Thoughtful about . . . Watching, Speaking, Listening

Thoughtful about . . . Watching, Speaking, Listening

—Ezekiel 33 begins with the talk of a watchman:

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

When I read those words the other day, I just couldn’t shake the thought that some of us, the faithful in the Church, are appointed to be the Watchmen, like Ezekiel. We’re called to watch. We’re called to sound the alarm when we see the enemy at work. We’re called to protect those around us with that knowledge. If we speak when we ought, and people ignore us, it’s on them. But if we don’t… 

If we don’t…then their punishment is our guilt.

Wow.

Those Watchmen, my friends, are responsible for the blood of their neighbors—literal or figurative, if we’re looking at the eternal—if they do not share the message God has given they. 

Sometimes we’re afraid of the things God has called us to do—afraid of failure, afraid of disappointing people. We’re told to be afraid of God instead, because we revere Him. This is a kind of fear I hadn’t considered yet—the fear of what happens if we don’t answer the call. The fear that motivates us and gives us urgency. That keeps us alert. That makes us bold.

What warning have you seen as you watch the world? Are you speaking it? And if so, are you speaking it from LOVE? Because we all know just shouting it out from a soapbox isn’t enough. But even when we have the message, even we deliver it in the right way…what happens?

Later in that same chapter, Ezekiel says this in verses 30-33:

30 “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. 33 And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

Again, this really jumped out at me! With their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.

Anyone else go “WOW!” at that? Talk about summing up our society today! People talk so much about acceptance and inclusion and not judging others…but when it comes down to it, their concern for others falls short of their concern for themselves. And worse, we in the church all too often do the same thing. Our ideals fall away when it comes to actually sacrificing our own comforts for others’.

These verses make it clear that those two things are in complete opposition: loving others, versus our own gain.

What has He asked us to sacrifice? Have we done it?

It’s difficult—it’s meant to be. If we want to #BeBetter, we know work is involved. First in ourselves, so that then we can boldly speak it.

But these verses also show us what could well happen when we do. Our words SOUND good. They’re music. Melody and harmony. They tickle the ears of our listeners–in the case of Ezekiel, these are other Israelites, who should be following God. In our case, these could well be the people sitting in the pews around ours in church. They clap their hands and sing along in all the right places. “They hear your words; but they do not do them.”

Still, it was Ezekiel’s responsibility to speak—and it’s ours too, if He gives us a message.

I’ll leave you today with this benediction from our devotional book that really resonated as well:

Lord, you have appointed some to be prophets; give us ears to hear and mouths to speak. You have appointed some to sing of your goodness in the streets; make us bold to celebrate you. You have called some to be still, listen, and act; give us steadiness of mind and singularity of purpose. Amen. (Common Prayer, Claiborne et al, June 24)

Are you called to hear and speak? To sing His praises with boldness? To listen and act? Whichever category you fall into, let’s obey together.

 

Helping or Serving?

Helping or Serving?

In the church today, we hear a lot about helping others. Volunteering. Making sandwiches, serving at a soup kitchen, that sort of thing. “Help those less fortunate than you” is a phrase I’ve heard for years. And the work—the work is good! Necessary.

But something about how I hear some people talk about it has been rubbing me wrong, and it’s taken me quite a while to really put my finger on it. If I even have, LOL. And I think it comes down to this: many times when I hear this, it sounds like someone is saying, “I have and you don’t, so I’ll help you out. You’ll benefit, and I’ll feel good for having helped.”

That is really what gets to me. That I’ll feel good about it thing. I’m not entirely sure why it rubs me wrong—because yes, of course when we’re doing God’s work it’ll put joy in our hearts. But I guess I want to make sure I’m not doing good works because it makes me feel good. I’m not helping others because of what it does for me. Or even because I’m “supposed to.”

As I talked through this with my husband a while back, I tried to pinpoint the difference between helping—you know, “helping those who are less fortunate”—and serving. Perhaps I’m nitpicking or drawing an arbitrary distinction, but here’s the difference as I’m defining it.

