Encouragement vs Exhortation

(Understanding how the Gift of Exhortation is meant to function)

I thank God for the gifts of the Spirit.

One of the gifts I am very grateful for is the gift of exhortation. True spiritual exhortation always points to the throne-room.

A distinction needs to be made here. Encouraging someone to “hang in there” is not the same as the gift of exhortation. Heartfelt and sincere encouragement can often make the difference between life and death when one is facing some of the darkest moments of their life.

For example, just recently a friend of ours reached out to rally us to pray on behalf of their young daughter who ran away. While many of us mobilized and “got on the wall,” a certain brother in Christ encouraged that family to “hold on…with both hands…” (as I type this, I get choked up at the dunamus power his timely words released). Meanwhile, our corporate intercession travailed until she safely returned home, which she soon did.

We need this. All of us at times… will need this. Let me repeat, please. I cannot express the beauty and authority behind that voice of hope. We ALL need moments of encouragement! 

Now… let’s move on. All things in balance. Family, this is not the same as the spiritual gift of exhortation.

  • Encouragement soothes within the situation.
  • Exhortation points to the throne-room, with the blueprint on how to get there. 

Exhortation carries with it the spiritual insight from Father’s heart. It carries with it the understanding of what course of action needs to be made in order to cooperate with the Lord. It exhorts one to go forth and press into the kingdom with specific direction from the mind of God.

When this gift is operating, the Holy Spirit ministers to the recipient 2 things:

  1. Specific direction on how to cooperate with God, and only then…
  2. Encouragement to carry out that course of action

The Body of Christ is under the “spiritual knife” in this season. The Lord is doing some very deep surgery in the heart and beliefs of those who are answering the call to press further into Him. Here is the problem the Lord is addressing in this hour:   

Why does a thriving Church need so much constant encouragement? You see, we are not meant to merely “hang in there.”  We are destined for more than that.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” Phil 3:15

Family, our heavenward call in Christ is intimacy with Father-God. Everything that comes after that will be the natural outflow that results from deep and uncompromising intimacy with Him.

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” Phil 3:10

Are we being encouraged more than we are actually being fed? Are we edifying one another more than we are teaching on the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His suffering, and the process of being conformed into His image and nature?

Have we replaced the Lordship of Jesus Christ on the throne of our souls, with soulish comfort?  Is it possible we have taken the gift of true, godly exhortation, and made it an idol in order to avoid looking at the painful things the Lord wants to uproot and heal within us?  

“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.” Heb 5:12-13

Righteousness is a gift. It means our self-worth is established in His never-changing love and acceptance for His children.  

If we ever want to move on to the deep intimacy and thriving spiritual relationship we are invited to be partakers of, we will need to learn how to identify why we are depressed, fearful and scared. Then… we need to destroy those strongholds.

My dear brothers & sisters… Father is always faithful. He will always get us through the “dark night.” But, He calls us to walk and live above the carnal issues of this realm. Our mind, will, and emotions are only affected by a situation to the degree we have not renewed our thinking.

Everything in balance. Encouragement and exhortation have their place. It’s in the Bible. (Rom 12:8, 1 Cor 14:3) But we must be very careful to examine if we have made it an idol in place of His truth on the throne of our heart. Much of what we call exhortation today is focused on ourselves rather than on helping us get our eyes on the reality of our walk with Jesus and where He desires to conform us.

When we fail to point our souls to the cross, we abuse the gift of exhortation and pervert its purpose.

The result is a person who fails to enter into greater intimacy through the struggle and painful emotions. In the end, that believer has only assuaged until the next encounter. This is a counterfeit to the intention of the Father.

Consider this verse:

to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Eph 4:11-13

NOTE:  The purpose of building us up is to grow in intimacy with Jesus and the full stature of Jesus. He is Life. We are to be encouraged to enter into Christ.

When we turn only to comforting words and refuse to partner with the Lord about rooting out some of the lies that we are in bondage to, we turn encouragement into idolatry.  What’s worse is we stop short of the full counsel of the Lord. We must seek direction, not just temporal comfort. We need the full counsel of the Holy Spirit; both encouragement, AND direction, (ie. the mature gift of exhortation in action). This is key during this season.

At this moment, I know of many dear brothers and sisters who are in the thick of things… working out their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in regard to their thinking. They are tearing down lies and actively partnering with the Holy Spirit to heal and restore. It is painful. It is scary. It is raw. 

