Invest in Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may our Lord Jesus (the Anointed One Himself) and God our Father (who has loved us, comforted us eternally, and given us a good hope by His grace) bring comfort to your hearts and strengthen your wills to accomplish every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor finished a series entitled, “No One Stands Alone”. The big ideas in the messages have been about us all being called to community, not isolations, to find and be a mentor to others, and yesterday, finished up with a character study about Barnabas; as he was a fantastic example of what it is to come alongside others and be an encourager. Encouragement goes beyond simple “atta ways” and “you’ve got this”. To be an encourager is to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to walk alongside others to help them continue to grow and thrive as they seek Him. This can be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, verbally and the like. It is so much more than a kind word. Barnabas exemplified what it is to be an encourager, as he left what he knew and his community, to go encourage and build up the believers that were a couple of hundred miles away. Additionally, he helped provide finances for those who were lacking, which was a sacrificial demonstration of God’s love that was made tangible to those in need around him. As he closed out the service, Omar (our pastor) asked the questions, “Who are the people in your life who are like a Barnabas to you?” and “Who can you be a Barnabas to?” Both questions required little thought, as I am blessed with a long list of those who have invested in and encouraged me, and know many who are in need of encouragement in this season. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be an encouragement to those around us, both in word and action.

To choose to love well,

Be encouraging;

Is a lifestyle choice,

That we choose to bring.

Not in our own strength,

But led by the Lord;

Who shows us the way,

That grace is outpoured.

A love that is seen,

Not just by mere words;

But true investments,

That make actions heard.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Be encouraging,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives to encourage and walk alongside us. Thank You for those whom You have called us to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we did not listen to Your leading as to how we might lift up and encourage those around us. Show us how to be dependent on Your Spirit to lead us to love those around us in ways that build them up and encourage them forward to all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Encourager to us all. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to encourage others well, and help us recognize and appreciate the people whom You have led to encourage us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Don’t Let Pride Guide

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbor’s interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

 

Following this one can be a bit tricky. Even if our mode of operation is to look out for others and prefer one another in love, there are times when we feel that we have been the recipient of someone’s selfishness or lack of humility, and a sense of self-righteousness may rise. Despite being the recipient of less than we choose to extend to others, it is not our charge to hold grudges and walk in unforgiveness. When we do, we become prideful in our own sense of being right. Rather, we are meant to be humble and extend love, even to those who offered us less. With sincerity and genuine care for one another, healing where the relationship was fractured can take place. Without it, there is no way to repair the damage that has been done. May we choose to be humble and kind in all things and at all times, and allow the love of the Lord extended through us to be the very thing that brings restoration where damage has been done.

 

Be humble and kind, Faith and Hope in Action

In all that we do;

Look out for others,

Give grace and love too.

Don’t let selfishness,

Or personal pride;

Be what is leading,

Let Christ be our guide.

For as we extend,

Love to each other;

We rise up in peace,

Sisters and brothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to be humble and selfless, You move mountains that seemed impossible to move. Thank You that when our focus is outward, You do mighty works inward. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride, that makes us think only of ourselves and not of those around us. Show us the places where pride or selfishness have crept in and are keeping us from being who You have called us to be. Help us to love others with humility and selflessness, preferring others before our own agenda to be right. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we choose to be humble and honor others first. Be glorified O God, as we seek to walk in humility and grace, giving others as You have given unto us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1