Monday, January 14, 2008

The Ministry of EXHORTATION

This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and BE GLAD in it! It really is MY CHOICE whether to REJOICE or not. I am so very blessed, how about you? Every morning when I wake up, the first thing that I want to do, before I get out of bed, is to give God praise for His protection over my household during the night. BEFORE I get so busy with the day’s activities, I want to make sure that I start the day REJOICING and GLAD. When I maintain that kind of attitude, it makes it easier for me to BE A BARNABAS, as we discussed yesterday. When we live a life of encouragement like Barnabas, God is using us in the ministry of EXHORTATION. Listen to what Hebrews 10:25 says,

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another. — Hebrews 10:25

The word "exhorting" is a powerful little word! It's the Greek word parakaleo, a compound of the words para and kaleo. Para means alongside and kaleo means to call, to beckon, or to speak to someone. When these two words are compounded together, it depicts someone who is right alongside of a person, urging him, beseeching him, begging him to make some kind of correct decision.

In the ancient Greek world, this word was often used by military leaders before they sent their troops into battle. Rather than hide from the painful reality of war, the leaders would summon their troops together and speak straightforwardly with them about the potential dangers of the battlefield. The leaders would also tell their troops about the glories of winning a major victory.
Rather than ignore the clear-cut dangers of battle, these officers came right alongside their troops and urged, exhorted, beseeched, begged, and pleaded with them to stand tall; throw their shoulders back; look the enemy straight on, eyeball to eyeball; and face their battles bravely.
Walking by faith and doing the will of God sometimes places us in the midst of spiritual battles. Sometimes these battles aren't won quickly.

If you know someone who is discouraged because his fight isn't won yet, speak to that person truthfully and in a straightforward manner the way a commanding officer would speak to his troops. Remind the person of others who have stood the test of time and won their battles. And be sure to remind him of the sweetness of victory when the battle is over. He needs to hear a passionate, heartfelt word of exhortation from you!

The word "exhort" in Hebrews 10:25 could mean:

"When you're feeling down and out — like a failure who is falling behind everyone else — that isn't the time for you to stay away from other believers, as some are in the habit of doing. That is the very time that you need to come together for the sake of encouragement so you can face your battles more bravely."

Do you know people who need some encouragement today? Instead of letting the day slip by before you know it, why not take the time right now to call those individuals and encourage them? If you can't call them, how about writing them a note that will help them focus on victory?

Think back to all those moments in your own life when someone came alongside of you to encourage you. Didn't it make a big difference in your life? Now it's your turn to return this blessing to someone else.

So determine today to be a real comrade in the Lord to another Christian soldier. Make it your aim to speak words of encouragement to those around you today. If you see someone who is discouraged, or if you know someone who has been struggling in his or her faith, go out of your way to encourage the troops!


Lord, today I want to be used by You to encourage someone! I ask You to lead me to those You want me to encourage. Show me what to say, how much to say, and when to say it. Teach me to recognize the needs in other people and not to focus only on my own needs. I pray this in Jesus' name!


1. Have you been so focused on your own challenges that you've failed to recognize the needs of others who are around you?

2. Can you think of some people in your life who need encouragement and extra strength today?

3. Can you make a list of practical ways you can reach out to encourage these individuals and let them know you are thinking of them today?

I hope you will take time to consider the questions above and MEDITATE on God’s Word. When we read God’s Word and we don’t take the time to mediate on it, it is like eating food, without digesting it. Meditation is DIGESTING God’s Word, and receiving the LIFE NUTRIENTS into our Spirits! It is LIFE CHANGING! My prayer is that you have a BARNABAS day, filled with EXHORTATION! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today’s “THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR” reading:

January 15, 2008 Exodus 1:1-4:31

THIS WEEKS VERSE TO “HIDE IN YOUR HEART”: 2 Corinthians 1:4 (MESSAGE) He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

2 Corinthians 1:4 (KJV) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Bible Study Tools online: (This has different versions of the Bible for you to read from, as well as Audio Bible for you to listen to) (Different Devotionals. Some you can have sent to your email daily) (Great study sight) (My favorite. You can download Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries to your computer. I use this daily) (International Bible Society. Different translation of Bibles for you to read from) (My wife’s online Bible Study) (Daily Bible reading, prayer request, etc. Laurie Adams (Associate Pastor Wife) developed and maintains)