WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 19TH, 2021
TOPIC: ENCOURAGE OTHERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed” (Acts 16:40 New King James Version).
Everybody needs encouragement in life. For a child of God, God is his source of encouragement. Nevertheless, He encourages His children through different means. I recall someone nearly 30 years ago whom the Lord used a letter which he received nine months after it was written to encourage him. The letter didn’t arrive late but he had left the town the letter was posted to at the time it arrived.
Someone picked the letter and kept it for him awaiting his return to the town. When he read the letter, it spoke exactly to his situation then as if it had just been written. He knew God was speaking to him and He would turn the situation around in his favour. He was encouraged.
The speed at which the Lord resolved the problem was just like what happened when He released Peter from prison. He went to meet the church that was praying for his release at the house of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark. The person they were praying for had been released while they were still praying!
Acts 12:13-17 says, “And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, ‘You are beside yourself!’ Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, ‘It is his angel.’ Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, ‘Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.’ And he departed and went to another place” (New King James Version).
The letter this man received was like God speaking to him directly from heaven. And his deliverance was like when the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion and they were like those who dreamed (Psalm 126:1). It was like a dream to him. The man couldn’t believe that his problem was over. Something he was expecting to be resolved, probably, in weeks was resolved in a matter of days. Glory be to God. Encouragement came to him from God, using an old letter!
Many times, we underrate the power of encouragement. But everybody needs it. You may think someone is a strong man but if only you know what he is going through. You may think someone is doing very well but he needs encouragement. The person who is encouraging others also needs encouragement.
The person whose work appears unsatisfactory and is being criticized needs encouragement. If only his critics knew the efforts he made to produce what some of them who, probably, have never done anything near what he had done were viciously criticizing. They could have been sensitive and present the weaknesses they have noticed in a fair manner that would encourage him.
Everybody needs encouragement. One of the ways God encourages people is to send others to be around them in their pains to pray for them, give them advice, or speak some words of comfort. This assures them that they are not alone. That man at the pool of Bethesda told Jesus that he had no man to put him into the pool when the water was stirred up (John 5:7). The three miserable comforter-friends of Job didn’t know how to encourage him (Job 16:2). Encourage others. 1Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (New Living Translation).
In 2 Corinthians 7:5-6, Paul said when he arrived in Macedonia there was no rest for him. Outside there were conflicts and inside there were fears. Nevertheless, God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged him by the arrival of Titus. May the Lord who encourages those who are discouraged encourage you this season in Jesus’ name. It could be a Titus He would send to you and it could be a letter. But God will encourage you by all means.
Paul said further in 2 Corinthians 7:7 that the presence of Titus was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from the Corinthian church. When he told Paul how much the Corinthians were looking forward to Paul’s visit, and how sorry they were about what had happened, and how loyal their love was for Paul, he was filled with joy.
Titus brought encouraging news. You will receive encouraging news, not discouraging news, in Jesus’ name. God will send to you those who will give you reports that will strengthen your hands, not weaken them. You will hear the news that will motivate you, not demotivate you. As great as Paul was, he needed encouragement.
Many people think that pastors don’t need encouragement as they labour in the kingdom of God. They deny them words of encouragement through feedback on how their ministries are blessing them. They won’t encourage them by telling them how the messages they preach have affected their lives positively or even how God has answered the prayers they have prayed for them. Such a bad attitude has made some pastors wonder if they were making any impact at all. Is it even those who cannot encourage their pastors with words of mouth or in writing that will encourage them with gifts?
Encourage others. Both the leaders and the followers need encouragement. The same goes for the children and the adults. Everybody needs encouragement. Where there is no or enough encouragement, people are tempted to give up. In Acts 4:36, one of the apostles, Joseph (Joses), was nicknamed Barnabas which means “Son of encouragement.” Indeed, his life showed he was a great encourager. Apostle Paul will testify to this.
Acts 9:26-28 says, “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out” (New King James Version). Did you see the Son of encouragement in action? His intervention helped Paul to be accepted by the apostles.
We also see the Son of encouragement in action again in Acts 11:25-26, playing a pivotal role in Paul’s life. “Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:25-26 New King James Version).
We have no record of Paul’s ministry in Tarsus, his hometown, where the believers had sent him to so as to protect him from being killed (Acts 9:29-30). That singular action by Barnabas brought the ministry of Paul to the limelight as it were. Barnabas recognized Paul’s potential and brought him to where the grace of God upon him was needed. The two of them later did ministry together until they parted ways. May the Lord give the church many sons of encouragement. May he send to you sons and daughters of encouragement.
Be an encourager too. Don’t be selfish. Barnabas wasn’t. Don’t be concerned only about your success or progress; seek to encourage others too. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (New King James Version).
Acts 16:40 says, “So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed” (New King James Version). Who were those who went out of the prison in this scripture? Paul and Silas. Is it not surprising that Paul and Silas who had been seriously beaten and put in prison and just set free were the ones encouraging the brethren? Ordinarily, it should have been the other way round. But they encouraged the brethren.
Don’t live a selfish life. Don’t be concerned about your life alone. Encourage others. Your attitude to the negative condition you’re passing either encourages others or discourages them. Hear what Paul said: “And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ” (Philippians 1:14 New Living Translation). Throughout Paul’s imprisonment, he kept writing to brethren words of encouragement.
When you see someone doing something good, encourage him. It could be a ministry, a pastor, or whoever. Encourage others; don’t discourage them. Some people are envious of others. Some see everyone as a rival or competitor. Therefore, they can’t encourage others. Encourage others in whatever way possible. Has anyone ever told you after an achievement that they were grateful for your encouragement? You may not have appreciated the impact of some words of encouragement or little financial or material support you gave.
Everybody needs encouragement in life. Paul wrote, “For I long to visit you so I can share a spiritual blessing with you that will help you grow strong in the Lord. I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other” (Romans 1:11-12 New Living Translation). Take note that, in this scripture, Paul was eager to be encouraged by the faith of the Christians in Rome.
Don’t fail to encourage others, especially Christians going through affliction, adversity, or persecution. Encouragement could be in form of physical presence, prayer, advice, words of encouragement, financial support, or material support. Encourage others in whatever way you can.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I repent of any way that I have been selfish and concerned only about my interests. Holy Spirit, help me not to think only about my own affairs, but be interested in others and what they are doing. Let me be able to encourage others and build them up. Use me to encourage others.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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