September 11, 2009 
Are You an Enabler or Encourager? 
Melody Hadley

We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions.  We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends.  From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry.  We call them our "Friday Friends."  So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend",
Melody Hadley.

Today's Truth 
"Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up." (I Thess. 5:11 NIV)

Friend To Friend 
I have a friend who was known to constantly complain.  She whined about her job, moaned about her husband and children, was bitter about the way her parents raised her, and was unhappy with life in general. Seemingly unable, or unwilling to stop the defeatism and negativity that surround her, her life was miserable.  I would listen, murmuring platitudes, and sighing with her over her difficult life.  This scenario played itself out over and over, week after week, month after month.

Then one day, God touched my heart and showed me this was not the way to reach her, to help her.  I was enabling her negative behavior by just listening and nodding, and not encouraging the positive perspective she so desperately needed.  Jeremiah 29:11 teaches us that we have a "hope and future".  I was not reminding her of that.  I realized that my behavior and attitude had to change in order for me to be Christ's hands and feet.  I looked to God, and through the Holy Spirit and the Word, I was then able to minister to her more appropriately.  

When this lovely young mom started speaking in a negative manner again, I knew what to say and could direct the conversation to a positive outlook.  I would tell her, "Stop!  Let's turn our focus to positive aspects in your life, and to how you can deal with the negative ones."

She is doing so much better now. Once I confronted the negative behavior and turned to God for His guidance and wisdom, He was able to help her.   It is so wonderful to see her smiling now, and when she falters, she catches herself, and says "Oops! There I go again. Sorry."

Let's Pray 
Dear Lord, touch me with Your Spirit, and speak through my voice.  Let me touch and uplift others through my hands and my heart.  Let me be guided by You, that I may better guide others.

In Jesus' name, 
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn 
Please consider memorizing this verse:  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).

More From The Girlfriends 
Through this ‘shepherding' role of being a listening friend, I learned so much about the difference in enabling and encouraging.  We have to be aware all the time that Satan just loves it when he can get God's children confused as to how to they are to serve, and what they are to do when confronted with negative, defeated attitudes.

Begin in your own life. Identify and eliminate the footholds of negative thinking and speaking. Ask others to hold you accountable and to help you see when you are sliding into that old, destructive habit.

Stay in the Word. Check out Mary's weekly online study, Light for the Journey and be sure to check out the web sites of Gwen and Sharon for more resources to help you grow in Him. 

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