Encouragement is so important. The Bible tells us to encourage others. I have personally seen encouragement go a long way in a person’s life. Paul wrote how he wanted to encourage others in their faith, but then he said something interesting. He said, “But I also want to be encouraged by yours.” What? He wanted to be encouraged by their faith?
Faith is encouraging. When others have faith, it is an encouragement. Even Paul, who many see as this great person of faith, could be encouraged by the faith of others. It is encouraging to see what God is doing through other people. It is encouraging to see others walking in faith. It is a truly a blessing and an honor to share. What an encouragement to those who witness God’s presence in your life.
Today, remember that you can be an encouragement to others. Go out of your way to encourage someone. Speak life. Share a laugh. Walk in faith. Encourage others in their faith. And allow yourself to be encouraged by what God is doing in the lives around you. Look around and watch Him move. He is alive. He is doing great things.
“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” – Romans 1:12 [NLT]
I like to keep an open house. When someone comes over, they see us as we are—nothing gets tossed in a closet or swept under the rug. I do not need an advance notice to prepare. The kids’ friends walk in and out as they wish, and they know that they are welcome to anything to eat or drink.
The Bible says to let your light shine before people because God will get the glory and people will take notice. The Message says, “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God.” As you welcome others into your home, into your life, as you let them see the real you, there is a great testimony presented without you even saying a word.
I am blessed with some very special people in my life. They say their house is my house. I can go to visit and walk in and sit down like it is my own home. It is great. You feel wanted. You feel loved. You feel “at home.” I can only think of how it will be one day when we will all be at home—with our Father. Be generous with your lives. Show people love. Show people Jesus. You don’t have to make it difficult. Simply invite people in and watch how God uses the simple gestures to open doors you never saw coming.
“Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
-Matthew 5:16 [MSG]
This morning it was drizzling but I still faithfully took my dog for a walk. As we continued up the street, I noticed that there was a newspaper that was poking through the plastic covering that the delivery person used for protection. In a quick moment, I passed by thinking that the newspaper would get all wet and perhaps I should pick it up and put it under the safety of the porch roof. But instead, I did nothing. I left it where it was and made excuses as to why I could not do that simple act. As I was a few blocks away, I started to feel regretful for not taking the opportunity that was right before me. It was a simple act of love that did not happen.
I think that too often there are opportunities presented to you and I, and I personally know that there are times in my life when I make excuses to not take action. I have heard many excuses as to why help cannot be given to someone, to the church, to a family in need, to a cause. Though this world is a hectic place and our schedules get busy, I think of how Jesus was walking toward one person when another person came in need of help. The lady reached out and touched His garment, and although He was on His way to pay a visit to the daughter of Jairus, He stopped and spoke to this woman (Mark 5). I remember how even after He was teaching at Capernaum and most likely tired from a busy day, He went back to Peter’s house to settle, only to still continue healing and reaching out to help others (Mark 1).
We will not always reach out. We will find ourselves making excuses. We will say we are too tired, too overwhelmed, too busy, too focused elsewhere, too unworthy, too untrained, too afraid. The list could go on and on with excuses I’ve given or heard. Thank God that He never makes excuses.
Today I encourage you to be the person who puts the newspaper on the porch. I pray that when you notice that you are making excuses for something that you can easily do before you walk away so that later you won’t be feeling guilty that you did not do more. Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“Do not neglect to do what is good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16 [ESV]
As I walked by the church car park, I noticed that a lady pulled her car into the lot, and then she turned around and drove out of the car park, only to park down the street. She used the lot simply to turn around so that she could get on the side of the street she wished to park. I thought then about the options that we have with the church parking area. We all drive into the church car park with the intentions of turning around. Some of us wish to turn our lives around, and we enter the car park with the desire to get to know God and have a relationship with Christ. Then there are other people who go into the parking area simply because they are using it as a way to turn their vehicles around so that they can go in another direction.
But then, there are the other people– the people who are considering what the church has to offer– but then change their mind and leave quickly, trying not to be noticed. I wonder how many people do that at our churches. Do we have a welcoming church? Have we placed out a welcome mat, or are we keeping the doors closed up? This is not really a question about the grounds maintenance and the presence of a welcome mat, but rather, a deep question that we need to all consider as we enter the walls of our church. If we are to share the gospel and bring people to know Christ, we must certainly be inviting. How is your church inviting? How are you inviting? This isn’t a question meant to judge and rate your church’s outreach program. This is a question to get you to consider more ways to share Christ. There’s so many people out there who haven’t heard about Jesus yet. Lets not lose hope.
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”
– John 4:35-36 [ESV]
I recently read of an interesting way to be intentional with prayer. A man named George Reindrop wrote in No Common Task about how a nurse taught a grumpy man how to pray. The nurse had each finger on her hands signify a person. Her thumbs reminded her to pray for the people that were closest to her in her life. Her pointer finger reminded her to pray for her teachers. Her middle finger reminded her to pray for the leaders. Her fourth finger reminded her to pray for the weak and suffering people. Her little finger was a reminder for her to pray for herself. This can be a very helpful way to not forget anyone on your prayer list. Personally, I see this as an important reminder of the importance of prayer and to be intentional with your prayer life. We have a great gift in being able to talk with God whenever and wherever we are at all times.
Too often we get caught up with our daily lives, that we do not take much time to pray. There are so many people who are struggling, hurting, sick, going through personal problems, etc. Along with all of the troubles in the world, there are so many praises that we can offer to God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon our lives. One of the greatest ways to make sure that we do not forget what we desire to pray about, is to be proactive about praying right away. If you have something that is on your heart right now, take it to God. You don’t have to wait till later when you may be likely to forget, to have another thing on your mind, to forget where you put your prayer list, or to simply be exhausted and fall asleep before you get the words out.
He is listening.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
– Philippians 4:6 [ESV]
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“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
– Hebrews 10:24-25 [NLT]
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
– Hebrews 13:16 [ESV]