Father’s Day brought some warm, affirming words my way. My children each expressed their love for me, thanking me for being a good Dad. Several people in the congregation I serve thanked me for being a ‘father’ to them. I joked with Maribel, our daughter who is visiting for the weekend, “With all this kindness, do you all think I’m dying?” She laughed but then answered seriously, “No, we all are just old enough to know what we have.” I will treasure those cards and notes taking strength from them for those days when critics and challenges outnumber encouragers and successes!
Paul urges Christians to “encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV) “Offer words that call for the best, words that support and strengthen,” he says. A sincere word of appreciation can be as refreshing as a cool glass of ice tea on a hot Summer day! What is it about our human nature that makes it so much easier to criticize than to praise? How is it that we can complain so much more readily than compliment?
Real encouragement comes from love, genuine interest in the well-being of another. John reminds of the importance of experiencing God’s love for ourselves. Why? Because we love as He loves us. When we let the Lord heal our broken hearts, take away our hurt, and give us personal peace, the love hunger is satisfied. And, His love splashes over from us onto others, appropriately, affirming their worth and beauty.
If we would be an positive, encouraging presence among friends and family, we will learn an ‘attitude of gratitude’ too. When we have ‘learned to be content’ and choose to ‘give thanks in every situation’ as is fitting for children of God, the core of our being will be loosed from the slavery to Self. When we offer up our thanks, the Spirit’s renewal will change us, inside out! Praise is pleasing to God, not the forced kind, not the insincere kind – the real recognition of Who He is and what He’s doing.
On this Monday morning, may I encourage you? God does love you, perhaps more than you know at this moment. He loves you for you, not for what you have done, for your beauty, brains, or accomplishments. Thank Him for His love. . Thank God for … well, make it your praise! You will find that the sun seems to shine a bit brighter as the Spirit of God flows into your life and lifts you up. Then, share appreciation with someone today – a simple ‘thank you’ may be just what they need
Here is wisdom, a word from the Word.
“It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy,
but those who are stingy will lose everything.
The generous prosper and are satisfied;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
(Proverbs 11:24-25, NLT)
Follow God’s principle and I can guarantee the result will be a life richer in love and happiness.
Make me a blessing, make me a blessing.
Out of my life may Jesus shine!
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray.
Make me a blessing to someone today!
George S. Schuler | Ira Bishop Wilson
© Words: 1924, Renewed 1952 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)