June 15: Encouragement and Positivity
2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23; 1 John 2:28–3:4; Psalm 105:23–45
If we were to make encouragement one of our main strategies, we’d see positive results in most situations. If we made providing for others one of our goals, the world would be a kinder place. King Josiah epitomizes both of these attributes in 2 Chr 35:1–19.
Josiah’s actions mark not only a remarkable transition from being unfamiliar with God’s Word to living it out (2 Chr 34:8–33), but also a move from religiosity to compassion. Josiah could have coldly observed the Passover out of ritual, but instead he encourages the religious leaders and empowers them to do God’s work. His encouragement changes the outcome: The religious leaders embrace their task.
Josiah also provides for them, allowing them to make the necessary changes. He frees them up from their usual obligations so that they may help others (2 Chr 35:3); he takes care of their fiscal needs (2 Chr 35:7). His example inspires others to give as well (2 Chr 35:8–9).
As a result of Josiah’s actions, we see God’s work being done: “So all the service of Yahweh was prepared on that day to keep the Passover and to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar of Yahweh, according to the command of King Josiah” (2 Chr 35:16).
Our actions can either inspire others or discourage them. If we’re willing to develop a character of giving and encouragement—focusing on the positive rather than the negative—we’re more likely to be successful in carrying out God’s work.
How can you encourage someone to follow God’s path for his or her life? How can you provide for someone today?
John D. Barry
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.
Morning, June 15 Go To Evening Reading
“And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”
It was far above the power of nature, and even contrary to its laws, that the aged Sarah should be honoured with a son; and even so it is beyond all ordinary rules that I, a poor, helpless, undone sinner, should find grace to bear about in my soul the indwelling Spirit of the Lord Jesus. I, who once despaired, as well I might, for my nature was as dry, and withered, and barren, and accursed as a howling wilderness, even I have been made to bring forth fruit unto holiness. Well may my mouth be filled with joyous laughter, because of the singular, surprising grace which I have received of the Lord, for I have found Jesus, the promised seed, and he is mine for ever. This day will I lift up psalms of triumph unto the Lord who has remembered my low estate, for “my heart rejoiceth in the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoice in thy salvation.”
I would have all those that hear of my great deliverance from hell, and my most blessed visitation from on high, laugh for joy with me. I would surprise my family with my abundant peace; I would delight my friends with my ever-increasing happiness; I would edify the Church with my grateful confessions; and even impress the world with the cheerfulness of my daily conversation. Bunyan tells us that Mercy laughed in her sleep, and no wonder when she dreamed of Jesus; my joy shall not stop short of hers while my Beloved is the theme of my daily thoughts. The Lord Jesus is a deep sea of joy: my soul shall dive therein, shall be swallowed up in the delights of his society. Sarah looked on her Isaac, and laughed with excess of rapture, and all her friends laughed with her; and thou, my soul, look on thy Jesus, and bid heaven and earth unite in thy joy unspeakable.
Go To Morning Reading Evening, June 15
“He openeth, and no man shutteth.”
Jesus is the keeper of the gates of paradise and before every believing soul he setteth an open door, which no man or devil shall be able to close against it. What joy it will be to find that faith in him is the golden key to the everlasting doors. My soul, dost thou carry this key in thy bosom, or art thou trusting to some deceitful pick-lock, which will fail thee at last? Hear this parable of the preacher, and remember it. The great King has made a banquet, and he has proclaimed to all the world that none shall enter but those who bring with them the fairest flower that blooms. The spirits of men advance to the gate by thousands, and they bring each one the flower which he esteems the queen of the garden; but in crowds they are driven from the royal presence, and enter not into the festive halls. Some bear in their hand the deadly nightshade of superstition, or the flaunting poppies of Rome, or the hemlock of self-righteousness, but these are not dear to the King, the bearers are shut out of the pearly gates. My soul, hast thou gathered the rose of Sharon? Dost thou wear the lily of the valley in thy bosom constantly? If so, when thou comest up to the gates of heaven thou wilt know its value, for thou hast only to show this choicest of flowers, and the Porter will open: not for a moment will he deny thee admission, for to that rose the Porter openeth ever. Thou shalt find thy way with the rose of Sharon in thy hand up to the throne of God himself, for heaven itself possesses nothing that excels its radiant beauty, and of all the flowers that bloom in paradise there is none that can rival the lily of the valley. My soul, get Calvary’s blood-red rose into thy hand by faith, by love wear it, by communion preserve it, by daily watchfulness make it thine all in all, and thou shalt be blessed beyond all bliss, happy beyond a dream. Jesus, be mine for ever, my God, my heaven, my all.
Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896. Print.
Get a move on
In the Matter of Drudgery. And beside this, … add. 2 Peter 1:5.
You have inherited the Divine nature, says Peter (v. 4), now screw your attention down and form habits, give diligence, concentrate. “Add” means all that character means. No man is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; he has to make character. Nor are we born with habits; we have to form habits on the basis of the new life God has put into us. We are not meant to be illuminated versions, but the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God. Drudgery is the touchstone of character. The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do. “Jesus took a towel …, and began to wash the disciples’ feet.”
There are times when there is no illumination and no thrill, but just the daily round, the common task. Routine is God’s way of saving us between our times of inspiration. Do not expect God always to give you His thrilling minutes, but learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God.
It is the ‘adding’ that is difficult. We say we do not expect God to carry us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we did! The tiniest detail in which I obey has all the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I do my duty, not for duty’s sake, but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience the whole superb grace of God is mine through the Atonement.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.
I have set thee … that thou shouldst be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.… Ye shall be witnesses unto me … unto the uttermost parts of the earth
Acts 13:47; 1:8
Men are questioning now, as they never have questioned before, whether Christianity is indeed the true religion which is to be the salvation of the world. Christian men, it is for us to give our bit of answer to that question. It is for us, in whom the Christian church is at the moment partially embodied, to declare that Christianity, that the Christian faith, the Christian manhood can do that for the world which the world needs.
You ask, “What can I do?”
You can furnish one Christian life. You can furnish a life so faithful to every duty, so ready for every service, so determined not to commit sin, that the great Christian church shall be the stronger for your living in it, and the problem of the world be answered, and a certain great peace come into this poor, perplexed phase of our humanity as it sees that new revelation of what Christianity is.
Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.