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This is the day, friends! We're in to the "how" of encouragement. For the rest of the series I will offer practical ideas for encouraging others. Our last day on the topic will be Monday, November 30. There will be a giveaway and everything! Till then we'll march through a list of ways we can encourage one another.
|Our neighbor's front porch, a widow who invited us on our first Halloween here to cove visit any time.|
As Crabb and Allender say, words that encourage are motivated by love and directed at fear. And much of our ability to really encourage another person will depend on the quality of our words spoken to them. But there are also many other ways we can encourage that surround and support the truth of the words that will come out of our mouths or fingers, if the words are being written.
When I think about encouraging others and wanting it to be useful, genuine encouragement, my mind wanders to Gary D. Champman's thoughts about the five love languages. In his book, he suggests that there are five broad categories of how people feel the most loved and express love to others: gift giving, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time. You'll have to read the book - it's a quick read - to get the full picture, but these categories helped me to think about various ways we can encourage one another. We'll being today with quality time.
When I did an informal survey on Facebook about what encourages people, several mentioned the importance of people spending time with them. We certainly all feel unloved if no one wants to hang out with us! And, I venture to guess, that most of us are encouraged when someone wants to use some of their limited time to be with us. We can sincerely encourage another person by having and/or making time to be with them.
This takes effort, fitting under the Availability for Ministry category and making margins in one's life. Do you know people in your sphere of influence who could us a visit or with whom you need to make a coffee date? Perhaps there is a widow down the street. Maybe you need to invite an acquaintance over to get to know them better. Are there other folks in your life who desperately need the encouragement of quality time, devoted to them and their well-being, to lift them up?
I am sure we all know at least one.
Do not be concerned about what is outside your ability or sphere of influence. Think today about making space to get together with whomever God brings to mind when you ask Him to whom you can be an encouragement. Consider what questions you can ask to know them better and what words you might use to encourage them when you are together. The goal is not to be a perfect encourager, but to be a faithful one, who seizes the opportunities the Lord places in your way!
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. I Thessalonians 5:9-11