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Encouraged and Encouraging

August 25th, 2015

“That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12 NIV.

Encouragement is evidenced in conviction, confidence, and courage.

Never Give Up

My thoughts and comments today are about being “encouraged and encouraging.”

Someone rightly observed, “Misery loves company.” Misery tends to choose similar company. Trust me; they will not be profitable for you and you aren’t helpful to them. Their depleted emotions further diminish yours. Encouragement is less about emotions and more about positive actions. Encouragement is evidenced in your conviction, confidence, and courage. I suggest three practical sources of encouragement.

Learn to encourage yourself in God and His Word. “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.” Colossians 3:15-17 NKJV. Betrayed, deposed, and driven from Jerusalem by his rebellious son, Absalom, “David was greatly distressed . . but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV. The Word of God has power to heal your emotions, calm your fears, and refresh your heart. Read Psalm 19:7-10 NLT.

The Word of God and the grace of God is sufficient whatever your season or circumstance. The Apostle Paul describes such moments, “May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV. The Scriptures refocus your attention on Jesus; Jesus is the great Encourager. See Romans 15:4-5 NIV.

Choose to be an encourager to others. “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:11-12 NIV. Is there anything you give others more valued and mutually rewarding than the gift of encouragement? You can’t encourage others when you are discouraged. Sow encouragement; reap encouragement. Encouragement returns from those you have encouraged. There is a familiar, but often misapplied, Biblical principle of generosity that is true in every application. “If you give, you will receive . . Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Read Luke 6:37-38 NLT. Notice that the surrounding context is relational rather than monetary.

Seek the company of those whose lifestyle and fellowship encourage you. “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, Philemon, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:7 NIV. Everyone needs fresh courage for the day and its demands. Life can be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually depleting, leaving you empty of energy and optimism. Days, even seasons, can feel disheartening. At such times, people who are emotionally and spiritually healthy refresh your courage. “And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NIV. Also see Hebrews 10:25 NIV.

Today, I pray that you will aspire to be an encourager, and refreshed in doing so.

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Encouragers

March 9th, 2011

“They cheered me greatly . . a wonderful encouragement to me.” 1 Corinthians 16:18 TLB

“Everyone needs a friend to listen and care, and a place to be refreshed.”

My thoughts today are about “encouragers.”

Everybody needs somebody sometime. Some people seem to need somebody all the time. Most of us have times that we just need a friend to be with or talk to – a friend to listen and care, and a place to be refreshed. The Apostle Paul, prolific author and missionary, understood those times. His letters frequently name his companions, or those who were helpers in his journeys. Their names are mostly obscure, little known except to Paul and a few others at the time. But they were people that made a big difference in Paul’s life and ministry.

“I am so glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have arrived for a visit . . they have cheered me greatly and have been a wonderful encouragement to me . . I hope you properly appreciate the works of such men as these.” 1 Corinthians 16:17-18 TLB. Paul was cheered and encouraged by the arrival of his friends. I am so glad I have had friends like that; I can only hope that I have been a friend like that.

No one’s life is only about good times. Sometimes, the road you journey is hard and the concerns you carry are heavy. Friends can make the worst day a better day, the unpleasant bearable and the difficult possible. If you want others to be there in your tough times, be sure that you make time for them and appreciate them in the best times, and that you are there in their tough times.

Encouragement is a common New Testament theme. At the heart of encouragement is the idea of “courage.” Everyday life takes courage, and to keep encouraged you need the company and help of others. “When the (believers in Rome) heard about us they came to meet us . . when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” Acts 28:15 NKJV.

God Himself is the greatest of encouragers: “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV. For encouragement, your best place to begin is God. He is there when others cannot be; His care for you is unchanging. And who could better inspire and instill courage in you than God?

You are to be a great encourager. You can make a difference in others’ lives; others will make a difference in yours. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing . . think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV/Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT.

You can encourage yourself. More than from others, discouragement often comes from you – what you choose to think, feel, or believe. People rehearse their discouragement. That being true, you can also encourage yourself by changing what you think about, managing your feelings more positively, and being firm in faith. “David was distressed . . but encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV. If David can do that, you can do that. Be encouraged in God today!

My prayer for you today is: be encouraged in God’s goodness and share that with others.

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