Tag: Paul

The Encourager 

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There’s no doubt in my mind; everyone needs encouragement from time to time.

And guess what? We should all know how to BE encouragers.

Encouragement can keep someone in the game of life, even when they feel like giving up.

Encouragement can help settle a troubled heart, and bring quietness to one’s soul.

Encouragement can bring new found strength to someone totally wiped out by life’s crazy twists and turns. It can be like cool, refreshing water in the middle of one’s personal season of drought.

Everyone needs encouragement from time to time.

Whether you are a spiritual giant, an apostle to the world, or just someone trying to be faithful in the least of things, you will need encouragement at some point in your life.

And if you’ll need it, so will someone else.

So what’s it take to be an encourager?

Basically two things.

Your time and your willingness to care for others.

We can show our care in various ways; our words, prayers, notes, text messages, or just showing up to lend a helping hand.

What encourages you? Well, why not try that same thing on someone else?

The apostle Paul, though he was a mighty man of God, never outgrew his need for or his appreciation of encouragement.

Notice what he said about Onesiphorus.

“May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.” (2 Timothy 1:16 – 1:17 NLT)

It’s probably no coincidence the name Onesiphorus means “profit-bearer”, or “bringing profit”.

An encourager “brings profit” to those who may be facing spiritual, emotional, or physical bankruptcy.

An encourager brings cool, refreshing water to a person dealing with the hot breath of the adversary.

And the word “encourage” means “to endue with courage”. The one encouraged becomes able to refocus and reestablish their purpose in Christ.

Notice also, Onesiphorus OFTEN visited and encouraged. He didn’t toss Paul a couple of “praying for you” tokens, but was faithful in ministering encouragement; faithfully refreshing Paul, the prisoner.

When he heard Paul was in prison, he searched everywhere UNTIL he found Paul. In other words, he didn’t look for ten minutes, give up and say, “Well, it must not be God’s will. After all, if I was supposed to encourage Paul I’d be able to find him.”

Don’t give up too soon, especially when you know someone needs what you have to give.

Onesiphorus had another way of encouraging Paul; a way that’s difficult to do at times.

He didn’t let the fact that Paul was in chains keep him from bringing encouragement.

Some people are almost impossible to be around. It’s hard to deal with all the things they’ve gotten themselves ensnared by or even the stuff life has thrown at them through no fault of their own.

Know what I mean?

They may be going through a divorce, or the loss of a loved one, or they are dealing with an addiction of sorts; they’re hard to be around because, frankly, we don’t know what to say or how to relate.

But they still need encouragement, which means they need someone like you and I to step up and give them our time, and our care.

It’s what Paul needed.

It’s what you and I need.

You and I may not have world-wide ministries or many possessions. But there’s something thing we do have-the resources in God to help make an eternal difference in someone else’s life.

As an Encourager.

For an in depth study of how to encourage others AND yourself, follow the link to my book “the Power of Encouragement”.
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Encouragement-Jan-Grace/dp/1629949140

What In Heaven’s Name Are You Saying?

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What in Heaven’s name are you saying?

Are you saying the same thing John, Jesus, Peter, and Paul said?

“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4 ESV)

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV)

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 ESV)

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30 ESV)

“…correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil…” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 ESV)

Repent.

Not a popular word, but a necessary word.

Why?

Well, for one thing, it is impossible to believe the gospel without first changing your mind about yourself, God, Jesus, Heaven and Hell.

And for another, the gospel is good news. But good news is only good to those who realize how bad off they really are. People must understand they are hopelessly and eternally lost; that no amount of goodness, great deeds, social savvy, or political influence can ever change a nature in league with the devil.

That’s our predicament. Without Christ we are children of darkness; spiritually dead. Strangers to the genuine love and life of God. Outcasts. It’s why we need a savior. It’s why John, Jesus, Peter, and Paul used the word, “repent”.

It’s why I write so much about it.

All of Heaven’s resources are available to the soul who believes Heaven’s word.

Repent.

Please don’t change Heaven’s message. It’s the only hope we have.

