I recently had ‘one of those days’ when all seemed to be wrong with the world. The following morning I woke feeling discouraged and pretty fed up, so I prayed that God would arrange some surprise encouragement for me.
That afternoon I received an email from a friend to tell me about a trip she had just returned from. As nice as it was to receive the email, my friend made a passing comment that just hit to the heart of my discouragement. I was amazed! God had really arranged for someone to encourage me, not just in a general sort of way but actually addressing the source of my discouragement. I, of course, wrote back thanking her for her email and for hearing from God and being such an answer to prayer. Hopefully she too was encouraged by my response.
Later that day I took the opportunity to email another friend, only to receive an almost instant reply saying that one of my passing comments in the email was a direct confirmation to her and her husband about something they felt God had being telling them to do. I was doubly encouraged that I had managed to bless someone else and they were encouraged that they were on the right track with God.
This must be what God had in mind when he taught us to encourage one another. It isn’t a matter of having daily targets of the number of people we must encourage, nor is it about spending vast amounts of time ‘listening to God’ in order that we can be effective. It is borne out of a love for one another; a desire to build one another up and an openness to God that allows His Spirit to move in and through our lives – sometimes without us even realising it.
Let’s allow God to use us as a vessel of encouragement and let’s not be shy to ask for it when we need it: you never know, He might surprise you!
Prayer: Father God, I want to be a vessel of encouragement to others as well as to receive encouragement from You. Help me to hear the words You want me to speak to others and help me to hear Your words of encouragement to me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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