Tag Archives: helping others

Encourage Someone

I was sharing my story with someone and they made a remark about the encouragement I received from the people around me during that time. I agreed and told him I wouldn’t be around if it hadn’t been for those people who showed up and helped me through those times. We never know how important it is to someone when we show up in their time of need or say the right words when they need to hear them most. Those things provide the fuel people need to keep going when they’re ready to give up.

If you Google The word “encourage”, it means, “to give support, confidence or hope to someone.” You and I are told many times to encourage other believers and people around us. God knows that each one of us need words of encouragement to help us get through life. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or time to give encouragement to someone, and it can make a world of difference. Look around you today and offer encouragement to someone even if you’re not sure they need it. Doing it will brighten someone’s day and show them God’s love.

Here are some Bible verses on encouraging others.

1. A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life.

PROVERBS 15:4 AMP

2. And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 GNT

3. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.

Proverbs 10:21 NLT

4. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.

1 Thessalonians 5:13-15 MSG

5. Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.

Hebrews 10:24 TPT

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Scattering Seeds

One of my prayers this year has been, “Lord, help us to plant seeds in fertile soil so you can maximize the harvest.” If you’re like me, there are ministries all around you who need funding to keep doing what they’re doing. There are ministers and missionaries who require money to fulfill their calling. There are people who need your counseling and time to minister to them and to help get them through a rough patch. Whether it’s time or money, we only have a limited amount of it, and I want to be wise with where I spend either. I want what I give to make the greatest impact possible.

The idea for the prayer came from a parable jesus taught in Luke 8. He spoke of a farmer who scattered seeds all around. Some fell on the side of the path, some fell in the rocks, some fell among the thorn bushes and some in fertile soil. No matter where it fell, things happened that caused the seeds not to produce. Only the seeds planted in fertile soil were able to withstand the things that tried to prevent growth. But verse 15 said, “The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit” (GNT). I love that those seeds persisted through whatever came against them and reproduced more fruit.

You and I are like that farmer. We scatter seeds wherever we go through giving of our time, our resources and our money. I believe that we can have wisdom in where we scatter those seeds and that we can do things to help those seeds persist until they reproduce. A farmer doesn’t just scatter seeds. They water them, enrich the soil with nutrients and pull weeds around them. If we want to maximize the harvest, we need wisdom in how and where we spend our time and money. It’s God who gives the harvest, but He only does that when we give when and where He tells us because only He knows which soil is fertile.

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Platinum Override

I’ve stayed at a certain hotel chain enough that I’m Platinum Elite with them. One of the privileges that comes along with that status is called a Platinum Override. If I try to get a room in one of their hotels and it’s full, I can request a Platinum Override. They usually keep one or two rooms open for that, but if those are gone, they can bump another guest to make room for me. I’ve had to do that on a couple of occasions when I really needed a room and all the hotels were booked. When I apologize for asking for it, they remind me that I’ve earned that privilege with them.

I love how Philippians 2 talks about Jesus. It reminds us that He is God’s Son and had the privileges that come along with that. Verse 8 says, “Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion” (MSG). Jesus could have played His Platinum Override card when the time came to die, but He didn’t. He endured the suffering because of His love for you and me.

Philippians 2 also reminds us to be like Christ in this manner. We are to live selfless lives that aren’t intent on getting ourselves ahead at whatever cost. Instead, we are to help others get ahead. Verse 4 says, “Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” Each of us have the ability lend a helping hand to someone else. There’s always someone else who is worse off than we are. Look for them today, put down your Platinum Override card and help them get ahead. In doing so, you’ll exhibit selflessness like Jesus.

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The Seeds Of Good Deeds

When you think of Christians who are known for their good deeds, Mother Teresa usually tops the list. She is someone who gave her life to those who were less fortunate than herself. While she is certainly the most famous, she’s not the only Christian to be known for her good deeds. In fact, each of us should be doing things for others, not as a requirement for salvation, but as a fruit of it. Giving to others should spring out of our love for God.

When I look at my own circle of friends, I’ve got friends who care for orphans, feed the homeless, provide disaster relief around the world, are surrogate mothers for those who can’t have children, run foster homes, who give money sacrificially, are missionaries and so much more. Jesus said we would be known for our love and our fruit. To do good deeds, you don’t have to do big things that change the world. Just do something that changes the world for one person at a time.

Romans 7:4 says, “And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God” (NLT). When we become Christians, each of us are capable of producing a harvest of good deeds. The only way to get any harvest is by planting seeds. Look around you today. See where you can plant seeds of God’s love in other people’s lives through a good deed. This world needs to see more of God’s love, and you and I are the ones He’s called to do it.

