I've been reading Ruth Bell Graham's book, 'Legacy of a Pack Rat'.
In her book she wrote about 'Encouragement':
"More people fail through discouragement....than for any other reason."
"Most families have an Encourager...
not necessarily the oldest, nor the youngest, nor the middle one.
They seem to have an innate sense of balance....and a good sense of humor.
These two qualities almost invariably go 'hand in hand'.
They keep in touch via note or phone call.
They smooth things over when the going gets a little rough.
They aren't much on sharing their own problems or hurts....
because they're too busy 'shouldering' those of others."
The word 'Encourage' is not used much in the Bible, but the idea is lived out....
in and through many.
Colossians 3:21: "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."
Dennis Hooper was a student at Choctaw High School when I was pastor of First Baptist, Nicoma Park, Ok.
When Dennis felt called to the pastoral ministry, our church licensed him to preach.
Years later while Dennis was pastoring FBC Buffalo, Ok, I held a revival in their church.
I kept one of his church bulletins entitled, 'Encouraging the Discouraged'.
It listed a 'Six Point Prescription for Curing Discouragement':
~ A deeper love to replace a greater fear.
~ A gift of courage to replace caution.
~ An abiding 'Presence in the Midst of Alarming Perplexities'.
~ An unlimited help against ultimate hurts.
~ A freedom from lonliness...in fellowship with Christian friends.
~ Become an Encourager
The Disciple Andrew was an Encourager and brought his brother Peter to Jesus
(I John 1:41)
When there was no food for the 5,000 Andrew brought the lad who had 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish to Jesus. (John 6:8-9)
When certain Greeks sought to see Jesus, it was Philip and Andrew who told them where Jesus was.
Andrew was the quiet Disciple with a sensitive heart who was quick to look for ways to help and encourage.
Every family is blessed if it has an Encourager. It SHOULD be the parents (one or both).
La Moyne and I were blessed, as we had loving earthly fathers who were Encouragers!
Encouragement (or discouragement) can be passed on from generation to generation.
We have tried to pass Encouragement on to our children and gr'children....
(and hopefully to each person we came in contact with).
The beautiful thing about Encouragement is that it has a way of coming back to you!
Our children are good about calling and e-mailing us which gives us Encouragement.
The Bible is full of times when Encouragement was present....
as well as other times when it was not.
When David faced the Giant, he needed Encouragement from his brothers, but got none!
Queen Esther was encouraged by Mordecaia to assume a difficult role against the enemy.
He said to her...
"Who knows whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this."
(Esther 4:14) This encouraged her to gain victory against the enemy.
The Apostle Paul was one of the all-time best Encouragers.
Especially of those called to carry the Message that Paul had fought to bring to them.
Titus was a Greek convert who became a co-worker with Paul.
Paul wrote to him: "My son in the faith, please obtain grace, mercy and peace from God, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Paul wrote to Timothy:
"Grace, mercy and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
In Paul's writings, he uses the word 'exhort' and 'exhorter' as means to Encourage.
In I Tim. 6:11-12 Paul told Timothy:
~ "Flee the bad things that come"
~ "Follow righteousness and godliness"
~ "Love patience and meekness"
~ "Fight the good fight of faith"
Therefore let us receive Encouragement from God....
and Exhortation from others to help us along Life's Road.
Then let us be Encouragers with a deep level of friendship and trust....
pointing others to Jesus.
Truly, an abiding relationship and fellowship with the Lord Jesus is The Answer.
Be ready at all times to:
Give a reason for the Hope that lies within you...
and ready to share Encouragement with others.
~'The Extended Hand'~ (Author Unknown)
"I was lost....
I knew of no one to ask for help.
My tears flowed down my face
With no one to dry them.
My laughter could cheer no one...not even me,
For sharing laughter with one's self is pointless.
My eyes are weak....I see very little.
The beauty of the world is but a memory.
My hearing is gone - if it were not for the shouting of others.
My world would be one of silence.
I fear falling - like the infant who is first starting to walk.
So sitting in my chair, the world goes by.
Then The Extended Hand reached out to mine.
I once again know that help is there if I need it.
I now have someone - who sees the beauty and shares it with me.
I now have someone - whose voice might be loud,
But sounds as soft as that of a baby.
I now have someone who supports me with tenderness,
But feels as solid as the old oak tree.
When I awake to those days of old and feel that I will always be alone,
The Extended Hand grasps mine!"
Please be an Extended Hand to someone today....or any day!
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