I left you yesterday, on my post (ALL..God cares about it ALL), with a thought about encouragement. I wrote, Everyone needs it..and everyone can provide it..but the best kind comes from God alone! I studied up on encouragement in my Bible this morning. I want to share with you what I learned…and I would like to just share what it means to me.
Who doesn’t need to be encouraged?!?! Especially in the times we are living in. Everyone needs it. We are commanded by God to give it. So often we are tempted to offer criticism instead of a word or act of encouragement. I’ll be quite honest, when running that last part of my 13.1 miles in a half-marathon , if somebody had yelled that I should be running faster instead of “come on, you can do this!”, I would have probably wanted to just stop, or probably would have felt like crying. (I felt like crying anyways. )
I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength! I did it!
Encouragement can give you that little bit of hope and spark that you need to keep going and finish what you have started.
Encouragement says “You CAN”..when Criticism says “You CAN’T”. Encouragement says, “I believe in you..I have faith that you can!”
There is nothing wrong with “helpful criticism”, but to me that is another term for ENCOURAGEMENT. If you want to criticize in a helpful way…then it really can’t be called that..it has to be called ENCOURAGEMENT. Take the criticism out…just be helpful and encourage.
I will be the first to tell you that I strive to be an encourager, and I will be the first to tell you that I also need to take the criticism out. Praise God, that He convicts me when I am wrong about the way I may go about saying things to my children and husband . It is usually the ones we are closest to that we are the most blunt with. I know for a fact that when I speak words of encouragement..or correct them (my children ) in love..instead of being blunt, it is received much better. Really though, isn’t that how we all want to be treated ?!?
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM TIME SPENT WITH OTHER BELIEVERS
When I spend time with other women who have the same desires of the heart..the same hunger for Christ, I am encouraged. Don’t take that wrong…I simply mean that they provide the encouragement for me that God leads them to provide. They are not the source of encouragement, simply the tools God uses. As God’s daughter, I do love everyone…but I also need encouragement too. I desire to be that tool Christ uses to encourage every single one of you! I want you to know that it is Christ alone that provides true encouragement, not the fake kind.
Hebrews 10: 23-25 (NIV) ~ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Fellowship with others who have the same desires to serve and seek God is extremely important. We all need encouragement.
ENCOURAGING OTHERS BECAUSE OF OUR PERSEVERANCE
We are also commanded to watch how we live and what we profess, making sure that they line up. In order to be an effective encourager, we have to live what we teach..what we profess. As Christians, we are commanded to go and spread the Gospel..and make disciples. A disciple of Christ is a follower of Christ..one that follows Christ and then in turn disciples others. Spreading the Gospel..the TRUTH about Jesus. That is THE source of real encouragement.
We must remember that what we believe is the foundation for how we will in turn live.
1 Timothy 4:12-16 (NIV) ~ Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
That is encouragement to my soul folks! The kind that God provides! If I persevere even when I feel defeated, God will use me and my message and you and your message…to reach those who need to hear it! If I let God use me as His tool, others will be encouraged! You can let Him use you too!
ENCOURAGEMENT THROUGH PRAYER
Prayer is the MOST POWERFUL weapon, tool, resource that we have available to us! Why then is it neglected so often? Prayer is our direct line to our Heavenly Father. As a believer in Christ, you not only have Jesus living inside you (The Holy Spirit, the source of conviction), but interceding on your behalf. To intercede means to plead someone’s case.
Romans 8:26-28(NIV) ~ In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.
That’s fact folks..not fiction or fairytale..not ghosts and goblin stuff..but the same power that is in Jesus..lives in me..because I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. God cares that much! He didn’t just send His Son to die on the cross for your sins and mine. No, He also left us with the gift of The Holy Spirit being in us.. That blows my mind!!! I won’t pretend to understand it all…and Scripture tells me that there are some things I just am not going to get! I am not God..He is! Man!!! That is powerful stuff!!!
We are called to pray for one another too though. Prayer is powerful..I can’t get that across strong enough! Jesus prayed! Want to be like Jesus? Then PRAY!!! Talk to Him…
The most encouraging thing to me is to know that when I am struggling, I have people praying for me. That is SUCH a comfort to my soul! I in turn, am what some might call a “prayer warrior”. It’s just a phrase..and anybody can be one. However, I take it seriously. I know the power in prayer..and I know that prayer is our lifeline to Christ.
I encourage you to pray..seek His word…and be encouraged by ALL that He offers you!
Pray for your family, your leaders, your friends..and don’t forget to pray for those who persecute you. There is power in prayer friends. Be encouraged!!! Then, encourage each other with TRUTH!
Blessings to you all!
UNTIL NEXT TIME!