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November 26, 2013

November 26, 2013

"Jesus Encouraged People"

“We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak in order to build them up in the faith.” Romans 15: 1

This Christmas season encourage people around you. For one thing, we all need confidence. When you know that someone believes in you, it brings out your best.

Jesus did this with the Apostle Peter. Peter’s name, Petros, meant pebble. If you remember, Jesus said to him I’m giving you a new name, you’re no longer going to be known as pebble but now you are the Rock.

Now, when Jesus said that to Peter, he was anything but a rock. He was Mr. Impulsive, Mr. Foot-in-mouth. But Jesus didn’t tell him what he was – He told him what he could be. He gave him the confidence to live up to his potential.

We all need such encouragement. A long time ago a friend said to me that one of the things that pastors need is encouragement. He suggested that I keep a file with letters that come to me that say nice things. I’ve done that.

Then, on the days when I feel discouraged, I get out my encouragement file and read through the cards and letters that I’ve collected. They inevitably lift me up.

What about you? Do you have someway to encourage yourself when you need it? Might you want to keep an encouragement file?

When you give encouragement, it needs to be genuine. So give it from the heart and with sincerity. The other truth is encouragement needs to be regular – don’t be stingy with your encouragement.

It also needs to be specific. Instead of saying “I enjoyed the meal,” say “I can tell you put a lot of effort into this meal and the seasonings you chose were perfect.”

Instead of saying, “You did a good job,” say “I noticed you handled that angry customer with tact and you maintained your cool under pressure.” We get more mileage from specific encouragement.

Such encouragement lifts people up and helps them to know they’re appreciated. We all do better when we feel appreciated.

Peace in the Lord,

Pastor Don