Looking Back>Katrina Ongoing Repairs:  September 28th, 2005

Day 31

Today, as I was sending my last couple of email logs, I began thinking about my closing comment from Day 30: “Do I have the courage…?” Which got me to thinking how the word encourage is to have courage and the word discourage is to be without courage.

I looked encourage up in the dictionary:

  1. To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten.
  2. To give support to; foster
  3. To stimulate; spur

I also looked up discourage:

  1. To deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.
  2. To hamper by discouraging; deter.
  3. To try to prevent by expressing disapproval or raising objections.

I then looked up some verses on courage in the Bible.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Why should we not be discouraged? Why should we not give up confidence or hope? Because the Lord IS with us wherever we go. God tells Joshua numerous times in the beginning verses of chapter 1 to be strong and courageous. Why? Because God knew Joshua would be facing some challenging days ahead. As we face many challenging days ahead here on the coast, we must be reminded to be strong and courageous – not of our own accord, but because the Lord is with us.

Philippines 1:14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

May we be encouraged to speak the word of God courageously and fearlessly, not because of chains, as in Paul’s situation, but because of the tragedies we have suffered. So many are hurting right now, so many feel hopeless and lost, so many are questioning with “why?” This is not a time to be shy or to be worried about what others would think or to keep our faith private. Instead, we should speak of God’s mercy boldly to those who have been wounded.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Please continue to encourage those who are recovering from both Katrina and Rita (many communities in Louisiana suffered similar fate due to Rita, as those in Mississippi because of Katrina).   It helps to know we have not been forgotten as America continues on with her daily life. It helps to know that God’s people are praying. It helps even more to have someone say “Let me pray with you.”

Hebrews 3:12-13 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

So many are looking for someone to blame. They are angry about what has happened and they want to shake their fist at someone.   Take notice that the writer of Hebrews is addressing Christian brothers, telling them not to have sinful, unbelieving hearts that turn away from God.   Of course we expect non-Christians to not turn to God during difficult times, but Christians turning away from God? Yes it can happen, otherwise God would not have to warn us about it in His word. Now look at God’s remedy – “But encourage one another daily”   Why? So that NONE would be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. How can sin deceive? By causing us to think thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness. By causing us to want to blame someone, to feel sorry for ourselves, to want to give up.   The remedy, my friends, is encouragement. To inspire hope, courage, confidence, to support, to spur.

As the writer of Hebrews goes on to say in 10:24-25

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…let us encourage one another…”

Today, be a part of God’s remedy against sin’s deceitfulness. Today, offer some encouragement to someone who needs it.

In His strength,

Grace & Peace

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About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: tabletsofhumanhearts.wordpress.com I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, with one son-in-love. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in Schertz, located at the crossroads of Texas, just northeast of San Antonio.
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