The dictionary says: “To encourage is to give active help or to raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult.” With that being said…..how do we know that our words or actions are; indeed, ENCOURAGING to someone?
My wonderful husband, Chris and I in Charlotte, NC with our boys. My husband is such an encouragement to me and our boys. He encourages his Mom, Dad and so many others. I am a blessed woman to have my husband in my life as an encourager. I believe he has the gift of ‘encouragement’. And, he uses it well. “If we can encourage others, we should encourage them.” – Romans 12:4-5, 8
As a wife, mother, friend and nurse; do I encourage others in the way our definition gives? Let’s ‘spy the truth’ and see how we rate! Tammy
22 thoughts on “Encouragment”
Today as I walked about doing my work; I met a Christian man that stopped me and said I want to tell you what happened to me. He said, ‘you won’t believe it.’ A few nights ago he was working at a school overtime where they were holding a Bluegrass concert. A man, stranger, walked up to him and asked him if he would mind if he talked to him about something he thought that God was saying? He thought, hum, Bluegrass? The man said, “I am a pastor.” So my coworker said. ” OK”, and the Pastor said, ” I feel God shared with me that you are having family problems.” I said, “yes.” The Pastor then prayed with him and encouraged him. Encouragement it was because days later he is walking in confidence and hope.
Tammy asked; “how do we know that our words or actions are; indeed, ENCOURAGING to someone?’ In the case jeepgary gives it seems the Pastor had the Word of The Lord and he had the courage and love to give the words of encouragement,and his time with prayer for the need. He took responsibility for his actions.
The book of James gives us a very clear. precise example of encouraging others. We are to have words and deeds in one vehicle to produce the faith for another to believe. As I look again at the def. “To encourage is to give active help or to raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult.” Imagine for a moment to encourage one to have courage to begin a life of faith with Jesus Christ. A man named Andrew did once upon a time.
Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus (John 1:41-42). Some of us just might remember Peter and the results of his ministry.
And, Andrew was involved in the feeding of a multitude by calling Jesus attention to the boy who had the loaves and fish (John 6:5-9).
Andrew (along with Philip) introduced some Greek fellows to Jesus (John 12:20-22).
We have so many excellent examples and guidelines in the Word of God. One thing for sure; what might encourage one might not encourage another when it comes from our soul-ish nature. When we use the guideline as Jesus did with the woman at the well we and all will win. When we face truth and realize; ‘we shall know the truth and the truth will make us free”, then, and only then, we will wrap our gift of encouragement with truth wrapping paper and a bow of hope!
“One thing for sure; what might encourage one might not encourage another when it comes from our soul-ish nature.”
Sara, are you saying that we may TRY and encourage someone with something that WE consider encouraging, but means absolutely nothing to the listener? Hum….If we do this, it may even be a DISCOURAGEMENT, to someone, right?
“…how do we know that our words or actions are; indeed, ENCOURAGING to someone?”
It would seem that there has to be evidence in someone else’s life that the encouragement we think we are giving has produced a change or action in that person’s life so that they can give a verbal comment and show an action to prove it.
Yes, Tammy, that is what I meant with one little adjustment. Most likely, never the NOTHING…as you said discouragement or it could just take their time trying to determine truth or not. But, one thing I think of so strongly would be; tell someone you are going to bring them a cake, give them a ride, etc. and no show. Now, you have caused hurt and pain to the one you promised. Then you have taken the opportunity away from another that might have done it.
The list is like a diagnosis with many complications.
Thinking some of the comments above the thought came to me about encouraging children. It is one thing to encourage a child to be all he/she can be. That is a godly gift to have either as a parent and/or teacher. But encouraging someone to be all that they may not be meant to be is another thing. Being in the arts we present many programs where we feature the children. And we do not encourage those who have a difficult time singing on key at this point in their lives to go onstage with a cordless microphone to sing a solo when it will result in an embarrassment to them. The students are mostly grateful when we counsel them (encourage them??) to try an instrument or be a crew member.
When I see a gift in a person, child or adult, it give me joy to encourage them in that gifting. It will do me well as I am learning and all of us so to speak, to pursue the
giftings we have been given by God and not attempt someone else’s gift of ministry.
Seems the same principles apply; we better know that we know….because the results will sure give the knowing….
How do I tell my story of encouragement? Whoa, hard to share since its so out of earth. Let me try.
Today, I had on my schedule to go to a store, Coldwater, to be exact, and get a shawl that I saw that I just felt would be very useful for my wardrobe and I felt I needed. There was a 40% coupon for a time so thought I better hop to it.
Well, I took longer than I thought for my devotions and prayers. I felt to pray for some very specific things that I thought the Holy Spirit was bringing to my heart and mind. Then I had a lovely guest that I stopped to have a very encouraging and inspirational conversation with. By this time store/shawl was gone from my thoughts.
