But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV
Just like DENIAL is NOT a river in Egypt- ignorance is NOT bliss. We need to KNOW, REMEMBER, be encouraged, that this world is NOT our final stop. We are Spiritual beings having a fleshly experience on this planet. Soon this TIME too will come to a conclusion and the next phase of our journey will be with our LORD. All throughout the Bible we are told to be different, to be SANCTIFIED, to be HOLY- set apart. We are called to STRUGGLE differently, to GRIEVE differently, to THINK differently, to BELIEVE differently and to LIVE differently. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Leader, the world tells you that only by being strong can you overcome the burdens and obstacles of this world. God tells us, in our weakness, HIS strength is made perfect. When Paul was struggling with a ‘thorn’ in his side, God told Him to be different: Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) This is the opposite of what the World things and how the world acts- be different!
Conduit, when the world seems to be working against you, instead of complaining like others, we are called to be different; Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) When we feel small, that the world isn’t recognizing our greatness and we are not playing as big as we would like, our God calls us to THINK differently: He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. (John 3:30) So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (Ephesians 4:17) It is important to know WHO you are, but it is more important to know WHO’S you are! REMEMBER, if we are to ENCOURAGE one another with these words, we must KNOW THESE WORDS and REMIND ourselves daily of GOD’s PROMISES. Faith requires a gap. When our earthly circumstances create fear and doubt, we are called to know HIS promises and to believe what HE says, versus what our flesh makes us feel! We are NOT what we feel- we are called to REMEMBER: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 41:10, Deuteronomy 31:6) Remember and BE different!