Hebrews 3:13

Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 3:13

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” – Hebrews 3:13

One of the things we should focus on is to exhort and encourage our brothers and sisters.  And, as the writer of Hebrews states, we should do it on a daily basis.  And we should do it as long as we are living here on the earth.  Being a Christian can, at times, be difficult.  It is our responsibility to help us all remain true to the faith and faithful to God.

There are many ways we can exhort the brethren.  Temptation can be difficult to endure, especially if we are already in a difficult place. It is important that we take the time to encourage people who are struggling.  If we are struggling, we would want someone to help us with kind and loving words.  In regard to temptation, help each other, through prayer and encouragement that this temptation can be resisted and beaten through the Spirit who lives in us. Take the time to check on each other, especially those who would be considered the weak in the faith.

Be willing to encourage people in any way necessary. As described above, we sometimes need to be encouraged not to do what is wrong.  However, there are times we need to be encouraged to do what is right; what is a good thing.  I have known people who do not believe they are competent or ready to go out evangelize to the lost.  Anyone who is saved, in my opinion, is ready.  What they need is some ideas on how to do it effectively.  The best way to exhort someone in this way is to stand with them till they become comfortable.

There are times when we need to be encouraged that God loves us.  This can happen when some circumstances occur that cause us to not love ourselves, which we then turn to ‘God does not love me’.  I have been there myself.  But a good man spent time with me, and he showed me that God will never reject us. Peter put it this way. “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7.  No matter what we do, God will always care for us.  His love is everlasting.  We can always go to Him, and He will be there. There are more reasons we sometimes need encouragement than we can ever know.  One way we can show the love of God with our brethren is to encourage them and exhort those who need it.  It may help them keep from giving up and walking away.  So, if you see someone who needs encouragement, or who need help fulfilling a calling, take the time to lift them up, in prayer, and in helping accomplish the good God has called them to do.  This will help us all to grow in the love of God and honor Him in all we do.  It will also keep us all from being hardened and defeated by the deceitfulness of sin.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Isaiah 35:3

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Isaiah 35:3 

“Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble” – Isaiah 35:3

When I listen to people talk about what they see in our country going forward, I hear a lot of opinions and thoughts, however, when I listen carefully to what they are saying overall, I hear one thing clearly.  They are afraid.  They are afraid of what is happening now with the COVID-19 virus, and with what is coming in new proposed government policies that could change our country radically with restrictions and oversight we have not seen before.  Many people are becoming tired of all this stuff and simply want to live their lives in a way that is enjoyable and where their needs are met.

The prophet Isaiah speaks to this issue.  He is telling us who are followers of God to encourage those who are fearful, especially believers.  This is essentially what our focus verse is saying.  The idea is to encourage and help sustain the weak and despondent by laying out the promises God has promised us.  He has assured us that we have a glorious future that has nothing to do what is happening now. 

In the first two verses we read, “The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom: Like the crocus.  It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God.” Isaiah 35:1-2.  This speaks of a time after the Lord returns and what it will be like when all the enemies of the people of God are gone.  This will be an incredible time of joy and rejoicing.  It will be infinitely better than what we are enduring today.  This is a place for the redeemed of the Lord.  “And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:10. 

This should be the message we bring to weak and downcast Christians.  “Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.” Isaiah 35:4.  We have nothing to fear when He returns.  On the contrary, we have everything to rejoice about.  When He returns, it will be a good day for us, but not for our enemies.  He will revenge us and will deal with justice to those who cause us to be afraid, but for us, He will save us, keeping us in safety.  Notice all the good stuff to come.  “Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there,” Isaiah 35:6-9.  This is what we have to look forward to.  And this is what our minds should be thinking on, the glorious day of Christ’s return.  Those who were lame or injured will be lame and injured no more.  There will be no vicious beasts in this place.  This reminds me of a section in Chapter eleven in Isaiah.  “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9.

This here is our future, a place with absolutely nothing to be afraid of and where everything is good and beautiful.  Therefore, it does not matter what happens here now, for this will all pass away.  Plus, He is always with us in difficult times.  As God said to Joshua He also says to us.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.  Trust God in all things and do not be afraid or dismayed.  Our future will be wonderful, and it is the promise of God to bring it forth.  I am not saying things are not difficult.  However our focus should not be on our difficulties but on our God and His promises.  As David wrote in the psalms, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.