ENCOURAGEMENT? Yesterday, we heard a wonderful sermon on the portion in Scripture in Matthew where Jesus was flipping over the tables of people who were mistreating God’s holy temple. You might have heard about Jesus doing this, and why it’s recorded He drove these people from the temple, “the zeal of the LORD has consumed me”. It was a very powerful message on the house of God and not treating the church as a common thing.

On the drive home, my husband asked me if it was too heavy-handed and whether or not it was encouraging. To which I replied, “It depends on whom you want to encourage. If you want to encourage the righteous, it was very encouraging.” I was encouraged to love God’s house more and to be very careful to not treat the church of God as a common thing. It is set apart and holy.

There’s some tables in my own heart that I needed to flip over and drive out. There were several others in the congregation who were very encouraged. A few being: my daughter, my son, our deacons and our worship leader (who was very encouraged, as this was the word on her heart of late). It just depends on your audience. In Ezekiel’s day the Lord had a strong Word for Israel and her false teachers/prophets:

“Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened (encouraged) the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life.” Ezekiel‬ ‭13:22‬

The word in Hebrew for “strengthened” can also be translated as “encouraged”. The false prophets were preaching to Israel that the Lord was not bringing judgment but that He was blessing and prospering them. Such wickedness! But not much has changed.

The false prophets and teachers of today are still promoting more of the same. They encourage the wicked and their lies make the righteous sad. The righteous will always love the Word of God whether it convicts or confirms; but the wicked only wants words that tickle their ears. Here’s the kicker: preach to encourage the wicked and you make the righteous sad and you strengthen the wicked. God is not pleased. The righteous love God’s Word. They love to be refined. They love to be pruned and disciplined. They love the sharpness of God’s Word.

“For the Word of God is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” Hebrews‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

Verse 13 continues to say, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” The righteous know that the Word brings needed sifting, refining and correction; as a scalpel with such fine precision cuts out a cancer without injuring the organ from which it is attached.

Knowing that one day, we will give an account of our life, words and actions. The righteous would rather go through a time of judgment and correction by the hand of the Lord, and any kind of affliction knowing that it is His will, than to dwell at ease in tents with the wicked.

So if you ask me if yesterday’s sermon was encouraging, I say a resounding, “Yes!” I was very much strengthened and encouraged in the Lord. If you ask me to whom I post my daily, I have an intended audience- to make the heart of the righteous glad.

“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭14:9‬ ‭


To Learn More About Pastor Crystal please visit the Leadership Page

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