Tag Archives: encouragement

Leviticus 26-27; Numbers 1; Acts 13

Leviticus 27:29 “No person under the ban, who may become doomed to destruction among men, shall be redeemed, but shall surely be put to death.” Commentary by Barnes: “Therefore the application of the word חרם chērem to man is made exclusively in reference to one rightly doomed to death and, in that sense alone, given up to Yahweh. The man who, in a right spirit, either carries out a sentence of just doom on an offender, or who, with a single eye to duty, slays an enemy in battle, must regard himself as God’s servant rendering up a life to the claim of the divine justice …” https://biblehub.com/commentaries/leviticus/27-29.htm

Before I accepted Christ as my savior, I was a person under the ban. That thought occurred to me as I read the law in Leviticus. Yet even though doomed to death, Jesus, my Lord, had my name on His lips to redeem and save me from eternal judgment. I can never fully understand nor forget the immensity of my salvation.

Therefore, I pray for those that I love who have not accepted God’s salvation yet. I am speaking specifically of the family that bears my DNA. As recounted in detail the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and their brethren (Numbers 1), God knows every head of household and all whom He created from my people, the grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Of them all, there are few who talk and walk with God. How my heart hurts to think that I have family who still do not accept Christ as Lord and are figuratively under the ban. Not by man’s hand nor Levitical law, but each is standing on a spring-loaded deathtrap. Reasons for avoiding salvation are many – ignorance, trauma, hypocrisy by Christians, busyness, selfish desires, and shame.

But when I pray for them, whom I love, to come to Christ for redemption, I must ponder my own attitudes and behaviors. Am I willing to pray God’s forgiveness over them? Have I forgiven them? Am I willing to pray for mercy over them? Have I desired judgment instead? Am I willing to pray favor over them? Have I laid down my competitive nature?

There was a book written several years ago by Paul Moots, Becoming Barnabas, The Ministry of Encouragement. Though written for church leaders and laymen in building up of the church congregation, the call to become an encourager spoke to my heart. Moots described several character traits of an encourager. Humility is foundational to the encourager and best defined as knowing one’s spiritual gifts and accepting one’s limitations. Barnabas’ example of humility can be found in how he spoke up for Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem and later his willingness to stand aside in the light of Paul’s greater ministry. Encouragers also should be able to handle conflict. Encouraging others to use their gifts can mean changing my own perspective and that can make me uncomfortable or argumentative especially if I miss how the Holy Spirit is moving in another’s life. Recognizing my faults leads to another character trait of an encourager – vulnerability. I must face my own limitations, fears, challenges, and mistakes and be willing to honestly reflect on why the criticism and resistance. In a way, being vulnerable reminds me of my work as a counselor. We, in the counseling field, have been trained in techniques dubbed motivational interventions. One of my favorites is ‘rolling with resistance.’ By doing this, I do not have to lock horns with anyone even if I disagree or do not have the same understanding. For whom am I to set myself up as the standard or the expert? The pillar underlying all that I do to encourage others should be integrity. No matter what the situation, who the person is, and what our family history has said, I must trust in prayer and the Holy Spirit. Only then will my family see me as trustworthy. Flying off at the handle with a sister or gossiping about a distant cousin will not open the door of anyone’s heart to the divine love of God. Staying focused on the one with whom I am speaking, encouraging them in their God-given gifts (even if they cannot see how God has gifted them), and remaining humbled by the work of the Holy Spirit will settle my nerves. Yes, I am the one who is frantic to get my family saved and my unruly behavior or unrighteous attitude may just be the barrier to that happening.

Dear Lord God, I repent of being a know-it-all, and even of taking on the burden of saving others. Forgive me for laying out a plan of salvation for my family that does not include You and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Reveal to me that which I have said, not said, done or not done that has interfered with Your work in their lives. Let my speech be that of an encourager. Help me to be authentic in becoming humble, vulnerable, able to handle conflict, and demonstrating integrity in all that I do for You and for my family. I love that You love us and have called us to You. Thank You and praise You. Amen.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hebrews 7-10

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest, who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.” Hebrews 10:19-20 NLT

I have been a Christian for 40 years, but sometimes I think I still need to do certain things before I can come into God’s presence. I forget that He meets me right where I am at…in all of my messiness, doubt, and confusion. He’s not wanting my perfection. He wants me to cry out to Him even when all I can utter doesn’t seem profound. He cares about my heart.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT

I think of the times that I stayed home and watched church on-line this year. While God met me there, I often felt disconnected from my fellow believers. But, when I was worshipping with them, I was encouraged by their faith. And could feel God’s presence in a powerful way. I have to fight against isolation. Satan would want me to feel disconnected and useless to the body of Christ. When in reality, my presence with them matters.

