It’s difficult to express the anguish a person can feel about a tragedy in their own country… And there is no way to express how sad and how shocking Friday evening was- hearing about a mass shooting in New Zealand.

Death gives most people the shivers- The idea is terrifying because we fear the unknown.

But how much more terrifying it is, not knowing where your eternity lies. 

I want to take this time to urge you to think about eternity… Have you any thought of where you might spend it? Have you any thought of who you might spend it with? – If this idea is new to you, don’t shrug it off! Please don’t shrug it off. 

If there is anything you need get from my blog today- Please let it be this: We all need God!

In the beginning God. 

He made the earth and everything in it. He made man and gave them a place to live and thrive. 

Man sinned (Went against what God has asked)- Called the fall of man.

Many years later God sent His son Jesus to live a life that we couldn’t live- A perfect life- A life without disobeying what God asks of man.

Jesus was killed by man and payed the price of sin to give us a right standing with God again.

And He offers you the ability to accept Jesus’ death and the gift it is for man to have a right relationship with God again.

Now it’s up to you- God will not force you to become a follower of Him- But if we are not following Him, than Jesus’ death that paid for sin will not cover it…

And the price for sin is death. 

This is a very simplified version of the story. But I feel this is the main point- If you are not following God, you are living against Him. And this effects your eternity.

This is a normal thought-

I heard a story a long time ago- 

And it goes something like this…

The clock had only just tipped down to 3:30 when the front door stormed open and a young boy walked in… He had just spent a long day at school and though he wasn’t unhappy or angry, his mindset would be easily changed…

Son! His father called him from his bedroom to the living room…

As he was called the boy came down quickly in order to please his father, but as his father started explaining what would have to happen before the evening had ended- the boys temper hit a switch… 

But you!!!!!…. ….. …..

Big, hurtful, and irremovable statements made their way out…

Instead of lashing out and making things bigger the father just beckoned his son outside to the back fence.

He placed on a nearby table a hammer, and a pile of nails…

Son!! I wish with all my heart that you would be honest and kind!

This evening and every moment after- If you say something even remotely hurtful to anyone, I want you to hit a nail into this back fence. 

The boy hit into the fence a number of nails- Mostly because of his explosion in the living room, but a few more just in case he might have hurt someone else throughout the day that he hadn’t picked up on..

The next day he came home and added another 40 something nails- “Father, I didn’t realize how easy they make it out of my mouth…”

And the day after… 

It took about a month before he came home without having to place any nails… And on that day he ran to his father in great excitement.

“Father!! I refrained all day!” 

His father looked up smiled and seemed very pleased! “For every day that you refrain son, you may take out 20!”

And a few weeks later he found his father in a great excitement again… 

“Father! There are no more nails in the fence!”

His father looked at him, and then beckoned him outside… 

“Son! You might have stopped hurting others with your words, and maybe even made up for some of them! 

But I will tell you this while you are young! 

That fence will always bear the marks of those nails! And in that same way… Every person you say hurtful things to, will be forever scarred.”

While I was in Canada- Every person in my course had the responsibility of, at some point leading; Which included sharing devotions and leadership thoughts..

I struggled during my sharing times to connect with my listeners- So instead of sharing facts (which is how I would normally feel comfortable) I decided to share my thoughts through, or beside stories that would help convey the message that I tried to pass on.

At the end of every week there was a big evaluation and feedback was passed onto us about how well things were conveyed, whether they made sense, or were relevant…

I started off by making the bible into a more interactive story, trying to draw people into the narrative..

Then I started finding folk stories that shared good morals..

And then I moved on to personal stories I had made over the years.. 

And there was someone in the course- who I could rely on, commenting on my stories! I could rely on him to be honest, but passing the knowledge on to me in the form of encouragement… and it made even the biggest hiccups feel alright/ manageable. I knew there was room to grow, but I felt good about it!

Without making it sound dramatic, or making myself sound soft… I struggled several times throughout my travels! Times of homesickness, times of just being overwhelmed, and times of conflict that seemed bigger than they were… 

But there was something edging me forward, always picking me up, always helping me be positive of where things were at… Encouragement.

Defined as: 

The action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope. 

Last week I mentioned briefly the “One another” statements… The bible already mentions which statement is the most important- Love>

In my week, I was thinking about which one I would pick as the second most important. I wrestled with that idea for a bit.. And I decided that encouragement has one of the biggest impacts beside love. (Of course my own personal opinion). But as I reflect on the impact it’s had in my own life- that’s still where I stand.

The times in my life where I felt the best, the most positive… Were the times in my life where I had someone rooting me on- Encouraging me.

Now I know the world see’s Encouragement as telling someone that they are good at the piano, or sports, or have good music tastes.

This is praise- Which effects encouragement. But encouragement is so much more.

Encouraging can be pushing someone to do better. To try something new. 

It can be giving feedback. 

It can be giving them a second chance when there has been a failure. 

It can be spending time by listening, watching, or showing importance to the things that they do. 

It can be helping them solve a problem they might have come to…

And so much more.

So among thinking about eternity- May I encourage you to think about encouragement.

It’s hugely important… and most of us don’t do it enough…

Thanks for reading! And please pray for New Zealand, and the people connected to the mass shooting.

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