Paul’s Thorn vs. God’s Grace

20130622-112327.jpg“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV)

How many times have you read this passage like so: “And He said to me, ‘No, you will have to suffer with your thorn for the rest of your life. And if you keep complaining, you may have it a while longer'”?

That’s sort of the way I was taught, and thought to be true until I started looking at this thing called Grace.

See, if Grace meant “No”, we would certainly have a time believing the Good News, don’t you think? Like, “for by ‘No’ you were saved…”, or “they who receive the abundance of ‘No’…”. How about, “Noah found ‘No’ in the eyes of the Lord”? Or even, “the law came by Moses, but ‘No’ and truth came by Jesus”!

What if you were moving from from your house, and asked if you could borrow a truck from me. What would you think if I said, “My truck is sufficient for you, for the true value of my truck is demonstrated when you need it the most”? Does it sound like I was saying, “No”?

I believe the enemy of Grace and Truth has sold that lie to the Body of Christ! God’s Grace is SUFFICIENT! It’s MORE THAN ENOUGH! The truth Paul was trying to teach was, “There is nothing you are facing, or will face, that can’t be covered by God’s Grace.”

Paul’s Thorn? I heard the thorn Paul tried to have removed was bad eyes, a certain disease, even a nagging wife! Yep! After all, Paul and Silas had a son named Timothy… (I’ve heard it said). No, the thorn, or as we would say, the pain in the neck, was a messenger, demon, of satan sent to beat him blow after blow (buffet – KJV).

Read through the Book of Acts and notice all the times Paul got beat up! From his early days of preaching in Damascus and Jerusalem, throughout most of his remaining life, whenever he’d open his mouth to preach, someone tried to shut him up.

I wonder who instigated those beatings? God? No! The devil? YES!

There was a time, after going back home to Tarsus, Paul almost put away his preaching jacket because of the persecution he was enduring. Like us, he found the beatings to be less than desirable. And like us, he asked God to make them stop!

God’s response was one of encouragement and strength! In fact, it made Paul rejoice. Rejoice in beatings, in weakness, in confusion? NO! Rejoice because the infusion of God’s Grace, His help, is FAR GREATER than anything he had to endure!

Later on, in the last chapter of Acts, it appears Paul’s beatings had come to an end, “no man forbidding him.”

Any doctrine or teaching that yields territory to the devil, is of the devil. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are not in cahoots with the devil. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to give the opposite! The devil does not want us to understand the things of God. God does. The “messenger of satan” is what Paul called it, not the “messenger of God.”

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”(Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

Remember, we have an invitation to meet with God at His Throne of Grace; His Throne of help. Regardless of how relentless the enemy has been, the help we’ll find at God’s Throne is more than sufficient.

So we can say with Paul:

“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The Thorn loses its power in the Presence of God’s Grace!

The Spirit of Encouragement

Preached January 27, 2013 at First Assembly of God, Burlington, Iowa.

The Spirit of Encouragement

Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back…(Acts 11:25-26 NLT)

Barnabas, the son of encouragement, exemplified the spirit of encouragement.

I. The Spirit of encouragement seeks those in hiding.
A. Paul was in hiding, beaten down, bruised…
B. Barnabas sought him and found him.
1. Luke 19:10
2. Adam and Eve
3. Moses
4. David
5. Jonah
6. The Prodigal
C. The serpent fights to keep you down and away from God.

II. The Spirit of encouragement restores to wholeness and purpose
A. Seek and Save, power of God to salvation, gifts and callings!
B. Salvation – completeness, fruitfulness, God’s original intent!
C. See list of names above – ex. “that which was lost”
D. Barnabas helped “bring him back” to ministry (Galatians 6:1)

III. Encourage – to impart, give, inspire with courage.
A. Courage helps you do what you didn’t think was possible!
B. Courage helps you face what couldn’t be faced!
C. Courage gives you a hope and a future!

Close – Encouragement is crying out for you!
A. Come out of hiding – ADAM! GET UP! EVE! GET UP!
B. Be saved, be restored to God’s original intent…WHOLENESS
C. Face what you couldn’t face, believe what you couldn’t believe…
D. Respond to the Spirit of encouragement – BECOME AN ENCOURAGER

Encourage

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