VIDEO Be Encouraged

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


Consider what discourages you: circumstances, relationships, finances, or health concerns. All those are legitimate reasons to seek encouragement. But what if God asked you to lead more than a million people into a strange, new homeland filled with enemies who didn’t want you there. Would you need encouragement?

God knew Joshua, the man chosen to settle the Hebrews in Canaan, would need encouragement. That’s why He told Moses to “encourage [Joshua] and strengthen him” for the task that lay ahead. And when it came time for Joshua to lead the new nation of Israelites into Canaan, God told Joshua how to be encouraged and stay encouraged: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night…. For then you will make your way prosperous…. Be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:8-9). Who wouldn’t want to be “prosperous” and have “good success” (verse 8)?

Do you need to be encouraged today? Turn first to God’s Word and all its “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4). And be encouraged!

Only engrossment with God can maintain perpetual spiritual enthusiasm. A. W. Tozer

Deuteronomy 2-3 – Skip Heitzig

God Sees, Understands, and Cares

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:5

Sometimes, living with chronic pain and fatigue leads to being isolated at home and feeling alone. I’ve often felt unseen by God and others. During an early morning prayer-walk with my service dog, I struggled with these feelings. I noticed a hot-air balloon in the distance. The people in its basket could enjoy a bird’s-eye view of our quiet neighborhood, but they couldn’t really see me. As I continued walking past my neighbors’ houses, I sighed. How many people behind those closed doors feel unseen and insignificant? As I finished my walk, I asked God to give me opportunities to let my neighbors know that I see them and care for them, and so does He.

God determined the exact number of stars that He spoke into existence. He identified each star with a name (Psalm 147:4), an intimate act that demonstrates His attention to the smallest details. His strength—insight, discernment, and knowledge—have “no limit” in the past, present, or future (v. 5).

God hears each desperate cry and sees each silent tear as clearly as He notices each sigh of contentment and belly laugh. He sees when we’re stumbling and when we’re standing in triumph. He understands our deepest fears, our innermost thoughts, and our wildest dreams. He knows where we’ve been and where we’re going. As God helps us see, hear, and love our neighbors, we can trust Him to see, understand, and care for us.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How have your neighbors loved you? How can you love others today?

God, please help me see, hear, and love others in practical ways.

For further study, read Loving Our Neighbors.

Caring for Others

Are generosity and service habits in your life? Luke 10:25-37

So many people in the world are in need today and serving them is one of the highest callings of the Christian faith. Therefore, it’s essential for believers to commit to give of themselves on behalf of others. 

There are countless ways to serve people. For example, a man might decide to pray for and come alongside a friend until a burdensome situation is resolved. Or a woman could make herself available to answer a neighbor’s questions about the faith. If we prayerfully look around, we may see other opportunities, such as driving an elderly friend to medical appointments, mentoring a teenager through a local outreach program, or helping a single parent check some things off a to-do list. 

Before you become overwhelmed by the variety of needs in your area, remember that loving your neighbors is meant to be a church-wide effort. One person can’t do it all. Instead, join a small group of fellow believers committed to serving those God brings into your sphere of influence. In order to care for them, you may be asked to surrender resources and time—but when you do, the Lord will bless you with the joy and contentment that come only from Him. 

God of All Graces

“Now the God of peace be with you all.” (Romans 15:33)

Our God of all the world has been known by many names in Scripture (ElohimJehovahAdonai, etc.), but He is also identified, especially in the New Testament, as the God of many virtues and graces.

Our text calls Him, for example, the “God of peace.” The same appellation is given Him in Romans 16:20Hebrews 13:20-21, and Philippians 4:9: “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”; “now the God of peace…make you perfect in every good work to do his will”; “the God of peace shall be with you.”

He is even called the very God of peace who will “sanctify you wholly” in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. He is “the God of hope” in the beautiful invocation of Romans 15:13. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.”

To the sorrowing, He is “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). And, of course, He is the “God of love,” as Paul reminded the Corinthians in closing his last letter to them. “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

The apostle Peter wound up his first epistle by reminding his own readers that their God was “the God of all grace.” “The God of all grace,…make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

In summary, our gracious God is the God of peace, the God of hope, the God of all comfort, the God of love, and the God of all grace. He is also “the Father of mercies” and “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26). And the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, is of God, “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). HMM

Accountability Or Anonymity?

A popular buzz word bandied about in Christian circles these days is “accountability.” The question is often asked, “Are you accountable to anyone?

I would suggest that in reality most of us are more anonymous than we are accountable. We may appear to be accountable in our Christian world, but in the highly secularized environment of values that conflict with ours we become anonymous.

