Acts 4:32-37 (nlt) All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell the 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. 36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.Continue reading “Notes: 14 Aug 2022”
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….” 1 Thess. 5:11 (niv)
Without encouragement, hardship becomes meaningless, and our will to go on wanes. Discouragement is not an uncommon human experience. At times, recognizing that there is meaning in the seemingly inconsequential things we do seems next to impossible. We may want to give up. Yet He who calls us is faithful, and He gives us the power to be faithful, too (1 Corinthians 1:9).
– Encouragement makes it easier to live in a fallen world in a holy way.
– Encouragement makes it easier to love as Jesus loved (seeJohn 13:34-35).
– Encouragement gives hope (Romans 15:4).
– Encouragement helps us through times of discipline and testing (Hebrews 12:5).
– Encouragement nurtures patience and kindness (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Galatians 5:22-26).
– Encouragement makes it easier to sacrifice our own desires for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
In short, encouragement makes it easier to live life!
– Without encouragement, life would soon feel pointless and burdensome.
– Without encouragement, we can be overwhelmed by the very real pains of our lives.
– Without encouragement, we feel unloved.
– Without encouragement, we begin to think that God is a liar or is unconcerned with our welfare.
So, the Bible tells us to encourage one another, to remind each other of the truth that God loves us, that God equips us, that we are treasured, that our struggles are worth it.
More people fail for lack of encouragement than for any other reason.
The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement. Yet, almost no one gets the encouragement they need to grow to their full potential. If everyone received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond our wildest dreams.
—Sidney Madwed (b. 1948)
We should readily and liberally give the gift of showing faith in others. As many of us can testify from personal experience, it’s been God’s and others’ faith in us, and their seeing the good in us, that has helped us to reach success after moments of despair and times when we’ve questioned our self-worth.
A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.
—William Ward (1921–1994)
Trustworthy friends are a strong shelter; whoever finds one has found a treasure.
Trustworthy friends have no price, and no one can estimate their worth.
Trustworthy friends are life’s medicine, and those who fear the Lord will find them.
—Sirach 6:14–16 CEB
A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.
—William Penn (1644–1718)
Some people know just what to say and do to encourage others who are going through difficult times. Their words give strength to those who are discouraged and comfort to those who are grieving.
These people are sensitive to God’s voice. They are not self-centered or unaware of the struggles of those around them. They are the ones we immediately seek when we enter a crisis. They are welcome visitors when we are in distress, for their presence sustains us.
Scripture testifies of many whom God enabled to encourage others.
- When Moses was overwhelmed by his work, Jethro went to him and encouraged him. Jethro gave Moses wise counsel that eased his strain (Exod. 18:1–27).
- When Paul was imprisoned far from those who loved him, Epaphroditus risked his health and safety in order to go to Paul and minister to him (Phil. 2:25–30).
- Later, Paul urged Timothy to come and visit him, for Paul found strength and encouragement in Timothy (2 Tim. 4:9; Phil. 2:19–20).
- Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark also. Mark was the kind of friend Paul needed when he was enduring hardship (2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 24).
- Paul also relied on Luke for encouragement. When everyone else was absent or preoccupied, Luke could be found with Paul (2 Tim. 4:11).
Paul experienced trials throughout his life, but God sustained him by placing godly friends around him who provided support in practical and sacrificial ways. God wants to develop you into the kind of friend who can strengthen others. The words you share and the things you do can bring comfort and encouragement to your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your coworkers.
Think of someone in your circle of influence and search for a way to encourage them today.
But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus—my brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier, as well as your messenger and minister to my need. (Philippians 2:25)