When people want to help, they want to offer what they have to “those who…” But by thinking of it like that, they’re drawing a distinction. The Haves and the Have Nots. The Us and the Them. There are the Less Fortunate and the More Fortunate. And both parties are expected to know who is who—and never to forget it. I helped you.

Serving, on the other hand, removes those barriers. More, it switches them. Serving is Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Serving is the spirit-filled men of Acts making sure everyone gets dinner. Serving is humbling yourself, lowering yourself, and putting the one being served above you. Serving is when you say, “We’re the same, you and I. God loves us both the same.” Or even, “Forgive me for not doing this sooner.”

Of course, the funny thing is that the exact same action could be taken, and it could be either what I’m calling helping or serving. It’s the heart of the worker that makes the difference—and the attitude we take.

But it’s a crucial distinction. I’ve read a few articles in the past few years about “humanitarian tourism,” which is basically people who volunteer with some relief organization just to spend a few weeks seeing what’s going on. They go in, think they’re helping, and go home feeling good about themselves for seeing how the “less fortunate” live and making it a little better. But they don’t. According to these articles I’ve read, many times these “tourists” do more harm than good. Professionals have to go in behind them and undo their mistakes, redo their work. And you also end up with things like state-of-the-art kitchens in brand-new facilities…but no food to put in them.

Then I think of missions. On the surface, these groups look very similar. But long-term missionaries aren’t out for that “feel good” experience. They know when they sign up for it that it’s work. And more, that it’s work for a purpose beyond the physical, though the physical will be included. It’s about really living with the groups they’re ministering to—serving them, loving them, learning their ways, and telling them about the God who created them and sent His Son to die for them.

I think this perfectly showcases the difference I’m trying to highlight here. Anyone can HELP. But SERVING is something different. Serving is embracing the upside-down Kingdom of God, recognizing that the last—those living on the streets or starving in a third-world country—are the FIRST. And if they’re the first, then it’s right and natural for us to humble ourselves before them and serve them. Not as the rich Americans deigning to give a little of our time or effort or money. But as slaves of Christ, recognizing that He has called us to take the lowest seat, the bottom rung, and say “I’m no richer than my poorest brother.”

For the last seven months, my family has been doing a daily devotional called Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. There are occasionally things in there that we don’t quite see the purpose of having been included…but there are also a lot quotes and insights that make us sit back and look at the world around us in a whole new way. And one of those was at the beginning of the book, where the authors quote an early Christian father who said we shouldn’t just give a coat to someone in need—we should fall to our knees at their feet and beg their forgiveness for having not seen their need before, for having extra when they had nothing.

Beg their forgiveness. That really is a radical thought for the Church today, isn’t it? We’re happy enough to quote the parts of the Gospels where Jesus says, “As you do unto the least of these…” But do we take it a step further and recognize that not doing it is sin? Sin we need to beg forgiveness for?

I’m still working on this—it requires changing a whole mindset, not to mention habits. But it’s an understanding that I need to develop. Because I don’t want to be one of the people who “does good” just to feel good. I want to be one of the people who serves others because Christ first served me.

Our Time Is Not Our Own

Our Time Is Not Our Own

 

7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded [e]him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

 ~ Luke 17:7-10

Last week I talked a bit about digging out the roots of our own sins with faith, and not causing our brothers and sisters offense, making them stumble. It’s hard stuff. So hard that when Jesus told His disciples that no matter how many times they were offended, they had to forgive, their only response was, “Lord, increase our faith!”

After Jesus answers that with needing faith to dig out those roots of sin and unforgiveness, he goes on to the part I just quoted above. It might seem a bit like a non sequitur, right? That these things aren’t related.

But they are.

Jesus just got done telling the disciples about the hard work required for growing faith, and the hard work faith must perform. And I imagine He was anticipating our very human reactions:

“Seriously?? You want me to do all that? All the time? Day in and day out? Come on, Lord…I need a vacation. I tell You what—I’ll give you this many hours a week, okay? Or maybe this many years of my life. Then I’m going to travel. Then I’m going to relax. Then I’m going to put some of my hard-earned money into this thing over here and live the good life.”