Encouragement alone, without teaching and co-laboring with the Lord to deliver us from the bondage of our fears and pain, is in direct opposition to the ultimate desire of His heart. (Eph 4:11, 2 Pet 1:19, John 8:36, Rom 12:2, Isaiah 42:3, 2 Cor 3:18, Heb 10:19-22, Rev 3:20)       

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Rev 3:20

Let Him in.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Cor 10:5.

Knowing you are reconciled, loved, and  “accepted in the Beloved” requires more than listening to, and reading well-intentioned words to “not give up” and to “know that God loves you.” We have already heard this 1,000 times. There is more for us. So much more. There is also a blueprint that is meant to be given.

Begin to ask the Holy Spirit:

  • “Why do I struggle with this emotion/thought?”
  • “What do I truly believe about myself?”
  • “What belief is behind this painful emotion?”
  • “How do I truly think You feel about me?”
  • “What is the true motive of my heart and the true emotion behind my actions?”

We are made the righteousness of Christ. (2 Cor 5:21) This means our self-worth is forever seen as the same as Jesus in the eyes of the Father. Period. The end. No Mas. It is finished. We are fully pleasing in His eyes. (Col 1:21)  So what is the problem? Ah…..

This… is what He wants from inside our very being. Give it to Him.

“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Heb 5:14

  • God’s truth about us being made absolutely complete and fully pleasing and loved… are good.
  • The lies we cling to that cause us depression, fear and shame… are evil.

Encouragement alone will never grow the Church into full maturity in Christ. The lack of training on examining our beliefs has led to a pandemic need to comfort our wounds. We should be getting healed of them instead.

“Who by constant use have trained themselves…”

Begin examining our daily interactions and what emotions are arising during the day and week.  We need to invite the Lord to take an inventory on our beliefs.

“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Prov 23:7

The next time we read another word of exhortation, ask yourself, “What lie am I struggling with that makes me need this encouragement so strongly?”

Then, begin to take these lies captive to the obedience of Christ.( 2 Cor 10:5)

I pray this message strengthens, encourages and comforts. More than that however, I pray it offers some road-map toward deliverance from pain and fear. Above all, my heart’s desire is that it points you to Christ, and into great union with the Father. Go for it.  His Sabbath rest is waiting for you… always waiting.

All my love, Family~

———————-

postscript~

To my dear brothers and sisters who have already been digging into this process of renewing the mind and allowing Him to heal your wounds and expose the lies and replace with the power of the Living Gospel:

This IS the time to hang in there. in the name of The Ancient of Days, and by the authority of His name to hold and sustain you, I say: Do not give up!!

He who began the good work in you IS faithful to complete it. Keep digging in, and know you are loved beyond measure. He sees your desire and will never turn away those who have turned to Him.

Even now, as you read this prayer and word of encouragement, know He is ministering healing to your soul, ripping out those pains, renewing your mind and establishing your steps forever. Not by power, nor by might, but by HIS SPIRIT this is being accomplished. All He ever needed was your willingness to let Him speak to you. Rest in His strength. He alone is your exceedingly great reward.  

So be it.

 

Podcast 40 “Understanding Relationships” 9/29/17

The Church has the light. How is it manifesting in our relationships?


In this broadcast we with discuss:

1.What is a godly relationship?
2. How to recognize areas we may need to change our thinking and the way we relate to:

  • Strangers
  • Acquaintances
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Spouse

God bless,

David~

PLEASE NOTE: all broadcasts may also be found on iTunes under:

DorothyCrothers – search for “Zeal” or “David Murry”

Understanding The Times: Part 10- The Full Picture Of Mercy

My beloved Body of Christ,

I am going to share some things the Father spoke to me about these last couple of months before these storms manifested in the physical realm. My desire is to help point us all to His heart and in that, greater intimacy with Him.

There is not much teaching on the different ways  His hand of loving mercy is expressed. Fear, erroneous teachings, and others who were meant to nurture and mature us into Christ, but instead wounded us deeply, incline our heart to embrace extremes. Wisdom cries out in this hour… we need to have the courage to walk in His heart and not the excessive ditches of immaturity.

