What I Learned From The Bible Week
These are the things that I learned from a time of reading and studying the Bible that really stood out for me and that still have an effect on me many years later.
“Therefore, encourage one another,
and build up one another.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Below is a copy of a devotional message that I gave out to men at church some years ago. I did these once a week for many months, and this one I thought spoke of what I wanted to share today about what I learned from the Bible:
“1 Thessalonians 5:11 says: “Therefore, encourage one another, and build up one another. . .” The theme for this devotional message is to encourage one another-in church among believers and outside among the world. The value of encouragement cannot be understated in my opinion.
Most of you know that I write songs. I started to write songs in earnest in late June of 1983. The first song was to be played by a band that I hired and sang by them. It came out okay. I later recorded it on an album myself. That was a success in my mind, so I felt that I could write more. I went out and bought some recording equipment and started trying to write songs. I started writing a lot of them and recording them, learning how to record music. I was so excited, I had to share them with someone.
A co-worker was interested in my projects and listened to a couple of the songs. He loved them and continued to encourage me to do more and more. I couldn’t wait to get back to work after the weekend to play him some of the new songs written and recorded during the weekend. Without his encouragement during this period, I doubt seriously if I would be writing songs today. I owe him a debt of gratitude for that unselfish encouragement. I still have all of those early recordings and when I listen now, I wonder what he heard that made him encourage me. They are terrible. Of course, I loved them because they were created by me, but why did he like them? His encouragement was so sincere, that I couldn’t doubt him.
The dictionary says that to encourage is to inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; to stimulate; spur, and give support to. Anyone who has children knows that encouragement is the only thing that will get a child from crawling to walking. There are only two motivations: desire for gain, and fear of loss. The most powerful is the desire for gain. That gain may be anything that we need and want. Teaching fear as a motivation is always a (in my experience) short-lived success, if that. I can imagine what might have happened had this person I’ve been talking about laughed at my music efforts, or worse, condemned me for it.
Throughout the day, we have opportunities to encourage people. Many of them we miss. Instead we may participate in the tearing down of someone, perhaps even behind their back. I learned from a sales trainer that there are two ways to have the tallest building. One is to concentrate on building your building, the other is to tear everyone else’s down so that yours becomes the tallest. Christians should be known as “builders,” not “demolition experts.”
Jesus was THE encourager. Think about it. He took a rag-tag team of twelve people and turned them into the leaders of His church. Would we have done anything like that? What a group they must have been at the start. But He continued to encourage them-as He even now does for us. Let us all find ways every day to encourage and uplift one another-not just each other in the church as brothers in Christ, but throughout our world treating everyone as brothers in Christ. This one thing alone will change the world because it is the essence of loving one another.”
“Where Never Is Heard. . . A Discouraging Word. . .”
Spread Some Joy Today–You know the best way to get encouragement of others to you? Be an encouragement to others FIRST. I guarantee that you will soon find your encouragment in like quantity.