Late in day I got a text from a Christian friend, MG, and she said if you are home I would like to drop something off to you and it is not food for you to worry about getting in. I said, “OK, home”. She left my home before I saw her and I found a bag with some beautiful things, a turtleneck in my very favorite color and another crew neck from the store I had wanted to go, I thought gee I wish I had known I could of asked her to picked-up my shawl for me. Then I looked again, and behold, I saw a shawl like the one I have wanted but a different/prettier color. It was my shawl but in my favorite color and not one I knew about as it was not the one shown. I thought, OMG, what has happened to me. How did this happened? I am still
wondering, ‘how does God go about getting things accomplished for us? The Holy Spirit saw my heart’s desire and provided. I heard His Heart and paused to give
Him Honor by honoring those He loves by asked me to pray. I feel so encouraged
by others and by the love of God and His perfect ways for us.
Thank you, MG and thanks to all that encourage me in so many ways each and every day…..
MG, I found in my prayer journal notes this am, that at the very top of my list yesterday, which was the day you encouraged me with doing my exact errand without me asking was the name Polly and MG. So amazing if I pause and think of how The Holy Spirit works, gives and loves.
Tammy, thanks for this blog. You are giving me opportunity to tell about my blessings of encouragements. They are flowing. I went out to walk one of my furry best friends and found a box from UPS and inside another friend, Debi, sent me a warm cozy vest for the fall. WHOA!
My daughter-in-law took a vacation day from work and stood in line to get in early to the hospital rummage sale. I love that place but stopped going because of how busy they are and I am. I love the boutique and you must get it with the early hours to get the designer items. Well, guess what, she did and she has 2 beautiful outfits for me. EEEEEEEEE! She sent the pics on my cell. Can’t wait to see. Jesus is smiling on me. I can write blogs, pray, read, drink coffee, eat chocolate and wait for the abundance of rain. Well, o, ok, how I can get in the outfits when she gets them to me after all this. 🙂
O BTY, maybe we should not make excuses to God that we can’t because of retirement, lack of time, etc. Why? Because he has the answers…..He springs others into motion to help to give us time. Others into motion to use their gifts to give us time and finances thru multi levels and ways.
Praise His Holy Name! Thanks to the many that are busy encouraging me to stay faithful when I might just want to give up on spiritual things and work.
It is encouraging to read your comments Sara, because they put things in correct.perspective. Each one doing their part and not tying to do someone else’s makes everyone benefit. I was given many gifts this weekof food and other things and benefitted from the work of those that labored in the gathering, buying, preparation and/or making of them all.
Great Debi……Giving and sharing is a nice way to encourage.
Actually, I had seen that beautiful shawl in the catalog last week and had thought, that’s what Sara needs. But we had not conversed about it, nor had we sent emails about it. Nothing. It was a busy week! And I mostly forgot about it. But NOT GOD!
O PTL! God is such a merciful, glorious, promise-keeping GOD! To link up with Sara’s story of encouragement, I have to report as I have been “implying” on the blog recently, that I have had a few lessons in the last week or so that the Lord is teaching me…to work the gift(s) He’s given me and NOT delve into someone else’s gift. I have known from the very onset of my conversion, when I was like a month old in the Lord, that my gift was to be the gifting of GIVING. I have worked in other gifts at times..music, teaching children, when it was appropriate but the gift for the Kingdom in which He uses me primarily in the Body of Christ, is ‘giving’. And after a couple of grand gaffes, last week and His having dealt with me about this, I have finally settled with the Lord and in my mind, that I will work the GIFT HE HAS GIVEN ME.
All this was going on in my mind as I drove home on my fairly long commute from school, yesterday afternoon. It was a rough day and the news I was listening to on the radio probably was making me more tired than the Kindergartens I had been teaching last period of the school day. Half way into my commute, I felt compelled to turn off the news, which I did. As soon as I obeyed that prompt, I know I heard in my heart, or spirit, “Go to Coldwater Creek and get that shawl for Sara and take it to her, today!” I was a bit surprised BCZ my natural mind might say….’oh, I can take it to her this weekend’; OR Is that really You, Lord “ Or…Is this me? I knew I had heard a voice in my spirit but then……comes the fleece. Ok Lord if this is You speaking to me, let there be a parking place near the store…[which is a problem, sometimes, in this shopping village.] When I got to the shops, not only was there a parking place, there was one whole side of the street in front of the store open for parking. Oh! And the tiredness I had seem to feel was gone. I started to laugh because God always does magnanimous and magnificent things and to open up a whole side of the parking street in a busy shopping village was a MIRACLE!
When I entered the store I asked to see the shawls. There were THREE different color combinations. And I knew that the one I had seen in the catalog would NOT be the color-combo one I was to choose. I believe that the Lord made it obvious to me that the one with Sara’s favorite color…..JADE/TURQUOISE would have to be it. GOD not only plans good things for His servants but He has magnificent style!!.
