The Power of Praise

Be An Encourager!

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 17 After that,we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Be an encourager. What is it that would encourage us today dear readers? When we’re trying to lose weight or put it on – doesn’t it encourage us when people notice and say something nice to us? When we are trying to change our shape – exercising more or watching what we eat – it is nice when people notice. When you’re trying to change something about yourself – isn’t it nice to hear someone say something nice about that change? Let’s try to notice others and not be so narcissistic – focused on self so much.

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5 Reasons Why A Handwritten “Thank You” Note Can Make A Difference

~ Chuck Lawless

I know I’m dating myself here, but I believe many of us need to return to handwriting some thank you notes. I assume that all of us can name somebody who has blessed us, either for a long time or even just today. Here’s why taking the time to write a “thank you” note matters:

  1. It takes time—which shows some depth of gratitude. Think about it – you have to buy the card, write the note, find an address, address the envelope, and mail it. Sure, the card arrives much later than an email would, but the effort behind the “thank you” note is seldom missed.
  2. Few people do it—so it catches the attention of the receiver. An email “thank you” is easier to send, but it’s also easier to miss on the other end. A handwritten note, however, often catches the recipient by surprise. Its very uniqueness in our Internet-based world makes a difference.
  3. It feels much more personal. I know that’s an emotional response, but it’s often true nonetheless. Somehow, seeing the handwriting and signature of an affirming friend or loved one is different than receiving an email.
  4. It provides good memories. I still remember “thank you” notes that arrived at just the right time with just the right words from just the right person. God used those notes to encourage me then, and my memories of them still encourage me today. That’s one reason I’m writing this post today.
  5. It models a good habit for others. I know many people who’ve received gifts and support from others, but who never took the time to say, “thank you.” It is as if we sometimes think we’re entitled to something, so we see no need to express gratitude. We need to learn, though, from others who seldom miss an opportunity to say “thank you” via a handwritten note.

So, I encourage you this week/weekend to write at least five “thank you” notes to people who have blessed your life. Let them hear from you, in the words of the apostle Paul, “in my [your] own handwriting” (Gal. 6:11).


A prayer about gospel words and gospel works

We you give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in words, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. 1 Thessalonians one. 2 – 5

Heavenly Father, it is a great time to be alive, for even as there is growing turmoil in the world, there is unruffled triumph in heaven, a peaceful certainty that the gospel will win the day, the nations, and the cosmos. I am overjoyed today as I consider the gospel of your grace, the gospel of the kingdom, the great story of redemption and restoration.

In fact, I don’t remember a time when there has been a greater proliferation of the gospelspeak. Everywhere I look I find an openness and earnestness to re-examine and rethink what the gospel is all about. All the public discourse about the gospel, by believers and nonbelievers alike, is a very good thing.

But as I look at my life, the body of believers with whom I walk, and the community in which I live, I am praying that the gospel will increasingly in practice the way it impacted the men and women of Thessalonica. What a stirring image: “Not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction” 1 Thessalonians 1.5.

Dear Father, many gospel words lead to gospel works in my heart. In particular, I am praying for the power of the gospel to be at work in my marriage and other relationships. It is still easier for me to live in the world of words that you really invest in the complexities of heart-to-heart engagement.

May the love you have lavished on me in Jesus, and the love you have given me for Jesus, really work it in me. Made the gospel prove its resurrection power in turning me further from my idols to serve you, the only true and loving God. To be specific, I acknowledge and repent of the idols of control of self-protection.

Lastly, Father, made the great hope you have given us in Jesus, including the hope of a new heaven and new earth, deepen and lengthen my endurance. I pray in Jesus’ matchless name. Amen

~Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers

Let’s Encourage One Another

~ Ray MacDonald

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMEncouragement is very important. There are many persons in the families of our church and community who have known very little encouragement in their lives. They have been raised in families where discouragement was the focus – with very little – if any – encouragement. Families where more fuss was made over a grade of B in one class rather than the grades of A in all of the other classes. Families where the small mistake was made to be larger than the overall good job done.

Discouragement in the church is also a tool that the devil uses. Someone does a tremendous job with a program and the first thing someone says is something that didn’t go right. Worship was awesome and a person points out the one thing that didn’t go well – first. It’s almost like some think complaining is a spiritual gift or something.

It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture – but rather the attitude and timing. Read Revelation where Christ instructs John to write to the seven churches. In those passages Christ always affirms where He can affirm – encourages – before He gives corrective instruction.

In today’s section of Scripture Paul is trying to give good advice to the church – some departing words of encouragement. It is worth reading again my friends – and we should take these words to heart. Here is today’s passage in partial context.

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5 Ways To Help The Depressed Among Us

Some people struggle with deep depression, past failings, or past tragedies. Some people just get depressed because of the way they are wired. Sometimes there are medical conditions that cause depression; sometimes there is no clear explanation as to why a person is depressed.

I am a person who has struggled with some deep depression, and I want to share five ways to help depressed people that have consistently benefited me:

1. Make sure they are physically healthy.

Some people need to see a doctor. A good physical checkup is always in order if a person is going through tough times. I had a brother who was incredibly depressed. His problem turned out to be that he was vitamin D deficient.

2. Allow them to grieve (Rom. 12:15).

There is a place for mourning and sadness in the Christian life. Grieving is a good and right thing to do when there is a legitimate reason.

3. Spend time with them.

Don’t let depressed people spend too much time alone. Even if depressed people want to be alone, the presence of friends and family doing ordinary things can be welcoming and extremely helpful.

4. Remind them that there is some goodness in the world.

Sometimes people who are depressed can only see their problems and all the evil of life. It takes an outside perspective to help them recognize that there is goodness, truth, and beauty in the world.

5. Help them get back into a routine.

It is never a good thing to fall out of an ordinary routine in life for too long; and that holds true for everyone, but especially for the depressed. Routines keep people from focusing too much on things they can’t control and provide comforting patterns in daily life.

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Opportunity Disguised

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”1

A young man, accepted for the African missionary field, reported at New York for “passage,” but found on further examination that his wife could not stand the climate in Africa. He was heartbroken, but he prayerfully returned to his home and determined to make all the money he could to be used on spreading the Kingdom of God over the world. His father, a dentist, had started to make, on the side, an unfermented wine for the [church] communion service. The young man took the business over and developed it until it assumed vast proportions—his name was “Welch,” whose family still manufactures “grape juice.”2

As the old saying goes, “When God closes one door, he opens another.” True, it can be a challenging time “waiting in the hallway” for the next door to open, but as long as we commit and trust our life and way to God every day, in good time the next door will open. Of this we can be sure—during the waiting time there is always a lesson of some kind that God is seeking to teach us and wanting us to learn.

Sometimes it takes a crushing disappointment to make us effective and fruitful and ready for the next door to open.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to see in every disappointment and setback what you are seeking to teach me. Help me to learn that lesson so that I will be ready and prepared for any new door or opportunity you may open for me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

1. Gal. 6:10 (NIV).
2. The Presbyterian Advance, cited in Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, Paul Lee Tan, p. 479.