Choose Encouragement

The lyrics of an all time Christian classic filled my head as I stared out the window. “Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come?” “His eye is on the sparrow” is a favorite at churches of all denominations across the country for a reason. We all go through seasons of life that bring hardship and trials. Nobody has it easy.
In the book of Numbers, God became downright angry at those that discouraged the children of Israel. They were at a crossroads upon encountering Kadesh-Barnea. It was time to seize the land of promise. I noticed that God didn’t chastise the spies that went into the land who were timid of the giants, but he brought judgment to those who used those giants to discourage others from the promises of God. I’m sure that Joshua and Caleb felt their throats tighten and their heart rates increase at the sight of the obstacles ahead. They were human after all. God has not asked us to be superhero’s, but to simply trust. The children of Israel were more inclined to follow the path of fear and discouragement than to follow the men of God and the promises of God. Gods anger was so kindled at those sowing seeds of doubt that nobody 20 and over was able to enter the promised land. How many of us are wandering through dry, desert seasons in our life because we believed the naysayers and allowed life situations and gossips to discourage us?

Num 32:6-14
“Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here? 7 Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord has given them? 8 Thus your fathers did when I sent them away from Kadesh Barnea to see the land. 9 For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, so that they did not go into the land which the Lord had given them. 10 So the Lord’s anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying, 11 ‘Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, 12 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ 13 So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.

Later in Ezra the people of the land were working over time to discourage the people of Judah. They tried to frustrate their purpose and block their “building program”. We are faced with a choice everyday to build up or tear down, to encourage or discourage, to feel frustrated, or to be an overcomer. What choice will you make today? We are faced with the daunting task of sharing the Apostolic truth with a metro area that is home to 2.9 million souls. Many of them have no idea what it means to be “spirit filled”. They are locked in traditions of religion and traditions of men. Thank you for choosing to encourage us and support us and not focus on the giants we have to face and the battles to be fought. People do not need reminded of the difficulty of their task, but of the greatness of their redeemer.

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