To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

Project Appreciation

It is a strange curiosity of life that people are very often only appreciated in their deaths. So upon someone’s decease you get obituaries written and eulogies given. What I want to propose is that we take some action today to actually appreciate people right now.

The coronavirus happenings have brought us into a time of much despondency. Can I suggest that taking time today and in the days to come to appreciate someone can be a great means of lifting the spirits.

Moreover, you may feel that you are not appreciated and you feel that very much. Well, why not respond to your own feelings of being taken for granted by taking action to appreciate others. You feel the pain of being unappreciated, why not seek to alleviate that for others.

It can be members of family or friends or work colleagues or fellow church members or someone who helped you much in the past or whoever. Just get involved in appreciating.

And how can you do it? You could call them and speak to them. How about sending a message by text or email or whatever. Or perhaps best of all, send a card or a letter by post. This is best because it has the benefit of being something tangible. As a result it is more permanent and therefore something the recipient can go back to again and again. Thereby, the blessing can be multiplied.

Younger ones in particular think about taking action and sending a card to someone older. I know it is not really a part of your culture, you prefer online stuff, but why not try it?

By the way I am not talking about fakery here. It is not about making things up. It is about genuine ways we can appreciate others.

So why not be a joy bringer today and in the days to come by appreciating someone.

Oh and somebody appreciated me last week and it made such a difference to me when I was wallowing in a bit of a disconsolate pit.

So get involved in project appreciation.

Who Will You Encourage Today?

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

This scripture from Hebrews 3:12-13 gives us a reminder of the sobering truth that there is an inclination in each of our hearts to allow our evil unbelieving hearts to lead us to fall away from the living God. The necessary response to such a tendency is to be exhorting one another to continue on in the way of the Lord’s grace.

A vital implication of this teaching is that we need one another. Left to ourselves we are prone to drift into ways of spiritual peril. With good brothers and sisters around who are prepared to “speak the truth in love” we are encouraged to keep in the good way of the Lord.

Oh how we need each other. But we need each other to be spiritually on our case. So much of our time together as Christians has more of a resemblance to the cleaned up version of the world, rather than vibrant local church centred on discipleship. I should not want to interact with other Christians just to pass the time; I want to interact so as to see them progress for the Lord.

O lets’ healthily, helpfully and above all prayerfully be getting on each others case more and more.

Some Pieces Of Gold

I have written about the hymn “Count your many blessings” here. Yesterday, I had several blessings to count, each one portraying the observable workings of the Lord. Here are eight pieces of gold I want to treasure:

  • A sister delighting in how, after many years; many wild and rebellious years, a lady (the daughter of a friend) in her thirties had, the previous day, confessed Jesus as her Lord and Saviour.
  • A sister, who had kept in touch with a younger sister in the Lord after she had long-moved on from Feltham, was being used to counsel the younger sister through some hard times.
  • A younger sister, was rejoicing in how she had been rebuked by a brother in the church concerning an issue. Yes, she was rejoining and thankful. Rejoicing because the man had loved her enough to want to speak to her about the issue.
  • A group of sisters getting together to study the Word.
  • A lady who had never been to a prayer meeting attending the morning prayer meeting
  • A younger brother from church spent the day involved in an apologetic ministry in central London
  • I faced a situation with calmness and peace. This was something to treasure because it was a situation I had previously felt prone to go into with anger and frustration. The Lord does answer prayer.
  • I received a sweet email telling me how i had misunderstood a matter. It was presented in such a gracious and encouraging way. A model for good email communication.

And I am led to praise the Lord and consider that the Lord is alive and working. And so i give Him all the praise. I want to pick up each piece of gold and treasure it and admire the Lord’s working in each.

Keep Going

I confess in my daily Bible readings I so often can read through a chunk of material and not take much in. Recently though as I was reading through, it was as if the Lord tripped me up, and said: “Look at this; this is for you”.

The verse was 1 Chronicles 28:20 which reads Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. 

What golden good news that was to my weary beaten down soul. To know the Lord spurring me forward to continue on for Him.

