This last week God has been showing me the importance of partnering with the Him to build up the body through words of encouragement and acts of service.  Our role in partnering with God in building each other up reflects the heart of God. Every day we have opportunities to encourage another. God is clear that this is what He wants for each of us:

1 Thessalonians 5:11&14 (AMP)

11 Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.

14 And we earnestly beseech you, brethren, encourage the timid andfainthearted, help andgive your support to the weak souls, [and] be very patient with everybody [always keeping your temper].

I love this scripture. What we say can build up or tear down. We can build another’s courage and we tell them they can do all things in Christ Jesus. We build courage into their hearts as we share the testimonies of Joshua and Gideon and Ester who bravely faced the enemy on the promises of God and saw their people delivered. We build faith and courage and trust into each other through our own testimonies of the deliverance of God. When we hear the words of another encouraging us to stand fast to the promises of God it builds faith into our hearts.

In Romans 10:17 we read that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the (preached) word of God.

Every time we encourage someone else with a promise of God we are in fact preaching and participating in a faith -building endeavor.

I often think of my friend in Danville who often told me I could do anything. I always thought she was exaggerating and just being kind but she said it so many times over the years I came to believe her! She built my self-confidence and my God confidence.

I remember a call where I had an opportunity to share with a friend over the phone who ended our call by telling me that to her I was like Jesus with skin on! I was the one encouraged! I realized then how little it takes to be Jesus to another. Our simple words of encouragement can be to them the voice of God.

We are always on one side or another of encouragement. We either need it or are in a position to give it.

Romans 15:1-33ESV

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

This is such a convicting scripture. We have an obligation out of the love Christ has shown us to bear the failings and weaknesses of each other. We are to please each other and to look for ways to build each other up.

Our words and acts of service can make all the difference in someone’s day.

Sometimes encouragement is service in action. A close friend had a fall last week and I had time to make a special meal and deliver it and just sit and listen and share with her. She has been there for me in so many ways when I broke my arm last year  and I was finally able to give back.  We were both encouraged. That’s what the body is all about, serving and encouraging one-another.

This week I am taking care of my grandchildren while their parents minister in Peru. To be honest the first few days were exhausting. Crazy stuff was happening. My granddaughter pulled a picture over her bed down on top of her (no injuries but also no nap)  A new sandbox mixed with sunscreen resulted in a bath before noon. Then another bath, another skipped nap…up at 5:45 the next morning after a midnight bottle. You get the picture…. How was I

going to make it another 12 days??.Then Kevin’s parents arrived from Washington to help. Encouragement in action!  Fresh air filled my house and my spirit! We are all busy but also having fun.

David had Jonathan who encouraged and served him. Moses with the weight of leading millions across the wilderness had Joshua to come beside him to help shoulder the load. After Paul was converted, he tried to unite himself with the other disciples who were in Jerusalem, but out of fear and prejudice about his past, they were afraid to allow him into their group.  However, Barnabas came to Paul’s side and stood up for Him and told the others about this man’s amazing conversion.  He stood up for one who desperately needed a friend.

Being a friend, speaking words of encouragement as well as acts of service is key to walking out God’s love.

Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Philippians 2:1-11 ESV

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

This week lets ask the Lord whose load we are to help bear. What can we do to lighten it? What words can we speak that will feel like apples of gold, a gift so special that it will light up the countenance of a friend and encourage their heart.