Encouragement is so important. The Bible tells us to encourage others. I have personally seen encouragement go a long way in a person’s life. Paul wrote how he wanted to encourage others in their faith, but then he said something interesting. He said, “But I also want to be encouraged by yours.” What? He wanted to be encouraged by their faith?
Faith is encouraging. When others have faith, it is an encouragement. Even Paul, who many see as this great person of faith, could be encouraged by the faith of others. It is encouraging to see what God is doing through other people. It is encouraging to see others walking in faith. It is a truly a blessing and an honor to share. What an encouragement to those who witness God’s presence in your life.
Today, remember that you can be an encouragement to others. Go out of your way to encourage someone. Speak life. Share a laugh. Walk in faith. Encourage others in their faith. And allow yourself to be encouraged by what God is doing in the lives around you. Look around and watch Him move. He is alive. He is doing great things.
“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” – Romans 1:12 [NLT]
Even though Lot chose the land to the east, it didn’t remove the promise of God. Remember, God promised Abram descendants, land, and blessing. Lot making a choice for some land, does not cancel a promise of God. No one can take away from the Word of God. This is why it is so vital for us to have His Word written in our hearts. This is why it is so important for us to be deep in the Word, reading it, meditating on it, cherishing it. So that we know these promises. So that we know what He says, what He commands, what He desires. So that we know Him.
Abram was given these promises and these promises would stand. Abram never saw all of the promises come to fruition; his descendants did. At this moment in the narrative, as Lot goes in one direction and Abram is to go the other, it would appear as if this promise of land would now not happen. That’s how you and I think so often. Well I guess this won’t happen now. God says this, God promises that, but I’m not seeing anything appear to be moving in that direction. At this point, God told Abram to stand and walk the land He would deliver.
Arise, walk into the promise of God. That’s basically what He told Abram. Arise, walk into the promise of God. See, God promises you and I a lot. He promises you things. Look into His Word. Read His promises. Speak to Him. Through the Holy Spirit, He will reveal His Word to you. Listen. You will read of His promises. But these promises do not just fall upon you. The world will tell you they aren’t true. Some will make you think they couldn’t possibly happen. You will look around and think that it’s never going to come to fruition. Arise, walk into the promise of God. Stand up. Walk forward in faith. Embrace the promises of God. Hold onto them. Trust that He will deliver.
“Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” – Genesis 13:17 [ESV]
Who do you trust? Do you have people that you trust? Family? Friends? A spouse? A parent or child? Who do you trust? Whoever you trust, this person or these people are known to you. You have a relationship with them. You have known them for a period of time. You may know their secrets. You can describe them to others. You have been through a lot. You have seen them in action.
In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy about the One in whom he trusts. He trusts God. He knows God. He wrote, “I know the One in whom I trust.” He knows God. Paul is talking about a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Many people know of God, but not so many know God. There is a difference. To truly know God, you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. As you read His Word, you know Him more. As you walk in faith, you know Him more. As you serve His people, you know Him more. As you worship Him, you know Him more. Can you say today that you know Who you trust? Are you taking steps toward getting to know Him more? Your confidence in Him is strengthened by your knowledge of Him, which is strengthened by your walk with Him. As you continue to do life with Jesus, He continues to reveal to you Who you trust.
“That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.” – 2 Timothy 1:12 [NLT]
We have all certainly missed some blessings. When we walk in faith, we are met with blessing. It might not happen right away, but eventually it comes. I remember when I took a leap of faith and returned to college. When I graduated with my ministry degree, I thought instantly something would happen. It was a long period later before I saw how God orchestrated everything for a better outcome. Remember, He thinks differently than us. What we think would be great, is nothing compared to the greatness He has in store for us.
I have been at the crossroads where I could walk in faith, or turn in the other direction. There have been times when I didn’t step forward. I stood my ground or turned direction. I then missed the opportunity to see God move. Remember, He calls us to walk in faith. If we don’t walk, we miss what follows. Oftentimes, rather than walk in faith, we take burdens on our own shoulder. We then miss the opportunity to see God move in awesome ways. We miss it!
Lately I have been recognizing the lack of faith in people around me. I’m not saying this to say, “My faith is greater than yours.” I am simply noting that God is revealing this to me. It grieves me. I feel for those who are not walking forward in faith, because I know they are missing out on what God has for them. I share with these people how God has moved in my life. Still, they don’t move. I can only pray. Prayer is always the best thing. Today, I’m praying for you. I am praying that you are not missing the blessings. I am praying for you to have confidence in the Lord, to move forward in faith—to step out to what God has for you. Embrace God and embrace His promises. You will be blessed!
