Smyrna suffered under persecution, and they were afraid. Sometimes we think that Christians who endure persecution are almost super-human, and we sometimes don’t appreciate the depths of fear they struggle with. There were things which they were about to suffer, and Jesus wanted them ready to stand against those things.

 

“Fear none of those things” is the encouragement of the Lord to His own in the midst of persecutions. This is the second time in this book that the Lord has offered this encouragement. Throughout Church History, especially during the time of the Reformation, we see that multitudes went to their death singing praises to God.

 

 

“The devil [Satan] shall cast some of you into prison.” Christ labels Satan as being responsible for the suffering of the saints in Smyrna. You and I tend to blame the immediate person or circumstance which serves as Satan’s tool, but the Lord Jesus goes back to the root trouble.

 

Remember the story of Job. Satan was given permission to test Job, but within defined limits. No persecution, no suffering comes without the permission of God.

 

“Ye shall have tribulation ten days.”  There are two important points in view here. First, the “10 Days” symbolize 10 periods of persecution under Rome’s emperors.

 

  • Nero—64–68 (Paul was beheaded under his reign)
  • Domitian—95–96 (John was exiled during that period)
  • Trajan—104–117 (Ignatius was burned at the stake)
  • Marcus Aurelius—161–180 (Polycarp was martyred)
  • Severus—200–211
  • Maximinius—235–237
  • Decius—250–253
  • Valerian—257–260
  • Aurelian—270–275
  • Diocletian—303–313 (the worst emperor of all).

 

This is certainly a valid idea but it is hardly the point. When we have ALL of Revelation in view, it is clear that the “10 Days” is indicative of a short period of time.

 

That you may be tested: If this attack came from the devil, then why couldn’t these Christians in Smyrna just rebuke Satan, and stop the attack? Because God had a purpose in their suffering, and so He allowed it. God uses suffering to purify (1 Peter 1:6-7), to make us like Jesus (Romans 8:17), and to makes us truly witnesses of Him. In all ages, the blood of the martyrs has been seed for the church.

“The saints at Smyrna had not been given a pep-talk on ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ They had no testimony on ‘How Faith Made Me Mayor of Smyrna.’ They were not promised deliverance from tribulation, poverty and reviling. In fact, the worst was yet to come.” (Havner)

Most specifically in this case, God allowed this attack so that they may be tested, in the sense of being proven. Through their suffering, God displayed the true riches of the church in Smyrna to everyone, including themselves – even though He knew they were rich already.

 

The Christians in Smyrna would be tested, but they passed the test. This church, compared to the other six, has no evil spoken against it. Only this church among the seven survives today, and it has survived through centuries of Roman and Muslim persecution.

 

That you may be tested: God is also interested in testing us. We may not have the same opportunity to suffer for Jesus that the Christians in Smyrna had, but we can have their same heart. We may never be in a place to die a martyr’s death, but we can all live a martyr’s life. Sadly, many Christians avoid persecution of any kind by conforming so much to the world that they are no longer distinctively Christians. This wasn’t the case with the Christians in Smyrna. They were tested and they passed the test.

 

 

“Be thou faithful unto death”—and they were. They were martyrs for Him. He promises them “a crown of life.” Remember that He is addressing the believers who lived in Smyrna, the crown city. It is interesting that to them He is saying that He will give crowns—not crowns of flowers—or of anything else perishable—but crowns that will be eternal.

 

The Crown of Life is life itself: everlasting, undiminished, incapable of loss. So often we think of Life Everlasting in terms of time and it is true that Everlasting Life will not end but it is so much more than unending life. Everlasting Life, because it is IN Jesus, who IS life, is quality of life. Everlasting Life is perfect; it does not diminish because it cannot. Everlasting Life can no longer be shortened by sickness or dimmed by death. In the instant we put off this pitiful rag and take up the dazzling majestic robe of life that Christ gives, we will have total and complete quality of life unto the age of the ages. Christ, Himself, is our life; He is our crowning glory.

Scriptures for the Suffering

Scriptures for the Suffering

Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing. — Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge. — Psalm 62:8

You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book? — Psalm 56:8

Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light. — Matthew 11:28-30

Comfort for the depressed Lesson Notes

Comfort for the depressed Lesson Notes

First, a definition of depression: Depression is a prolonged feeling of despondency or dejection.

Is depression sinful? No, it isn’t. Depression is a warning built into both the body and the spirit to alert you that something is wrong, most likely very wrong. Feelings of depression should never be left unattended as the disease can turn deadly without warning (suicidal thoughts and/or actions)

Depression has only two source categories, bio-mechanical error or spiritual error and there are differences in how both should be handled. In either case, wisdom commands that care begins with your doctor to determine if the depression is caused by a physical problem or a spiritual.