Come, let us reason together. Let us join in the counsel of the Lord and walk in more of His mind and heart.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Satan destroys. God gives life. The cross has satisfied the wrath of God. Period. (Rom 5:9)

Jesus took it all. What remains is the sharing of the good news.  A pure and holy Church is meant to display His love, power, and goodness when the “lost” run farther and farther away from the Father. We, members of the Body, are the Good News manifested to the lost.

We have been made ambassadors of His nature and His Name. When we begin to drift from that, we stop walking in our authority. When this occurs, worldliness fills the void. First in the heart of the Church. When the fire and purity of a living and thriving relationship with our Lord grows a bit dull and backslidden, the spiritual atmosphere of heaven stops reaching as far as it once did. The Church forfeits the impact and authority she was commissioned to carry forth.

Wickedness begins to manifest in the land. The Lost begin to have the greater say on what “truths” govern a land. Laws are overturned. Ungodly ones replace them. The earth begins to groan.

When a nation begins to drift from His nature, Divine protection will continue to remain upon that people and land… for a season.

Then it begins to lift.  Little by little. This is one form of mercy. This is not wrath. I implore all of us to realize the greatest mercy our Father offers is to escape hell.

Everything we meditate on must be seen from His ETERNAL desire.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Heb 12:11

The vain fury of Satan and the groanings of the earth are permitted in order to wake us up to seek His heart and come into alignment with His desire. Those desires are:

#1. The Great Commission

#2. Great intimacy

All events must be viewed from this kingdom reality.

We who are parents have no problem whatsoever in applying this biblical principle with our own children. Why do we rage so hard against His mercy and love when it manifests in a season of allowing a land to reap what was sown?  

Are we not His children? Is this not the greatest mercy toward His lost who wait for the power of the gospel to come through His Church that has made a course adjustment in her heart?  Is this not love? Is the greatest mercy possible not to save us from the wages of sin? Do we allow, our own children, in the name of “mercy,” to never be corrected? Is this truly the heart of the Father? Guys, this thinking is in direct contradiction to what intense and mature love looks like.   

Let me stop here. GOD DOES NOT SEND DEATH.  Discipline comes in the form of a people being left without the full protection of His Divine hand.

“Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Heb 12:6

Perfect love casts out all fear.  If the Word says discipline is love, and we are afraid to embrace it, we are resisting the embrace of His heart in areas of our thinking and walk.  

What wounds do we need to ask Him to heal in order for us to stop contending with His heart in this area?

Calamity (whether these recent/present hurricanes or any other form) represents an exposure in our flanks…. Why are our flanks exposed? Only the Church has true authority. The lost have NO authority. They only have the salt and the light of the Church. Where is that salt, my dear family?

Questions the Father is inviting us to come before Him with:

“Father”

  • “What are You doing in this very hour?”
  • “What does that look like?”
  • “How is the Church meant to come into alignment with what You are doing?”

The lesser mercy of protection is pretty useless from an eternal reality if we, the Church, do not know how to partner with the Holy Spirit to extend the greater mercy, namely Salvation. If the Church is focused on mercy without that mercy pointing to the greatest mercy: the need for atonement offered through Jesus Christ, we are out of balance. We are still on milk. We are immature in our thinking. (Heb 5:12)

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Heb 12:11

There are more things to come. This is not wrath, and we should not be afraid. Nor is it the Hand of God falling upon us. It is just the opposite. He partners with holiness. He partners with humility and a contrite heart. He loves us… just the way we are. But… He wants all of us, and He wants His lost children to come to salvation.

A couple of years ago I was permitted to share about some things that will come to pass if we do not make some course adjustments (see link: Things To Come: 2015)

IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE:  

Some events that take place will be the natural consequences of a spiritual Church that truly, deep down, struggles with making Jesus her First Love.

&

Some events will be from the Accuser that must pass by His  *throne-room  with a nod. Those will be permitted in order to help drive us to His heart, without compromise.

 

Father is calling our hearts. God is love. “Prophetic” people and elders of the Body… He implores you, stop being afraid to share the deeper things that are on His heart. We cannot mature without the full counsel of God, and the lost will not be reached the way they are meant to be.

Was this really so hard to accept? If so, why?  Father longs for us to ask Him these questions.

Why is a defeated enemy able to destroy in a land of thriving Christians and a Church flourishing in power and authority?

Storms die as do the memories by those who did not suffer much.  There is a deeper dialogue Father wants us to enter into. We are not meant to dust ourselves off and get back to our broken and fearful lives. During this challenging time for many, I am praying protection over this land, and above all, His heart revealed to His Church during this season.