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” – Jeremiah 17:7 [NLT]
Sometimes we like to avoid or rush through situations all together. If something seems inconvenient, unsettling or as something that could possibly cause some damage or undesired consequence, we tend to back away. In Joshua 3, we read of this command for the priests to stand still in the Jordan. This is one of my favorite pictures in the Bible. Imagine the Jordan. Imagine the waters that overflow the banks. God tells these priests to go out and walk into this flood zone, to stand still right in the midst of it all.
I cannot say how I would react to such a command. I would consider the electronics in my pocket. I would certainly want to take off my shoes. I wouldn’t want to be wearing jeans. I would not like entering higher waters. These priests were to walk right in there and stand still. Why stand still? Why stand still after God causes the water to part as He did with the Red Sea? Consider how awesome it would have been as these men rested the soles of their feet on dry ground and raised their eyes to look around them. Consider the awesomeness they witnessed that could not have been appreciated as dearly if they simply ran across the dry ground or if they never had to get their feet moving forward in the water to see God move.
Sometimes God wants to take you into the flood zone. He wants to get you right where you can see Him move mountains in your life. There may have been a moment where He has done remarkable things and you missed it all because you didn’t stand still, because you were focused on where you placed your feet rather than stopping to look around you. God still can cause waters to stand in a heap. God is the same God who parted both the Red Sea and the Jordan. You have the opportunity to stand firmly today – to stand firmly and to stand still wherever God leads you in life. If you rush through you may just miss the waters standing in the heap. If you don’t move your feet in the flood zone, you may miss out on the remarkable ways God wants to move in your life.
“And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” – Joshua 3:13 [ESV]
There are moments in life when we recognize what is right but we do not always do what we should in response. We like to call it our sin nature. In Isaiah 42, it spoke of those who understood what was right but they did nothing. The people heard what they were to do, but they did not act.
James said we are to be doers of the word. True faith requires action. The people Isaiah was referring to knew what was right but did not act on it. We do the same thing today. It is easier to refuse to act. It is easier to ignore. It is easier to accept what the world accepts.
Today let us challenge ourselves to listen. Let us recognize what is right and act. Let us stand firm in Christ. Knowing and refusing to act is worse than not knowing at all.
“You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.” – Isaiah 42:20 [NLT]
In Exodus 12, the people are given instructions: “be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in hand” (v. 11 NLT). They were getting dressed for travel. These people were slaves, slaves that were not allowed to leave due to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. But God was preparing the Israelites for the Lord’s Passover. God promised that they would soon be leaving.
Getting dressed for travel was an act of faith, trusting that God truly was going to do as He said. Are you dressed for travel? Are you prepared to do whatever God has called you to do? Are you believing the promises of God? The Word of God?
We might not need to have sandals on and a walking stick in hand, but we should always be prepared to walk in faith. Trusting God—trusting His Word, His character, His promises—that’s faith. Believing Him. And the only way you can believe Him is to know Who He is and what He promises. That requires prayer. That requires reading His Word. So are your sandals on? Are you ready?
“These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the LORD’s Passover.” – Exodus 12:11 [NLT]
We don’t know where the future will take us. We can merely speculate what may or may not happen, and we can make an educated guess that turns out correct from time to time. But for the most part, we must walk in faith. Some people do not believe. Some people do not know God. Some try to control their lives, and believe they have got it all figured out.
This past week my Bible study group discussed the feeding of five thousand. Most are familiar with this event, and it is one of the few events that appears in all four of the Gospels. When all of the people stood before Jesus and His disciples, He told the disciples to feed the people. After seeing so many miracles and healings before this event, the disciples didn’t think of anything except how THEY could get the food for the multitudes. This was not just five thousand people– this number was the men; women and children increased this number. Some believe that there was close to 15,000 people involved in this memorable event. But what did the disciples look to when seeking a way to feed this large group? They immediately thought of the cost, the cost of food to feed so many. They tried to figure out how to get the money to feed the people.
Are there times in our lives when we come across a problem, and we look for our own solution? Are there times when perhaps we try to figure out how WE can solve a problem, rather than taking it to God? Perhaps we like to think we are doing a good thing by solving our own problems. Or maybe we think that the issue is so small, so why bother God with it– we will hold out for a bigger issue. The problem is that God wants to be a part of our lives. He has a great interest in EACH one of our lives. He doesn’t care how small or how large the issue. He wants to be involved. He is always there, ready for us to ask, ready for us to talk. He listens 24/7, wherever we are, and there are no cell phone overages and no waiting to say our piece.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10 [NIV]
“Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” – Galatians 2:16 [NIV]