May 5, 2012 Bible Reading
Today with our reading I find a lot of encouragement. I also find some discouragement, but out of the discouragement comes very encouraging people. We end the book of Judges today and we’ve seen a lot of devastation in Israel. They have cut off the tribe of Benjamin from Israel and yet the Lord moves within the remaining tribes to have compassion on their brothers.
We begin a book of the Bible that has become one of my favorites, Ruth. Naomi, the mother-in-law, in the story has her share of disappointment in life to say the least, but ultimately this story of the Bible is a fabulous story of encouragement.
Jesus does something so cool. Imagine that. While talking to a Samaritan woman at a well He shines a little light on her life. She was feeling very discouraged no doubt, but Jesus uses His example of witness to encourage her and us! He’s such a multi-tasker and I mean it in a good way! In this narrative, Jesus gives her the encouragement needed to seek the “living water” and Jesus provides us a prime example of what we are sent here to earth to do… Win souls.
Psalms encourages me with the promises contained in verse after verse today. Very uplifting. Check this out:
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, (Psalm 105:1-5 NIV)
And that’s just how it opens up!
Finally the proverbs… Ah… The Proverbs. They can cut like a knife because I usually see a place in my life where I’ve done something that doesn’t make sense after reading them. Today… they encourage me.
A truthful witness saves lives,
but a false witness is deceitful. (Proverbs 14:25 NIV)
So What Do You Do With All of That?
Great question. Today being about encouragement, let’s talk a little about what that means. Often, we are so zealous for the Lord as believers that we want to beat people that are hurting up with scripture and make them see what God can do for them. We mean to do good for them and we actually are hurting the cause of Christ.
How would you feel if someone came to you while you were down about something and said (in my best southern preacher voice) My Chiild, yoo justa needa little JEEESUSSA! Nobody can RECEIVE the message while they are down when it is delivered like that. Not anybody I know anyway (sadly I’ve tried).
Encouragement, as we see in Jesus’ perfect example, can come in the form of our witness. But remember a witness is not an active participant. I witness is recounting what happened… to them or what they saw. Encourage people like Jesus did. He listened. He listened and then when the opportunity presented itself and the time was right He offered encouragement. You can do the same with what God has done for YOU. However, I caution you not to get into what He will do for THEM.
Encouraging others is our duty as Christians, but I ask you not to do it out of duty. Do it because you can’t help but encourage others. Look for places in your day today that you can genuinely encourage someone to do right or to just provide a little lift. It could prove to be a place to offer witness as well. Think about a time recently when someone you don’t know had a little word of encouragement that gave you a lift. Now… pass it on and keep passing it on. Be genuine because remember flattery is for fakers. Be genuine and the smallest thing you do will encourage someone. The cool thing is, that God set it up so that when you encourage others you experience His strength. So, encouraging others will actually encourage you too.
I’m Taking This With Me Today
My job is to turn on the light, not to dispel the darkness. ~ Dr. Neil T. Anderson (I think…;)