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In the grand scope of scripture, the writer of Hebrews commands us to exhort or encourage one another. We see this call to encourage as not a gentle suggestion but a guardrail to keep us from deception.

The truth is encouragement keeps us and protects us. It is one of the means by which God pursues us. Using Hebrews 3 and Exodus 17 as a guide, we will embark on a journey over the next six days to understand the means, gifts, and lessons of extolling one another.

Day

12.8.2023

About this track

In the grand scope of scripture, the writer of Hebrews commands us to exhort or encourage one another. We see this call to encourage as not a gentle suggestion but a guardrail to keep us from deception.

The truth is encouragement keeps us and protects us. It is one of the means by which God pursues us. Using Hebrews 3 and Exodus 17 as a guide, we will embark on a journey over the next six days to understand the means, gifts, and lessons of extolling one another.

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Day 02

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

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The Trouble with Thirst

Day 03

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

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What You Have vs. Who You're With

Day 04

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
A Different Discouragement

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A Different Discouragement

Day 05

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry
A Different Discouragement
The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

Locked

Power in His Presence

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.'” Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Hebrews 3:7-14

In the grand scope of scripture, the writer of Hebrews commands us to exhort or encourage one another. We see this call to encourage as not a gentle suggestion but a guardrail to keep us from deception.

The truth is encouragement keeps us and protects us. It is one of the means by which God pursues us. Using Hebrews 3 and Exodus 17 as a guide, we will embark on a journey over the next six days to understand the means, gifts, and lessons of extolling one another.

Video

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

Summary

The writer of Hebrews tells us that encouragement keeps us from deception. Take a moment to consider a time in your life when you were deceived. To make sense of your experience, we will do our best to help you complete the story, filling in the blanks when faced with discouragement.

As an example, maybe you have experienced feelings of loneliness. Whatever the cause, to make sense of those feelings, you may have begun believing you are lonely because nobody loves you or sees you. The cycle continues as those feelings lead you to withdraw further, only enhancing the lie you bought into in the first place.

The cycle of discouragement is a spiral led by lies away from reality. But you can stop the cycle.

To be discouraged is to be deprived of courage or confidence. That confidence is not an external flaunt but rather an assurance of standing on something sturdy and solid. If discouragement can weaken your confidence, then it poses a threat to your faith.

Hebrews 3:12 says: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”

In maturity, discouragement can serve as a tool to see the weakened parts of our faith and identify where we are struggling to trust or believe God as thoroughly as we want to. Discouragement, while deadly, is not the enemy: unbelief is.

Without diligence, discouragement stirs up unbelief, and the response is to trade God’s good plan for a cheap substitute. One of the overall thrusts of the Book of Hebrews is to lift up Christ’s superiority and stir up perseverance in us, the saints. The writer of Hebrews does not want us to become like those who let their discouragement deceive them to the point that they did not enter into God’s rest.

We stop the discouragement cycle and experience mercy when we acknowledge the season we are in and allow our community and family of faith to remind us of the truth.

Let’s go back to the example of loneliness. If we inject confidence that comes from scripture, community, or a time of worship into that scenario, we arrive at a different outcome.

Aware of how some feelings may try to lead you away from God, speak scripture over yourself, or allow a trusted friend to remind you of the truth in those moments. When you do, suddenly, the cycle is lined with truth, leading you toward the reality of God’s great plan and love for you.

What's Next?

Consider the cycles we talked about today. In your journal, trace back a time of discouragement. Survey what led you to discouragement and if that discouragement has caused you to embrace unbelief. Using scripture, inject God's truth into the story.

For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness

Psalm 95:7-8

Yesterday, we learned that encouragement keeps us, protects us, and is a means by which God pursues us. Hebrews 3 reminded us not to let our discouragement deceive us and cause us to fall into unbelief.

When we turn back to Hebrews 3: 7-11, we see that the writer of Hebrews also quotes Psalm 95 and includes an added turn of phrase:

do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness…
Psalm 95:8

With this added context, we see that the writer of Hebrews is pointing to the Psalm, and the Psalm is pointing us back to an Old Testament story found in Exodus 17. That is where our time together today begins.

Video

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

Summary

All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?

Exodus 17:1-7

The Israelites are in the wilderness, arriving at a place devoid of water. While their thirst was a natural inclination, their response was personal. Notice how the text points out that “the people quarreled with Moses” and “they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” A momentary affliction revealed what they really thought about God.

Temporary discomfort. Eternal implications.

Let’s reimagine the plight of Exodus 17 if the Israelites turned their temporary discomfort back to God.

The Israelites arrive in the wilderness after a long journey. A quick look determines there are no lakes, springs, or wells—nevertheless, they are thirsty. Noticing their thirst, they start to recall how it wasn’t that long ago that they were thirsty in another wilderness. There, the water they came across was bitter, yet God made it sweet. They could also recall how God parted the Red Sea so they could walk on dry land or remember how the first plague that God leveraged on their behalf in Egypt involved Him turning every source of water into blood.

If the Israelites meditated long enough on the truth, they would have the confidence to believe that if God can curse water, sweeten water, and split water, then he can obviously create water. If they exhorted themselves and one another about the possibility of God’s power, they would have had the confidence they needed to trust Him.

So we ask: are you thirsty?

We all thirst for something. Relationships, power, sex, money, gifts, glory — the trouble with thirst isn’t exclusive to literal water or the story of the Israelites in the wilderness. What is your water? And where have you been getting it? Do you believe that God can quench your thirst?

The truth is that water from any source other than God will always leave us thirsty. Scripture demonstrates a thread of God’s creative provision to satisfy our needs. The psalmist and the writer of Hebrews call us to remember that He is the ultimate source, and we can bank on His supply.

What's Next?

Read John 4:13-14. Jesus promises the woman in Samaria that whoever drinks of His water will never thirst again.

And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Exodus 17:5-6

Video

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

Summary

As we look back on our text from yesterday, we notice how God provided an unlikely solution to the Israelite’s thirst, bringing water out of a rock.

Here, we see God will not only offer what you need not to be thirsty, but He may be creative with the solution. God, the creator of the universe, can satisfy your needs in more ways than you could ever imagine.

Take a moment and ask yourself: has discouragement limited your awe and wonder when it comes to God?

God can’t use me because of my ________.
My mental health. My past. My location. My trial. Fill in the blank for what might apply to you.

When it comes to our neediness, nothing is too hard for God. Had the Israelites reflected on where they had been and how God had provided, they might have remembered who they were with far outweighed what they wished they had.

Matthew 28:19-20 says: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

When God commissions His people, He promises His presence. We see this with Jacob in Genesis 28, Moses in Exodus 3, Joshua in Joshua 1, and our lives. He commissions, and He cares.

There is a confidence that comes with trusting that God is with us. This kind of confidence produces the power needed not just for effective ministry but also for durable ministry. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we need the strength to go where God has called us and to last there.

He is with you, always, to the end of the age.

What's Next?

God commissions, and He cares. Write down where you feel like God has commissioned you, and think of how He has cared for you in that place. Spend some time today thanking God for His care of you.

As we journey into day four, you might be in an entirely different category. Maybe you are confident God is with you, but you are discouraged by the results.

You could lead a small group faithfully week after week, yet you haven’t seen lives change the way you have been asking for.

Or you work in a corporate setting and live for the pace of hard work and hustle. As your calendar fills, your priorities lull, and what was once a passion to see your place of work shift for His kingdom has become a forgotten folly.

You may have made ministry your career. You have been faithful to show up and serve, yet every day feels more like a grind than a gain.

You don’t have to see your situation in this story to know how it ends: what we are striving so hard for suddenly feels ineffective. The question is no longer “Is God with me?” but “Does the Gospel have the power to do what scripture says it can do?”

Sometimes, we wrongfully equate initially uninspiring results with a useless Gospel.

Video

A Different Discouragement

Summary

When we find ourselves in this discouragement, we rely on our skills or strategies instead of prayer and the Holy Spirit. Suddenly, how talented, intellectual, or interesting we are takes the position of the power He promised.

The apostle Paul warned us of this when he told the church in Corinth that he was not there to display divine wisdom or extraordinary skill but to demonstrate the work of God’s Spirit and let it do the talking.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 says, “And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Paul wants the church in Corinth to see that their faith must rest on something more substantial than his skill. We should bring great strategies, biblical sermons, and life-giving worship to the table, but without the Holy Spirit, they do not have the power to produce lasting change.

The effectiveness of your ministry is wholly dependent on God. That means we must be wholly dependent on God.

God commissions us, He cares for us, and we can be confident that He is able and willing to complete the good work He began in and through us.

Hold steadfast to His spirit today.

What's Next?

All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?

Exodus 17:1-3

Video

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

Summary

Israel’s expression of unbelief wasn’t just subtle; it was insidious. Their accusations reached from the nearness of God to His personality. They began to believe God delivered them from the hand of slavery to kill them; He delivered them only to torture them in turn.

