encouragement

Whom Did You Encourage Today?

I shall risk the assumption that like me, you [my fellow millennial Christian] are tempted to be concerned most about numero uno throughout a given week. You know who numero uno is (you!). Boy do we [naturally] make our days centered on our schedules, our needs, our desires, our feelings…or what? Me, me, me. It’s all about me. A sad reflection of the human heart, no? And when did we last stop ourselves to ponder how truly poisonous this is to the body of Christ? Obsession of self is part of the world’s system. And I certainly don’t ponder these truths as often as I should, but I did when I encountered Hebrews 3:13 recently.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today”, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Not the idea.

Not the idea.

Hebrews 3:13 is a straight up imperative for God’s people to encourage each other every single day. As long as the day is today, which it always is…Christians are to exhort one another to resist the deceitfulness of the human heart, and lean fully on the Lord’s grace in the fight against our unique temptations.

How are we doing in this area [millennial] believers? Have you today done anything to encourage a Christian brother or sister? Or are you only concerned about nursing your problems, your agenda, and your needs or desires? Certainly we’re all guilty of doing those things; but God’s word clearly teaches against this [wickedness] (Philippians 2:3-4), and we must repent! Yes, life is hard; no one has failed to figure that out. Jesus Christ assured us it would be over and over in the gospels and through His apostles. But instead of focusing on the chaos [of today, tomorrow, and beyond] that we personally deal with…allow me to challenge you to encourage others as I challenge myself nowadays. And it starts with picking someone.

Whom can you encourage? A brief list of certain people groups [and the individuals that compromise them] to consider is as follows…though of course it is not exhaustive. It is also in no particular order.

  1. Immediate family (spouse, children)
  2. Church leaders (your pastor(s), elders, and deacons)
  3. Church family (the Christians who participate in your local fellowship)
  4. Extended family (in-lawsaunts/uncles, cousins)
  5. Co-workers, non-Christian friends, strangers, etc.

Let’s takes this one step further. Rework the first word of this article’s title: How did you encourage someone today? Or how can you encourage someone today?

A [non-comprehensive] list of ways to accomplish that is below…

  1. Publicly share a Bible verse, lyrics, a [clean] funny, personal testimony, etc, for everyone associated with you on social media. It encourages more than you think.
  2. Revisit #1, but with a specific individual via private/text messages. Ask how you can pray. Ask how they’re doing! Volunteer a personal testimony; invite the same. You might be surprised by the encouraging relationship this can create!
  3. For those that don’t use social media, private messages, etc, do the same as #1/#2 but with an email to someone or a group of folks. Most people use email now, and can use your encouragements!
  4. When did you last dial someone to encourage them? There’s a lost art, eh? Yet I’ve seen first-hand how this warms a believer’s heart!
  5. That person you were praying for earlier today? Let them know you did in-person the next time you meet. What a blessing! What an encouragement!
  6. Whether at someone else’s home, or in yours, spend some time in distraction-free conversation. This is a great ministry for encouragement!
  7. There’s surely a place outside of home, work, and church that you can sit down with someone. Have lunch and encourage a brother or sister!

Will any Christian ever be the perfect encourager? No, but encouraging a fellow Christian in one of your circles is so critical to the healthy functioning of Christ’s body. Neglecting it will suffer you, and those not receiving your admonishment. So, encourage a fellow believer today. Just do it!

How You Can Pray For Me, 2014

I’ve used my Facebook page a number of times in the past few years to present personal prayer needs, but for 2014 I’m choosing the MfC blog. The more fellow believers that know about my struggles with sin and are willing to pray for me in any frequency and capacity as a result…the greater likelihood that I’ll experience victory. This isn’t a “magic bullet” of course, but prayers are absolutely powerful and working. Based on reflections in 2013, and knowing what my besetting sins are in general, the list below is how you might intercede for me. Use the information how you deem best. If you would like to share anything that I can pray for in particular regarding the coming year, please don’t be shy and offer a responding comment.

How you can pray for me, Justin, in 2014

  • That I would develop a more consistent prayer life.
    I Thessalonians 5:17a — Pray without ceasing,
  • Scripture memorization was basically non-existent for me in 2013. That needs to change in 2014.
    Psalm 119:1 — I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
  • That I would do a much better job of putting into practice the principles I encounter in daily Bible reading.
    James 1:23-25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
  • That my words would build up, and love.
    Ephesians 4:29 — Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  • That I would strive for purity in all things and interactions, especially in mind.
    Psalm 119:9 — How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
    I Timothy 4:12 — Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
    Philippians 4:8 — Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  • This is very tough for me to confess, but I need to be a much better servant-leader at home…in basically every way. If you pray for any one thing, this is a biggie! Many struggles here. Lots of selfishness. So difficult to mortify! Desperate for grace!
    Ephesians 5:25 — Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
    Colossians 3:19 — Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Yes, a lengthy list, because I am a filthy sinner. Suggesting anything less would be self-deception. You can choose one, or the whole lot. It doesn’t matter to me. Please just pray for something. I would be eternally grateful for your labor of intercession! And by all means, at some point in 2014 feel free to ask me how any of these sin battles are panning out. Accountability is key!

See you in 2014, and thank you for your encouragement!

In Christ,

Justin Joseph
Millennials for Christ