The ministry of encouragement

But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see (Deuteronomy 3:28, ESV)

Moses handed over command by the Lord’s instruction to Joshua to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. It was a huge task ahead of Joshua. The Lord told Moses, “charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him”. The Lord knew Joshua needed encouragement to face the destiny that was ahead of him. If Joshua, who had seen everything the Lord did through Moses, needed encouragement to face the task ahead of him, we certainly need a hefty dose of it today. The Lord knows you need encouragement.

The Hebrew word translated “encourage” in Deut. 3:28 above means “to inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to”. There is no record for us in the scripture to suggest that Joshua was discouraged or depressed, yet the Lord said he should be encouraged. In fact, the Lord later told him not to be afraid. So the ministry of encouragement does not necessarily mean we are discouraged. Joshua was encouraged proactively so he would not even get discouraged! We need encouragement when we are discouraged. And we also need encouragement when we are not discouraged!

Discouragement is a spirit-breaker. It might attack our relationship with the Lord, and we just realize we are no longer excited or zealous about the things of God as we used to be. We just got discouraged along the way, probably because of something that happened. Maybe the Lord has told you about what He has planned to do through you, but time and the problems of life have “done their thing” and succeeded to get you discouraged. Maybe it is a promise you received from God or a verse you have been believing, and you are just blunt discouraged right now. And you have probably not even told anyone yet that following Christ is no longer a thing you love to do. The Lord says I should encourage you.

Do you know that one of the cardinal purposes of the gift of prophecy in the New Testament is to encourage believers? Paul said:

“On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” (1 Corinthians 14:3, ESV)

Yes, there you go again, the word “encouragement”. The Greek word used there means “the act of earnestly supporting or encouraging (a response or action)”. As children of God, we need words that encourage us and not words break us down. You need words that will encourage you to hang on to God even though the storms of life are still raging. Prophecy is the ability to hear from God and each time you get a rhema word from God about a situation, it builds encouragement in you. This devotional is a rhema word for many of you reading right now. The Lord wants me to encourage you. Put your name in the “X” from Deut 3:28 above and say out these words with your name replacing the “X” : “ But charge X, and encourage and strengthen him/her”. That is what God has commanded me to tell you today. Keep pressing forward with Him. Keep that fire burning, and if it is about to go out, light it up and fan it to flames. Do not give up or give in to the world. Victory and glory are yours!

MEDITATE

Why do we all need encouragement? What are the specific areas in your life right now that you really need encouragement? Is there one  area that you know you have already abandoned and given up to discouragement that  you need to bring back to life? 

APPLY THE WORD

Lift up your shoulders and shake off every discouragement, fear or lukewarmness that might have made its way into your life. Be encouraged in the Lord, for you will always win with Him.

PRAY

Ask the Lord to encourage you through the messages you hear and the people you will meet. Well, you just read this devotional today, and that is the first answer to that prayer!

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