By ELIZABETH COOPER
Wednesday 27 October 2021
Continuing the 3 part series on the gift of Encouragement (or Exhortation as some Bibles say):-
From the UCB notes:
“We read about the disciples using the gift of encouragement as they travelled, and from them we see three things an encourager has the ability to do.
1. CONFIRM - Acts 14 v 21-22 we see the disciples preaching the gospel and encouraging the Christians to continue in their faith, confirming to them what Jesus had said. An encourager is a pillar of strength in difficult times; a thrower of the life jacket of faith to a believer drowning in a sea of doubt.
2. CONSOLE - Acts 16v 40 we read of Paul and Silas demonstrating the gift of encouragement in its finest form. The Church heard how Paul and Silas had been falsely accused, beaten and imprisoned, and they were suitably depressed. When released supernaturally, Paul and Silas sought out the believers and encouraged them. Instead of seeking consolation and comfort for themselves, they went to the Church and offered it to others.
3. CONFRONT - most of us know the story of the two ladies who couldn’t get along in the church! Philippians 4 v 2-3 tells us about how Paul confronted Euodia and Syntyche: in a friendly but fair, firm way he took on the role of a peacemaker.”
I note that, in all these three examples of encouragement, the words are few. No lengthy sermon anywhere here. Just the few words that were necessary. Short and to the point.
It doesn’t take much to encourage someone.
However, it takes the boldness of the Spirit in the power of God’s Love to deliver the encouragement.
And that little you give could be the pivotal moment for the person in need of encouragement.
· We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 13 that LOVE is the driving force of being a Christian. It is with LOVE that we use the spiritual gifts, otherwise they mean nothing.
· We are also encouraged to seek the ‘greater gifts’ – that means those that bring the most Glory to God or those that are most needed at the time for the building of the Church.
Let these things infuse our prayers at this time.
Lord, help me to be an encouragement to others in the same way that You have sent many little encouragements to me along the way.
There have been times of weariness and times of fear and times when I have felt ready to give up, but always at the right time there was a short note or a simple call or a little token of Your love for me, which You sent by means of the many encouragers You have lovingly placed in my life.
Thank You also Lord, that You are our God of encouragement, and that we have Your indwelling Holy Spirit to help and to comfort in times of need.
Teach me Your way and Your will, and help me to always heed the gentle promptings of the Spirit of Comfort within my heart, so that I may not miss an opportunity to be a minister of Your encouragement to others in times of need.
Oh Lord, more and more I long to breathe You into my very being and be saturated with Your love and grace, so that I may be equipped to breathe out Your love and joy and help and support and encourage all with whom I come in contact.
Show me Lord, how I can best be an encouragement to others, and may my life point others to You and never to myself.
May I decrease as You increase more and more in my life.
I pray in Jesus' name,