Encourage & Build

Encourage & Build

Have you ever heard this saying?  “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”  Such a person is an ENCOURAGER!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 NIV)

There are at least thirteen passages in the New Testament alone about encouragement.  Encouragement means inspiration, reassurance, and support.  Encouragement is a combination of all three.  It has great potential for fostering and advancing critical moments in a person’s, a church’s, and or a nation’s history. 

But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.  (Deu 3:28 NKJV)  As this verse in the Bible demonstrates, encouragement is able to strengthen a person’s soul (mind, will, and emotions) and help them to push ahead to accomplish their goal.  Thanks to encouragement and God’s grace, Joshua accomplished great things for God.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Acts 11:23)  This is when Barnabas visited the church at Antioch:  He supported them in their faith in God and emboldened them to continue in it.

Here is something interesting to know about Barnabas

“Barnabas” wasn’t his birth name (it was Joseph); Barnabas was his nickname meaning “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). This rather obscure Bible character was so encouraging that it became his name.” ~ Source:  https://www.leadershipresources.org/who-is-barnabas-in-the-bible-10-things-to-know.

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)  These words of the Apostle Paul’s are inspiration to the church of his day—as well as to us.  He is nurturing our unity, our faith in and understanding of the Gospel, and our perseverance in faith.

. . . and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith . . .  (1 Thes 3:2)  The Apostle Paul is writing from Antioch about sending Timothy to confirm, reassure and to strengthen the faith of the Thessalonian church during persecution.

As these passages reveal to us, encouragement is powerful!  It has the potential to build (develop, shape, and foster) a person’s faith in God as well as a confidence in their calling to such an extent that they are enabled to accomplish mighty deeds and to produce pivotal moments in history. 

Boldly encourage someone that you care about today.  Blessings upon you!

The Lord’s Swift Help

The Lord’s Swift Help

Here are Bible verses that remind us that when we need God’s help, we may need it suddenly and abruptly! 

Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.  (Ps 38:22 NIV)

Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me.  (Ps 40:13 NIV)

Come closer, God! Please hurry and help.  (Ps 71:12 CEV)

Lord, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.  (Ps 141:1)

The above verses show human beings calling upon the Lord for immediate and speedy help.  We all turn to God in fear and anguish when we are facing some sort of crisis in our lives.  But remember, God has already declared Himself as our Savior and Redeemer.  (Isa 49:26; 60:16). 

So we can have complete assurance that He hears and answers our prayers. (Pro 15:29; Joh 16:24; 1 Joh 5:14-15)  Look up some of these verses and meditate upon them to build your faith.

Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.  (Isa 19:1, emphasis added) 

The word “totter” means to stagger, wobble, quake, or lurch.  When God’s power comes into a circumstance or a life, every false god and demon quakes and falls in fear and defeat.  They recognize that Jesus is the Victorious One.  (Joh 16:33; Col 2:15)

Notice that the imagery in Isaiah 19:1 mentions a swift cloud, which gives us a clue as to the decisiveness of the Lord when He has determined to take action on behalf of His people. So, in your moment of need, trust in the Lord and in His abiding and perfect love for you.  Understand that the Lord will move swiftly (instantly) on your behalf at exactly the best moment—the one that He knows will bring about the most blessings for you.

As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that the Lord LEADS US IN TRIUMPH in Christ.  (2 Cor 2:14)  Hallelujah!  Allow Him (trust Him) to lead you triumphantly in every situation. 

Secrets: Hidden Things Coming to Light

Secrets:  Hidden Things Coming to Light

All human beings—no matter what nationality, race, or creed—have secrets.  Some secrets are fairly harmless and others are very serious, and yet other secrets are actually very dangerous.  Most of us fall into having the “fairly harmless” category of secrets.

One important thing to know is that God promises to uncover secrets and hidden things.  One way or another, all dark and secret things will be exposed by the Lord.  Those of us who follow Jesus Christ need to know this truth and to live in the light of it.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.  (1 Cor 4:5)  The word counsels means advice, information, or instruction. 

 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  (Heb 4:13)  The Lord our God sees everything and knows even the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  (Heb 4:12)  Even the content of our hearts will be revealed.  That’s a sobering thought.

In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.  (Lk 12:1-3, underscoring added)

We all have challenges, desires, disappointments, and heartaches. Most human beings have areas where they are weak, and they may occasionally fail and sin.   In all of these things, the Lord cares about us, and wants to help us.  As the Bible passage above reminds us, our innermost secrets—which may have been whispered in the dark—will one day be heard by all. 

