'Spur one another on toward love and good deeds . . . encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.' Hebrews 10:24
As I woke up this morning, it was raining outside, it took me back to the '90s when I lived elsewhere in the country, where it seemed to rain a lot! There is something unique about rain, it has the power to change our routines and plans and cause some people to feel down-hearted. As Christians it is our duty to look out for those who are feeling that life is not going as well as it could be, those perhaps who are being 'rained upon', taking time to help and encourage each other.
The word for “encouraging” means literally “to stand alongside.” It has to do with re-assuring someone that you care, strengthening them by just being there. It’s also similar to a word used to describe the Holy Spirit—parakletos, which means “counsellor, advocate.”
Who needs to be encouraged today? We all do! Anyone who says they never need encouragement is probably a hurting person who may not have felt encouraged by anyone before, their default position will be to use their denial as a defence mechanism. There’s nothing wrong with needing encouragement; Jesus did. His Father encouraged him, saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). An angel encouraged him as he struggled alone one night, knowing he would soon be arrested and crucified (Luke 22:43).
Our neighbours also need encouragement. One may be a student leaving home for college; another a tired, frazzled mother facing the stress of childcare and a strained marriage; perhaps a widower facing long, lonely days. Maybe there is someone you have not seen at worship in a while, could you consider contacting them, and offering your encouragement? People who need encouragement are not far away.
Our children’s teachers, our worship leaders, ministers, friends—all of them need encouragement in one moment or another. Giving out daily encouragement can be an addictive but healthy habit. Loving by encouraging can bring energy and joy. Will you do it?
On the other hand, you may be feeling overwhelmed and need some encouragement yourself! Don't be discouraged, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Be assured that the Lord is not far away; in fact, He is always near, always at hand.
I want to leave a final encouragement. Let us be glad with all that the Lord has done in the last few months at Christ Church. Look closer at what the Lord has already accomplished in our midst. Rejoice, as God may be closer to answering your prayers than you think. Be encouraged because the Lord is taking us to a new season of fruitfulness. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).
May the Lord encourage you and be a strength to you today, and in the days to come, as I am encouraged and blessed, being part of such wonderful family called Christ Church. All of you are special in my heart, and I pray weekly for all of you by name, as I go through the directory.
God bless you,
Bishop Josep Rossello, CCE Minister