Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ENCOURAGING WORDS FOR DISCOURAGING TIMES

An Arch at the Castle of Heidelberg Germany
     One thing I enjoy doing more than anything else in the world is to encourage someone.  I have always loved people, but when I became a Christian, the Lord enlarged my heart and vision to reach out and encourage folks.  It just makes me so happy.
     We all have different gifts from the Holy Spirit, it is true.  However, each of us is called to encourage, build up and edify one another in the Lord.  The Bible tells us that times will get tougher (and they are difficult and discouraging now) and that we should all the more try to encourage one another.
     Paul, the Apostle, wrote a second letter to the Corinthians after he had chastised them in his first letter for all the dissension and problems they had allowed.  In this second letter, it is easy to see his love for these people and his concern for them.  He even opens his own heart and allows us to see how God used someone in his life to encourage him.
     2 Corinthians 7:5-7 reads:  "For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side; conflicts without, fears within.  But God who comforts the depressed, comforted  us by the coming of Titus; and not only his coming, but also he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more."  These are words of encouragement that Paul wrote to the Corinthians.  He wanted them to know that it wasn't just the coming of Titus that helped him through depression and difficulties.  It was the words which Titus encouraged him with...that the Corinthians truly wanted to see him again.What good news to this man who had taken them to task for their behavior in Christian matters!
     Encouragement has a ripple effect almost like throwing a stone into a quiet pond.  When we tell someone encouraging things, they in turn will spread this encouragement to others.  Let me share an example.
     I was talking with a friend recently, and she mentioned the name of another lady whom I had not seen in a while.  I told her how much I respected and admired this woman.  Some time later, she had a chance to see this lady and she passed on my words of encouragement.  I received a note in the mail a week later from this woman who thanked me for my kind words to our mutual friend.  What a pleasant surprise I had!
The Altar in the Church of the Holy Ghost in Heidelberg, Germany
     By the same token, we can also pass along negative statements, gossip, or other things which I assure you always finds it way back to a person being discussed.  The choice of either encouraging or discouraging is always ours.  However, the results of each are quite different.
     In the Scripture, the Corinthians told Titus how much they loved Paul which encouraged Titus as he saw their changed hearts.  Then, Titus told this good news to Paul which carried the encouragement on to him.  The letter Paul wrote to them sent that encouragement and love right back to them to bless them.  It was a circle of blessing!
     Whom can you encourage today?  We have people all around us in our homes, neighborhoods, communities and churches.  We need to remember to encourage them with words that will lift their spirits and build their faith.  As we do this,  the encouragement will return to us as well and bring glory to our Lord.    Selah!


Who encourages you?  What brings encouragement to your heart?  I welcome your thoughts here.  Please leave them so that others might also be encouraged.

6 comments:

Becky said...

Love this post, Barbara.

I pray I will be an encourager today to my family first of all, and to all whom I encounter as I journey under His sun.

I am grateful for friends (close to me and those in "blogland") who love the Lord and are always encouraging me to live a godly life.

Thank you for these words, sister.

Barbara Thayer said...

Dearest sister in the Lord,
Thank you for the visit and for sharing today. I know you have encouraged me. In fact, I took you up on your offer to join you in the wonderful prayer book. I ordered it and daily spend time with the Lord as I read and pray these beautiful Puritan prayers. You see....you are an encourager!!! :) May you be blessed today as you go along lifting up your family and friends!

Patricia said...

You are one of MY sweetest encourager, Barbara and I praise God for our friendship.

This past year has been where I've realized just how poorly most of us encourage others and it's where I've asked the Lord to "grow me up". I've especially tried to focus on encouraging younger women in their role as a wife and mother. While you and I did our best to do that for each other as we raised our children, wouldn't it have been wonderful to also have an older woman to tell us we were good mothers?

Love you, Barbara...and thanks again for being one of the best encourager in my life.

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you Pat for your kind words. We did encourage one another during those times when our children were growing. And yes, I do wish we had older women who could have come alongside and encouraged us as well. It is biblical! I pray that I can share my wisdom and understanding with younger women for mothering is a huge task and one that needs constant encouragement.

May God bless as you continue to bless others at your blog with your beautiful photographs and words of blessing.

harmamae said...

This is a good reminder - thank you! The last couple weeks of the semester are pretty tough for a lot of students, and more people than me could probably use an encouraging word or two.

Barbara Thayer said...

You are so right Harmamae. When you are in college....there are days when a good word can brighten your whole outlook! Blessings my friend and thank you for stopping by!