Sara had stayed home and worked her gift of intercession and counseling when she had wanted/needed to go shopping. And Because she was obedient to the Heavenly Calling, God sent her her heart’s desire upon her door step. He is a wonderful, merciful, gracious God. And He will do that for all his children if we will just ALLOW HIM to do it. And there is so much more…..and to quote Sara from one of her writings
Elizabeth J. Canham writes; “A STARTING POINT for hearing God’s invitation to action is learning to listen with the ears of our heart. … We need to give some time simply to being in the presence of the created universe with no other purpose than to attend to what is there.”
And, the Psalmist sings;
What [are mortals] that you should be mindful of [them]?
— Psalm 8:4, BCP
Here is another story of “encouragement and the working of Jesus in our lives. Saturday afternoon I was having a fierce mind-battle with the adversary of my spiritual life in Christ Jesus. I felt the battle starting to heat up and accusations, etc. coming against my thought life. I covered my mind & will with the blood of Jesus and cried out to the Lord Jesus…like the Psalmist David….”I cried unto the Lord with my voice and He heard me out of His holy hill..” When I thought I could not stand the aggravation any longer…the phone rang. It was my pastor and counselor, Sara. We spoke of and discussed other things and also, the goodness of God, the graciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, etc. for a few minutes. When the conversation ended and we hung up, so did the assault on my mind. It was gone.
I was thoroughly encouraged, relieved, liberated by the Lord Jesus because a servant of Jesus, in the Body of Christ, was obedient and responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to call me precisely at that moment. We could have emailed, called later in the afternoon, spoken the next day. But the phone call was pertinent to the moment and came in good timing…I would say Godly time.
The Scripture that the Lord Jesus recalled to me is in Jude 24;
” But to Him who can keep us without offense and without defilement, from slipping and falling and present us without a flaw before the great God, to Him be all honor and glory and dominion and power, forever and ever, amen.” Thank you Jesus. Thanks Sara.
MG, your story also encourages the one that made the call. Today we spoke in church about speaking with purpose….
“…how do we know that our words or actions are; indeed, ENCOURAGING to someone?” Tammy, I have been thinking about your question in a little different way today. How many times have I spoken or done things that sure did not encourage but discouraged or maybe went beyond discouragement to hurt. Way to many. How do I know? Because relationship are strained or broken. How many times have I withheld info that might be a help to another. Or, given wrong info. Causing others to believe a lie or not able to accomplish a goal that may have if I had acting with dignity and justice. My list is getting way to long for any comfort at all.
It is a lovely thought, like TH indicates above, in her life, to be an encourager to one who encourages you. For who is left to be an encourager if it is not him/her who has been encouraged by another…and so it goes in the Body of Christ. One encourages another, that he in turn might encourage her who has the need right at the PERTINENT moment. And the Lord Jesus will show us that moment if we will watch and listen and obey.
There is always room for encouragement. Even if the encouragement takes the another direction than the one thought he was going in.
I have a short story concerning this. I know of a minister who ha been encouraging a particular member of the Body of Christ in the gifting that the minister has discerned in that person. Slowly, during services, the minister draws forth the gift from within that person, prompted by the Holy Spirit, asking pertinent questions and allowing the Spirit to give forth the wisdom that is placed within that particular person. It is done graciously and truthfully. And the as that member grows in that gift that is being honed and encouraged by the minister, the rest of the congregation gets to partake of the wisdom and to support and to intercede for that member with
whom The Lord is establishing in the calling.
That encouragement is bringing forth, slowly but surely the manifestation of a godly child of God, minister of the Gospel and helping to teach that member to be an encouragement to others…like Paul wrote of in Romans.
The Upper Room shared some thoughts from; Trevor Hudson…The Serenity Prayer
1. Make some time to be quiet for a few moments. Take a few deep breaths to settle down. Invite God to be with you and to shed light on the past day.
2. Ask God to bring to mind one moment of the day for which you are most grateful, the moment that gave you the most life or when you received or gave the most love. If you could recapture one moment of your day, which one would it be? Relive this moment. Breathe in again the gratitude you felt and thank God for it.
3. Ask God to bring to mind the moment you are least grateful for, the moment that drained you of life or when you received or gave the least love. Reflect on what was said and done that made it so hard. Acknowledge your feelings about this experience. Refrain from judging yourself. Share these feelings with God, and let God’s love fill you again.
If one dare to follow these three steps I think Tammy’s blog would have yellow/red/green lights that might help us to break barriers and set boundaries. Then gratitude=encouragement going in both directions would be like a good major freeway! With our words being a good car build for durability as well as style. We would be happy to ride into town and show our goods!
“…might help us to break barriers and set boundaries”. I sure feel that need inthe area of effective communication. Thank you for the steps to practice.
This is a very good lesson plan for meditation and inspiration. Thanks.