November 5, 2019
“You have been chosen for this recognition because of the encouragement and inspiration you bring to your readers.”
I want to thank Gail and Maxine for this nomination. They are both very sweet women of God who love God and who love others. And, they see something in me that not everyone sees. They see me as an encourager.
So, you may ask, “Why is that so strange?” Well, not everyone sees me that way. Why? Because of what I do; because of God’s calling on my life. In a way, it would be a lot like calling Jeremiah an encourager. I don’t think most people saw him that way at all. In fact, a lot of people didn’t see Jesus as an encourager, either, because they didn’t see him for who he truly was.
For, you see, the way in which Jesus encourages us is not just with a pat on the back and with cheerful words to make our day go better. And, the word “encourage” is not all about being a cheerleader saying, “Rah! Rah!” either. Biblical encouragement is often more about inspiring, urging, and even inciting others on towards faithful obedience to their Lord.
In fact, we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” And, this word translated “encourage” here literally means, “to exhort, to summon, to beseech, to entreat, to admonish, to comfort and to console.” And, to exhort is to urge strongly, and to admonish includes warnings, and to entreat means to plead or to implore, i.e. to make a very serious appeal.
Also, if we do a word search in the New Testament for the word “encourage” we will learn that it largely has to do with being mutually encouraged by one another’s faith. And, it is to give people hope, but not a false hope based on a lie, but true hope based on the truth of God’s Word. And, it is to help strengthen others in their walks of faith in Christ in holiness and purity, too. So, this involves speaking the truth in love to one another, too.
And, to encourage one another is to build one another up in the faith to maturity in Christ so that we are not tossed here and there by various winds of teaching brought to us by men (and women) in their deceitful scheming. So, it is to expose the lies, and it is to teach the truth of what the Bible teaches, so that we are not deceived, and so that we follow what is true, and so that we do have true hope of eternal life with God.
But, in a day and age when so many people are wanting “feel good” messages which tickle itching ears, biblical encouragement is not what they are looking for. They want someone who is going to make them feel good about themselves even if they are steeped in sin. So, we must remember that true encouragement does not lie to people. It always speaks the truth, but in love, for the mutual benefit of one another in our faith in Jesus Christ.
So, not everyone sees me as an encourager, because many people are looking for someone who is just going to make them feel good. And, I am called of God to teach his Word, in its fullness, i.e. to teach the whole counsel of God, and not just the parts that make us feel good.
That can be part of encouragement, though, for it isn’t all about warnings and urgings, either. We need to be people who offer words of praise (but not false praise), and who cheer one another on (to love and good deeds). But, if we also urge and admonish and exhort, as the scriptures do, and as Jesus did, then we must know that not everyone is going to think we are very encouraging. So, if they do, well then, praise Jesus!!
The way this works:
Thank the person who nominated you, and share their blog.
Think of five bloggers that encourage and inspire you and nominate them.
List five things about yourself.
Lastly, ask your nominees five questions. Why five? Because is the number that signifies grace.
5 Things about myself:
1. I take God and His Word very seriously. I believe what God says.
2. I love God, the people of God, and I love the people of this world.
3. I believe people need to hear the truth, not lies.
4. I am a Jesus follower.
5. I am the Lord’s servant, doing what he has called me to do.
1. Who in your life is your biggest encourager?
God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. For, I grew up in a home with a father who was an abuser and with a mother who was emotionally distant. Early on I believed in Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior, and so he was and still is the primary one to encourage me in my walk of faith.
2. How do you see yourself as being an encouragement to others?
I will defer here to my opening paragraphs on the subject of encouragement. I see myself as one who biblically encourages others to walk with Jesus in holiness so that they will grow to maturity in Christ. But, all glory belongs to God, for he does this through me.
3. How can you be a better Barnabas to those around you?
Not one of us has arrived. We are not already made perfect, but we press on. So, there is always room for improvement. Mainly it is to have greater sensitivity to the Spirit’s voice and to obey him when he leads me to talk with someone or to minister to someone in some way.
4. When you are down, what encourages you to get back up and keep pressing on?
The Lord Jesus has gifted me with a gift of singing (though that is going with old age), and with a gift for writing music and biblical song lyrics. So, when I am down, he puts those songs back in my mind, and I sing them in my mind, if not out loud, and they encourage my heart, and they help me to keep pressing on. For, they are just scripture put to music.
5. What is your most encouraging verse from the Bible……your “go to” verse when you so need it?
Jeremiah 1:17-19 NIV: “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.”
*This is a combination of questions from both Gail and Maxine.
Now, to my nominees:
Bruce – Now this one is interesting. Bruce and I got off to a rocky start, didn’t we Bruce? But, God is good! He restored our relationship, and it has developed into a close brother/sister relationship in the Lord, and Bruce regularly encourages me with his comments.
Vickie is another great encourager. I love her comments. She is an avid reader. I am not. I am a slow reader, with slow reading comprehension. She must read really fast, for she reads lots of books and writes about them. The Bible is really the only book I have time to read. But, Vickie and I still connect, because we both love Jesus.
Deborah Marie – I am just now getting to know Deborah. She has written me some very encouraging comments. She has a very encouraging blog, too, and she even promotes other people’s blogs and encourages others to get to know other bloggers.
Valerie is another great encourager who writes encouraging comments on my blog. She has a wonderful way with words as God gives her many stories to illustrate biblical truth as a way in which we can identify with what the Bible is teaching us, and in a way which teaches us how we can apply the teachings of scripture to our everyday lives.
Vivian is another great encourager. God has taken her through so much. But, she is a trooper. She has endured much suffering, and yet she keeps going in the strength of the Lord. She is a real inspiration to me and to many others. Her blog is filled with messages of hope and healing.
Now, the five questions for my nominees, should you decide to accept:
1. What does it mean to you to be an encourager?
2. What is the most significant way in which our Lord encourages you?
3. In what ways do you believe the Lord is leading you to encourage others?
4. When do you feel the need to be encouraged the most?
5. What are some of the best ways others can encourage you?