INTRODUCTION
Encouragement is something that we all need and long for. In my own life, encouragement has been vitally important and both a sustaining and motivating force. I was once told that if a new born baby did not receive encouragement and love it would not develop properly. I am not sure how true this is, but it makes a lot of sense. Encouragement is one of the greatest needs in our lives. It has the power to sustain and motivate us. One of the great ministries is the ministry of encouragement. Some people are a constant source of encouragement to me. Such people are a joy. Sowing encouragement results in reaping encouragement. When last did you encourage someone?

Isaiah 61:1-3  "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God;  To comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."

ENCOURAGE - A DEFINITION
To encourage means to:
A. To inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.
B. To spur on.
C. To give help.
The root Greek word means to:
A. Make strong.
B. To repair. (Encouragement has the power to restore us!)
C. To prevail or overcome. (Encouragement helps us to overcome!)
To encourage is to strengthen, to be enabled to prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm and to be resolute. Just as warm weather encourages plants growth, so too if our lives receive encouragement we will be encouraged to grow and develop. 

FOUR ASPECTS:

1.  EACH OF US NEEDS ENCOURAGEMENT
You and I need encouragement. We all need to be encouraged.
Psalm 119:28 I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with your words. (Living Bible)
We all need strength. Encouragement is a source of strength. It is a source of strength that we need each and every day. I believe that we can be like David and ask for encouragement. ‘Encourage and cheer me with your words’. Perhaps this is what you need today. I believe we can ask God for encouragement. 

2.  EACH OF US SHOULD BE A SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Encouragement is a two way process. We need to be encouraging others. It is a process of sowing and reaping. If you sow encouragement the result will be reaping encouragement. If you never encourage others, there is a good possibility that you will not receive much encouragement. I find that I gravitate to those who encourage me.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 So comfort and encourage each other.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Encouragement builds us up. It is an ongoing process. We need to be continually encouraging each other. I know that if we sow encouragement we will reap the reward to encouragement, but in Proverbs there is a specific promise of a reward.
Proverbs 28:10 But men who encourage the upright to do good shall be given a worthwhile reward. (Living Bible)
Here we see the promise of a worthwhile reward. But the reverse is also true.
Proverbs 28:10 A curse on those who lead astray the godly. It is important that we encourage others.

3.  WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE OURSELVES IN THE LORD
1 Samuel 30:6 David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
By encouraging himself in God, David kept his spirit calm. Those who have taken the Lord for their God can take encouragement from Him in the worst times. What does it mean to encourage yourself in God? Remind yourself of God’s goodness. Remind yourself of His character. Remind yourself of what He has said and promised.
An example from David’s life: Psalm 140:1-7 Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet. Proud men have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path. O Lord, I say to you, “You are my God.” Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy. O Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle.

4.  GOD WANTS TO ENCOURAGE US
This brings great joy to my heart. That the living God wants to encourage you and me.
Psalm 138:3 When I pray, You answer me and encourage me by giving me the strength I need. (Living Bible)
Isaiah 42:3 He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. (Living Bible)
God wants to encourage us and strengthen us. God wants to encourage the fainthearted. He also wants to encourage anyone who wants to despair (lose all hope)
James 4:10 He (God) will lift you up, encourage and help you.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercy and the God of every comfort (encouragement). Who comforts (encourages) us in every trouble, so that we may also be able to comfort (encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (encouraged) by God.

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Comments:

Summe...
Jun. 21, 2008 at 4:44 PM This is definitely awesome writing! Thankyou so much for the time you spent to write this and encourage us, i needed this today! I appreciate you! God Bless, Summer Rain

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