Just recently I’ve had the privilege of spending some time with a wonderful couple who have a real gift of encouragement. As I spent time with them I felt myself responding to their kind hearts, and I truly felt refreshed and re-envisioned to serve the Lord. Thank God for people like them!
One night, in my bed, I pondered the powerful effect they were having on me. I felt the Lord asking me two questions. The first one was: “Who inspired these two to be so encouraging?” I knew of course it was God Himself. Then He asked me: “Who made you to desire that encouragement”? This helped me to realise better how God created us all with a desire to be encouraged, helped and comforted.
Jesus knows we all need encouragement. He told His disciples that, after going to heaven, He would send someone else- His precious Holy Spirit- to be with us. The word ‘another’ in the verse for today means ‘another one of the same kind’. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be just like Him. Just like Jesus the Holy Spirit would be for us, not against us. The word, John’s Gospel uses, is ‘Paraclete’. Sometimes this gets translated as Helper, Comforter or Advocate. Really, the Holy Spirit is God coming alongside us to help us. Isn’t that wonderful news?
Sometimes we can be a bit embarrassed about the fact that we’re in need of help. Sometimes we might truly crave encouragement or cry out for comfort. God sees this and knows exactly what we need. He created us. He created us with these very needs. There’s no reason for us to be ashamed. God longs to give us all these things, through the presence of His Holy Spirit!
In this ‘dog-eat-dog’ world we might feel we have to be strong and make it through on our own wits. But that’s not God’s heart for us. God wants to give help. He might send people your way to help you along. In that case we must be open to this and gladly receive, thanking God for the people He’s using in our lives. Likewise, He might be calling you to encourage, help or comfort someone else. The difference that this might make in someone’s life could be absolutely enormous!
The Apostle Paul said this:"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
God’s ways are pretty clear: we receive comfort, help, or encouragement, and then we can in turn do the same for others!
Prayer: Father, I thank You that You want to help, comfort and encourage me. Help me to receive this when it comes my way, and help me to be a helper to others! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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