A daily review, before the Lord, is the best way to deal with everything:  sins, challenges, secrets, disappointments, etc.  Bring it all to the Lord at the end of each day, and ask His forgiveness for sins, and His help and wisdom with problems and heartaches.  Seek His hope and grace to carry you through disappointment and heartache. 

Above all, whatever secrets you have, share them ALL with the Lord now.  Ask Him how to deal with them, and follow His guidance.  If you’re having difficulty in hearing from the Lord, go to a wise, mature, and trustworthy brother or sister in Christ, and request their wise input. 

We must all learn to live honest, holy, and productive lives that will bring glory and honor to the Lord.  Learning how to bring our secrets into the light of the Lord’s love and mercy is an integral part of holy living.  Our loving God supplies us with the grace and the ability to accomplish this goal.  May God richly bless you.

God’s Wonderful Counsel

This also comes from the Lord of hosts; He is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.  (Isa 28:29 ESV)

O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.  (Isa 25:1 NKJV)

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

The Lord has declared Himself, through His Word, to be our Counselor.  A counselor is one who gives advice, guidance, and direction.  A wise counselor also gives warning when they feel it is appropriate.

God, who our Savior as well as our Counselor, gives us:

  • Support,
  • A listening ear,
  • Help, and
  • Instruction

We receive many of these blessings through our church family in the person(s) of our Pastor, our elders, and our wise friends.  This is a matchless and precious gift to each one of us.  What a blessing are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Rely upon the Lord and His Word for the best counsel that exists anywhere in creation or in the universe!

A Good Name

A Good Name

What exactly is a “good name”?  It means having a good reputation, or being known as a person with a good character.  The Bible speaks most favorably about having a good name.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.  (Pro 22:1 NIV)

Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  (Pro 3:4 NIV)

A good name is better than fine perfume . . . (Eccl 7:1a NIV)

Ecclesiastes asserts that a good reputation is better than fine perfume!  Does that surprise you?  Let’s think about this for a little time.  Your good name is all about your integrity—your very character.

When people hear your name, what do they think about you?  Do they associate your name with timeliness, honesty, and hard work?  Or do they think several negative things instead?

Here are some valuable reasons why a good reputation can be considered better than riches.

  • A good name provides steadiness – A person with a good name means that there are positive character traits the person has. When you’re known for having a good character, it causes other people to trust you and to want to deal with you.  Trust is a stabilizing factor in life.  In business, people will want to hire you or affiliate themselves with you.  In personal life, you will have many trusted friends who will remain friends.  A person with a good character is easy to love.
  • A good name is endless – Think about the many people in history that are spoken of in our time with respect and awe. A good character stays behind when we have gone ahead into eternity.  Once we have lived our lives and passed on, what kind of legacy will we have we left behind?  How will our children, our family and friends remember us?  If we followed Jesus’ example and lived our lives by faith, we can be assured that we will have made a positive contribution to our world.
  • God bestows loving favor on those who have a good name. – When a person has a good name (a good character), they receive the favor of God and man. (Ps 84:11; Pro 3:1-4; 33-35)  People enjoy interactions with those who make them feel good and who interact honorably with them.  People will love you for your honesty; they will appreciate your work ethic; and they will respect your sense of integrity.  When a person of good character is assaulted, their friends and associates will choose to defend and protect them.  People love to unite together to help a person with a good name. 

It’s good to stop and take stock, occasionally, of the state of our reputation.  Is it in good shape?  If not, there’s still time to make changes in your life in order to repair your good name.

Seek the Well Being of Others

Seek the Well Being of Others

As children of God, our actions will naturally imitate the actions of our Heavenly Father.  God cares for each and every person.  He is pleased when—instead of being selfish—we look for opportunities to help and to bless other people.

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.  (1 Cor 10:24)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus  . . . (Phil 2:4-5)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth . . . (1 Cor 13:4-6, underscoring added)

God is love (1 Joh 4:8) so the passage of Scripture above outlining the nature of love gives us a very good picture of the nature of the God whom we serve.  This reveals how the Lord deals with each person individually, and helps us to understand His love for mankind.

