Archives For Encouragement

iStockEncouragementOne of the inevitabilities of life and the ministry is that people will abandon you.  Not everyone will go the distance with you.

The fact is, we live in a quitter culture.  People walk away from their jobs, their spouses, their new year’s resolutions, and their churches.

Near the end of the apostle Paul’s ministry some of his coworkers abandoned him.  That absolutely amazes me.  Just the thought of being able to serve alongside Paul fires me up.  But people left him.  My guess is, based on typical human reasoning, they had “good reasons” for leaving Paul high and dry.  After all, they had “justifiable concerns” of Paul.

Over the years I have followed some pastors with incredible ministries.  Men like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, and Perry Noble.  Their stories are similar.  They have all had good friends and coworkers abandon them, and of course, all left for “good reasons.”  In every case it was the pastor’s fault.

So I’m sure it was the same for the apostle Paul.

Perhaps those who abandoned Paul were concerned that his prison sentence showed that God was not in his minstry.

Whatever their reasoning they left.  But under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul in 2 Timothy 1:16 is asking God to greatly reward Onesiphorus who stood with him and encouraged him while he was lanquishing in prison.  “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains...”

My guess is you will cross paths with someone this week who has been abandoned by someone.  They are feeling incredible loneliness.

Stay alert and take the time to step in and encourage.  You will be glad you did.  And God may just happen to shine on you, and even your family.

iStocklackofrecognitionHave you ever been in a group setting where the compliments were being dished out, only to realize none were coming your way?

This is huge, so let’s take just a moment to think about how it can impact you.

Feeling under appreciated has led many to leave their jobs, their marriages, and their friends.

It has even led some to lose their loyalty to their country.

Let’s go back in history. In 1775 one of George Washington’s aggressive military leaders led an attack on Quebec. It was during a driving snowstorm in the middle of December. While the Canadians proved stubborn and a surrender was not forthcoming, the leader’s valor was praised by Washington. During the attack this leader also took a musketball in his leg.

However, the leader’s colleagues had a different opinion, despite the fact that he was also a hero in earlier battles. His accomplishments were ignored, and to add insult to injury, he was criticized for overspending (after all, he was an American). By 1779 he was to be dismissed for misuse of funds. However, Washington insisted he stay.

You know the man I am talking about. It was being under appreciated that eventually led him to turn on the American armies.

Benedict Arnold, perhaps the most infamous traitor of all time, may have gone down in history with an entirely different ending had he been properly recognized.

That’s where you come in. None of us will probably ever get all the praise we feel like we deserve. But you cannot allow that to poison your soul and lead you to walk away from what is valuable to you.

On the other hand, think of others. Perhaps there is someone in your own life who is feeling under appreciated.

Never underestimate the power of appreciation.

Who can you show appreciation to today?

Praying hands on an open bibleLet’s be honest right from the start.  Prayer meetings tend to have the lowest attendance of any kind of meeting.  There is something about prayer that is mystical. Plus in a crowd  many get uncomfortable to say the least.

However, what about in the privacy of your home.

Let me share four quick thoughts about prayer that will encourage you, and I dare say drive you to pray.

The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT) is encouraging the church to participate in what God is doing.  And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

1. Prayer Helps others. Paul said the prayers of others were very helpful to him. There will be times when there is nothing else you can do for someone but pray.  Let this verse encourage you.  Prayers are helpful.

2. Paul Urged believers to pray for him. Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:30 (NLT) That’s how huge prayer is.

3. People will Give thanks for the working of God in their lives and the lives of others. “…many people will give thanks.”

4. Who doesn’t want the favor of God in their life?  No one!  How Encouraging is it to know that your prayers play a role in someone experiencing the favor of God.

Once again, let’s be honest.  Wouldn’t you want someone to be praying for God’s favor in your life? Then why not pray for others?

Spend some time and meditate on these verses.  You will be glad you did.

Why?

Because Prayer is H.U.G.E.