Friday, January 14, 2011

Does Encouragement Matter?

Recently, I wrote an article for our local newsletter which is actually a book.  The newsletter staff sells ads in the area and there are fourteen pages of ads.

The Village Chapel is allotted a whole page or as many pages as we want.  Wow.

Don is responsible for Sunday’s Coming on his blog, Count It All Joy, and I am responsible for The Village Chapel page in the Our Town, the park newsletter/book.

The following verses jumped out at me during a recent devotional time, so I wrote, “Does Encouragement Matter?”:

II Timothy 1:
16 May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains.
17 When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.
18 May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.

Some folks are encouragers by nature or by the gifting of the Holy Spirit.  Others have to work a little harder at it, but God will help us all to be encouragers.  And just like any habit, the more we do it, the easier it is to.

The thought in verse 18 leads us to be motivated to encourage others as Paul prayed, requesting special kindness on the day of Christ's return, Judgment Day, for his encourager.  We have no idea what that "special kindness" will consist of, but wouldn't it be wonderful to be on the receiving end of special kindnesses from Jesus Christ. It could only be wonderful.

It is clear that Paul is referring to a fellow Christian.  This verse does not apply to non-Christians, which brings us to the second motivation in this verse.  This promise of "special kindness" should motivate the unbeliever to want to become a follower of Jesus Christ, so they will be included.

Be encouraged by verse 18 and be an Onesiphorus to someone today.  If you are not a Christian, be encouraged and motivated to become a Christian TODAY.  It's as easy as A~B~C.
        A ~ Admit that you are a sinner, based on Romans 3:23 (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God).
        B ~ Believe that Jesus Christ died for you, based on John 1:12 (Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God).
        C ~ Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, based on Romans 10:9-10 (That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved).

Aren't you ready to accept Christ into your heart today? Pray this simple prayer. It doesn't have to be the exact words, but if you want to recite it, you can. The key is to open your heart and life to God:

"Father, I need You in my life. I want to change, and I can't change myself. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for me. I believe Jesus paid the price for my sins. I ask that You come into my heart, and save me. I repent of my sins. I accept You into my heart today, Lord. I now confess, I am born again and I commit my life to following You. Amen."

Call me or knock on my door and I will rejoice with you if you have prayed this prayer from your heart.

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