May 19th 2009

Encouragement

“Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders.”
Proverbs 12:25 (LB)

The word encouragement means, “to fill the heart”. One way of saying ‘encourage’ in the Old Testament was ‘strengthen him’. Moses was told to encourage and strengthen Joshua (Deuteronomy 3:28).

When David was feeling down, “Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened (encouraged) his hand in God” (I Samuel 23:16). Later, I Samuel 30:6 tells us that “…David encouraged himself in the Lord his God”, and “God strengthened him” (Psalm 138:3).

In the New Testament, the greatest encourager was Barnabas. His name was changed from Joseph to Barnabas, which means ‘Son of Encouragement’.

Psalm 46 tells us God is always there to help and provide strength (encourage) in any circumstance. I am sure all of us can remember times when we felt down and someone came with a word fitly spoken and built us up (Proverbs 15:23). In Luke 22:32, Jesus encouraged Peter and told him to strengthen (encourage) the brethren.

Church is one place where we can be encouraged and bring encouragement to others. Paul wanted to go to Rome to “by some means now at last I may come to you…that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Romans 1:11-12)

We all need encouragement, and Paul gives us many examples of how to do this. “Live together in peace…encourage the timid, help the weak and be very patient with all men. Be sure that no one repays a bad turn with a bad turn; good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large.” (I Thessalonians 5:14-18 JBPhillips).

Look around and be sensitive to those who need encouragement. Offer your support and love to encourage them.

Prayer
Father, thank you that you are always there to help us. You are the Great Encourager. Please help us to be like you and be encouragers to everyone we come in contact with.
Amen

Study by Jill Newman

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