Friday, August 16, 2013


… our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. (2 Cor 7:5-7)
Simple, sincere words like, “We’re glad you’re here!” can uplift and energize those who hear them.  When God’s people love others because they love Him, they rekindle our fire and desire to serve. We look forward to knowing them better, partly because of the good it does us. That is the way encouragement works. A sign at a local hospital reads, “Just say, ‘HEY!’ Remember to make eye contact. Smile and greet every person you meet.” That is a motto worth following.
Everyone needs to receive encouragement. Imagine receiving a phone call first thing tomorrow morning, just as your day begins. The caller says, “I just want to tell you how grateful I am for your friendship, your faith, and your service to Christ. You are a blessing in my life. Keep up the good work, and know that I am praying for you.” What difference would that make in your attitude, your activities, and your effectiveness? Paul needed Titus to visit him with good news; so do the people around us.
Everyone needs to give encouragement. Now imagine placing that call to someone else. You will inspire the same joy and confidence in others that you would gain if they contacted you. Pick several this week, from the prayer list, the sick list, or the visitor list. Surprise them with a “thinking of you” card, a visit, or a phone call. Instead of asking, “Why hasn’t anyone encouraged me?” try asking, “Whom can I encourage?” Let’s imitate a man named Joseph, whom the apostles called Barnabas (“Son of Encouragement;” see Acts 4:36; 11:22-24). We need to do it, to be more like Jesus.
Everyone who gives encouragement receives much more. You and I are the vessels through which God’s comfort and consolation will flow to others (2 Cor 1:3-11). God will uplift, love, and bless those around us by means of our words and actions. As a result you and I will become more gracious, godly, and caring people than ever before. There is no greater source of joy and fulfillment to be found anywhere. In the church, mutual encouragement is one purpose for our assembly (Heb 3:13; 10:25). It works in the other direction, too. When another person encourages you or me, we want to pass it on to the next person we see. We give and receive. We lift and are lifted. We love and are loved. And in all of it we see God at work.
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cory247 [AT symbol] gmx [dot com]. God bless.

Cory Collins

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