Physical causes of depression include:

  • Side effects of medication
  • Poor sleep and/or poor respiration during sleep
  • Dietary issues
  • Prolonged physical illnesses such diabetes, cancer, lupus

Any or all physical causes of depression can be remedied by your doctor. Spiritual causes of depression, on the other hand, require more sensitivity and care. I want to focus on care of depressed people.

Realize that it is not always your fault. Sin separates us from communion with God and sickness is a part of the curse.

 God is able to comfort the hurting (2 Samuel 22:29-31, Hebrews 4:15) All too often we come to the idea that God does not understand us or how we are feeling. We need to disabuse ourselves of this idea and remember that the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the Divine Son, walked on Earth as a man and is, forever, the God-man in heaven.

We remember the words of the Apostle in his letter to the Hebrew Christians telling us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.”  In the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, we are reminded that “Jesus knows our every weakness.”

God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) One of the titles of the Holy Spirit is Comforter. As the Spirit of Christ, He knows all of our cares and sufferings and draws close to minister to us in our times of darkness. The Holy Spirit is the Shepherd of Psalm 23 through Whom we fear no evil. He also illumens the Scripture and hymns to our minds to bring the peace of God into our lives.

Abraham had hope when there was no cause for hope (Romans 4:18-22) So also may we have hope when there seems to be no reason for our hope. In the blackest midnight of our sufferings, Christ is our hope. He is our hope of life everlasting, our hope of no more suffering, and our hope of everlasting peace.

In the Eternal State, God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4) At last, in the Eternal Kingdom, when Jesus,  Himself, is the reward of our suffering, every tear will be wiped away. Every travail will be worth it.

This is our hope, that we will be with Christ forever. That hope can sustain us through any darkness and any depression.

 

Depression, Quick Scripture Reference Guide

Depression, Quick Scripture Reference Guide

In advance of Sunday’s lesson on the Bible and Depression, we are offering this Quick Scripture Reference Guide on depression:

 

  • Depression often follows exhausting times (Judges 15:18)

  • God is able to comfort the hurting (2 Samuel 22:29-31)

  • God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)

  • Abraham had hope when there was no cause for hope (Romans 4:18-22)

  • In the Eternal State, God will wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4)

NKJV Care and Counsel Bible

NKJV Care and Counsel Bible

This is the third article related to Bibles offering counseling resources. Thus far, I have reviewed the NLT Life Recovery Bible and the CSB Restoration Bible and now I am reviewing the Bible offering the most comprehensive set of helps for biblical counseling, the Care and Counsel Bible from the American Association of Christian Counselors and Thomas Nelson Publishers. Unlike most of my reviews, this Bible was not provided by either the AACC or Thomas Nelson nor has this review been solicited. It is my own initiative and my opinions are my own.

Note: The Care and Counsel Bible updates the Bible for Hope which had previously updated the Soul Care Bible (I do possess a copy of the Soul Care Bible)

We will spend most of the review treating the counseling helps, though we will cover the usual review topics as well. Let’s dive right in…

Translation choice

When considering a Bible to deploy in your ministry, the most obvious consideration is the translation choice and the AACC has done well by choosing to retain the New King James Version. The NKJV is fastidiously literal but accurate and easy to read and understand. It is the mainstay translation of the late Dr, R.C. Sproul and many other well-known Bible teachers.

The Physical Book

The Care and Counsel Bible is what I consider to be a normal size Bible at 6”x 9.” The cover is imitation leather with a sewn binding so that it will hold up to the punishment that a faithful counselor will put to it. A rebind may be indicated depending upon how much use one gives and I foresee that, at some point in the future, I will end up rebinding my copy. The paper is relatively thin and there is mild see through; whether or not the see through will be irritating, I cannot say. It is not enough to bother me. This is a black letter edition which is, of course, preferred if one likes to underline, highlight, etc. We have a 9-point font for the text block.

The Topical Index

Perhaps the shining feature of the Care and Counsel Bible is the Topical Index. Over 100 topics are broken down with the appropriate Scriptures Each topic includes: a theme article,  key passage, personality profile. Soul Care Notes, and additional Scriptures related to the topic.

This Topical Index will not only benefit a counselor, it will also benefit Pastors and Teachers who will use it to teach through common issues that many Christians struggle with but are not always willing to discuss.

