Encourage- Day 1

Believers in Christ are commanded to encourage one another daily– especially as we see the day approaching.  So it seemed good to learn what that really means, and I thought I’d bring you along on my journey!

ENCOURAGE

Websters 1828  definition:   To give courage to; to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope; to raise, or to increase, the confidence of; to animate; enhearten; to incite; to help forward; — the opposite of discourage.

David encouraged himself in the Lord. 1 Sam. xxx. 6.

Syn. — To embolden; inspirit; animate; enhearten; hearten; incite; cheer; urge; impel; stimulate; instigate; countenance; comfort; promote; advance; forward; strengthen.

First use is in Joshua; Duet 1:38

Greek work is: Chazaq

Meaning ,(strongs H2388)  חָזַק châzaq, khaw-zak’; a primitive root; to fasten upon; hence, to seize, be strong (figuratively, courageous, causatively strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate; to bind, restrain, conquer:—aid, amend, × calker, catch, cleave, confirm, be constant, constrain, continue, be of good (take) courage(-ous, -ly), encourage (self), be established, fasten, force, fortify, make hard, harden, help, (lay) hold (fast), lean, maintain, play the man, mend, become (wax) mighty, prevail, be recovered, repair, retain, seize, be (wax) sore, stre withstandngt (self), be stout, be (make, shew, wax) strong(-er), be sure, take (hold), be urgent, behave self valiantly.

KJV Translation Count — Total: 290x

The KJV translates Strongs H2388 in the following manner: strong (48x), repair (47x),hold (37x), strengthened (28x), strengthen (14x), harden (13x), prevail (10x), encourage (9x),take (9x), courage (8x), caught (5x), stronger (5x), hold (5x), misc (52x).
Context Duet 1- Moses is being told that neither he nor most of the people will enter the land because they refused to enter it and take it as He had said.  They were unwilling to fight for it.  So Moses is told to groom his successor, Joshua, to become the leader of the people.  So despite Moses loss of entering the promised land himself, he is to encourage Joshua (enable, strengthen) him to go into the land.
APPLICATION:  When we have been disciplined or given a consequence– or if we are kept by someone else’s sin ( seems as Moses sees it at that point) to enter into a blessing from the Lord, or to fulfillt he purpose He has given us, He may call us to make ready the “next batter up” who will go/do/be what we could not.

PERSONAL APPLICATION I see this strongly in my children.  They are called and actively doing things my heart longed to do, yet I do not feel I pushed them into things, only exposed them.  Admittedly, I have done a better job of encouraging some than others.  I’m afraid that I at time I may have encourage some to follow their abilities and God- given desires without first equipping them with a sense of calling and His Lordship, of sacrifice and service.  Or maybe this is a stage along the way.  A firm  foundation for many was a richness of God’s Word abounding in our home along with stories of those who are following Chirst and those who are living and dying for Him by His grace.  Having missionaries and other believers who are striving to serve the Lord in various ways and equip the children to listen and ask questions provided rich soil.

Essential Parenting: Knowing our Children….

The topic of knowing our children came up today.  I have been amazed when discussing some  issue a child has to upon asking “What does your child think is the problem.” that parents often don’t ask what their children are thinking or feeling.  I am often surprised to find out on accident what I don’t know about particular child!

Following are a few somewhat random thoughts on the topic…..I hope they start bringing things into focus!

“Time and attention are what’s needed to reach our children’s hearts. Not extra money, not every Bible study known to man, not youth group, or travel sports, or a well-rounded education. To reach our children’s hearts we have to really know who they are…………

“f I really wanted to raise godly men, it was going to take a lot of my time.”

Brooke McGlothlin- MOB Society article

Duet 11: 9 “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

At some point, I taped Titus 2:3-4 on the fridge door to read each time I opened it.  After some time of rereading it, there was an amazing, joyous revelation.  The Scripture says that older women are to “train the younger women to love their husbands and children”  Titus 2:4.  They are to train or teach the younger women to love their husbands and children!  If it could be taught, it could be learned!

“Loving our husbands and children properly was not something that was innate, or that some women were born knowing while others just had to fail.  It was a skill, and ability that could actually be learned like reading!  What a blessed relief.  Now, I could get on the road to learning.” Introduction to Learning to Love  Children ( publication pending)  M. Stam

(Knowing our children entails  a ) process of praying, watching, and listening…  Baffled?  Ask the Father!  He knows how they are put together!…..Learning to Love Children  M. Stam

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Choosing….to not fear?!

