Encourage One Another
27 November 2017
When I came to the United States, one day, I was greatly impressed by one thing for the first time. One of the church members asked me if I could come and see her child's performance at school. I attended the event. The elementary school students performed a play. But the play didn't go well because some children forgot their lines, and some missed their turn. It was a mess. However, when the play ended, the parents were applauding. They seemed to think that their children had acted like Broadway actors. After the play, there was a band performance of the children. But many children made mistakes and the band sounded weird to me. When the band performance ended, the parents sincerely applauded and encouraged the children. The parents did not point out the children's mistakes and failures. They encouraged the efforts and enthusiasm of their children who had done their best. At that time, I realized that encouragement was a real education.
Encouragement has the power to change people. God changes people by encouraging them. What image do you have of God? Do you think that he often scolds and punishes people? I tell you clearly that he is the God of comfort and encouragement.
In today's scripture, we see God encouraging Joshua. After the death of the great leader Moses, Joshua became the leader of Israel. He had to take the Israelites across the Jordan river and lead them to the land of Canaan. He did not have the confidence to lead the people of Israel like Moses. He had a great mental burden. He was terrified. God knew Joshua's heart. God encouraged him. In the text, we find that the word, 'I' was repeatedly used 7 times. God repeated to Joshua that he would be with him. There are several verses talking about this but let us read only one verse together. Let us read verse 5 altogether. "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." With these words, Joshua was encouraged. He completed his mission.
Do you have a heavy heart because you have recently taken on a big responsibility? Or are you having a hard time because of hardships or trials? Believe that God is with you, comforting and encouraging you. Believe that he will help you overcome suffering. Believe that he will help you achieve your goals and also help you find great success.
As God constantly comforts and encourages you, he wants us to comfort and encourage others. When Emperor Nero of Rome persecuted and murdered Christians, Peter and those who followed him fled to the mountains and lived in the caves, which were called catacombs. He wrote in 1 Peter and 2 Peter to comfort and encourage his followers in the catacombs. Let us read 1 Peter 1:6-7 altogether. "With this hope, you can be happy even if you need to have sorrow and all kinds of tests for a while. These tests have come to prove your faith and to show that it is good. Gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire. Your faith is worth much more than gold and it must be tested also. Then your faith will bring thanks and shining-greatness and honor to Jesus Christ when He comes again." Peter encouraged his people in the catacombs, and they were able to keep their faith to the end.
Your warm encouragement is a great strength to others. An example is Christopher Reeve, a movie star. He became a global star through the movie, "Superman." He enjoyed riding a horse. He participated in a horse riding competition in May 1995. But during the competition, he fell from the horse and hurt his head and back. He suffered from extreme paralysis disorder and he couldn't even breathe without an oxygen tank. One day, he was so annoyed to live like that and begged his mother to let him die without the oxygen tank. Then his wife Dana Reeve, who was near him told him, "I still love you no matter what. You are still you." Her sincere sympathy and encouragement gave Chris the hope to live. Chris gave courage and hope to millions of people through his rehabilitation efforts for more than nine years. He died of a heart attack in 2004. People say that he was more of a genuine hero when he was sitting in a wheelchair than when he was in Superman costume. It was all thanks to his wife's heartfelt comfort and encouragement.
Adriana Lopez is a teacher at an elementary school in New York. She had breast cancer two years ago and the cancer spread to other parts of her body. When she was fighting cancer, the students and teachers encouraged her. She was encouraged by a lot of people.
Encouragement brings big changes to us. God constantly comforts and encourages you no matter what. Believe this. He wants you to comfort and encourage others as well. When you encourage one another, you will experience amazing things in your life. I bless you in the name of Jesus so that your life will be filled with God's grace and blessings as you constantly encourage one another in your daily Christian life.
Last modified 14 January 2018.