Monday, February 25, 2013

Considering Encouragement

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

While the joy of the Lord truly sustains and strengthens us, there are times when we all need encouragement.  This world is hard; especially on Christians.  Elijah, Jonah and Job were at times suicidal.  Paul, Jeremiah, and even Jesus, all had to deal with the sorrow of watching people reject God, and reject His truth.  Their hearts were heavy and the burden great.  It’s very simple…we all need encouragement.

These devotionals on Christian encouragement are intended to strengthen you, give you hope and help you to become an encourager.  It's not always easy to walk by faith in difficult times.  It's not always easy to obey God as we know we should.  It's not always easy to live according to God’s will for our lives.  Sometimes we need help... a little motivation to do what we know is right, to stand up for what we believe, and to spread His Word throughout the whole world.  We each need to be encouraged.
One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.  Encouragement is awesome.  It can actually change the course of another person's day, week, or life.  You will find that the people who have influenced you the most are the people who have listened to your heart, believed in you and encouraged you.

There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them have come about through the encouragement of someone else.  I don't care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for encouragement; just someone to say they heard us and believe in us.  Correction does much, but encouragement does even more. 

At the time of the writing of Hebrews, there was life-threatening persecution.  Our tendency during such trying times would be to save our skin or shout “every man for himself!”  But, the book of Hebrews encourages us to encourage one another in just such times.  Someone wrote, “Encouragement is the kind of expression that helps someone want to be a better Christian, even when life is rough…To encourage is to inspire another with courage.”

When a person is discouraged, when we fail to encourage, sin can deceive and harden their heart to the point that it becomes sinful and unbelieving, leading that person to turn their back on God. Someone wrote, “People live by encouragement. Without it they die. Slowly... Sadly... Bitterly.”

Hebrews commands us in Hebrews 3:13 “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today.”  The word “encourage” is in the present tense.  It indicates a habit or a way of life. It is also in the active voice.  It means we don’t wait for others to encourage us but we take the initiative.  We must encourage even if others could not, even if others would not.  Can you imagine a fellowship where everyone is responsible to encourage everyone else?  Evidently God can.

Scripture for Today:
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13 

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