Monday, April 2, 2012

A Woman After God's Own Heart ~ Chapter 20

A Heart That Encourages

"With every encounter, make it your aim that people are better off for having been in your presence.  Try in every encounter to give something to the other person."

Everyone needs edification and encouragement, and we are free to offer that when we have hearts filled by God.
  • Take Time to Be Filled
    • If you take time to sit at Jesus' feet and be filled by God's Spirit as you study the written Word, if you focus on overcoming internal obstacles to doing God's work, you will never lack for ministry.
    • God's fullness in you will naturally overflow into the lives of others.
    • Luke 10:27 ~ And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
    • You ahem more to give to your neighbor if you regularly place yourself before God and let Him grow you, strengthen you, transform you!
  • Memorize Scripture of Encouragement
    • If you "let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6), you will never fail to better the lives of those you encounter.
    • Your life and lips will offer refreshing encouragement to all who cross your path.
    • Like our Messiah, you will be able to "speak a word in season to him who is weary" (Isaiah 50:4).
    • But we can't give away what we do not possess.  So it's good to memorize some pertinent words of encouragement from the Bible to share with people in need.
    • Whatever the need (in your own life as well as in the lives of those you talk with), every verse you know by heart is available, sharp, and ready for God to use to encourage a weary soul.
    • If you are faithful to commit to memory selected gems from God's Word, you'll suddenly find them adding real substance to your conversations.
    • Sharing God's Word will take your talks with others to deeper levels.
  • Make Phone Calls to Encourage
    • An easy way to encourage and make a heart glad is to reach out and touch someone by phone.  A simple, quick call can do much to gladden the heart of the recipient.
    • build them up...compliment them...remind them of their strengths...ask if this is a good time to talk...and if they don't answer the phone, leave a cheerful message that I'm thinking about them and will call again soon
    • the telephone offers us a very effective way to encourage others, and it takes very little effort
    • most important to that ministry is a heart that cares!
    • use the internet too-24/7-as a tool for encouragement
    • How easy it is to sit down for a few seconds and dash off a few sentences to bolster a missionary on the other side of the world, a friend who has moved away, those in ministry at my church, a hurting woman... and of course, family.
  • Write Notes of Encouragement
    • Writing notes-again, by mail or email-to those who need encouragement is another way to share a good word that makes the heart glad (Proverbs 12:25).
    • It's as simple as three sentences
      • Sentence #1 conveys I miss you, I appreciate you, or I'm thinking of you
      • Sentence #2 lets readers know they are special to me and why
      • Sentence #3 says I'm praying for them and includes the verse I'm praying for them
    • As you sit in bed or on the couch with your feet propped up, you can give this kind of encouragement to others out of your heart filled by God's love--and the recipients will be very blessed!
  • Encourage Others Through Three Spiritual Gifts
    • three more ministries that you and I--and all Christians--can have
    • Balancing the Christian Life by Dr Ryrie describes them as "three of the [spiritual] gifts...probably all Christians could have and use if they would.  hey are ministering, giving, and showing mercy (Romans 12:7-8)."
      • Serving is sometimes called help or ministries.  It is the basic ability to help other people, and there is no reason why every Christian cannot have and use this gift.
      • Mercy is next.  Showing mercy is akin to the gift of ministering and involves succoring those who are sick or afflicted.
        • James 1:27 ~ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
      • Giving is another ministry you and I could--and should--be involved in.  Giving is the ability to distribute one's own money to others, and it is to be done with simplicity which means with no thought of return or gain for oneself in any way.
    • Serving, mercy, and giving--each is a specific spiritual gift, but each is also commanded for us as Christians.  And each was carried out and modeled for us by our dear Savior, in whose steps we are to follow.
    • So commit now to kindle your efforts to serve, show mercy, and give--and this fulfill the law of God and encourage His people.
  • Live Your Priorities
    • By living our your priorities you will teach and disciple many woman--without saying a word.
    • Simply concentrate on being who God wants you to be and doing what He wants you to do.
    • Every Christian woman needs models and examples
      • observing how they behaved in church and even what they wore
      • did they speak up in mixed groups?
      • did they pray out loud?
      • how they treated their husbands, how they showed respect, how they behaved as a couple in public
      • watching moms with their children, noticing how they disciplined, the tone of voice they used when they spoke to their children, and even the expressions on their face as they looked at their little ones.
    • Everything you do and don't do teaches.
    • Being what God wants you to be--being a woman after God's own heart--is a powerful ministry.  Others can simply watch you and be encouraged in their own quest to allow God.
Ministry is always a matter of the heart.  If you heart is filled with a watchful concern for God's people, you will be privileged to refresh many souls in need of encouragement.

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Dear Heavenly Father,
Give me a heart that yearns to bless others.  Give me eyes that see who needs encouragement this week.  May you use me and my life as a tool to further your word and bring glory to your name.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

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