I read a Bible verse today which I want to share with you: But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today.” (Hebrews 3:13).

There was someone I knew.  A long time ago this person came to church.  They were faithful until, they were no longer faithful.  I just called to check on them and say I cared about them.  The next week they were in church.  They told me after church they had planned to end their life, until they heard my voice and that I cared about them.

I still am shocked by that, even though that happened such a long time ago.  I didn’t even know they were thinking such thoughts.  But, a simple, short, encouraging voicemail changed their lives.

I don’t want to write much on this passage. I don’t think I need to.  But, I did want to encourage you.  I don’t know who reads this.  I don’t know what circumstances surround your life at this very moment.  But, I am sure you still need encouragement.

So, let me do that.  (Hopefully this doesn’t come off as some kind of “Stewart Smalley – You’re good enough; You’re smart enough…” speech).  God loves you!  That is probably the most powerful, encouraging sentence you could ever read.  GOD LOVES YOU!

For me, that is so evident in what we are thinking about this weekend.  We are celebrating Saints Triumphant Day on Sunday.  If you don’t know what that is, let me explain. Once a year we have this day in church.  A “Saint” is one who is completely made holy by Jesus.  They no longer suffer nor have sin.  It is because they are in heaven.  Jesus took them home to their joy-filled rest.  It is bittersweet because…our loved ones are gone, but they are gone in heaven!

Why are they triumphant?  Because of Jesus and the war he won on the cross.  Jesus destroyed sin; he destroyed death; he destroyed the devil!  And WE get the benefits of that war won!  Triumphant.

But, why did Jesus do that?  Are you worthy of Jesus dying for you?  Are you worthy of living in heaven?  Are you worthy of being a part of God’s eternal family? (Perhaps you are thinking, “Pastor, if you say NO to all those, how is that encouraging for me?”).  Truth is, the answer to all those questions is…NO!  We are not worthy of all the mercies God gives to us.  Yet, Jesus did come; Jesus did die; Jesus did rise; and Jesus does forgive.  Why?  Because he CHOSE to do that.  Because he chose to LOVE you.

Why?  Because God loves you!

Let’s face it, the devil has power and sometimes we make it extremely easy on him.  Our passage tells us to encourage, but I know there are so many times I failed to encourage.  I sometimes wonder what effect my negative words may have had on someone.

Not that this will make up for all my mistakes and words which fell from my mouth which were not encouraging (Jesus paid for those sins…) but, I want you to know – GOD LOVES YOU!  No matter what is happening to you right now, you are completely loved by God, the very God who makes the decision if heaven will be your home or not…he loves you.  He loves you through Jesus and the work Jesus did.  And, even though the devil has power…he has NO power to take that love from you.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today.” (Hebrews 3:13).  What would you call this day?  Would you call it…TODAY? If so, go and encourage someone. Remind them also that God loves them; that Jesus died for them; that Jesus has forgiven them; that heaven is their home.  You never know how your words can change their lives!