Times are tough.  Even if you try to avoid media, it seems that tough economic, political and religious times are upon us. Honestly, while closing our eyes tightly and putting our fingers in our ears to block out what we wish so heartily was not true sometimes seems viable, in the end, we cannot keep our eyes closed or our fingers in our ears forever.  Looking at the evil in the world can cause many heart-felt questions, answered best by the Word and character of God and people like Ben Patterson (Waiting), and C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain).

Even if our minds are satisfied that evil comes as  a result of the wretched sin (individual or that handed down to us in the Fall), the terrors of what humans are capable of and physical world groaning under the load of our sin, can be downright terrifying. And that is in the world at large.  Even in our own communities, churches, and homes there is so often cause for alarm and fear.

And what does our God say?  We are told “Do not fear.”

Angels said it now and again- at most, if not all ,of their known appearings.  Jesus tells his followers not to fear.

Do not fear.  But this emotion is overwhelming me and paralyzing me.  What do you mean  “Do not fear?!”

Christians believe that God is loving, and kind, and is not capricious.  He would not ask something that He would not enable us to do.  If it is a command, we can obey.  We are to think on what is true, right and lovely. While we are to know the signs of the times, we are also to fix out eyes on our Savior and Redeemer.

The fear I am speaking is a product of unbelief, and in Revelation 21:8, those who are fearful, unbelieving, or whoremongers, sorcerers and the like face the second death.

That woke me up.  Fearfulness is serious business.

Now this word for fear is used only three times in the New Testament and is always associated with unbelief. Other than the reference in Revelation, both times this word is used it was in the midst of a terrible storm that these experienced fishermen were not able to navigate.  They had come to the end of what they were able to do and were helpless to rescue themselves. It is at that point, when they were in mortal danger and helpless, that they were to trust the Master of the Universe in humble form.  

Rick De Guzman,  a Christian brother from a remote region of the Philippines, spoke to our little meeting today about the time in when the Israelites, having been delivered, fed and sheltered by God faced a potentially deadly situation.  They despaired.  They accused.    They blamed.  They desired to become traitors, and return to their bondage rather than face what appeared certain death.  God, through Moses told the Israelites  three things.

Fear not.

Stand still.

See God work.

Fear not.  The fear spoken of here, as seen when compared to other verses using the same Hebrew word, seems to be a mortal fear.  Jacob was afraid when meeting Esau.  Adam and Eve were afraid of meeting God after they disobeyed.  But they were commanded to capture this fear, a great use of self-control and put our trust in God.

Stand still.  There are battles we cannot fight.  There are battles we are commanded by God to fight though they look absurdly impossible, like young shepherd against the military hero giant.  But both start with stopping our emotions, our plans, our strategies, our strivings and position ourselves to see God.  The word means to “present” or “station oneself”. It conjures, in my mind, a soldier awaiting orders or a sentry on duty.  It is not an idle, passive action, but seems to connotate a turning of our attention away from ourselves.

See God.  Watch Him work.  He provides salvation.  He does it. Of course, there are all sorts of implications.  First, and foremost is that we cannot accomplish salvation for ourselves.  That is done by the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ, and His work in us to compel us to Himself.    For believers, here is a great article that reminds us that God is often at work.  We just need to see it.

Ann Vos Kamp

Child Training Boot Camp…..for Busy Moms

I have not been through this particular study, but I have benefitted a great deal from the Busy Mom Bible Studies.  Pam Foster manages to  put the Word into small bits for the Busy mom–but this is not shallow fluff.  If you are an older mom, like me, who finds herself needing a refresher, a middle mom who is so used to doing these things you have forgotten how to teach them, or a younger mom looking for guidance in Biblical child training,  I suspect this will be a a great place to start.

Did you know that children actually need to be trained?  We need to train ourselves in godliness.  Athletes need to be trained.  The guy working at McDonalds needs to be trained,  But sometimes we act as though we think it violates their personhood somehow to train our children.  Or we feel we don’t have the “right”.  But, dear moms, we not onl y have the right, but the duty to teach our children to be civil human beings—-and God-followers.

I hope we are all encouraged and helped by this.  If you think of coming back and sharing thoughts along the way, I’d love to hear what you are gleaning from this study!

Choosing (again and again) to Discipline

While there is evidence that over-the-top, success-driven discipline may alienate your children, and result in all sorts of issues, so does lenient or “buddy style” parenting.

God tell us if we do not love a  child we refuse to discipline.

So if you are a new parent, or one in the midst of the push to “finish well”, here is some  encouraging advice: a wonderful three- part, easily readable series on the subject!

Part One -Why we allow children to disobey

Part Two -Why teaching obedience is good for our children

Part Three– Beginning to teach obedience

and for whipped cream….

Fuel for Obedience