Let me be crystal clear. The wrath of God was satisfied on His Son, who died for us. In all of this calamity (which will fade very quickly, and be forgotten if we are not careful to understand the times), Father is calling to us from the Garden of His Heart.

“My Beloved. Do you know all the things  I long to share with you?”

In Love,

David

————————-

* (For those who engage in courtroom intercession, have you asked Him yet to show you the courts that govern over the people of a land? Have we even considered the courtrooms of the Lost? They are very real…

There are more to court-rooms than merely for claiming our own inheritance. What is permitted to preside over a land that we need to take to heaven? Are we willing to hear what He says about that matter?  If any of this speaks to your spirit, reach out to me via email or Facebook. There is much to talk about 🙂 )

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land …” Ezek 22:30

 

 

 

 

Regret & Resolve

 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”  ~Paul of Tarsus

 

Sitting at the crowded food court, my family and I were exchanging humorous banter. By “humorous” I mean the everyday discussions that ensue between three siblings, aged 5 through 8. It was a nice change of pace. I was rather worn, and made sure to avoid eye contact with others. I wanted to be left alone. I was basking in the joy and healing that comes through my own family. Father uses them to water my soul when it’s dry and hot.

In the midst of the carefree and frenzied dialogue, my middle son, Daniel, suddenly grew quiet. His eyes had locked onto an approaching passerby. Looking over, I too, begrudgingly I must confess, felt the stranger’s heart, as well as a portion of my son’s.

“Daddy. That man needs us to pray for him. Daddy, look. Daddy, that man over there….”

I stared at the man walking away, and allowed the Lord to open up to me a piece of his story. Interactions, faces and pains swirled about my heart. Daniel’s words, however, were sounding like far away echos. My mind was drifting elsewhere.

My son was pleading with me now, but I was already beginning to tear up from another site and another memory. A memory of long ago. One I wish I could forget and yet am ever grateful I never will. One that grew in intensity as I allowed the Holy Spirit to bring it back into full vision. Perhaps just this one… last… time.

————–

I had sold my small landscaping business and moved into the personal training profession while still single and in my late twenties.

I had been seeking Father about my desire to be more like Him. The problem was, I was still a mess in many ways. I knew I was unfit for marriage, let alone children. I wanted to teach and demonstrate His love and power. I wanted to be a good dad. One that would raise and instruct children the way Jesus did. I knew I needed more, though. So much more…of Him.  

It was several weeks now that I waited upon Him. Waited for some response that would change the mettle of my thinking. An encounter with His heart that would forever mark a part of my being. I waited for… something. I needed a breakthrough.

All day I strained hard to focus with my clients while I pondered on the kingdom. I felt something was coming. Anticipation was building in my spirit. It was as palpable as a coming thunderstorm just after all of creation grows quiet. Today was the day.

Yep. It came. Though it arrived in a manner I was not anticipating, and in the end, through a most easily overlooked vehicle. A simple act of obedience.

It had been a tiring day. Not so much physically, even though I had been up since 4 am. Rather, it was my soul that was weary.  It was past midday when I finally pulled into my driveway after a rather taxing session with a client, and I was eager to get back into some intense prayer and fasting. It was then that I noticed my elderly neighbor across the road who had just begun trimming the hedges that extended the entire length of his  corner-site property. We were in the teeth of a July heat wave and I estimated it would take my neighbor several hours to finish the task. I felt a tinge of compassion for the man… only a tinge. He was a rather miserable fellow. Sentiment was soon replaced with the relief that I was no longer gainfully employed by such undesirables, and I turned away.

Anticipation of deep communion grew, and I closed my car door. As it shut, I heard the Lord speak to me.

“David. I want you to go to your mom and dad’s house, get your landscaping equipment, trim his hedges and cut his lawn.”

“What?! Lord, he will criticize the work I do, tell me he could have done a much better job, and be thankless.”

The Lord continued,  “After you have finished, his wife will come outside and invite you to eat dinner with them. You will accept. After dinner, she will offer you coffee and dessert. Then you will share with them the gospel and he and his wife will accept me as their Savior.”

