Divine Reassurance

Read Daniel 9:20-23

“Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation” (v. 21).
We humans have an innate desire to communicate and be heard and understood by other people. I see this desire in my three-year-old’s face as he tries to get his story out over the noise and distractions of his older brothers. Being ignored or drowned out by the sea of competing sounds is a frustrating experience for him. In those times, stooping down to his level, looking into his eyes, and placing a hand on his arm is the encouragement he needs that someone is listening and cares about what matters to him.
In this passage, Daniel pours out his heart in intercessory prayer, and God sends an angel to reassure him that he is “greatly beloved” and to reveal some astonishing details about God’s work in the future for his people. In our times of prayer, we also may be anguished and burdened for the needs of those around us. In these moments, our Heavenly Father hears us, and it is a blessing when we feel His encouraging touch, reassuring us of His great love and concern for the things that matter to us. (Stephen B. Smith)

Encourage Your Students

Teachers of adults in a church setting often have students for short time periods. The teacher or class may not have opportunity to know if a fellow class member is discouraged or troubled. Be positive! Be encouraging! Realize that your students may be fighting serious, life-altering battles. Be sensitive to the gravity of situations, but in all cases, be an encourager! Have an appropriate mantra for your class that has an encouraging, Scripture-based foundation, i.e., “God is working out His purpose,” “God is good,” “God loves us and does what is best for us.” But be aware of the possibility of minimizing a problem with a “godly” quote. Recognize that your class members have daily challenges, but help them know that when they come to your class, they will leave with a word of encouragement that has been spoken, based on God’s Word and His faithfulness!

Encouragement for a Despondent Prophet

Read 1 Kings 19:1–8

“And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee” (v. 7).

Are you feeling low on this Monday? It’s common for us to feel drained after a time of strenuous labor. How did your church services go yesterday? Did you experience the intense presence of God or was it a painfully discouraging experience? Either way, you are likely to be experiencing the Elijah syndrome: Deep sighs; hunger to hide for a season; fatigue; questions of adequacy. Don’t feel ashamed; we have all suffered from the symptoms of the Elijah syndrome, sometimes often. “The journey is too great for thee.” Can you relate? Are you there now?

Notice that the immediate remedy God prescribed to Elijah was not more prayer, witnessing, or preaching. He could not give out anymore because he had already drained himself at Mt. Carmel. It was time to take in: to eat, sleep, and recharge his soul. God still had work for him to do but first things first and he couldn’t pour out without first being refilled.

If you are suffering from the Elijah syndrome today, take some time to recharge. Take a breath, take a walk, take a nap, take nourishment, engage in a hobby, feed your soul. You’ll be empty without it. (Don D Callaway)

He knows how hard the fight has been;

The clouds that come our lives between;

The wounds the world has never seen;

He knows He knows! — G. W. Lyon

You can find encouragement when you feed your soul.

This devotional is the Monday, January 29, 2018 entry of Opening the Word.

Encouragement for the Downcast

Lesson 10 - February 4, 2018


Focus Text: Isaiah 51:1-16

Central Truth: God’s people will always find encouragement when they truly seek and listen to the Lord of hosts.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students will have found encouragement because they have clarified their focus (vs. 1-8); expressed their need (vs. 9, 10); and listened to the Lord of hosts speak (vs. 11-16).

Lesson Outline:


  1. Clarifying Our Focus (Isaiah 51:1-8)
  2. Expressing Our Need (Isaiah 51:9-10)
  3. Listening to Our God (Isaiah 51:11-16)