It was 1979, in the land before email. I was sitting in front of an old wooden desk in the upstairs bedroom of our one-and-a-half story house. Under the window was a waist-high book shelf that housed an enormous collection of teen magazines. They contained everything from Bo Derek’s braids to the Bee Gees. One thing they didn’t contain however was the precious letter I held in my hand.
It was from my sister. An older sister who was lending advice and encouragement.
Remember one thing, she wrote, encouragement is like a cottonwood tree. When the weather is warm, the tree releases its seeds that float in the air like little white clouds. They’re gentle yet powerful seeds.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that gentle encouragement is a powerful force.
It’s the cheer at the end of a race that gives a runner that final push to the finish.
It’s the nurturing of a parent that instills confidence in their child’s life.
It’s the words of a spouse who inspires you to grow in God’s grace.
In Ephesians 4:29 we read, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
To encourage someone is to “instill courage” in them.
Instilling courage in someone is more than a compliment, it’s a gentle reminder that God’s on our side, that He is our power and strength, and that all things work out for good to those who are in Christ Jesus.
We’re also instructed to edify others, which means to build them up. It’s the same word used to describe the construction of a building. In other words, we help them grow. One brick at a time, one loving encouraging word at a time…
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)
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Tilling the Soil
Use opportunities this week to encourage and build up others around you.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)
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Darlene Schacht and her husband Michael live in Manitoba Canada where the summers are beautiful and the winters are cold. Together they’ve come to learn that relationships aren’t always easy, but that marriage, the way God intended it to be, is a treasure worth fighting for.
She began her publishing journey about twelve years ago when she pioneered one of the first online magazines for Christian women, known at the time as “Christian Women Online Magazine.” After three years, Darlene left CWO to blog as a solo author at Time-Warp Wife Ministries.
It was also during this transition that she worked alongside actress Candace Cameron Bure to write the NYT Best-Selling book, Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness. Reshaping it All was the winner of both the 2011 USA Best Book Awards and the 2012 Christian Reading Retailers Choice Awards.
Author of more than 15 books, Darlene continues to write and to minister to her readers through her blog at TimeWarpWife.com.
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You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife