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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Encourage One Another Daily

Paul writes, "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13

I know that as homeschool moms we can fall into the sin of a joyless, stressed-out demeanor. We can fall into the sin of habitual anger, habitual irritation, or habitual frustration over all we need to do, and all that is not right in our lives, home and school. We forfeit faith and are consumed in fear. We can fall into the sin of neglecting our husband, focusing on our children or our emotional needs and how he's not meeting them. Because we are weak, we are often guilty of being self-focused in all we do. I know that I find myself so focused on my own failings and weaknesses that it hinders my ability to minister to others. That's obviously the goal of the enemy in all the temptations he brings - to keep us from being a light. To keep us under such self condemnation and misery and self-centered thinking that we are ineffective and unproductive in our ministry to our children, husbands, family, friends and others. Truly, sin is progressive and deceitful. Paul warns that we can be hardened by it. I know that I don't want to become so entrenched in my sin that I become hardened. I don't want any of this to be the norm for me.

The answer? To give and get encouragement...daily! Every day.

Some people are natural encouragers - seek them out. Build a friendship with them. When I'm feeling discouraged, I call my encourager friends and I'm soon lifted out of the muck and mire. Sometimes, though, I find they are in need of encouragement and it encourages me to encourage them. This is one of the reasons we must remain in fellowship with other believers. We need to be in community with people who will edify us and keep us on the narrow path which leads to life.

I believe it's God's will for us to have encouraging friends in our lives. He wants us to be encouraged and to encourage. It's hard to encourage when we are totally discouraged. It's hard to encourage when we are surrounded by others who focus on negative things.

When you leave your friends, do you feel lifted up or more burdened? Do they build fear or faith by their conversations? Fear breeds more fear, and faith breeds more faith.

When I talk to my friends, they report answers to prayers and exciting things God has shown them in their quiet time. They talk about their dreams, plans and ideas. They are full of excitement and it rubs off onto me. Occasionally, of course, they are under trials, through which I encourage them. But generally speaking, and even in the midst of trials, they are up-lifting people that bless me in almost every conversation. This enables me to stay inspired, and to pass it on to others. It's a wonderful cycle of edification.

Ask the Lord to surround you with encouraging friends, edifying people, those that have a lot of faith and joy in their lives. I believe God will answer that prayer rather quickly since it's His will for you.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25