** A re-post from February 2009
Continuation of Encouragement 101, encouraging yourself. On the off-chance that someone might read these, I made them into 3 posts so I don't do one very long one.
Sometimes we have no idea who in our circle of friends & acquaintances may be discouraged. Some people hide it well. Others blog about it. :-) Seriously, we all have discouraging times, and if you never have, look out - your time is coming. I believe it is Biblical to exhort and encourage other Christians. We are in this together, and we need to take the time, make the time, to help others. Some things may only take a minute, others may take a little time & money, but everyone needs encouragement, even if they aren't discouraged, you just might make someone's day a little brighter.
1) Pray for them. And let them know. Sure, I know praying for people will help regardless, but knowing someone is praying is such a boost. After "I love you", "I'm praying for you" has got to be close the top of the most important words to say to someone.
2) Contact. With today's technology, the possibilities are endless. Phone call. Email. Card. Somewhere in storage, there are some cards and notes people sent to me that meant so much, I don't want to part with them. Even a email forward says you are thinking about them. The church I attended in Indiana did something I wish my church did: In their church directory, people could also put their email addresses, if they so desired. With so many people having blogs, facebook, etc, you can always leave positive notes on places like that. It can mean a lot. Don't just comment if what the person has said has royally ticked you off. :-)
3) Feed them. Food can do wonders, especially for men. Food is the way to a man's heart, after all. Take a dessert to someone, cookies, bread. It does more than feed the stomach - it says "I care". If you can afford it, take someone out to eat and just chat.
4) Invite someone over. Hospitality is becoming a lost art, and this is not a request for an invite. :-) I think Christians should hang out together more than just at church, but we are all too busy. Unfortunately, I cannot ask company over at this stage in my life, but hopefully the day will come soon that I can again. I enjoy entertaining, and miss doing so. It doesn't have to be an expensive affair, just a simple snack or meal, and games.
I have an invite to the Goodnows on Friday the 13th for Chinese food, home-cooked, and games. I am looking forward to it. I also have an invite in waiting to go for games to another house in the near future. For anyone interested, my favorite drink is caffeine free diet coke........
We do need Christian fellowship - it will encourage us all.
5) Live a life that encourages others:-Attend church, keep the standards, be in the service, etc. It encourages me to see people who hold true to their convictions, live a Christian life with integrity, and don't change.