Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Becoming an Encourager

Chuckle: Child's prayer: "God, did you really mean for a giraffe to look like that or was it and accident?" Norma
Quote: “Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken a word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and our thoughts, as well as our success.” --George Matthew Adams
    "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing" (I Thessalonians 5:11).
The art of being an encourager is not an innate ability -- it must be developed. The virtue is first developed and cultivated in the home. Children learn it up from their parents as they hear words of love, affirmation, praise, and approval. Of course, sadly, all homes are not like that. Evangelist Bill Glass once asked a group of prison inmates, "How many of you had parents who told you you would end up in prison?" Almost every one of the inmates raised his hand. No encouragement here. . . .!
Now back to Hebrews 10:24: "we are to consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds." We are to give thought to specific ways we can lift up, affirm, and help others. God's commands are not theoretical -- they are for specific practical application, especially those that relate to people in need. Here are some examples: (1)Tell someone how much they mean to you -- how he or she blesses your life. (2) Observe and mention admirable character qualities you see in others. (3) Correspond with others through calls, thank you notes, etc. (4) Notice and comment on something done well by others. (5) Cultivate a positive and reassuring attitude -- be a source of optimism and cheer. (6) Be supportive of someone who is hurting -- a hug, a kind word, a note, etc. (7) Help someone strengthen his or her faith.
"And we urge you, brothers (sisters), warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone" (I Thessalonians 5:14 NIV). We must be careful to be encouragers with no thought of getting anything in return. If we selfishly expect something in return, our attempts at being an encourager will result in giving guilt-trips rather than encouragement.
Let me share a summary of Hebrews 10:25 from my Life Application Study Bible: "To neglect Christian meetings is to give up the encouragement and help of other Christians. We gather together to share our faith and to strengthen (encourage) one another in the Lord. As we get closer to the day when Christ will return, we will face many spiritual struggles, and even times of persecution. Anti-Christian forces will grow in strength. Difficulties should never be excuses for missing church services. Rather, as difficulties arise, we should make an even greater effort to be faithful in attendance." By our faithfulness, we will be encouraged and also encourage others.
You may not be physically able to attend worship services on a regular basis, or you may know someone in such a condition. If so, you can still be an encourager by maintaining contact with other Christians who need encouragement. In doing so you will also be encouraged as well. Kindness is difficult to give away -- it just keeps coming back to us!
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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