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith.” Hebrews 10:35-38 NLT

Thank you Father for making a way for me to come into your presence. I never want to lose the wonder of that. I want to trust You more. I surrender to You. I give You all the glory. Amen.



Filed under Hebrews

Romans 11:25-15:33

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:4-6, NIV, emphasis mine

When I set goals in the past, the satisfaction of the accomplishment felt short-lived. I set a goal to run a mile. I ran a mile. And then I wondered, “Is this it?” I set other goals and reached them. But when I cloaked the goal in purpose, they stopped being one-and-done events, and became details of a bigger picture.

A post by an account I recently started following (@horseandchariot) reminded me about purpose: “What should your one purpose in life be? Something that never needs to change and can continue to be pursued in the very best and worst situations. The one purpose in life you are called to fulfill is to seek to glorify God in all you do by pursuing a virtuous life.” (Excerpt from a post on November 29, 2022, Horse and Chariot)

This morning as I poured a second cup of coffee, I glanced at the disappointment that’s been vying for my attention. It isn’t a physical thing, but a thought that’s been poking at me, “(That scenario) didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. Not at all. What do you have to show for (it)?” While the results may not have been what I imagined, the steps that I took were made in acts of faith–regardless.

Endurance is about the long course, not the one-and-done. (And I’m not done!) I read these verses in Romans 15 and hold them today. Everything that was written was written to teach. Endurance is taught through the Scriptures. And the encouragement they provide gives HOPE.

Father God, you give endurance and encouragement. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for hope. Help me to live in purpose, on purpose. May you be glorified.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

Psalms 132:1-135:14 

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

I became an ambassador for a sports event company earlier this year. Being part of that group of athletes has been so very positive. I serve alongside them as a volunteer at races when I’m not actually running in the races. My first run out was a trail run in February. Wave 1 was on the second loop of a half marathon as Wave 6 (my group) was starting out (I was running a 10k). One of my team members called out to me as we passed, and we smacked hands. That was my first experience on the team and my first race ever.

I’m glad that this was my first experience because it’s played a huge role in shaping me and my focus this year. Even the leadership of the company maintains a focus of unity. These athletes cheer one another on, from first to last. It is the most positive environment I’ve ever been part of.

I think on unity. I think on God’s way. He wants the best for us. Oh, he knows that unity is good and pleasant. Precious.

Thank you, God, for real and authentic glimpses of unity. Help me to take this experience into other aspects of my life.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Uncategorized

Job 12:13-16:10

I recently caught up with a friend who has been going through severe and mysterious health ailments. Tentatively she shared a detail, then another. I don’t have the full picture of what she’s been through these past months, but I recognized a holy privilege to be invited into any space of her journey. (Oh, the awe of holy ground. I do not want to mar it with an impulsive or incomplete response!) As I listened to her, I heard the natural bubble of her voice. She has always been joyful. And even in this, she waits with joy and patience and confidence.

“I have heard many things like these;
    you are miserable comforters, all of you!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
    What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
    if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
    and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
    comfort from my lips would bring you relief
.” (Job 16:2-5, NIV, emphasis added)

I wonder if it is the deep lows in life that allow one to speak comfort to another. Empathy. Compassion. Sincerity.

I don’t know all that she’s experienced in this trial, but I know she still walks by faith on this dark path. She looks at me and shines her light. She is in the deep lows, and yet when our conversation was over, I felt hope, comfort, and relief because of her joy and confidence.

As I read through Job’s story, I think on his friends and their responses. They speak in judgment. They speak judgment of God. But God wasn’t penalizing or punishing Job–God called Job faithful. Maybe someone carries a heavy burden because of mistakes they’ve made, or from actions made by others. And maybe someone was appointed by God to carry a heavy burden, because God knew he could.

Lord, I hope I always remember the person’s heart who walks through heartache and trial. I pray that you would give me guidance how to comfort, encourage, or even to be still as I bear witness the journey. I pray that in my own walk, that you would send me support to encourage me for burdens I might carry. I give thanks for my friend, Lord, and your presence with us.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover