Today we will continue discussing how we value God’s Word and how God desires for His Word to function in our lives. God’s Word is how He chooses to reveal His heart, His character and His love; it is how He has chosen for us to come to know Him, trust Him and follow Him. We read God’s Word to build a relationship with Him, we read God’s Word to abide in that relationship and we read God’s Word to teach us how to rightly respond within that relationship. As we are reading the book of Deuteronomy together we are learning that there is only one thing that God desires from us, only one response that He wants and accepts from us and that is obedience. But obedience is more than compliance, it is more than simply doing what we are told, obedience is about the position of our hearts, it is about our submission in relationship, obedience is first and foremost about love. Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love Me you will keep My commandments.” This again reveals that obedience is more than doing what we are told, Jesus is not questioning our love, He is revealing that obedience is something that flows from a love relationship. This is why I believe that the beginning of obedience is believing that we are loved by God because obedient actions are not the effort of those hoping to be loved but the overflow of dearly loved children completely convinced of and satisfied by the love of their Father. Jesus didn’t do the will of the Father to get love, His drink was to do the will of God because He was completely convinced and consumed by His Father’s love. Obedience will never become our heart’s position until we believe fully that love is settled. We are loved by God, that truth is what opens the door for our obedience. Our text today, which we also mentioned a few weeks ago shows us a path to obedience centered around God’s Word. Moses’ call was to get Joshua ready, not merely to lead Israel but to obey God and so God told Moses to command Joshua (meaning to tell Joshua everything that God had spoken about leading Israel into the Promised Land), to encourage him and to strengthen him. Last week we saw that the first step in obedience is conversation, it is reading God’s Word and discussing it, not only in ways and settings like Bible Studies and small groups but to make the Bible the center of our conversation, to intentionally order our relationships around God’s Word and not just by God’s Word.  Deuteronomy 6 gives us perfect instructions in this, we are to diligently teach our children the Word of God but then we are supposed to talk about it. Moses wrote “talk of them (the commands of God) when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” The Scriptures are supposed to not be our focus when we gather, or our morning reading as we prepare for our day, the Scriptures are supposed to fill our hearts, lead our minds and come flowing out of our mouths. As simple as it may sound, I truly believe that our obedience will increase when our conversation becomes filled with the Scriptures, when we sit and talk about what we have read, what we are seeing about God’s character and how much more we are grasping God’s love. When Jesus sent the apostles and every believer after the apostles out with the great commission He told us that we make disciples by “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The first step in stirring each other to obedience is conversation, the second is what we will focus on today, encouragement. We all want to be encouraged, the Bible tells Moses to encourage Joshua and tells us to encourage each other. Today we are going to discuss what encouragement is, what encouragement builds and how encouragement happens. We have learned to have conversations around God’s Word, today we are going to begin learning what it means to be encouraged by God’s Word.

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