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Christian Living

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Grin and Grow with Kathy 06/12/18

Encouragement Strengthens Our Faith Family

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STORY: Encouragement...The Meant of Courage Planted in Others

I’m a pro at growing meant. Not mint, but meant. I meant to make the bed after I woke up. I meant to call my friend to check on how her appointment went. I meant to tell the pastor how much his sermon challenged me. I meant to spend undistracted time with my husband, so he knows how special he is to me. I have a big pile of meant heaped up.

How can I best encourage others? By being intentional to plant courage in them. Mean to do it—and do it!

The dictionary defines encourage this way: hearten, cheer, reassure, boost, embolden, raise your spirits, buoy up, give confidence, inspire, support, assist, foster, nurture, propel, promote.

How can we strengthen each other in the Lord? Encouragement.

STUDY: Encourage Others to be Strengthened

And we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, (1 Thessalonians 3:2 NLT)

  • What are some of the qualifications of an encourager?
  • Why was Timothy sent to visit the Thessalonicans?
  • Can you think of a time someone encouraged you in your faith? How did it strengthen you?

But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32 NLT)

  • Jesus told Peter (Simon) how he would fail, but then be restored. First, He prayed what for Peter? We frequently pray for people who are sick or who need a job, but how often do we pray for others, that their faith will not fail?
  • Look at Peter’s story and ministry. He fell (sinned). He got back up (repented). And what was his next step after turning back to the Lord?
  • We all have a story. How will you use your story to strengthen your siblings in Christ?

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. (Ephesians 3:16 NLT)

  • The context of this verse shows us how Paul suffered many trials because of his faith. Seeing God at work caused him to come boldly before the Lord and bow before the Creator in prayer. It is in this state of prayer that he prays what is stated in the above verse.
  • Reword the above prayer as if someone is praying it over you.
  • Ask God to give you the name of someone He wants you to encourage as you pray for them in a similar fashion.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT)

  • Notice Paul mentions first how the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father loved his missionary team. He said God’s grace gave them what?
  • Paul mentions his God story first, and then prays that the same God would do what for the ones receiving this note?
  • This once again shows us that our story with God prepares us to minister to others.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. (Hebrews 12:12 NLT)

  • Can you think of a time when you felt physically, emotionally or spiritually weak? Perhaps you’re feeling that way right now. How can you get a new grip?
  • What is a good way to strengthen your weak knees? Why is it important to tap in to God’s strength when you feel tired and weak?

After spending some time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all the believers. (Acts 18:23 NLT)

  • This verse shows us part of Paul’s missionary journey. What is one of his apparent goals for visiting believers along the way?
  • Can you think of ways a missionary (or a missionary story) has encouraged you personally?
  • When you travel, how might you strengthen believers you meet along the way?

STEPS: Let Others Know You Care

  1. Strengthen others. “With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.” (Isaiah 35:3 NLT)
  2. Strengthen your church. “But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.” (1 Corinthians 8:1b NLT)
  3. Rewrite this verse, praying strength and growth for someone else, and give them the customized prayer as a note of encouragement. “So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy.” (Colossians 1:11 NLT)

Copyright © 2018 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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