But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see. Deuteronomy 3:28
Seventh grader Journey Bowman wanted to make a difference in her school, so she started the POP, or Power of Positivity, program. She began putting positive and creative notes on the lockers of other students. “I wanted to write positive notes to make a difference in someone’s day,” she said. “In turn, they might also choose to make a difference in someone else’s day.”
And that’s what happened. In the last school session before the coronavirus shutdown, one young man “who was not always very optimistic” wrote as many notes as he could, while another student, “who was very shy,” also expressed herself in writing. The notes were anonymous, but the project changed the atmosphere of the school.
Moses wasn’t able to cross the Jordan and lead Israel to conquer the Promised Land, but he had a vital assignment. He was to encourage and strengthen Joshua, his successor. The support and encouragement of others help us cultivate our dreams. POP into someone’s life today with a word or note of encouragement!
Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.
Pearl Strachan Hurd
Mike Barnhardt, “Student Spreads Encouraging Words,” Davie County EnterpriseRecord, May 28, 2020.
Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.Leviticus 19:34
When I moved to a new country, one of my first experiences left me feeling unwelcome. After finding a seat in the little church where my husband was preaching that day, a gruff older gentleman startled me when he said, “Move along down.” His wife apologized as she explained that I was sitting in the pew they always occupied. Years later I learned that congregations used to rent out pews, which raised money for the church and also ensured no one could take another person’s seat. Apparently some of that mentality carried on through the decades.
Later, I reflected on how God instructed the Israelites to welcome foreigners, in contrast to cultural practices such as I encountered. In setting out the laws that would allow His people to flourish, He reminded them to welcome foreigners because they themselves were once foreigners (Leviticus 19:34). Not only were they to treat strangers with kindness (v. 33), but they were also to “love them as [themselves]” (v. 34). God had rescued them from oppression in Egypt, giving them a home in a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:17). He expected His people to love others who also made their home there.
As you encounter strangers in your midst, ask God to reveal any cultural practices that might keep you from sharing His love with them.
By: Amy Boucher Pye
Reflect & Pray
Why is it so important that we welcome people into our homes and churches? What do you find most challenging and most rewarding in this?
Father God, You welcome me with open arms, for You love me day after day. Give me Your love to share with others.
The Bible is the most amazing book ever written because its author is the Lord God. Although it was penned by men, the Holy Spirit inspired every word He wanted them to record. The Scriptures contain the Lord’s revelation of Himself and His plan of redemption. Among the many topics it covers are: the creation of the world; the fall of man; the presence, power, and penalty of sin; the provision of a Savior; the final judgment; and the eternal kingdom. The Bible also answers questions about humanity’s value, wise living, and existence after death.
All sections of God’s Word are valuable and interconnected. For example, the Gospels tell about the Messiah, whose coming was predicted in the Old Testament. He is called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and His death is the fulfillment of the sacrificial system in Leviticus. What’s more, the gospel of salvation by grace through faith is first seen in the story of Abraham, whose belief was credited as righteousness (Gen. 15:6).
Scripture was given to us so we might know the Father, be reconciled to Him through His Son, and bring glory to His name. Therefore, we should make it a goal to become familiar His precious Word
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)
God’s provisions for the believer include far more than physical necessities. These are indicated by seven beautiful titles ascribed to Him in the New Testament.
The God of love: First of all, we need love, and “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Then “the fruit of the Spirit is love” in our lives (Galatians 5:22) because He Himself is “the God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
The God of all grace: God saves us by His grace, and then we need to “grow in grace” (2 Peter 3:18). This we can do because “the God of all grace…hath called us unto his eternal glory” (1 Peter 5:10).
The God of peace: He satisfies the need for peace in the believer’s soul, and He’s called “the God of peace” five times in the New Testament (Romans 15:33; 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20).
The God of all comfort: Our God is called “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort,” because He “comforteth us in all our tribulation,” enabling us to provide comfort to others “by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
The God of patience: We “have need of patience” (Hebrews 10:36), and this need also is supplied by “the God of patience and consolation” (Romans 15:5).
The God of glory: It was “the God of glory” who first called Abraham (Acts 7:2), and through the Word we also “are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The God of hope: By His Spirit He fills us with joy and peace, with power, and abundant hope—blessing us “with all spiritual blessings…in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). HMM
…not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. —Colossians 3:22-24
Any serious-minded Christian may at some time find himself wondering whether the service he is giving to God is the best it could be. He may even have times of doubting, and fear that his toil is fruitless and his life empty….
The church has marked out certain work and approved it as service acceptable to God, and for the most part the church has been right. But it should be kept in mind that it is not the kind or quantity of work that makes it true service—it is the quality.
Before the judgment seat of Christ, very little will be heard of numbers or size; moral quality is about all that will matter then….
It would be a shock to most of us to learn just what God thinks of our breathless activity, and a greater shock to many to find out the true quality of our service as God sees it. For not all religious activity is accepted of God, not even when it appears to produce results and get things done. The Lord seeth not as man seeth….
In Christian service motive is everything, for it is motive that gives to every moral act its final quality. NCA069-070
Lord, remind me that “Before the judgment seat of Christ, very little will be heard of numbers or size; moral quality is about all that will matter then.” Amen.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. —Psalm 5:3
One of the most liberating declarations in the New Testament is this: “[T]he true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). Here the nature of worship is shown to be wholly spiritual….
From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God.
There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ, and He will enter only by the invitation of faith. MDP010
[G]et alone with God and His Word every day. I recommend that you turn off the radio and the television and let your soul delight in the fellowship and the mercies of God. TTPII, Book 6/074
A hunter who lost a prized hound dog in Blackwater State Park near Pensacola, Florida returned to the park hoping to home in on the hound’s electronic tracking collar. Deep in the swamp he and several companions picked up a faint beep. It increased in intensity until they came face to face with a 10-foot alligator.
When an alligator catches its prey, it doesn’t run it down like a lion and eat it in great pieces. Rather, it clamps down on the victim while dragging it into the water to drown. Leaving the corpse underwater, the gator can go back to finish eating at his leisure.
One of the most graphic images of Satan is found in 1 Peter 5:8: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion [or alligator] looking for someone to devour.” He is not pictured in comical fashion—with horns and pitchfork—but as a beast looking for prey. People, not hound dogs, are the entree of choice.
Like a hungry gator, Satan does not swallow us whole. Instead he catches us with small sins that become patterns of rebellious behavior as he takes larger and larger bites. Finally, at his leisure, he finishes us, devouring all that we could have been, but now will never be.
Satan does not just want us humbled, humiliated, depressed or discouraged. He does not just want us beaten—he wants us eaten!
But the good news is “The One who is in you (Holy Spirit) is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The believer whose sins are forgiven will experience a physical death, but will never again be subject to the spiritually carnivorous nature of Satan and sin.
“The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). Let us stay close to the Savior for His forgiveness and constant protection.