Friday, February 20th, 2015
Fellowship (Part 15)
Essentials: Kind Encouragement
I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.
Romans 1:11-12 (NASB)
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord's people.
Philemon 1:7 (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NASB)
In Latin, 'en' means make and 'courage' means heart. So when we en-courage, we make hearts stronger. The head's role? Submission, because courage defies logic.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: 'Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds' (Hebrews 10:24):
1) Encouraging Word: 'My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your Word' (Psalm 119:25). God's Word is a transforming tie to the Almighty, where weakness becomes strength, mourning becomes dancing, heaviness becomes praise, and ashes become beauty.
2) Encouraging Words: 'Joshua then said to them, 'Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies with whom you fight' ' (Joshua 10:25). Encouraging words lift us from pits of distress to pastures of hope.
3) Encouraging Friendships: 'Then Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God' (1 Samuel 23:16). Godly friends will strengthen us, when ungodly kin will not. So, let's become those friends and pray for those families.
4) Encouraging Letters: 'We remember... your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope... For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you' (1 Thessalonians 1:3-4). Almost 2000 years later, Paul's Letters still encourage. Let's copy him.*
5) Encouraging Acts: ' 'Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem'... So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well... and brought it to David' (1 Chronicles 11:17-18). Acts of service cement our friendships. So change a tire or bake a cake. Let's perform for our friends.
6) Encouraging Memories: 'My heart is appalled within me. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your Hands' (Psalm 143:4-5). To remember God's special deliveries will change our focus from current miseries to past glories, and bring us future hopes.
7) Encouraging Songs: 'After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives' (Matthew 26:30). Oh my! Consider what Jesus and His disciples were about to face. Now consider the power of shared song to unite us in God's purpose. Music is a supernatural connection that should not be limited to Sundays.
8) Encouraging Generosity: 'Barnabas... (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet' (Acts 4:36-37). Since we truly own nothing, let's be generous with the gifts of God.
9) Encouraging Support: 'As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning... When Moses' hands grew tired... Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other' (Exodus 17:11-12). Even the strongest among us get weak. Let's stay hand-in-hand.
10) Encouraging Defense: 'When he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ' (Acts 18:27-28). Don't remain silent in the face of injustice. We must defend the Truth.
11) Encouraging Miracles: 'They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them' (Acts 16:40). Paul's prison delivery was a miracle. When we share our own God stories, we strengthen insiders and intrigue outsiders.
12) Encouraging Prayers: 'Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father Who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us...' ' (Matthew 6:9-11). Jesus said our Model Prayer was group prayer. Praying with and for others brings blessings we cannot count.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: the world is filled with discouragements; enemy tricks to sadden our hearts and steal our courage. So help your brethren stay strong--by kind encouragements.
To Be Continued...
* Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians (1st Chapter) is a huge gift of encouragement to the entire church: 1 Thessalonians 1: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+1&version=NIV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Fellowship series.