One reminder here is the fact that it is not the starters who are the heroes; it is the finishers. And David encourages Solomon by promising him that the Lord God will not leave him or forsake him in his building work.

David speaks of “my God” and therein we notice all the personal character of the relationship with God in this scripture. And this God who is “my God”, according to David, gives every resource to move forward through the batterings and bruisings of life. So that with God and His resources we can know persevering joy.

There may be many enemies around who want us to be afraid and dismayed. If we look at ourselves we will succumb to fear and dismay. If we look to the Lord we can see things very differently. Let us by faith work out the assurance of 1 John 5:5-6:

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

So Philip keep going with strength and courage from the Lord in the task He has called you to. And perhaps you need to hear that for your situation today.

Be An Encourager

In Acts 4:26 we read of Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’), The apostles spotted in Joseph that he had a particular gift to encourage others. I feel it would be good to have more Barnabas’s around; those who are encouragers.

I, particularly want to focus on how we can encourage people at church. Think about who you could encourage this Sunday. There are no doubt various ones in your church who do lots of things in the background. They do important jobs so as to make the church function. There are those on the audio/recording, those arranging the flowers, those providing the refreshments, those cleaning the building, those taking care of the finances, those making sure the building is heated, those making sure the car park is tidy. There are no doubt many other tasks I have not mentioned.

Many people serve God in these ministries quietly and with little acknowledgement. We can easily say that they are doing it to serve the Lord and not men; that is true and all well and good. However, might we not be ministries of grace to them from the Lord to give them a little encouragement?

So this coming Sunday (or even before) why don’t you go prayerfully to church with a set purpose to encourage someone who is quietly serving with no fanfare. You never know, you may be the means of saving that person from giving up because nobody ever appreciates what they do!

Appreciation.

I was on a bus journey recently from Manchester to London. Somewhat casually I was walking past the driver at the end of the journey and thanked him for getting us back safely to London. His reaction to those words was striking. He mentioned how much what I had said meant to him and how most people never said anything.

This lead me to ponder on the power of words of appreciation. How much blessing and encouragement can be brought into the lives of others by simply taking time to appreciate someone for what they have done.

So much of our lives is passed in taking things for granted. The meal provided, the rooms cleaned, the building opened up, the tables and seating arranged; the list could be endless. So many of things happen and we accept them and benefit from them without a word of appreciation.

I am challenged once again about seizing the initiative to show appreciation to someone. And as for yourself, why not get thinking and praying about who you can appreciate. You don’t know how much blessing you will bring thereby!

Parents Together.

Children can be very demanding. Knowing that God has given you these precious gifts necessitates that you give your lives for their benefit. However, in all of this giving for the welfare of children, which is right and proper, a couple need to remember to nourish their own relationship. In fact if they start to drift apart and not be together then they will not be able to serve and benefit their children as they should.

So parents need to make sure they keep their relationship strong, fresh, vital and joyous as they move through the demanding task of bringing up children. How do they do this?

Time Together. It is vital that they spend time together. This might mean going to a quiet place in the home, if such a place can be found. More likely it means going for a walk together or “a coffee” at the local coffee shop. Taking a night or two away on your own might mean you have to take time to arrange things for the children to be cared for, but is well worth doing to give you time and space together.

One practical thing to think of is to make sure you have a lock on your bedroom door. This will give you opportunity for that quiet place. It will also mean that your times of intimacy are not threatened by one of the children barging in. A locked door means you can relax together and be for each other. An unlocked door means you are always on edge.

Encouragement. A mother can often feel she is of little use and is not being productive as she relentlessly goes through the drudgerous routine of home life. Changing nappies and preparing meals can seem endless. Husbands can feel that the responsibility they have in leading their family is just too big. Given these scenarios each must take time to encourage and appreciate each other. Failure to do this can lead to a cycle of despair.

So make sure that you take time to encourage each other. Perhaps at the end of each day stop and think have I encouraged my wife/husband today? If not make sure you do so before you go to sleep.