Christ does tell us that His yoke is easy and His burden light…but He also says this thing here in Luke 17. He says we are His servants—and what is the role of a servant? To do the work of the master. When? Always. Even after we’ve put in a full day’s work. Even when we’re tired and fed up and lonely and in need of a nice hot bath and pizza. Even when we’re not sure we can keep going another minute.

Scratch that—especially then.

Because when we’re tired and worn out and hangry, that’s when we’re made strong in Him.

When we’re not sure we can take another step, that’s when we lean on Him.

When we’ve given Him our best hours and days and months and years out in His fields, that’s when we get to come inside and bask in His presence. Still serving. But serving the One we love, giving Him what he asks of us, and knowing that we’re doing what is necessary for the Kingdom.

In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis has a rather brilliant observation about mankind. We have this mistaken idea that our time is our own—that we just give some to God, or to our families, or to our bosses. But that ultimately it is ours, something we own, and so we have every right to be resentful of that time “taken” from us by annoying neighbors or unforeseen problems or work we don’t want to do.

But we’re wrong. Our time is His. Our every moment, our every breath is a gift from God. We are only here because He put us here; and He could call us home at any moment. These seconds and hours and days we spend on earth are for one purpose: His.

He has every right to our time. Because He is the master, and we are His servants. Which means that our every day ought to be given to Him, to whatever He wants for us. Maybe sometimes that will mean a time of refreshing, a vacation, a rest—He’s a loving Master, after all, He knows we need that. But never will it ever mean that it’s time to think only of ourselves. Our wants. Our desires. Never will we have earned that right. Because we are unprofitable servants, and we are only doing our duty when we serve Him. We’re not putting time in the bank that we can then cash in.

So how do we do that? How do we give each moment to Him? Well, I think it’s by knowing our “why.” Knowing why we’re in the job we’re in; knowing why we’re doing what we’re doing with our families; knowing why we go to church. Is it just for us? Or is for His kingdom? Am I working for a paycheck, or to reach others for Him? Am I just treading water, counting down the hours or years until some other thing happens? Then I’m doing it wrong.

Now is the time to serve. Today is the day of the harvest. And tonight we set a feast before the Lord. Not resentful of the time we have to spend doing it…but knowing He granted us those moments for this purpose.

Digging Out Roots

Digging Out Roots

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

 

Luke 17:1-6

 

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Jesus talks about offenses in one breath in this passage, forgiveness in the next, and then follows it up with a lesson from a mulberry tree’s roots. He in fact then goes on to talk about a servants’ time, but you’re just going to have to wait for next week to get my thoughts on that one. 😉

For now, I want to look at this passage in the light of current events. In my church, we’ve been working through Luke in the sermon series, and this just happened to be the chapter for this week. But man, again, I can’t call that a coincidence. These verses hit home with me, and they hit HARD.

“It is impossible that no offenses should come.” We’re seeing them now, aren’t we? Offenses all around us, people causing each other to sin, to stumble, to lose faith. This is an inevitable part of the human nature—we’re going to upset each other, hurt each other, and influence each other in negative ways. We’re going to…but that doesn’t make it excusable.

That doesn’t mean that I should jump to the defense of those who have given offense. And yet that’s often our first reaction, right, when we identify with the first party more than the second? How many times have we heard (or have we done) this? We hear something negative about a politician, a church leader, a police officer, a teacher—someone like us or behind whom we’ve put our support—and our gut reaction is “No, that can’t be right. Or they had good reasons.” And then, because our emotions have already decided that they’re in the right, we seek evidence to back that up…whether they’re really right or not.

We forgot that One with whom we should really identify already warned us against this. “Woe to him through whom they come.” We forget that Jesus never once in Scripture sided with the authorities. Never. Once. He never supports the status quo. He never says that The Way Things Are are good enough. No, He turned over money-changing tables in the temple courtyard, rooted out injustice and corruption, and let His heart be moved by compassion for those whom society wanted most to forget.

