This is Celia C. Tillman, bringing you greetings and encouragement from the Honey-Comb of Praises. Our lesson for today is WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT. Encouragement, as far back as one can remember, has played a significant part in the lives of mankind. It builds, renews, consoles; instructs, and most of all it teaches a valuable lesson. However, all of us need encouragement because it makes us feel better to be motivated and to move forward instead of giving up. Everyone benefits from encouragement, and none of us are so strong that we don’t crave or thirst for it. Ladies, words of encouragement make people feel better.
We, as Christians, must continue to have an open mind of how important it is to encourage one another. In Proverb 16:24, the wise man Solomon said, “Pleasant words are as an honey-comb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” In essence Ladies, it is teaching that when we are trying to cheer our brothers and sister up we should use kind and encouraging words instead of harsh words that has no edification to build and restore the broken hearted. It is sad to say that many of us have fallen short when it comes to being an encourager.
We can find in the Holy Scriptures, where there were many who demonstrated and showed acts of kindness. In Exodus 17:8-13, we read that Amalek, the son of Eliphaz ( I Chronicles 1:36); the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:11, 12) chose to attack the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses gave instructions to Joshua to choose some men and go out and fight with Amalek the next day. He also let them know that he would go and stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in his hand. Ladies, the words that Moses uttered had to be of great encouragement to Joshua, Aaron and Hur. I can imagine them remembering the great event of how the mighty hands of God, working through his servant Moses, when he led them across the Red Sea on dry ground and Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen were drowned, Read, Exodus 14:13-31.
Joshua led the attack as Moses had requested on the next day, while Aaron and Hur stood on the top of the hill with Moses. The Israelites out fought Amalek, as long as Moses held up his hand but when he let his hand down, Amalek began to win. Moses hand had become so heavy, meaning it had become tired. Aaron and Hur got a rock for him to sit on; they stood on each side and supported his arms upward until the going down of the sun. Ladies, we can see that ENCOURAGEMENT is a very important part of man’s existence. Joshua and his men became victorious over Amalek with the help of God, and the joint effort of those who found the strength and courage to move forward.
We read in Matthew 26:36-46, that Jesus went to a place called Gethsemane, and took with him Peter, James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. He was there because his heart was so sorrowful that his hour of death was near. Ladies, can you imagine the burden that Jesus carried upon his shoulders of your sins
And mine of, which was a heavy load, to carry. Jesus saw the need to go to his Heavenly Father for prayer, who had all comfort and compassion. He poured out his heart, and he said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but thou wilt,” (Matthew 26:39). Ladies can you imagine, after going to Peter James and John, asking them to watch while he go and pray, and they failed because of heaviness of sleep. However, coming back finding them asleep, and he said to Peter, “Can’t you watch with me just one hour?” Jesus wanted them to stay alert and be watchful that they enter not into temptation. Jesus also knows the heart of every man, and he said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weal, (vs. 41)
Jesus understood that his Heavenly Father couldn’t reverse the sentence of death that was placed upon him to die for the sins of the whole world, and he said, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done,” (vs.42). Jesus came to earth to do his Father’s will, and he knew that there was no one else worthy on this earth, to choose to be the sacrificial lamb. On one occasion, when John the baptizer, saw Jesus coming toward him, and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29.
Ladies, have you been so burden down that you needed someone to talk to? Yes, we have all been there at one time or the other. Jesus had his Heavenly Father to draw strength and comfort during his final hour upon this earth. Also in Luke 22:42-43, Jesus said, “If thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
PAULS’ LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS
Paul the Apostle, in 2 Corinthians 1:1-11, first starts his letter by giving thanks to God for choosing him to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and also mentioning Timothy, who is a faithful brother, and encourager in Christ. However, they both bring the saints who are at Corinth and Achaia peace and grace. Paul let them know that God is a God of all comfort, and compassion, who comforts and know whatever trials they are going through. Paul uses the word “we,” letting them know that they shared in the terrible suffering, but also in the wonderful comforts he gives. In essence, Paul is saying, we are sharing this with you that you might have hope of being saved. And when they see suffering like theirs, that they can be patient while they are going through their trials. In verse 7, Paul is building them up to stand strong, because they believe in them, and that they have been partakers of Christ’s suffering, as well as they; that they shall have the same consolation. In verse 8, Paul lets them know how they suffered in Asia and they were pressed on every side; they feared for their lives. Ladies, as we often say, Oh, but God! Paul said, in verse 9, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.” Paul let them know that God saved them from the threat of death, and they were sure he would do it again. Paul also solicits their prayers on their behalf, and that many others will do the same through the mentioning of how Christ has blessed them.
Ladies, I say to us as Christian women today, that when our tribulations and trials seem unbearable, then we have consolation and assurance in knowing that Christ share in our suffering and that we are not alone. We also have to stop trusting in ourselves and trust in God through Jesus Christ, who said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
I am reminded of a quote that I had read some years ago by J. R. Miller, in the Week Day Religion, page 170, and he said, “What men need the most in this world’s struggle and strife is not usually direct help, but cheer. We should never then, lose an opportunity to say an inspiring word. We know not how much it is needed or how great and far reaching its consequences may be.”
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was the author of encouragement, and who better knows how to lift us up than he. However, before his death, Jesus said to his disciples, “In me you might have peace, and in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world,” John 16:33. Yes, Jesus over came death and the grave. We must believe God through Jesus Christ that he has a place eternally in the heaven awaiting us if we are faithful until death, John 14:1; Revelation 2:10 (give a crown of life).
1. After studying the lesson on Encouragement, can you give a biblical definition of encouragement? Explain
2. How has encouragement benefited mankind? Explain
3. What kind of words should we use when we are trying to cheer someone? Explain
4. Who was and still is the greatest encourager of all times?
5. How did Aaron and Hur encourage Moses? Explain
6. Why did Jesus go to the garden of Gethsemane? Explain
7. How did King Solomon describe “pleasant words, in Proverb 16:24? Explain
8. Describe a time when Jesus needed encouragement. Where did he get it?
9. What has God promised us, if we are faithful?
10. Why did Christ say to be of good cheer?