I turned and stared. My view toggled from the long, uninterrupted hedge row, to the man… and then back to the hedges.  I looked up at the horizon and noted the time until sunset. The back of my neck tightened under the heat, and I could already feel the itch of arduous work giving me a rash. What’s more, I had to go grab my pickup and equipment that was almoooosst a full 5 minutes away. In fact, I was so disinclined with the entire conversation I failed to even recognize it was the most clear and concise word of knowledge I had ever received up to that point in my life.

“Nah… I need that breakthrough, Lord. OK?”  

Silence.

And so it goes, that, oft times the most consequential decisions we make, the ones that leave the most lasting and indelible marks on our soul, are decided with the least amount of contemplation. It had taken me longer to choose what shirt I was going to wear that morning.

I changed, showered, grabbed my bible and water and entered into several hours of prayer with Father-God. It was wonderful. He shared with me areas that were blocking greater intimacy and Holy Spirit illuminated scriptures. I enjoyed the reality of His love for several more hours until I fell asleep, fully confident He would continue speaking to my heart during the night watch.

He did.

I dreamed of fire and torment. I saw a place of agony and felt a disconsolate futility emanating from those who died having rejected the gift of reconciliation. I saw things I shall never care to describe. Underneath it all, mingled with the wretchedness of what I was experiencing, was Father’s heart. Though I could not see Him, I understood in this dream that Jesus was weeping. My Lord was crying. He was crying over His lost children. Perhaps, most unusual to me, though, was that woven in the background, throughout the entire experience, the distant shrill of some sort of sirens could be heard. Very, very odd.

I awoke, not at all refreshed. A heaviness  filled all my being and a nausea tugged at my stomach as I prepared to leave for work once again long before sunrise.

I opened my apartment door and walked right into the upstairs tenant who was now staring across the street. Several ambulance and police cars lined both sides of the road.

“Mr Johnson had a heart attack late last night. He’s gone. Didn’t you hear all the noise?”

Without replying, I stepped back inside. My knees gave way and I fell prostrate, sobbing, inconsolable and destitute. I experienced a sense of loss that I am now certain was a much more diluted emotion than what my Savior felt. I cancelled all my appointments for the rest of the week.

Ah, but some of you may have recalled I mentioned a “breakthrough” resulting from an act of obedience, not rebellion, right? I’ll explain.

I could share what the following hours, days and weeks were like for me, but it really is outside the scope of this story. However, when His loving hand of discipline relented, I at long last, felt some relief.

Jesus lifted up my countenance one morning. I felt His sovereign Hand grab all the shame and guilt and condemnation that was wrapped around my head and heart. The barrenness was torn away. I felt the glow of His embrace. The reality of His love and unconditional acceptance pierced through all the darkness that had almost engulfed me.

And then He spoke.

“David, I can only share with you what you are willing to steward. Turn your regret into resolve. Never look back unless it is with the eyes of resolve. You must always turn regret into resolve. You are forgiven. Now… resolve to never do this again.”

And so I did. I made two decisions. One. I would allow the desires of His heart to rule above whatever may be out of alignment in my own. Two. That any time I mess this all up, I will use it to push me deeper into Him. No condenmnation. No Shame. Only resolve.

I felt something click inside my soul as the hammer of His heart beat my forehead into iron. The tears flowed more. Hot streaks that burned at cheeks and stung my nose from within. They flowed alright. But from a different source now. One that came from His throne-room. His mind. His heart.

My breakthrough had finally come…

————–

Daddy…? He is walking away. Daddy..??

“What do you feel, Daniel? What is Jesus speaking to your heart?” I asked, trying to re-engage the present.

“He is sad, Daddy. We need to go pray for him.”

How I long for my children to walk the road less traveled; to grasp for themselves the truths I learned only by fire and anvil, and by hammer and hand.

Wiping my eyes, I took Daniel’s chin between my thumb and index finger. My beloved son. My Daniel…

“Let’s roll, buddy.”

For many of us, the worries, personal agendas and fears of this life choke the love of God that has been shed abroad in our heart. We refrain. We distract ourselves. We hide beneath the very things He longs to set us free from. Then we self destruct on our regrets and failures. To top it off, we carry the burden of our accuser’s allegations, thinking it is “our cross” to bear.

All lies…

Turn your regrets into resolve, my family. There is no incrimination that stands against us when we are covered in His robe of righteousness. He asks only that we allow Him to come through the door of our innermost being. Let Him deliver us from the things that keep us from experiencing the reality of His fierce love.

Then, such as you have….

Resolve to give.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;

the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”’

Numb 6:24-26