Is that what we do though, we Christians? Or do we instead ignore that offense has even been given? My friends, I’ve been as guilty of this as the next person. Again, it’s human nature. It’s what we do on a basic level, subconsciously, without even realizing it. We support Those Like Us. It’s that tribal nature coming out.

But there comes a time when we have to stop doing that. When we have to #BeBetter than our natures. When we have to remember that Jesus made us someone new, someone who can rise above that. And that Jesus expects us to identify with the downtrodden, not the leadership. The sick, not the keeper of the medicine. The broken, not the strong-arm.

Why, though? Because—this should come as no surprise to anyone—power corrupts. Power has corrupted in America, and not just politicians. We have systems in place that train people to act in wrong ways. That offend.

I think we’re seeing the “woe to them” part of that right now, and it makes me so, so sad to watch. So many people are hurt on so many levels. So many communities are desperate for change.

And so many people “like me” are so busy defending the offenders who are “like us” that they can’t see the offense.

Or maybe…maybe it’s just too hard to fix it. Maybe they get glimpses of the wrongs done, but find it easier or more in line with their emotional wants to deny it than to do the work.

But how many times can we wrong people before they give up? And that’s when the offender sees the wrong they’ve done and apologizes for it! I pray my minority brothers and sisters can forgive me for the times I haven’t seen, haven’t understood, haven’t even given a thought to hurts inflicted on their communities by people “like me.” I never meant to hurt them—as I said last week, I want equality…and thought wanting it was enough. I hope that when I ask them to forgive me, they will. That they’ll see intention. But it’s significantly harder to forgive those who don’t ever ask for it. Who insist they’ve done nothing wrong.

Oh Lord, increase our faith. Increase their faith.

Because that is the only way we can dig out those roots of resentment, of offense, of injustice, of prejudice.

We have a mulberry tree on our property that had died, so my husband cut it down. But cutting it down didn’t get rid of the stump. And it didn’t get rid of the roots. Are you familiar with mulberry trees? Their roots go DEEP. I’m talking DEEEEEEEEP.

You can’t dig them out by your own strength. A shovel won’t work. Elbow grease won’t work. Persistence won’t work.

It takes something more than that.

To turn it back to the analogy…it takes faith. The kind of faith that starts as something tiny, but which grows and multiplies and becomes huge—so huge others can rest in it and take shelter under it.

That’s the only way we can dig out those roots of offense, of sin. Faith, my friends.

That’s the only way we can #BeBetter.

I want to see healing come to this land. Do you?

Do we REALLY? Knowing that healing requires cleansing the very roots of the infection? Knowing that it’s hard work, that it’s long, that sometimes it requires treatments that are painful? Are we willing to do the work?

I’ll be honest—I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know what God might require of us. I don’t know how hard it’ll be to keep it up when these protests fade away and routine takes over. But I do know that that’s where the test really comes.

I’m praying for spiritual eyes to see the problems around us and wisdom to know how to act to fix it. And I pray you’ll help me plant my mustard seed of faith and water it so it can grow.

We can change our world, my friends. But not on our own, equipped with only shovels. We need Him.

I’ve started an email group called #BeBetter, where we can support each other with daily prayer, share our stories, ask our questions, and seek encouragement. I don’t honestly expect a ton of people to join, but I hope you do. I hope that together we can seek and find small ways to effect real change.

 

Thoughtful About . . . Understanding Riots

Thoughtful About . . . Understanding Riots

I’ll admit it–I’ve never understood riots. Whether they’re a result of a sporting event or a grave injustice, the act itself is just something that is foreign to my disposition. I have been largely baffled by the examples in my lifetime, and I honestly didn’t know what to think of them. Should I take a side? Make a judgment? Should I do anything, say anything, think anything? Should I do anything other than pray God will work in the situation?

