Encourage One Another
Encouragement is part of God's character. Our God is called the God of comfort, patience and consolation. He is the God who "comforts those who are cast down."
Each time we meet, you always say
Some word of praise that makes my day.
You see some hidden, struggling trait,
Encourage it and make it great.
Tight fisted little buds of good
Bloom large because you said they would.
A glad, mad music in me sings;
My soul sprouts tiny flaming wings.
My day takes on a brand-new zest
Your encouragement brings out my best,
Revives my spirit, flings it high;
For God loves praise, and so do I.
Encouragement is part of God's character. Our God is called the God of comfort, patience and consolation. He is the God who "comforts those who are cast down." Romans 15:5; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 7:6-8.
He gives us "everlasting consolation" 2 Thessalonians 2:16. He never gives up encouraging us! He gives us "strong encouragement" Hebrews 6:18. God constantly encourages us in His word. He continually exhorts us to "Fear not!" When Jesus was on earth, He constantly encouraged with the words, "Be of good cheer...Be not afraid." This is the desire of God's heart. He constantly wants to encourage us. But He can only tangibly do this through His people, His body.
Every day He wants to load us with blessings!
Every day He wants to encourage us!
Every day He wants to cheer us up and inspire us!
But He is looking for vessels through whom He can minister. That's why He commands us in Hebrews 3:13 to "Encourage one another daily." He doesn't tell us to do it once a month! Or even once a week when you see one another at church. No! He exhorts us to encourage each other every day!
Can you just imagine what would happen to a body of God's people if each one was being encouraged by someone else every day - and each believer was encouraging someone else? It would be very difficult to be laid low with depression. It would be hard to backslide. It would be difficult to get into unbelief.
God understands the frailty of our hearts and how easily we can get discouraged and despondent. That's why He has given us this commandment. Read Hebrews 3:12,13 again: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But encourage one another daily, while it is called Today, LEST any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." God doesn't want us to go astray. That's why He commands us to encourage one another every day.
The Living Bible translation of Proverbs 12:25 says, "A word of encouragement does WONDERS." One word of encouragement can change someone's life. One act of love and kindness can turn someone's life around. Encouragement can do wonders in your marriage relationship and in your family.
Your husband will change when you stop nagging and start encouraging. Your children will thrive and blossom on encouragement. The atmosphere in your home will change. You will even be healthier. Discouraging words can make people sick. Positive, life-giving words give health.
- "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24
- "The tongue of the wise is health." Proverbs 13:17
- "A faithful ambassador is health." Proverbs 12:18
As you wake each morning and spend time with God before you start the day, ask God to show you who He wants you to encourage this day. Give God time for Him to speak to you. As you wait, He will show you. Then ask Him what He wants you to do. He will show you creative ways to encourage that will change peoples lives. Take time every day to think about each one of your children and how you can inspire them. Take time each day to think about your husband and of uncouraging things you can say to him.
I remember one lovely incident when I was teaching on this subject back in New Zealand many years ago. One dear young mother, who lived across the road from me, began to wait on the Lord each morning for God to show her who He wanted her to encourage.
God burdened her heart with a widow who lived down the street. She felt that she should do something practical for her and also visit her. She baked some scones, but felt that it wasn't enough. So she went down to the shop and looked around for a little gift to purchase for her. As she looked to the Lord to guide her, she felt drawn to a little vase, that would only hold one flower. She took the scones and the gift to this widow who was so blessed by her love and thoughtfulness.
However, God wasn't finished yet! Another sister was also waiting on God and he burdened her heart with this same widow! "What do you want me to do to encourage her?" she asked the Lord. She felt God touching her heart to buy some flowers for her. Off she went to the florist shop to buy a big bunch of flowers, but when she got there, she felt impressed by the Lord to purchase only one flower, a lovely specimen!
Can you imagine how blessed this dear widow felt when the second sister arrived a few minutes later with the one flower to put in the vase that would hold just one flower? She realized how much God loved her and thought about her. And these ladies were so thrilled to know that they were sensitive and obedient to the Lord.
God is wanting to do special things like this every day for every one of us - if only we would take time to listen to Him and obey His prompting. This is supernatural living. This is walking in the Spirit.
Over the years I have encouraged folk to make a Encouragement Check List for themselves. Across the page write the days of the week. Down the side write a) the name of your husband, 2) the names of each of your children, and 3) a space for someone else outside your home. At the end of each day, check your list to see if you have encouraged your husband and each one of your children - and also blessed someone outside your home. Do this for a few weeks until you get into the habit of encouraging DAILY!
To be an encourager, you have to stop thinking about yourself and give some room in your mind and heart for others. I will never forget some words God spoke to me years ago. ."Nancy," He said, "how can I reveal to you the needs of others if you are always thinking about yourself." Oh how true this is.
If all our thoughts are on ourselves, we will have no room for God to reveal to us the needs of others. Just as we have a certain limit of physical strength, so we have a certain limit of emotional capacity. If all our emotions are spent on ourselves, we will not have any left to pour out on others.
No wonder the scripture says in Philippians 2:3, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." The Living Bible says, "Don't just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing."
It's a good idea to have encouraging cards ready and on hand to send to those whom God puts on your heart. Encourage and bless the older people, especially those who are widows and those who are living on their own. Always positively encourage the mothers who are "with child." Bless the lonely. And don't forget to give encouraging words to children, too. Don't leave them aside.
We are either a spirit dampener or a spirit refresher! Which are you? Be inspired by these scriptures:
- "We have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother." Philemon 7,20.
- "We were comforted in your comfort; yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all." 2 Corinthians 7:7,13
- "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus for he oft refreshed me." 2 Timothy 1:16. I love the Amplified translation of this scripture - "May the Lord grant His mercy to the family of Onesiphorus, for he often showed me kindness and ministered to my needs - comforting and reviving and bracing me like fresh air."
- "Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus...they have oft refreshed my spirit and yours." 1 Corinthians 16:17,18.
- "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25 NIV.
- "Therefore encourage each other and build each other up." 1 Thessalonians 5:11, JNT
- "So let us concentrate on the things that make for harmony, and on the growth of one another's character." Romans 14:19 J.B. Phillips.
- "Let us outdo one another in being helpful and kind to each other." Hebrews 10:24 TLB
- "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18
- "A word spoken in due season, how good it is." Proverbs 15:23
- "So go cheering and strengthening each other." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 J.B. Phillips.
- "Let us outdo one another in being helpful and kind to each other." Hebrews 10:24 TLB.
- "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth my ear to hear as the learned." Isaiah 50:4.
- "So let us concentrate on the things that make for harmony, and on the growth of one another's character." Romans 14:19 J.B. Phillips
If we feel a kindly thought,
Warm and helpful - then we ought
Not to keep it close and tight,
But instead, with all our might
LET'S SAY SO!
If we feel a thought of praise
For our neighbor's words or ways
Which should cheer him on his way,
Streak with gold his hours of grey -
LET'S SAY SO!
But so often - what a shame
Though we're free enough with blame,
Out of shyness, out of pride,
Help and praise we somehow hide -
LET'S SAY SO!
We shall let our praises loose,
We shall wish we'd mentioned how
Kind we felt - then why not now -
LET'S SAY SO!