Bible Studies Devotional Words Of Encouragement By Lynne Conley / last year Share Tweet Pin Share Strands of Influence By Lynne Conley Scripture Text: But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13 KJV Demas was a close companion to the Apostle Paul. He was also a faithful Christian. In those days being a Christian was risky, and if caught death was the penalty. Demas was near to the man of God. He loved to hear his teachings and preaching and being so close to the man of God. ‘’ For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.’’ (11 Timothy 4:10 KJV) What causes a person to be so close to church life, singing in the choir, and their church attendances become hit and miss over other Sundays? What makes a person lose everything they have fought the enemy to keep and then give it all of up for one night of pleasure? It’s the influence, the influence of the people around them. Demas liked the fame I think of being around the great Apostle Paul. He didn’t like the hardship, adversities, and persecution that sometimes follows a Christian. Janice Long is an older lady at the young age of seventy six years old. She was a temporary worker. She is unable to help out anymore, but in the past was called in on occasion when she was needed to fill in due to vacation. Two years ago in mid-summer Janice was working for several months. It was one day later in the evening about seven-thirty, and everyone in that particular department had already left for the evening. It was on a Friday evening. At work I carry a phone so I paged her over the intercom. I said ‘’ Jan Long, please call extension # 4459, thank you,’’ I repeated myself for the second time. I waited about ten minutes but received no answer from her. I went to her area to check to make sure she was doing okay. Since she didn’t call me back, I decided I would walk to Building #8. The pharmaceutical company I work for is a huge place. It’s a nice walk so I thought to myself I would walk since I need the exercise. For my health it was better for me to walk instead of driving the company vehicle to that building. When I got to that building, she was outside picking up some trash that someone had thrown on the ground. She had seen some huge blackberry vines with an abundance of huge berries. She said, ’’Lynne, can you reach those blackberry vines and grab me some of those blackberries’’? The blackberries were already ripening and ready for picking. As I reached over some of the vines, the thorns started sticking me in the front of my clothing. The more I tried to get loose from those vines, the more the vines and thorns were embedding in my clothing. I slowly grabbed the sharp pointing thorn and moved it quickly from my clothing and my flesh. The Lord enlightened me on that particular evening at work. Sin will take us farther than we want to go. When we play with sin, it will soon take over us. The Lord gives us so many chances to get our lives in order to be a ready vessel He can use. Do we take the time He gives us? Being a Christian will cost you something. When they persecuted Jesus and nailed Him to an old rugged cross, He was without sin. What makes us any better? We all have sinned, but He was blameless. When the storms of life come upon us and, trust me, we all will experience them while we are living, we can rise above and set our thoughts on the faith of the Lord. Remember, the storms don’t have to overwhelm us. We have to allow the Lord’s power to lift us up above them. The Lord will make it possible for us to overcome the storms that bring sicknesses, tragedy, failure, and past disappointments in our everyday lives. You all stay Encouraged; hang in there. The best is yet to come for you.