This has never been a political question for me. Honestly, anything political generally just frustrates me. But riots, movements, protests all get very political, very quickly. So I’ve opted for silence in any public forum, because my motto is “don’t vent any political opinions. You’ll only offend half the people who see it.” LOL.

This week, though, as the protests around the country even make it to my tiny hometown, I have to speak. And I have to speak because finally, finally I understand. And I owe it to fiction.

Over the weekend, the Hunger Games movies were on. Rather good timing, that. Because not an hour after I said to my husband, “I understand that this is a terrible injustice. I just don’t understand rioting–as a thing, I mean,” we turned on the TV and there were Katniss and Peeta, thanking Rue’s District for her sacrifice. They poured out their hearts to a crowd of people just as oppressed as they had been, as they still were. And the people saw. They saw in those two Victors from District 12 a rallying cry. Those people cried out in response. And their actions soon turned to a riot.

A riot I had zero problem understanding. Which made a big ol’ lightbulb go on inside this little head.

When a group has been oppressed for decades or centuries, when they have cried out again and again for justice, and when the very people who should be delivering that justice are instead the perpetrators of more injustice

When even those who have never broken a law are afraid of the police, because the police see them as a threat, whether they are or not…

When the very people who should be their brothers and sisters are the first ones to say, “It’s not that bad!”…

When there is nothing else they can say, then what’s left?

Action. They lash out. They lash out from broken hearts and the utter certainty that tearing down the neighborhoods that have trapped them in this oppression can’t possibly leave them any worse off–and might stir people. Not the people who are opposed to them, but those who should be standing with them. Every riot against injustice that roars to life, my friends, says something about us. About the people who did not hear the cry before. Who did not help change come. Who did not already right the wrongs.

But how can we? This is where I’ve run into frustration time and again. I want equality. I want it to be finished, complete, full. I want everyone on both sides to stop focusing on our differences.

But that’s where my own bias has suddenly become apparent to me. I want that because I can stop focusing on it–because I don’t live a life that runs into it every day. Because I have the freedom to be who I am without apology, without anyone looking at me askance because of it or making me feel my life is in danger. Others don’t have that freedom.

Here’s the thing though–most people, I have to think, don’t understand that any more than I have. And when labels are applied–racist, bigot, privileged–it just gets hackles up. Defenses rise. Our automatic response is to shout back, “No I’m not!” and dismiss the valid points along with the label. This is human nature.

It’s important to identify the problem–we can’t fix what we don’t see. But labeling doesn’t fix anything, ever. It just creates tribes. It creates opposition. Instead of recoiling, instead of rebutting, instead of judging, instead of even shaking our heads in confusion, here is what we need to do:

Love.

Visibly. Vocally. Love out loud. Love in a whisper. Love in a million tiny ways and a thousand big ones. Love the victims, love the perpetrators, love the frustrated moms and the terrified kids. Love the old-timer who preferred things the way they used to be, and love the protestor shouting for a brighter tomorrow. Love them all, knowing that God does. Knowing that we are His children. Knowing that if half of us are so fed up, so beaten down, so tired of fighting the same fight over and over again that they feel the need to riot or protest, then it doesn’t really matter if we fully understand–it only matters that it’s time to #BeBetter.

The church. The “world.” The police. The military. The courts. The neighbors. The bosses. The employees. Standing with those who feel this pain means accepting it, feeling it with them, granting that maybe we don’t know what “right” is and that maybe they do. It means insisting that something be done, because the status quo isn’t good enough. It means hearing the rallying cry and recognizing that any fight that is theirs is also ours–because we are one in Him.

In the Hunger Games, we were all rooting for rebellion, for revolution to take hold–because from our cozy seats, we could so easily see who was the bad guy and who was the hero. But for those people in the districts, it was a whole different story. The same story, the one they’d been hearing for generations already. They already knew the cost of uprising. They paid it every year. Every day. Finally, though, a spark caught. Fire spread.