Theme Article

The Theme Article is our starting point for addressing a particular topic with a counselee. It is a two page article introducing the topic and providing the baseline teaching of the Bible regarding the topic.

Key Passage and Soul Notes

The Key Passage focuses on the central idea of the lesson on a counseling topic. It is around a paragraph long, provides additional scripture references and then points you to the next soul note related to the topic. Soul notes are each a paragraph long and continue to expand upon what the Bible says about a particular issue.

Personality Profile

Each personality profile highlights a person from the Bible who dealt with the issue being studied. Two to three paragraphs are provided explaining how the character dealt with the issue. There are also key lessons from that person’s life provided .

Additional Scriptures

Lastly, the additional scriptures section provides the remaining scriptures on the topic for reference in additional counseling sessions.

What’s Missing

There is nothing missing that would detract from the usefulness of this resource but I would like to see wide margins and note pages, especially notes pages. Frequently, when spending time in the Scriptures, we will find a fresh insight which could benefit a counselee and it would be good to have space to journal those thoughts.

Overall Thoughts and Use Case

I have a sermon scheduled for 10/20 on the Bible and depression. My current lesson prep is, actually, following the flow laid out in the care and counsel Bible. Naturally, I will not be able to cover everything in a single sermon but this will be most helpful.

I really wish that the Care and Counsel Bible had mass market availability from Thomas Nelson as opposed to only being available to AACC members. The Care and Counsel Bible, more than any other “study” Bible needs to be in the hands of any pastor who finds himself concerned with the spiritual welfare of the members of his congregation. It is, of course, basic enough to help a new pastor who has not engaged in Biblical Counseling/Pastoral Care before and in-depth enough to provide a solid refresher for the seasoned counselor.

I am beyond pleased with the Care and Counsel Bible. In the week that I have had it, the Bible has already seen enough use to let me know that it will most definitely be getting the re-bind treatment in the next few months. When I send it in, I will have some note pages added and a couple extra ribbons.

 

Restoration Principles

Restoration Principles

Many Christians, today, live with brokenness in their relationships with God and others. The Bible is God’s gift to us for our restoration and healing. The content which follows originated with New Life Ministries and is used by permisison. May you be blessed in the reading.

R – Rest and Reflection

This Restoration Principle focuses on taking the time to slow down—to rest and reflect on the life issue, circumstance, or difficult season we face. Through rest and reflection, we gain new insights and perspectives that help foster honesty, admission, responsibility, and a right attitude as we begin our journey toward life restoration.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”

(Matthew 11:28).

E – Eternal Perspective

This Restoration Principle focuses on developing an eternal perspective toward the life issue, circumstance, or difficult season. When we begin to understand who God is, and when we accept and stand on the promises and truths found in God’s Word, we are empowered to walk forward with confidence and hope in our restoration journey.

“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration —“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”

(Jeremiah 29:11).

S – Support

This Restoration Principle focuses on having the humility and strength to ask for help and support as we continue on the path toward life restoration. We were never meant to do life alone. Hope, joy, and peace come when we humble ourselves before God, fully surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, and invite others to come alongside us to help us in our journey.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you”

(Luke 11:9).

T – Thanksgiving and Contentment

This Restoration Principle focuses on being thankful and content with God’s blessings so that we remove any obstacles that may prevent us from being good stewards of those blessings. Thankfulness and contentment bring us joy and peace as we continue this journey of restoration and grow in our relationship with Jesus.

Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

(1 Thessalonians 5:18).

O – Other-centeredness

We all have a tendency to be self-centered, particularly in difficult seasons of life. This Restoration Principle focuses on exhibiting the love of Jesus to family, friends, coworkers, and others in need. Letting go of selfish desires and earthly security and choosing instead to focus on others and the truth of God’s Word bring us freedom and joy.

“This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you”

(John 15:12).

R – Relationships

This Restoration Principle focuses on restoring relationships, resolving relational conflicts, and accepting forgiveness from those we may have wronged or giving forgiveness to those who may have wronged us. Life restoration comes through living in community and right relationship with others, so that we may encourage one another, serve one another, keep one another accountable, and experience the harmony and reward of restored relationships.

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts

(Ecclesiastes 4:9).

E – Exercise of Faith

This Restoration Principle focuses on exercising and living out our faith through service to others. This includes trusting God, applying Scripture in our everyday life, helping other Christians grow in their faith, and sharing the good news of the gospel with those who may not know Jesus. Lasting life restoration is found and sustained when we are able to share our restoration story and the hope, joy, and peace we found in God’s Word and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God

(1 Peter 4:10).