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Today's Daily Devotional
Let God's Word shine light on your step today
as you grow in your relationship with Christ.
This is what the Scripture says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
(Heb. 3:15)
Today's Devotional is from our series
Following As God Leads
Just as God led the Israelites day by day and even through the nights, so He desires to lead us. We only have to watch HIM, and follow in His steps as He directs us.

God has a certain place He wants each of us to be, and at certain times. If we will but trust Him, He will guide our foot steps each day at a time, and when we lay down He will watch over us, and even give us a cloud of fire to point the way as we week Him in the quietness at night.
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Devotional: To Encourage Each Other
June 8th
Christ-Like Friendship and Support

Holding hands in fellowship with Christ-like friendship as we learn how to connect the truth of God's Word with everyday life, while walking through the pages of His Word.

(1 Thessalonians 5:11 NCV)
So encourage each other and give each other strength,
just as you are doing now.

God knows us inside and out. He knows what we have, and what we are missing. God knows how  the pieces are suppose to fit together, and  how to bring about the missing pieces of our life puzzle to make the picture complete. God knows when we need encouragement to simply keep going forward or to stand strong, and He is more than able to bring us along side each other to help out.

Yesterday while I was reading my daily Bible, I was again inspired by the story of Elijah when he simply felt he had nothing left and wanted to lay down and die. Elijah said goodbye to his servant and walked out into the desert, and laid down under a bush and basically said "here I am, just let me die." But the interesting thing is that God would not let him.

You see, Elijah's assignment wasn't over, there was still many thing for him to do and places God would have him to go. So God sent an angel to minister to his needs and to encourage him to go a little further. Read with me from 1 Kings 19: Then Elijah walked for a whole day into the desert. He sat down under a bush and asked to die. "I have had enough, Lord," he prayed. "Let me die. I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the tree and slept. Suddenly an angel came to him and touched him. "Get up and eat," the angel said. Elijah saw near his head a loaf baked over coals and a jar of water, so he ate and drank. Then he went back to sleep.Later the Lord's angel came to him a second time. The angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat. If you don't, the journey will be too hard for you." So Elijah got up and ate and drank. The food made him strong enough to walk for forty days and nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There Elijah went into a cave and stayed all night (vs 4-9 NCV).

Something about this always reminds me of a time where Scripture says Jonathan came to encourage David: And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. Thus he said to him, “ Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also” (1 Samuel 23:16-17 NASB).

I find it so fascinating that we can read in the Bible were God always brings an angel or someone to encourage His people when they need it the most. It shows the tenderness and love from a LIVING GOD, who doesn't like to see His people without hope.

Personally I can relate to this. So often I will hear a song at "just the right time" or a devotional will be in my email waiting for me. Sometimes someone will say something and have no idea that the words they just spoke were from God and quickened my spirit in me. God knows how to minister hope to His people. And so often He calls US to be His vessel.

We are to help each other and to build each other up in faith. So often our words can do more that we will ever know. With our words we can give life or death because in our words we can lift someone up, or tear someone down. I am going through a battle right now with my boys. They think it is funny to bash each other. Its on tv, it's in songs... everywhere it seems we turn around in today's culture it is "acceptably funny" to chop at someone. I have been trying to teach my children that there really is a difference between laughing AT someone and laughing WITH someone. I don't allow it in my house, if I hear it I put a stop to it. I know several people who can be very abrasive with their words, and they excuse it with "well that is just how I am-- out spoken, real and call it like it is." But what they don't understand is how their words come out of their mouth in a form of a sword-- cutting the other person to shreds.  I've even heard it said, "well I am just trying to toughen them up.." or "they shouldn't have such thin skin..." or "well I was just kidding and what happened was funny."

Two scriptures that always come to mind in regards to this is: "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17 ESV) and "I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you" (Romans 1:12 NCV).

There also comes a point where words are meaningless if there is not action to follow in backing them up. So many times I have had people tell me, "Oh, I've been meaning to....." but when it comes right down to it, they have NOT done for me what they have been "meaning to do..." so all their friendly words are really worthless. If they really wanted to be supportive, and helpful, their words would have had action behind them. It comes down to this being the same thing as "Faith without work is dead." (Read James 2:14)

We are called to encourage each other and that means to help build each other up where our faith is missing something. This is what Paul was saying in his letter in 1 Thess. 3, Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith (vs 10 NIV). I believe myself to have strong faith, but when faced with a long hard battle, sometimes it takes encouragement from another source to help me from faltering, so that I can keep standing up. God knows when we are wearing thin, and though he allows us to be tested, it is not His desire for us to be broken in our faith. So He binds us up and often will brings us along side someone else who can "pick up where the other has left off."

In God's Word it says: But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Heb. 3:13 NIV). So often it can be overlooked or not even realized that we have a responsibility to encourage others, so that they can be strengthened in their faith, so as not to fall to the lies of the enemy. When God calls someone we know (or a loved one) to an assignment, you can guarantee that the enemy is going to be waiting to stumble them and tear them down. Sometimes all that stands between them and the enemy is what we can (and do) say to them. When we send encouragement, it builds strength and brings about victory; but when our words are NOT edifying we open the door to the enemy to defeat them. It truly comes down to whose side do you want to be on?

My friend, today let me strengthen you. Let me encourage you to go out and be all who God shows you to be. Let me fill in that little piece that may be missing in your faith-- "God has called you to victory. You are HIS PEOPLE-- HIS CHILD-- in whom He is WELL PLEASED." Even if it looks otherwise; know that if you are still breathing, God is NOT finished with you yet. You still have places He wants you to go. Your assignment is not over, so just as the Angel did for Elijah, I say to you, "get up and eat or you wont have the strength to make it to the top of the mountain." And my friend you really want to make there, because that is where you will see the glory of God and hear Him speak.

Father God, I come before You today to lift this reader up. Lord, may they hear Your voice today above all the noise that competes against You. Lord, I ask You to sanctify their ears to hear You alone. Lord, I pray they will find encouragement today to go a little further, knowing that You have so much waiting for them. Thank You for this day, and thank You for Your Word that You send and the ministering Angels to help on our behalf.
In Jesus' Name,

My friend, I hope you will have a blessed day

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