Maybe we fear that fire. But fear cannot rule the day. I still don’t know exactly what I can do, but I do know this–when I stand before the Almighty, I don’t want him to say to me, “Why did you put out the blaze of My righteous fire?” I want Him to say, “You let Me burn away your chaff, my child, and be purified. And then you spread the fire of My spirit to all around you.”

 

 ~*~

My husband just wrote an article that looks at the larger subject and how we can view it through spiritually-aware eyes. Check it out on his brand-new website, the Spiritual Struggle.

 

Thoughtful About . . . Encouragers

Thoughtful About . . . Encouragers

At the time of writing this (the weekend before it posts), I’m sitting with my laptop at the kitchen table while my husband’s comfy in our leather armchair, reading The Nature of a Lady before I have to turn it in on June 1. I’m so very blessed to have a honey who supports my writing–not just because he makes sure I have ample time to actually write, but because he does this too. He reads. He chuckles. He talks to me about the characters and settings and themes as he reads. And, most of all, because he encourages me.
There are many different things we artistic types need, right? We need the critics (I guess, LOL), who keep us from becoming complacent. We need the editors, who help us ratchet up tension, smooth out writing, and cut away any excess to make our stories more our stories by helping us really dig down to the heart of them. We need the audience to interact with our creation and show us where it resonates and where it doesn’t. But we also need someone like this. We need encouragers.
Okay, that’s not just for artistic types. We all need encouragers.
At this point, six little days before I turn in my manuscript, I don’t need someone telling me it’s all wrong. I need someone who frequently laughs over one of my characters’ witticisms and says, “I love your writing.” I don’t need someone who says, “Wow, you’re going to have work more on this part.” (Even though that might be true.) I need someone who says, “Oh, I see what you’re doing. This one line might be too on-the-nose, but that’s clever.” I need someone who not only believes in me, but who celebrates each little victory with me. I need someone who, even amidst mistakes and weak parts, has complete faith that I can do what needs to be done.
We can never over-sell the importance of someone like that in our lives–and especially concerning the thing we feel called to do. The thing God’s led us to. The Hard Thing we’re working on.
Because when we’re in the trenches–on the mission field, in hour twelve of a hospital shift, two weeks from the end of a school year, or a week away from a due date–sometimes we forget the big view, right? We forget the why of what we’re doing. The how and the that are just so overwhelming sometimes. We can’t really focus on the purpose, because we’re so caught up in the details.
And when we’re doing the thing God called us to do, we’re going to have troubles too. The Enemy is going to be trying to tear us down. To stop us. To make it seem too hard, not worth it. All around us, we’re going to find those who discourage us. Those who say we’re crazy for even trying this thing. That we should have done something safer. More logical. That we should look out for ourselves more and others less. That we’re not even that good at the thing we’ve put our hand to.
But let’s take a minute just to look at these words: encourage, discourage. What’s the root? (Didn’t know you were getting a bonus Word of the Week post, did you? Haha.) COURAGE. Encourage actually means “to put heart or courage into.” And discourage, of course, then means to take it out.
So why do we ever listen to the voices of discouragement? Why do we let people take our heart? Why do we ever entertain those voices, when by definition they’re harmful to us? Maybe we’ve done something wrong, maybe we’ve messed up, maybe we’re not the best we can be–but we don’t improve by letting our heart, letting our courage be taken away. We improve by strengthening our hearts.
I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by encouragers in my life. And I’m hereby renewing my determination to be one too. My challenge to all of us this week is to speak encouragement into someone’s life. Maybe it’s your spouse, your child, your sister, your mom. Or maybe it’s your pastor, a teacher, or the cashier in the checkout line. Whoever it is, wherever it is, if you see that shadow of discouragement in them, speak against it. When you see their heart faltering, offer something to strengthen it again.
Because we, as children of God, are not called to steal anyone else’s heart, to discourage their calling, or to be the storm cloud in their life. We’re called to encourage, to edify, and to support one another. And when we do that well…well, watch out, world. The Church will be on the move!
“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
I Thessalonians 5:11