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Encourage Intentionally.

I have shared with you that I am going through an awesome Bible study entitled Encouraging One Another that my friend Laurie gave to me.  I can't even tell you how much I am enjoying this study as it has taken me all over Scripture, particularly in the New Testament and its messages to the church, to passages that command us to be encouragers and people filled with love.

It is a needed message.  Over the past few years, I have seen display after display of harsh, critical behavior.  Sadly, this behavior is very intentional and is often accompanied by gossip, slander, and meanness.  I have found that it usually stems from a discontentment or dissatisfaction with one's own personal life, extreme jealousy and bitterness, and insecurity.  And it seems to be epidemic these days.

Saddest of all is that it is totally contradictory with how the Bible tells us to live.

I have always tried to be an encourager.  But this Bible study is motivating me even further live an intentionally encouraging life.  When others around me intentionally tear down, I want to intentionally build up.  Throughout this study I have read example after example of people in the Bible who lived this way.  Here's a few...

In Ephesians 6:21-22 Paul says he has sent Tychicus to bring comfort and encouragement to the Ephesians' hearts.  In Colossians 4:7-9 Paul says again that Tychicus, along with Onesimus, will comfort the Colossians.

In Romans 15:32 Paul says his visit to the people will be one with joy, and to be refreshed together.

In 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 Paul says God sent Titus to comfort them in trouble, fear, and conflicts.

In I Corinthians 16:17-18, Paul says that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus refreshed his spirit and theirs.

I Thessalonians 3:2 says Timothy was sent to establish and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith.

Acts 4:36 says Joses was named Barnabus, which means "Son of Encouragement," by the apostles.  

I could go on, but you get the idea.  

Having read these and so many other examples from Scripture, I just have to say enough is enough;  I choose to be intentionally encouraging in a world that seems to thrive on the drama of the negative.

And I truly hope that some of you will join me in this challenge.  Maybe there are people in your life that you can intentionally try to encourage today and this week.  Seek them out; stay away from the negativity that is sure to threaten to draw you in; and seek out for yourselves what the Bible has to say about encouragement and edification.  God's Word will challenge you, grow you, and make you better if you let it work in your life.

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