This past week, I have felt buoyed by encouragement. Encouragement…it feels so good…it helps me to keep putting one foot in front of the other…sometimes encouragement catches me off guard…unaware…not realizing I even needed it until like a beautifully wrapped present that someone had been hiding behind their back is placed in my hands ready to be unwrapped…a gift full of courage.
Encouragement can come in so many ways…a listening ear…a shared laugh…a timely email…a reminder of what God says…a hug…a gentle nudge in the right direction. Encouragement is a gift that we give one another but it is also one of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit…He is the Comforter…the KJV uses the word comfort to express encouragement. In the Greek Lexicon the word “comfort” or “encouragement” used in the verses to come, means:
- to call to one’s side
- to summon
- to strengthen
- to speak to
- to calm
- instruct or instruction
- to teach
- to admonish
- to exhort
- to console
As I have been reading through Acts and the Epistles (letters of encouragement)…I noticed how often the word encourage is used. Encouragement was vital to the new believers…everything in their lives was brand new and in many ways life had been turned upside down…in a great way but still the new church was tender and needed nurturing and care.
Take a look:
“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”
Acts 9: 31
“When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”
Acts 11: 23
“Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.”
Acts 15: 32
“After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.”
Acts 16: 40
“We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith.”
I Thess. 3: 2
“Therefore encourage each other with these words.”
I Thess. 4: 18
“And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
I Thess. 5: 14
The early church needed encouragement and believers need just as much encouragement today. Just think…every time we encourage someone it is like calling them to our sides…and truly if that encouragement comes from the Lord…it is like snuggling up close to the Lord…being summoned…called for…we need to be close so there can be strengthening…instruction…teaching…exhortation…consolation…
Who can we call to our sides…the Lord’s side today?
Do you think that each time we encourage another in this walk of life…that God delights in this…because we are being like Him…and we are all on the same side?!
Check out Bev’s blog for more Cover to Cover thoughts and post.