Thursday, May 10, 2007


People need to be exhorted frequently. Paul tells Timothy, 2 Tim 4:22, "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching."

Five exhortations every person needs daily:

1. People need to be exhorted to pray. Most of the time Christ followers feel guilty for not praying enough. Certainly setting aside time daily for prayer is good, but if you're struggling to pray, just do it. Take this moment, any moment and pray!

1 Tim 2:8, "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;"

2. People need to be exhorted to smile. I find too many people are negative, critical, cynical and frustrated. Smile more today, make eye contact with others, and tell people what you appreciate about them.

Prov 15:30, "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

3. People need to be exhorted to understand the Word. Don't just take the words of a pastor for the truth--read it! It doesn't take a Bible degree to understand the Bible; it takes a heart to know God and a desire to learn. Where does a person start? I always tell new believers to start in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I tell mature believers to start in Genesis and read the whole thing in a year. I tell those feeling called to ministry to read Paul's letter's. I tell those who attend church to read Acts. Just read it.

Col 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

4. People need to be exhorted to give of themselves. Let's face it, people are stingy. We are managing limited resources of time, energy and money. I need to be exhorted to give of myself. At the end of every day I just can't see how I could fit another thing, but when I am exhorted to give of myself I make the sacrifice to be a part of the special things in life.

2 Cor 9:7-9, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

5. People need to be exhorted to have fun. I often feel guilty for having fun! Lately, racing cars has been fun, but then there are these moments where I feel guilty for having fun as if I should be doing something spiritual. The truth is you and I need to get refueled and refreshed. I don't do it naturally; instead, I usually go too hard until I am exhausted and not much good at anything. It seems there is always a crisis, emergency or critique that needs attention, but I am learning to say "not today" while turning to God and asking, "Lord, I need you to take this one!" People need to be exhorted to take a break and have fun.

Philem 20-21, "I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask."