Encourage Me.

Encourage Me.

Can you imagine a room full of people who wore shirts that said “Encourage Me”?  Every person would have a smile on their face, but each shirt would have fine print that would help you to see why encouragement is needed.  Perhaps, their marriage is in shambles. Or, maybe their kids are struggling.  Whatever it is, when you say “How are you?”, they smile and say, “I’m fine!  I hope you are!”  But, the words on their shirt tell you a different story. You stop and take the time to speak encouraging words to them. You look them in the eye as you speak, and maybe even give them a hug. With just a few words and a simple gesture you encourage them and they are strengthened. They walk up to the next person, and now you see them speaking kind words to that person, and someone taps you on the shoulder and hugs you.

A chain reaction of overflowing encouragement occurs. The domino effect of tears and smiles can be heard as people speak the words they wear. They share their hurts. They hold each other up. They stand together, united in purpose.

I want to be in that room. Who wouldn’t want to be in that room?? How can we be in that room?

Simply remember the shirt! Let it remind you to be an encouragement to others.

We all need to be encouraged.  We can all sincerely reach out to each other in love and be encouraging. How? What do we say? What can I do?

In our current Bible Study – “The Power of A Woman’s Words” by Sharon Jaynes, we reviewed two questions last week and shared our responses on what we would like for others to say or do to encourage us!

We are sharing them here so we can all have ideas, ways, and words to say to encourage one another!  Let’s put them to use!  Let’s remember the shirt that says “Encourage Me.”

Question 1 (pg 67)  Things I would like a friend to do to encourage me: 

  • text, email, call
  • pray for/with me
  • bring me cookies/treats
  • remember my birthday
  • invite me to lunch
  • give me a genuine compliment
  • spend time with me
  • offer practical help (watch my kids for a few hours etc)
  • invite me to your home
  • call me on my house phone
  • let me know when I have encouraged you
  • give me tokens of love (homemade gift etc)
  • don’t judge me or be overbearing
  • offer to be a support buddy
  • let me speak in confidence
  • send me a bible verse that touched you recently
  • listen – be a good listener
  • trust me with your stuff, tell me your stuff
  • go for a walk with me
  • make me feel needed
  • get yogurt or coffee together
  • let me know when you see Jesus in me
  • Don’t diminish or dismiss my pain or difficulty

Question 2 (pg 67) Words I would love to hear from a friend:  

  • Let me know if you ever need to talk
  • You have made great progress!
  • You are not alone
  • You are not a failure
  • You are special
  • You are not the only person going through this.
  • Thank you for being honest.
  • Thank you for being a sister to me.
  • Thank you for helping me to grow in Christ.
  • I want to help any way I can
  • I see your uniqueness
  • I admire you for standing up for that!
  • Let’s talk about it.
  • I really admire you
  • Your present is not your future
  • It won’t always be this way.
  • It will get better!
  • You did a great job!
  • I believe you
  • I believe in you
  • You are brave, strong and courageous
  • Speak truth and scripture to me
  • I am proud of you
  • You can do it!
  • You are going to make it!
  • Don’t give up.  Keep going.
  • You are loved
  • Great job!
  • I see a lot of growth in you.
  • I see that this is really difficult for you.
  • Jesus is crazy about you!
  • You are His favorite
  • God is going to use you!
  • You look great
  • You’ve lost weight
  • I like your hair cut
  • I notice you

We took the time to openly share and really think about what helps to encourage us.  We discovered that by encouraging others we are encouraged as well!

What about you?

What would you add to these lists?  What do you do to encourage others?  How have others encouraged you?

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 


The Word Lives

*originally written June 23, 2014*

In the last few days I’ve had the fortunate unfortunate opportunity to witness two families go through death of a dear one.  One death left behind a young man who’s now the man of the house.  The other leaving behind a family who will never hear his tiny voice cry or laugh.  In these deaths I saw the beauty of Life.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20 ESV

A young man, now fatherless, stood awkwardly in a suit and tie.  Overnight, he’s been forced to become the man of the house, feeling the responsibility for the care and protection of his mother.  This afternoon, he has already assumed this role.  Standing tall, ready to receive guests, shaking hands, accepting condolences.  A group he recognizes arrives, teens dressed carefully, not sure whether to smile or seem sad.  One by one, they shake his hand, hug him tight, offer their quiet, broken, uncertain words of comfort.  They smile when he smiles, nods when he does, not sure about what they’re supposed to do with themselves.  And then it happens.  A tall, graying man, wearing a jacket and tie, puts his hand on the young man’s shoulder.  “Let’s pray,” he says quietly, breaking the awkward silence.  It’s as though life has been injected into the group of teens.  Without hesitation, without question, and with confidence, each teen puts his or her arm around the classmate to the left and right.  Heads bow.  Hands tighten.  Eyes close.  The man in the jacket and tie prays.  He prays for comfort, he gives thanks for life, he asks for guidance.  It’s simple.  There’s nothing particularly eloquent about the words that are spoken, but for that moment, for the time that his voice is speaking, this awkward, uncertain group of teens has become one.  They are united in hearing a petition placed before the Almighty Father, a petition asking for one of their own to have only what the Father can give.

Matthew 18:20 lives. 

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:15-18 ESV

Sunday morning.  There’s nothing remarkable about this particular Sunday morning in June.  Blue sky.  Hot.  And yet as the people gathered, even among the greetings and smiles, handshakes and hugs, there’s a heaviness, a brokenness.  

The night before, a few couples, some with their children, gather at a house.  There’s laughter in this house.  There are smiles and stories, the low rumble of conversations and a table where meals have been prepared and eaten.  In between the laughter, the smiles, and the stories, there are hugs, shoulder squeezes.  Tight ones.  Hugs that say to one another, “I’m walking with you,” or “Don’t let go, I’m here,” or “I’m praying for you.”  In this house, Love abounds.  Everywhere.  Even now, in the unexpected absence of the new life they had been expecting, Love lives here.  The people who are here are living in a Love unexplainable, a promised Love from One who has promised He would come to them.  It’s the only explanation for the smiles through the tears, the hope through grief, the love through the death.

The Sunday service is all but over.  The lights are dim.  The brokenness and sadness palpable.  A simple gesture, a simple request, to take the hand of the person beside.  A voice prays, asking for guidance and comfort, but with gratitude and hope.  In the unbroken chain of hands, His Holy Spirit lives.  

John 14:15-18 lives.

Scandalous Redemption

The Women at the Sunday night Bible Study are studying through the book of Hosea. This obscure Old Testament book rocked my world as a young adult in college. The prophet of God discussed sin and rebellion in a way that would make most religious people cringe. This is why the name of the study is Scandalous Redemption. God’s love for the sinner is scandalous. God used Hosea and his personal tragedy to convey not only the depths of pain over the stain of sin in our lives, but the intimate relationship that God wants to have with His children. We readily identify with the pain and anguish we see in Hosea over his adulterous wife. Perhaps, we are even appalled that he goes to buy her back, and brings her home to live with him. But when we pull the camera back to see the big picture, we see the intensity of love the Father has for each one of us that He lovingly created for himself.

Our study opened with Hosea’s call to marry a promiscuous wife and have a children. We wrestled with this command from the Lord and Hosea’s obedience. We asked ourselves, “How can this be?”  We sat in awe as we studied the meaning behind the names of Hosea’s children: Jezreel, a place of great bloodshed, Lo-Ruhamah, no mercy, and Lo-Ammi, you are not my people and I am not your God. Can you imagine naming your children such? Then the relentless call to repentance as God lays out His case against His people, lovingly pointing out their many sins. We paused to ponder,” how a loving God can send His wrath against His people?” Last night’s study is what I want to share with you, The Mercy of God Revealed in Hosea 2. There are 10 promises that show God’s intimate love for Israel, but they all apply to us as Believers!

Both in the book of Hosea and the New Testament God uses the term Bride or wife to showcase the depths of love and intimacy He wants with us. The first promise showcases this. In Hosea 2:14 he promises to woo and to win you. One version uses the word allure…don’t you see the image of a handsome young man appealing to or attracting that woman he really wants…Then God promises to “speak tenderly” to her, or most literally speak right to her heart! This promise conveys the intimate relationship that the Lord seeks with His Bride. He speaks right to our hearts!

Vs. 15 showcases the promise of RESTORATION. After the Lord has allured his child to the desert place (a place of no distraction; of quiet and seclusion), it’s only there that He offers to restore. He promises to give back her vineyards, implying fruitfulness and sustenance in the Valley of Achor. The Valley of Achor is a place of great destruction. Read Joshua 7:16-26 for the whole back story. Have you ever been in a valley of great destruction? God’s promise is to give you a Door of Hope! A gateway that opens to place where there is no place for despair or hopelessness! There God promises to restore songs of joy as in your youth (a time of innocence and purity).  There He will recognize you as His wife.  There He promises to remove from your mouth your former gods, and He will banish the remembrance of other gods.  Only the One True God is left, and on that day He will take you as a wife forever.  He promises to provide and protect.  Remember that He was talking to a faithless wife who had lived in adultery!  No one is beyond His love and compassion.

Lastly, the picture of redemption is complete.  He promises to have mercy!  Not just any mercy!  Hosea doesn’t use the word for mercy that was more commonly used, but he uses ruhamah!  Do you remember the name of Hosea’s second child?  Lo-Ruhamah!  No Mercy, but here after the desert place, through the gateway of hope is MERCY!

Next Sunday night we will dive into the depths of this Mercy and promise of Restoration as we look at the last few chapters of Hosea!  Join us at Cresset at 6:30pm on Sunday night as we talk about the promise of Restoration!