A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
"The Reason For Daily Encouragement!"
Message summary: Let us all encourage one another daily!
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“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).
Today is a special day for us. First of all it’s Brooksyne birthday so that’s real special to our family! She shares her birthday with about 21,242,000 people all around the world.*¹ However she only knows a few of them, including Mike Stillman, Dean Brown and a few others most of you don't know. It's likely several of you reading this also have a birthday today so... Happy Birthday!
We have a busy day planned with chaplain visits, her "free" birthday meal with one paying customer (that's me), which will be breakfast at a local restaurant.*² Then we'll go over the Old Windmill Farm for an authentic Amish Farmhouse experience. We could also go out this evening for another free birthday meal but that would be rather gluttonous!
Today also marks a very special day when the Daily Encouragement Ministry began 25 years ago on October 21, 1996 with a very brief email I sent to a newly married couple in the church we served in Massachusetts. Nigel and Laifong still receive our messages and according to my rough calculations have received over 6,000 daily encouragements. What a joy they are both faithfully serving the Lord and Laifong now serves with Wycliffe.
I had preached a sermon the night before at our church in Taunton, MA on encouraging one another, based on today’s text, and the Holy Spirit led me to encourage people in this way. Little did I know that as I continued day by day God would grow this ministry to encourage believers all over the world.
“Encourage one another daily.” It’s a simple command for every believer. The specific way we express our encouragement to others will vary greatly; whether it is spoken, written, or a deed we carry out on their behalf. Encouragement is also translated as "exhort" in other versions.
Bible teacher Kent Hughes illustrates the root idea of the underlying Greek word parakaleo "to come alongside and encourage" with the following example. "I see this exemplified every time my church has a roller skating party, and the parents put their little ones on skates for the first time. Mom and Dad skate with their child, holding on to his or her hands, sometimes with the child’s feet on the ground and sometimes in the air. But all the time the parents are alongside encouraging."
"As long as it is called Today." Well, this Thursday, October 21, 2021 is still called “Today” so here we go again!
Perhaps the writer of Hebrews focused on the word “Today” because there is a tendency for most all of us to procrastinate doing something good in exchange for making deadlines, keeping appointments, completing our daily duties and also enjoying what we like to do. Expressing encouragement to others is generally viewed as optional which leads us to prioritize our day this way; obligatory vs. optional. The obligatory duties of our day often win out over the optional duties.
We then delay expressions of encouragement to others until tomorrow. When tomorrow becomes “today” the vicious cycle repeats itself all over again and we completely forget about our plan to specifically encourage or circumstances change making it difficult or even impossible to carry out our good intentions from days earlier.
Commentator Matthew Henry put it this way, “Since to-morrow is not ours, we must make the best improvement of this day. And there are none, even the strongest of the flock, who do not need help of other Christians. The care of their standing in the faith and of their safety, belongs to all.”
“So that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." The specific reason given by the writer of Hebrews for this daily dose of encouragement is because sin is so deceitful and has been so since Adam and Eve were deceived in the garden of Eden. This deceit is the devil's longstanding lie that sin has no consequences.
The word “hardened” in the text translates the Greek word “skleruno” which is the very same word from which we get the word sclerosis in English. You may be most familiar with this word in the description of a disease called arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening and thickening of the arteries.
We all know people who have become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. The warning in the daily text is every bit as needed today as it was when the Hebrew believers received it in the First Century. Satan is a crafty, creative, and persistent foe causing sin to appear good when it is vile, presenting sin as pleasant when it is destructive, promising much but delivering only heartache and regret. Sin contributes to deadly habits, ungodly attitudes and the hardening of hearts causing people to turn away from their faith in Christ.
Today, I urge you to look for someone to encourage. Add this to your daily duties list just like brushing your teeth (you do brush your teeth at least once daily don't you?) and eating your food. Just as vitamins are vital in our daily intake of food so are expressions of encouragement vital to the soul.
It seems to me from reading the text the act of encouraging is beneficial both to the encourager and the one being encouraged. Be vigilant in the fight against spiritual sclerosis caused by the cholesterol of sin. Let us encourage one another daily!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, I want my heart to remain soft and pliable so that I do not lose spiritual sensitivity in hearing and obeying Your voice and become dull of my spiritual senses. May I be vigilant and not turn a deaf ear to Your voice which would only lead to the buildup of sin in my life that eventually hardens my heart toward You. Just as I pray this for myself I also pray for others whom I can encourage through my prayer support, by words of hope and through specific expressions of kindness toward them. May I exercise the discipline of encouraging others daily, while it is still called today. Amen.”
*¹ I surmise that people have birthdays pretty much evenly distributed through the year and by dividing the world population by 365 should have a reasonably good idea of how many have a birthday each day.
*² Several local restaurants offer a free meal on your birthday with the purchase of one meal. So today I pay and she gets hers free!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Is He Worthy" Video Shane & Shane Brooksyne is pleased (and so am I) that our choir is singing this song Sunday. A line that touches us both and is at the heart of encouraging each other. The soloist asks, "Is it good that we remind ourselves of this?" The choir and congregation responds, "It is!" So today we remind you that He is worthy! Whatever is happening on this earthly plane remember:
And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? (He does)
Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)
We had an absolutely beautiful day yesterday and this was the view early in the morning from the front of our home. The green field across the road is rye planted after the corn was harvested. The distant trees along Donegal Creek are just starting to change.
(Click on photo for larger image)
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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