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Symbiotic Relationships

A couple of years ago, we started going to a different church. The Pastor and I went to lunch in order to get to know one another. During the lunch he said, “I want to drink from your well just like you drink from mine.” What he was saying was, I want to learn from you just like you learn from me. I was taken aback. I thought, “What do I have that you as a pastor could learn from me?” He must have seen the look on my face, so he repeated that he wanted a symbiotic relationship.

What I’ve learned is that we all have something to give, and therefore we all have the ability to help each other out. As Christians, we need to make sure we spend time building each other up and helping each other out. This isn’t a competition. There’s not one of us who has this whole thing figured out. Not one of us are perfect. So why not swallow our pride so we can learn from each other? We shouldn’t be people who take, or drink from other people’s wells, all the time. We need to create symbiotic relationships in the Body of Christ.

Here are some Bible verses on having symbiotic relationships with each other.

1. What I mean is that both you and I will be helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours.

Romans 1:12 GNT

2. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Ephesians 4:16 NLT

3. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT

4. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself.

ROMANS 12:16 AMP

5. Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

Luke 6:37-38 MSG

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Entertaining Unaware

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I don’t think the innkeeper ever gets enough credit at Christmas. Sure, we mention him in passing when reading Luke 2 for our plays, but no one ever really thinks about him. To me, he played a critical role in the birth of our Savior. He provided the setting for every nativity you’ve ever seen. Yet have you ever looked at a nativity and thought of him? I know the scene isn’t about him, but it wouldn’t look like that if it weren’t for him.

We know that Ceasar Augustus had called for a census. It’s not like the censuses we take today where government workers come to your house and ask you questions. Each family had to travel to the hometown of their ancestors. For Joseph, a descendent of David, that was Bethlehem where David grew up. It was an 80 mile trip that he and Mary had to walk or ride by donkey. Mary was obviously in her third trimester, and I’m sure they had to stop pretty often.

By the time the two of them arrived, the town was full. I’m sure they went to his family to try to stay with them. After having no luck with any of his family, they started going to the inns in the city, but quickly found out it was no better. Joseph must have been getting desperate. Mary could have been having contractions and he needed some place for his son to be born. As the sun set, he knew they were out of options. It could be that this particular innkeeper had compassion on them and offered shelter in the stable.

We really don’t know the details, but what we do know is that they ended up in his stable. This particular innkeeper thought differently than all the others in town. With no room in the inn, he offered them the only other place he had. He wasn’t going to turn a weary, pregnant woman away. I’m sure he had no idea that she was carrying his Messiah. I’m sure he didn’t know that his stable would become a hallowed sanctuary that millions would flock to in the future. We simply know that he offered what he had and it was more than enough to be the setting for the birth of the King of Kings.

It makes me wonder how many times I’ve not had time or room for people in my life. How many times have I been like the other innkeepers in Bethlehem? What if some of them were sent to me by God? I believe that God gives us daily opportunities to open up and let others into the inn of our lives, but too often we are too busy and are so full that we turn them away. I believe if we found even just a small space for them, we could change their world. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood – being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without even knowing it (AMP).” The innkeeper entertained the Son of God unaware because he was open to helping others.

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The Black Hole

One of our family traditions on Christmas Eve was to go look at Christmas lights. We would go to church, then my mom would want to drive around in different neighborhoods. She would oooh and ahhhh at how creative people got with their lights. Sometimes whole streets would be involved and have a theme. Those were her favorite. House after house was lit up, and to her, that was Christmas.

After she had seen enough, we would drive to our home that didn’t have lights. She called it “The Black Hole”. It became a family joke. If people were coming over, we’d tell them, “Turn left on our street, then look for the black hole.” On the outside, we may have had the darkest house on the street, but inside, we celebrated the true meaning of Christmas every year. We were taught that Jesus was the light of the world and that it was more important that our lives be light.

Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them” (GNB). This prophesy was looking forward to when Jesus would come into the world. The promise was that people who lived in the Black Hole would one day see a light and have hope. Where there is light, darkness hides. Jesus used His light to show us the way to the Father.

Jesus gave His light to us as His followers. Our lives should be doing the same thing. We need to live in such a way that people in darkness are drawn to us, and we can show them the way to the Father. Living life as “The Black Hole” is not an option for us. We must let our light shine brightly. Without your light shining, how will the people around you, who live in darkness, ever find their way to God? You were planted right where you are because God needed your light to shine right there. This Christmas time, let it shine brighter than ever.

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