Encouragement for Today - Aug. 29, 2006
Encouragement for Today
“Born To Be”
Marybeth Whalen, Speaker Team Member
Principles 1 & 7
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
At the annual Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference this summer, I had the privilege of leading a critique group for beginning speakers. I enjoyed getting to know these ladies and hearing their courageous stories. At the end of the weekend, as we said our goodbyes, one of the ladies in my group gave me a sweet compliment. “You are a born encourager,” she told me emphatically.
I have been mulling over her comment ever since. Me? A born encourager? I wish! If anything, I am a born critic who has had to practice being an encourager. I have learned that people respond to encouragement much better than criticism. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” as the old saying goes. And it is true! If I want to grow closer to, feel emotionally connected to, or be trusted by the people I love, I’ve had to let go of my fleshly bad attitudes and propensity to be negative. Instead I must learn to speak words of life, hope and affirmation. I have intentionally set out to build up instead of tear down—even if it means physically biting my tongue sometimes to make that happen!
God has taught me through His Word and some godly people the value of practicing the things in life that don’t come naturally. I may not have been born an encourager but I can make efforts to change. Likewise, I may not have been born with a servant’s heart, but I can certainly practice the attitudes and actions of a servant, while letting God work on my heart. Additionally, I may not feel like being obedient, but I can practice obeying God and trust Him to fill me with joy in the process.
What is God asking you to do that doesn’t come naturally? Submit to your husband? Practice good stewardship? Exemplify the fruits of the spirit? Conquer a bad habit? Surrender control? Display unconditional love?
While you may not have been “born” to do those things, you can decide today to practice them in your life. As you practice, you will find that it gets easier and easier. And in your diligence and willingness, God will show up and take care of the rest. As we practice obedience, it becomes an exercise in faith. We don’t see how God is going to accomplish a change in us, yet we say to Him through our obedience, “I trust that You will, Lord.” God is asking us to simply submit to Him with the knowledge that only He, as our Creator, can determine what we were really born to be.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, Thank You for working in my life to make me all that I can be. Help me to practice in faith the things I know You are requiring of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Determine what God is asking you to step out and practice doing. Don’t go by ability or emotions. Go by Truth and God’s leading in your life. Set a goal to practice whatever that is and watch God work on the rest!
What is God asking you to step out and do in faith that He will equip you if only you will take that first step?
What do you need to begin to practice that?
Romans 12:13, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Matthew 5:19b, “But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Luke 8:21, “Jesus replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Ezekiel 33:31-32, “My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.”
The Ultimate Makeover – Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed – Lysa TerKeurst
An Encouraging Word, ETC Corner