Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Daily Encouragement (Part 1)

…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 10:24-25)

It seems the natural behavior of most individuals is to move through life working on their own agendas with little responsibility in regard to the agendas of others.  If we are to be an encourager we must be intentional in our actions.  let us consider” means “to observe attentively, or understand, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.” In short, we are to focus on encouraging one another. It is not to be accidental but intentional.  I like how The Message reads this passage: “Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25-26) In other words, let’s think of creative ways of encouraging others.
Verse 24 continues, and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.  To stimulate means “to stir up, provoke, spur on or incite someone to do something.”  In other words, to create a thirst.  A thirst for what? “to love and good deeds.” Encouragement is not just a fuzzy feeling.  If someone became a more loving person or a better person, then we really encouraged him or her.
Church can be a great place to get caught up on the latest football games, golf scores, family news, health concerns, or just to visit with friends. A cup of coffee together, a warm handshake, a friendly pat on the back are all part of the social interaction we need as human beings.  All of this is good, but New Testament fellowship goes much deeper than merely socializing when we get together. It takes place when we consider how we can lift up, build up, and brighten up our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
True Christian fellowship takes place when we offer encouragement to our friends, pray for them, and confess our sins and weaknesses to one another.  These are the elements that make fellowship genuine.  What about our church? Are we merely socializing? Or are we practicing true Christian fellowship?  Christian fellowship builds us up and binds us together. 
Now we've all heard SOMEONE COMPLAIN that the people in a certain church aren't friendly, or that they seem to be lacking in love. Although such criticisms may be true, the one doing the complaining is often a part of the problem.
My grandparents used to draw their water from an old well with a pump.  Many remember their first attempt to get water from that pump.  They repeatedly jerked that cast iron handle down and up, down and up, but couldn't get any water.  Then Granddad handed them a bucket of water. "Pour it down the pump," he urged.  Then as they worked the handle, water came in abundance.  There was plenty of water in that well, but first they had to "prime the pump."
To feel the love and. friendliness of an assembly of believers, we may need to pour a little of our own love in first. It was God's love toward us that prompted our love in return. This principle also works in our relationship with other Christians.  Your expression of love and concern and friendliness will most certainly stimulate a reciprocal love from hearts indwelt by God's Spirit. So, when you meet together with the people of God, ask Him to help you "prime the pump."  You may be the one to start the encouragement and good works started.
Scripture to Claim:

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

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