* Encouragement important role of God’s prophets
“The prophets of God were with them and helped them.” God sometimes sends prophets to encourage and strengthen his people. To accomplish this, Haggai and Zechariah not only preached but also got involved in the labor. In the church today God appoints prophetic voices to help us with our work. Their ministry should have the same effect upon us as Haggai’s and Zechariah’s had on Israel. “One who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them.” In turn, we should encourage those who bring God’s Words to us. (NLT)
Ezra 5:1-2 – At that time the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied in the name of the God of Israel to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jehozadak responded by beginning the task of rebuilding the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them and helped them.
* Encouragement can change someone’s life
Mistakes are effective teachers. Their consequences have a way of making lessons painfully clear. But those who learn from their mistakes are wise. John Mark was a good learner who just needed some time and encouragement. (NLT)
* Giving encouragement to new believers
Paul and Barnabas were persistent in their preaching of the Good News, considering the cost to themselves to be nothing in comparison with obedience to Christ. They had just narrowly escaped being stoned in Iconium, but Jews from Antioch and Iconium tracked Paul down, stoned him, and left him for dead. But Paul got up and went back into the city to preach the Good News. That’s true commitment! Being a disciple of Christ calls for total commitment. As Christians, we no longer belong to ourselves but to our Lord, for whom we are called to suffer. (NLT)
Acts 14:21-22 – After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned again to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that they must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.
* Paul genuinely loved Onesimus. Paul showed his love by personally guaranteeing payment for any stolen goods or wrongs for which Onesiumus might be responsible. Paul’s investment in the life of this new believer certainly encouraged and strengthened Onesiums’s faith. Are there young believers who need you to demonstrate such self-sacrifice toward them? Be grateful when you can invest in the lives of others, helping them with Bible study, prayer, encouragment, support, and friendship. (NLT)
Philemon 1:17-19 – So if you consider me your partner, give him the same welcome you would give me if I were coming. If he has harmed you in any way or stolen anything from you, charge me for it. I, Paul, write this in my own handwriting: “I will repay it.” And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul!
* Encouragement when loved ones die
Knowing exactly when the dead will be raised, in relation to the other events at the Second Coming, is not as important as knowing why Paul wrote these words: To challenge believers to comfort and encourage one another when loved ones dies. This passage can be a great comfort when any believer dies. The same love that should unite believers in this life will unite believers when Christ returns and reigns for eternity. (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 – I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still loving when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words.
* Prayers can be a source of encouragement
Paul constantly prayed for Timothy, his friend, his fellow traveler, his son in the faith, and a strong leader in the Christian church. Although the two men were separated from each other their prayers provided a source of mutual encouragement. We, too, should pray consistently for others, especially for those who do God’s work. (NLT)
2 Timothy 1:3 – Timothy, I thank God for you. He is the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
* Finding encouragement from other faithful believers
Christians are to encourage one another. A word of encouragement offered at the right moment can be the difference between finishing well and collapsing along the way. Look around you. Be sensitive to others’ need for encouragement, and offer supportive words or actions.
Don’t loaf around with the lazy; warn them. Don’t yell at the timid and weak; encourage and help them. At times it’s difficult to distinguish between idleness and timidity. Two people may be doing nothing–one out of laziness and the other out of shyness or fear of doing something wrong. The key to ministry is sensitivity; sensing the condition of each person and offering the appropriate remedy for each situation. You can’t effectively help until you know the problem. You can’t apply the medicine until you know where the wound is.
Our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. Obeying these three commands–be joyful, keep on praying, and be thankful–often goes against our natural inclinations. When we make a conscious decision to do what God says, however, we will begin to see people in a new perspective. When we do God’s will, we will find it easier to be joyful and thankful. (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 5:9-18 – For God decided to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. He died for us so that we can live with him forever, whether we are dead or alive at the time of his return. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and warn you against all that is wrong. Think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because of their work. And remember to live peaceably with each other.
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else.
Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
* Checklist for Encouragers
The command to “encourage” others is found throughout the Bible. [My note: The following are examples listed first and the suggested application follows the hyphen .]
Build each other up – Point out to someone a quality you appreciate in him or her. Respect leaders – Look for ways to cooperate. Hold leaders in highest regard – Hold back your next critical comments about those in positions of responsibility. Say “thank you” to your leaders for their efforts. Live in peace – Search for ways to get along with others. Warn the lazy – Challenge someone to join you in a project. Encourage the timid – Encourage those who are timid by reminding them of God’s promises. Help the weak – Support those who are weak by loving them and praying for them. Be patient – Think of a situation that tries your patience, and plan ahead of time how you can stay calm. Resist revenge – Instead of planning to get even with those who mistreat you, do good to them. Be joyful – Remember that even in the midst of turmoil, God is in control. Pray continually – God is always with you–talk to him. Give thanks – Make a list of all the gifts God has given you, giving thanks to God for each one. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit – Cooperate with the Spirt the next time he prompts you to participate in a Christian meeting. Do not scoff at prophecies – Receive God’s word from those who speak for him. Avoid every kind of evil – Avoid situations where you will be drawn into temptation. Count on God’s constant help – Realize that the Christian life is to be lived not in our own strength but through God’s power. (NLT)
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