Encouragement

I am not fully sure why, but have felt somewhat “off” this week. Two things, though, specifically came from the Lord, I feel, to brighten me in the Lord:

  1. I was at the annual homeschoolers concert on Wednesday and there was a beautiful musical contribution of “Oh Love that will not let me go”. Here is a beautiful sung rendition. Oh such a rich hymn. There is a love that will not let me go.
  2. I listened to most of a sermon by John Piper preaching on Romans 8:1; there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Here it is. There is a great part about what are our experiences in this world of hardship, sufferings and difficulty when compared to an eternal bliss ahead. And all “in Christ”. Oh what a great Saviour.

So through these helps Lord please keep me for you Lord. Give me strength wisdom, sensitivity and bravery for today. I need you Lord. Oh may I know you Lord through all the ways of life until glory dawns: Yes, and I see my Saviour in “Immanuel’s land”

Hope For Doubters.

It is an interesting observation that when Jesus was giving instructions to His disciples pending His departure for glory, among those who were there (and it is very possible the 500 of 1 Cor 15:6 were there) there were some who doubted (see Matt. 28:17). The meaning of “doubted” is that they wondered which way they were going to go in the future; they wondered what the future was going to hold.

The important thing for us to grasp about these disciples is that they had not got everything sorted. There was some perplexity in their lives. However, Jesus did not write them off. He did not even say that they needed to be in a better place before they could do anything for Him.

Rather, it was to such that he presented the great commission. It was to such that He said that, as they went forth, they should be making disciples (see Matt. 28:19). It is as if he was saying: “you don’t know exactly the way to go. Well, don’t concentrate on that decision rather just get on and go and concentrate on making disciples. And as you make disciples you will be assured that you are on the right path.” That message encourages us today, that amidst the perplexities of life, we can be assured that we are in the right place in the Lord’s purposes, if we are concentrating on making disciples.

Oh, and don’t forget between v17 and v19 there is v18! And v18 tells us of one who is in control of all things. Jesus is in control of all things. As we move forward and seek to be involved in the biggest of businesses – that of disciple-making – we trust ourselves to the One who is in control of all things.

So here is good news for doubters everywhere:

  • Jesus does not write you off.
  • Get on with life and in your “getting on” focus on disciple making.
  • And as you do so remember that Jesus is in control.
  • So do not focus on your own perplexities, rather focus on working for Him and be a disciple maker and trust Him and obey Him as the mighty King.

(Thanks to Margaret Lee for the initial prompt in this musing)

(Originally posted at Venabling 08/09/2014)

No-one ever climbed……

…a mountain without first having committed themselves to climbing a mountain. People do not just happen to end up on top of a mountain in the day-to-day maelstrom of life. Rather people end up on mountain tops through making a commitment and carrying through on it.

And dare I say, no-one ever lived for the Lord without first committing themselves to live for the Lord. People do not just drift into living for God. People do not just find themselves living for the Lord. No! Everyone who has lived for the Lord came into that position through committing themselves to such a lifestyle and carrying through on that commitment. So two verses struck me recently:-

  • But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ (Josh. 24:15b). Here is commitment. Here is determination. The context for Joshua making this statement is that of a people who are saying that it is desirable not to serve the Lord. Joshua leaves such to the miserable consequences of their decision. His observation is that whether they choose the old gods or the new gods, both are pitiful foci of devotion. Emptiness and uselessness is the outcome of such devotion. Into that atmosphere Joshua commits to serving the Lord. And so should we. He will not flow with the consensus. He will flow with serving God; being devoted to Him.
  •  Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22). Here we see commitment again. Timothy is exhorted by Paul to reject that which will kill his soul; namely the evil desires of youth. Instead he should pursue that which will make life valuable namely, righteousness, faith, love and peace. And in all this he should make the right choice of company; those calling on the Lord out of a pure heart. When he mixes with this type of people it will help him to carry through on his commitments

Both of these statements are commitment based. Any person with such determination in place is set for a valuable life for God. So what about me? Oh, make me to be committed to you and your cause, Lord.

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