Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – I Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
Born in 1934, pastor, author, and Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll has been a Christian leader for a remarkable six decades. With his impressive experience and background, people sometimes ask him, “What do you think is the biggest need in the church today?” While many people may expect his answer to be something like more prayer, Bible study, church workers, activities, bigger facilities, more finances, etc., Swindoll claims it’s something different: “encouragement.”
He explains, everyone is hungry for encouragement and affirmation. To help us be more prompt and generous to give it, he says, “Imagine everyone you meet has a big sign hanging around their neck that reads ‘ENCOURAGE ME.'”
Imagine how different our lives would be–and the lives of those around us–if we put that idea into practice on a daily basis.
This morning while involved in a community outreach in our neighborhood, I met a woman who indicated she is a believer. She confided that she is deeply concerned for our country and the mess we are in, sometimes to the point of anguish and tears. I tried to encourage her to keep trusting in God and doing what she can do: pray, seek God, vote, try to make a difference where she is, and reminded her God sees our tears and hears our cries.
In our conversation, The Roanoke Star was mentioned. Upon hearing it, her face lit up.
“I love those Bible stories [these devotionals]. I read them every morning. They’re so encouraging and positive!” When asked what in particular she found helpful about them, she smiled and responded: “I like everything about them!”
That short conversation is a snapshot of how God loves to work. Here we were, two strangers who had just met, and I was trying to find some ways to encourage her, because she is grieving for our nation. Then, in the process of my seeking to uplift her, she expressed gratitude for these devotionals I am able to write and share with you here on this wonderful platform The Roanoke Star, so in turn she encouraged me. We both came away from our short conversation strengthened and enlivened.
With her permission, she agreed to share this information with you, as a prayer request. Her name is Sarah, and she has a lung illness.
The inspiration and motivation Sarah gets from these devotionals is living proof the the power of God’s word, the Bible. It has a wisdom, depth and power far exceeding anything written by mere mortals.
The word for you today is, “encourage one another and build each other up.”