Deborah, God’s Promise Keeper
Encouragement Principle: Encouragement is contagious
I often hear lonely young women speak of yearning for a friend that they can depend on. Jesus addressed that yearning when He spoke of our need to love and encourage one another within the structure of the local church. My heart hurts when these women say, “I’ve tried to make friends in the church. I just don’t know how to break through the barriers.”
The need for an encourager to arise is not new. In Judges 4, we meet Deborah, a woman God used to encourage the nation of Israel. According to Deborah’s own words, “Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7).
God enabled Deborah to lead the Israelites out of bondage. Although God may not call any of us to a position of national leadership, He does exhort each of us to take new life to our own villages.
This is not as difficult as you may think. Webster’s definition of village is “a settlement usually larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town.” God is not asking you to encourage the whole world – just your part of it.
Deborah uplifted, established, restored and supported the people in her village. That is the essence of encouragement! God wants us to look around our villages, see the needs, and rise up –not in our own strength, not with “random acts of kindness,” but with purposeful actions in His name, trusting Him to accomplish His work of salvation and sanctification.
Deborah’s pathway to victory was not without conflict. Although many Israelites caught her vision for victory, others refused to join the battle.
Spiritual risk requires that we break out of the protective shell of religious performance and allow the seeds of encouragement to spill onto other people’s needs, where they will grow and bear fruit for years to come. Are you willing to crack the shell that makes it impossible for you to connect with others? Will those who live in your presence be drawn into the family of God because of the way His character spills out of your life?
Reprinted with Permission from Treasures of Encouragement Planner by Sharon W. Betters, P&R Publishing
In His grip,
Sharon W. Betters
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