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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT - TUESDAY: ENCOURAGERS!

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. - William Arthur Ward.
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And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. - 1Thess 5:14.

All around us there are plentiful needs for encouragement, and the Church should be one place where encouragement will always be found. Many who are in the background, and who think they have very little to do, are an important part of the kingdom, and they have been given the ministry of encouragement.

On the other hand… there are too many who seem to believe they have a ministry of discouragement, they always see the difficulties. For them, every silver lining has a cloud.

But we, who are followers of Christ, we who are spirit filled believers, are to be about the business of encouragement, lifting heads that are disheartened, and comforting the downtrodden!

An elderly widow, restricted in her activities, was eager to serve Christ. After praying about this, she realized that she could bring blessing to others by playing the piano. The next day she placed this small ad in the Oakland Tribune: "Pianist will play hymns by phone daily for those who are sick and despondent--the service is free."
The notice included the number to dial. When people called, she would ask, "What hymn would you like to hear?" Within a few months her playing had brought cheer to several hundred people. Many of them freely poured out their hearts to her, and she was able to help and encourage them. – Source unknown.
What is the uniqueness of true encouragers?
Encouragers put the needs of others first, they serve others…
But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Matt 20:25-28.

They try to meet each others needs…
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Phil 2:1-4.
Jean Nidetch, a 214 pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe. Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it. Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week. Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives? To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teenager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. "I'd give them a push," says Nidetch. "And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he's pumping, doing it himself. That's what my role in life is--I'm there to give others a push."
- Irene Sax in Newsday.
The ministry of encouragement does not involve great personal gifts of speech, or musical talent. Encouragement can be done by anyone, who will simply try to see those around them through the eyes of Christ, and there is a great need for people who will lift up rather than put down. It is a gift that we all must cultivate, or many who are downtrodden, will be ground into the dust.

Loving father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be an encourager! Help me to lift up the heads of people that are disconsolate, help me to be an encouragement to my fellow Christians, and to look out for their interests as well as my own. I ask this, in the wonderful name of Jesus! Amen!

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