Tuesday, January 10, 2006


When was the last time you took God at his word? Does your Bible reading affect how you live, and the things you do? Last night I was reading Hebrews 3, and came across these words:

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

How often do we encourage one another? What should be the reason and purpose of any such encouragement?

The verse comes in a long argument about how the readers should keep the faith, and continue to believe in God. The author explains Psalm 95 (known to Anglicans as the Venite), pointing to the fact that while the Israelites had seen the wonders of God in bringing them out of Egypt, they then rejected him, and refused to continue believing when he took them to the edge of the Promised Land. They all died in the desert, not seeing the land they had been called to - apart from the two spies who did believe, Joshua and Caleb.

[Incidentally, if they had any sort of Senior Citizens club or Evergreens in Israel, it would have been very lonely, just the two of them, as they were by far the oldest people in the land, because all the rest of their generation had died in the wilderness]

Anyways, back to Hebrews! The reason we should be encouraging each other is to stick at the faith, and to remember the blessed hope we have through Jesus. But as life is tough, and discouraging things happen, and the deceitfulness of sin tries to keep us back or drag us down, then we need to be involved in reminding each other of the hope we have, that the faith is worth keeping, that we shouldn't give up.

The knowledge that other people are praying for you keeps you going, and encourages you to stick at it!

So how often should we be encouraging each other? Is it the sort of thing that isn't needed very often? NO, by no means! The passage tells us to encourage one another daily! The discouragements can flood in at any time, so it is vital to be reminding ourselves and one another of the hope we have. Derick Bingham, the former pastor from the Crescent, wrote a wee book on encouragement called 'Don't wait until he's dead' - as in, don't wait until someone is dead to say something nice about them; tell them if they do something good, and encourage them!

Last night, in trying to obey this verse, I sent out a text to some people, giving them the verse, and encouraging them to continue in the faith, and reminding them I was praying for them. What a response! God is indeed faithful! It seems that some people needed prayer at the time the message came in - so I'm going to stick at the encouraging as well!

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