In these verses from the Bible, we can see that working on behalf of other people in order to bless their lives will also result in bringing glory to God.  This is what we who serve the Good Shepherd are called to do.  We’re called to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ; to bring glory to God; and to spread the Good News.  In so doing, the very works of God will be revealed in us.  (Joh 9:3) Have a blessed day!

Be Tenderhearted

Be Tenderhearted

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  (Eph 4:32)

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous . . . (1 Pet 3:8)

. . . because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord.  (2 Chr 34:27)

Tenderhearted means kind, gentle, compassionate, or sympathetic.  We don’t often consider this, but tenderheartedness is an attribute of Jesus.  This is why He was reported to have wept over Jerusalem.  (Lk 19:41)  He saw into their future, and He had compassion for all of the people who lived there.

So, too, the Lord wants us to be tenderhearted toward others.  He wants our compassion and gentleness to move us to help others and to be merciful to them.  Someone who is tenderhearted would never rejoice over someone else’s calamity or misfortune.  Rather they would be moved to have sympathy for them, and to pray for them and consider how they might be able to help them.

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He [Jesus] said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  (Mk 3:5 – parenthesized word added)

Jesus did this miracle deliberately even though He knew that the scribes who were in the crowd were silently critical of His actions.  Their hardness of heart angered the Lord, but He determined to continue to minister His love and mercy in spite of their doubt and criticism.  He demonstrated His tenderheartedness to the man with the withered hand.

Let us always have a tender heart towards ALL who need salvation, healing, and mercy.  Jesus gave us His example to follow by ministering to those who were hurting, in pain, or impoverished due to a sickness or disease with which they had been afflicted.  Jesus came to bring salvation to mankind, and He tenderheartedly fulfilled His assignment.  Hallelujah!

We Need One Another

We Need One Another

Human beings need other human beings!  Everyone wants to be loved, welcomed, and valued.  There are times in life when sorrow or disappointments overtake us when we simply need human contact.  We may need a touch on the hand or a smile or hug.  We might need someone to encourage our faith.  Or we may simply need help moving a heavy dresser or bookcase.  The Scriptures give us insight into this topic.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.  11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.  And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  (Eccl 4:9-12)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  (Pro 17:17)

Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend . . .  (Pro 27:5-6)

Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. 10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend,
nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
 (Pro 27:9-10)

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.  (Pro 27:17)

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  (Jhn 15:13)

. . . that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  (Rom 1:12)

People who have a lot of friends have proven themselves to be friendly. (Pro 18:24)

When the enemy wants to harm us, one of the tricks that he will use is to separate us from dearly loved friends or relatives.  (Pro 16:28; 17:9)  That is one of the enemy’s favorite past times—destruction.

Jesus is truly our best friend and Savior.  He loves us and pours out His blessings upon us as a result of His love.  One of the most beautiful gifts that He gives to people is the gift of friends!  Our faith is not intended to be lived out in the wilderness by ourselves.  We are intended to live within a community of faith, and an extended community of family and friends.

Friends give us wise counsel, warmth, help of all kinds, laughter, and encouragement.  Just knowing that we’ll be seeing a friend in a few days, can brighten our outlook and fill a person with joyful anticipation.  Often, when the Lord wants us to know how very much He loves us, He will send a caring friend (or several) to wrap their arms around us and tell us how very much they love us.  They may even send us an email, text, or greeting card to enumerate all of the things that they like about our friendship. 

Value your friends and remember to show your appreciation to them.  Don’t try to be a solo act; God intends us to have friends! 

How to Live In the Word

How to Live In the Word

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”  (John 8:31)

How do you abide IN Jesus’ words?  First of all, the word abide may be defined as heed, acknowledge, or respect.  If our heart’s desire is to abide in His word, then we will depend upon the word as God intended us to do.  To depend on something means to rely upon it for support and help.

That means that whenever we have a concern, a need, or a challenge, we turn to the Scriptures to find a solution to our situation.  We look to the Lord and seek His face to hear what He has to say, and what wisdom He has to share.

Another way to receive God’s wisdom, of course, is to seek wise biblical counsel from a Pastor, an older believer, or a spouse or relative.  All of these advisors will be happy to refer to and to study the Word with you, searching for the help that only God can give. 

Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.  (Ps 25:3)

Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.  (Ps 25:20)

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  (Rom 10:11)

When we rely upon the Lord and His word, we will never be put to shame.  Turning to the Word in our daily lives, and understanding that God has imbued it with His power so that it has active power to impact situations in our lives is living in His word.