In our own lives, we can adopt the same model of thinking. We can let a circumstance God has allowed us to endure to deceive us into thinking the worst about God.

The deception began in the garden. In Genesis 3, the serpent deceived Eve, leading her to believe God was holding back goodness from her despite His restriction being her protection.

We see this again in Matthew 4 when Satan tempted Jesus for 40 days and nights in the wilderness. The devil tried with Jesus what he succeeded at with Eve; he wanted Jesus to distrust God’s care of Him.

And again, we see the disciples fall into the same trap in Mark 4. Battered by winds and waves, they awoke a sleeping Jesus and berated Him, asking if even He cared for them.

The situations vary, but the lie remains: God does not care for you. If Satan can convince us that God is contrary to His perfect character, then what else will we believe is true?

In reality, the opposite is true. Interwoven into the Gospel story is an abundance of care. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God sent His son to earth because He cared. He cares for us in His infinite goodness and mercy, but He didn’t just come to earth to care for our souls. Jesus cares for our daily worries. Our overwhelming anxiety. The fear that keeps us up at night. He cares for our families, the school we choose, the friends we have, and the place we work.

1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

He cares about your cares.

Through discouragement, satan will tempt us to doubt and believe that the God who died for us doesn’t care about us. That is not the truth. If God is with you, so is His power. He loves us with everlasting love. He cares for our cares, and He is compassionate and merciful towards us all of our days.

What's Next?

If you are in a place to do so, say it out loud: God is with me. If you're not, write it down in all capital letters on the closest piece of paper you can find: God is with me.

Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

1 Corinthians 10:11

Paul, through his letter to the church at Corinth, reminds us that what happened to Israel is written down for our instruction. Over the past six days, we have journeyed through a piece of their story together. In doing so, we have seen how they doubted God’s provision and His presence and how He ultimately provided a creative solution. Paul is instructing us that it is not enough to be viewers of this story but students of it so that we may learn from their mistakes.

Video

The Mercy of Exhortation - Jackie Hill Perry

Summary

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13

Exhortation stirs up our faith so that we are not deceived and led to fall away. It is not only a mercy; it is a necessity, and it requires community. To be encouraged, we must be around other Jesus followers, spending time in the scripture, fasting, and praying.

To do this requires humility and vulnerability. If we are constantly projecting strength and self-sufficiency, then we should not be surprised when discouragement is a daily friend. In the courage to be seen, we find the grace to be known.

After being encouraged or exhorting others, we must remember our greatest source of encouragement: with the Lord and through His word.

Every single book, narrative, psalm, parable, prophet, and epistle builds up our faith. All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, training, and righteousness.

Hebrews 14:14-19 says, “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.”

Hebrews was written to exhort the saints to persevere in Christ. Here, the writer reminds us to hold hands with the confidence we started with.

However we came to place our trust in Jesus; we were encouraged because we recognized He was Lord, Messiah, King, El Shaddai, Almighty. We recognized Him and, in doing so, saw ourselves too.

We found He was the only person in the whole world worthy of our full self. Not only was He worthy, but we were needy. We needed Him then, and we need Him now.
So we have a decision to make. We can discipline our minds, time, and intake to create a lasting walk with Jesus.

Don’t throw away your confidence; instead, look to Jesus. He who called you is with you and cares the world about you.

What's Next?

We have to make a decision to discipline our mind, time, and who we listen to. We last through a disciplined walk.

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Scripture References

  • Hebrews 3:7-14
  • Psalm 95:7-8
  • Exodus 17:1-7
  • John 4:13-14
  • Matthew 28:19-20
  • 1 Corinthians 10:11
  • Hebrews 3:13-19
  • John 3:16
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Exodus 17:1-3
Jackie Hill Perry Jackie Hill Perry is an author, bible teacher, poet, and hip-hop artist. Since becoming a Christian, she has been compelled to use her speaking and teaching gifts to share the light of the gospel of God as authentically as she can. She is the author of Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been and Holier Than Thou. At home, she is a wife to Preston and Mommy to Eden, Autumn, Sage, and August.

Day 02

Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches

Locked

The Command and the Control

Day 03

Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Day 3 - A Continuous Urgency

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A Continuous Urgency

Day 04

Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Day 3 - A Continuous Urgency
Day 4 - Trees and Transformation

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Trees and Transformation

Day 05

Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches
Day 3 - A Continuous Urgency
Day 4 - Trees and Transformation
Dr. Crawford Loritts preaches

Locked

Repent, Yield, Believe