Sunday, December 21, 2008

Does God Really Want You To Be Encouraged?

If you don't have a copy of John Piper's Taste and See, you owe it to yourself to get a copy. The devotion on seizing the gift of hope is worth the price of the book alone.
I've been chewing on the text that it's based on today, Hebrews 6:17-18. I love what this verse states that God desires us to be encouraged, strongly encouraged! In fact it says that God desired to show more John Piper states so well concerning this text, " This text assumes that God had already said enough to give us encouragement. But God is not a God of minimums. His aim is not to speak as few encouraging words as possible. He speaks some words to give us hope. Then, being the effusive God He is, he says to Himself, "This is good. I like doing this. I think that I shall do this again." Piper goes on, "And so He speaks some more words of encouragement. But not just more. They are better."
What an amazing thing that God actually is desirous of encouraging us, it's what He really wants to do! God isn't being coerced into encouraging us, He actually desires to do so, the word that Hebrews 6:18 uses is "strong encouragement" it isn't just in a little dose or that God halfheartedly wants to encourage us, it is strong encouragement!
In this holiday season when so many of us struggle with the memories of people that have gone home to be with the Lord or of a time of darkness or depression, what an encouraging word that we have from our Father, that He wants us to be strongly encouraged. It may not happen in an instant, we have to preach to ourselves as John Piper and Jerry Bridges have both said. We need to dwell on the truths of God's word and believe what He is speaking to us.
This Christmas if you are feeling down take heart, your Father loves you with an everlasting love and He wants you to be encouraged!


Anonymous said...

thanks Ron. I needed to hear this today. its been a very discouraging week for me and i'm so grateful for the reminders that my God never changes and that He is working for what's best in my life.

Ron Reffett said...

Hey Emily!
No problem, I needed it as well. I'm glad that the Lord used this post to encourage us!
You're right, He doesn't change and He's in control no matter how we may feel...that's a lesson I'm definitely still in class on! All things do and will work together for our good, Andrew Bonar says on encouragement when our prayers seem to be delayed, "The blessing we pray for may not come at once, but it's on it's way. Sometimes the Lord keeps us waiting long, because He likes to keep us in His presence."

Erik said...

Thanks for wetting my appetite for Taste and See (pun intended!). ;) I've informed my wife that yet another book is on my Christmas list. Fantastic post Ron.

Ron Reffett said...

Hey there Erik,

Cool deal, it's a great devotional book. The selections are all relatively short but as with all of Piper's stuff, packed full with truth and encouragement.
You sound like me, lots o' books on the list!
Have you picked up Prodigal God from Keller yet? If so, I'd be curious to know your thoughts on it.
Lovin' your new site by the way! Great stuff.