We soon learn that “to get along is to go along,“since today in most circles it’s not considered acceptable to have strong convictions on anything… except not to have strong convictions! Those who are overly vocal with their beliefs are soon labeled social or religious bigots.

And so to “get along,” we soften our stance, which in time has an eroding effect upon our convictions and values… and upon our behavior. We learn to live in two worlds.

Often, in attempting to cope with our duplicity however, we find ourselves privately riddled with tension and guilt.

But not to worry: We will discover that if we sublimate our convictions long enough, they will eventually be neutralized and our guilt will be numbed.

You will then be able to recognize us by our passivity, stoic resignation, and socially acceptable “niceness”.

If you are caught in this kind of a pressure cooker and are tempted to abandon personal ACCOUNTABILITY in favor of a more comfortable ANONYMITY, keep in mind the Scripture’s warning:

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made knownHe will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of mens heartsFor God will bring every deed into judgment…”(Matthew 10:26; 1 Corinthians 4:5b; Ecclesiastes 12:14a)

QUESTION: To resist the temptation of receding into anonymity, have you made the decision to make yourself accountable not only to God, but to one or two brothers or sisters in the faith?

There is not enchantment against Jacob.”

Numbers 23:13-24

Balak, anxious to induce Balaam to curse Israel, took him from place to place, and offered one sacrifice after another, but all in vain; the Lord stood between his people and the machinations of their enemies. We will read the inspired record of one of Balaam’s oracular speeches—it may serve for all.

Numbers 23:13

The king thought that the number, beauty, and order of Israel might have influenced the prophet, and therefore he would only let him see a part of them. The trick was in vain. God does not love his people because of their number. If there were but two or three he would be quite as sure to bless them.

Numbers 23:14

Moses and Balaam both stood on the same hill, but with very different objects. Places cannot change character.

Numbers 23:17

An enquiry which we all should raise, and search the Scriptures to find the reply.

Numbers 23:18, 19

The immutability of the divine counsel is the safety of the saints. No entreaties of our foes can move the heart of God away from us: we are his chosen, and we shall be so evermore. Every promise is yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and not one single word of the Lord shall ever fall to the ground. Men shift like quicksand, but the Lord is firm as a rock.

Numbers 23:20

No, nor all the devils in hell. The promise is not yea and nay, but yea, yea.

Numbers 23:21

Not such iniquity as to lead him to put them away. Balaam knew that nothing but sin could separate God from Israel, and he saw that by some means or other the Lord had not seen iniquity in his people. We know, what he did not, that a Mediator came between, otherwise Israel’s sins had long before been her destruction. No doubt compared with the Moabites and especially the filthy Canaanites, the people in the wilderness were remarkably pure to Balaams judgment; but it would have fared very ill with them if this had been their only righteousness.

Numbers 23:22

God makes his saints so strong that they astound their adversaries.

Numbers 23:23

No plan of men or devils can succeed against the elect of God. We have no cause to fear evil omens, in fact, it would be sinful to do so. It is wicked to feel the superstitious fear of the old heathen. No magical arts, Satanic devices, or malicious plottings can really injure the beloved of the Lord

Numbers 23:23

God’s work shall baffle man’s, and excite wonder when human malice is forgotten.

Numbers 23:24

He foresaw the military prowess of the nation, and foretold the destruction of the Canaanites by Israel, thus in reality blessing the people whom he was invited to curse.

Vain were the heathen altars

The tide of love to stem;

That tongue for ever falters

That would the saints condemn.

In vain the wrath it mutters,

For God will never curse;

When he the blessing utters,

There’s no man can reverse.

Human Suffering: Learn What God Says About It

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:18

Anything that gets as much space as the doctrine of human suffering gets in the Scriptures should certainly receive careful, reverent attention from children of the new creation.

We cannot afford to neglect it, for whether we understand it or not we are going to experience some suffering.

From the first cold shock that brings a howl of protest from the newborn infant, down to the last anguished gasp of the aged man, pain and suffering dog our footsteps as we journey here below. It will pay us to learn what God says about it so that we may know how to act and what to expect when it comes.

Because suffering is a real part of human life, Christ Himself took part in the same and learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

It should be said that there is a kind of suffering which profits no one: it is the bitter and defiant suffering of the lost. The man out of Christ may endure any degree of affliction without being any the wiser or the better for it.

There is a common suffering which we must share with all the sons of men—loss, bereavement, heartaches, disappointments, partings, betrayals and griefs of a thousand sorts.

But there is such a thing as consecrated griefs, sorrows that may be common to everyone but which take on a special character when accepted intelligently and offered to God in loving submission.