Monday, August 19, 2013

strengthening souls

"After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.'" Acts 14:21-22, NASB.

Jaye Martin
The souls of many I know need strengthening today. It seems at every turn, I hear of faithful servants who have incredible challenges because of death or serious illness. I have no problems, I just sometimes think that I do.

On Friday, I learned of the passing of an incredibly gifted man, Stacy Taylor. Known for his generous spirit and vibrant personality, I knew him as one who jumped into every task with great enthusiasm. I laugh as I recall the times he volunteered to visit for the church, teach children's Bible study and do other things only to learn that these were not his first calling. More than once, he said he just knew how to make and raise money. Wow, what a gift!!! Stacy was always smiling and strengthening the souls of those he knew. Pray for his wife, Janet, and for his family and friends. Today they need to be encouraged through the tribulations. We all do.

It was Friday evening that I ran into Arthur Craig, pastor of Woodhaven Deaf Church in Houston. I was shocked when he said that just two weeks ago, his wife Barbara had died. Arthur and Barbara started the first deaf church and have been faithfully serving for decades. What a blessing to have served alongside of them in ministry at Houston's FBC. Barbara was a kindhearted and gentle soul who cherished her husband and children and loving consoled everyone she met. She was a true servant and we will all miss her. The world is a better place because of her ministry.

Regardless of your call in life, whether it be in the business world or quietly and faithfully serving behind the scenes, your life counts. Gifted in leading or gifted in following, all are necessary. This scripture in Acts reminds us that, in the early church, each person and all gifts were needed to work together for the cause of Christ. Today, let's decide to lay aside all the things that we think are problems. Instead, strengthen the souls of disciples and encourage them to continue in the faith.

May we be found faithful.