Gift Of Encouragement - Christian Daily Devotions - April 19 2007

The Gift Of Encouragement - Verse of the Day :
And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jesus, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
-Acts 20:18-21

Daily Bible Reading Plan

Morning : Acts 20

Evening : Samuel 10-12

The Gift Of Encouragement

Apostle Paul was a great encourager. Why? Because he worked at it. After he planted a church, he was conscientious about visiting whenever possible, writing letters and sending others to minister in his absence.

He always assured people of his accessibility, even though he may physically be many miles away or even locked up in a prison cell. Paul's meeting with the Ehpesian elders in Acts 20:13-38 includes some guidance for the godly Christians who wants to uplift others.

Firstly, Paul was able to lend support because his listeners respected his example. If he had been unable to speak the words in verses 18-21 with clear conscience, the meeting would have been over. He had made an investment over time and had demonstrated by his example that he was a man of integrity.

April 19 - The Gift Of Encouragement - Christian Daily Devotions

Secondly, Paul didn't gloss over or distort the reality of the dangers that may arise upon his departure to Rome. He didn't soft-pedal the bad news that may come the elders' way.

What's more, no matter what reality looks like, the leader who trusts God must blend God's presence and power with the discipline of honest work (20:32-35). Paul lived an exemplary life of a faithful, hardworking minister of the gospel. There is no shortcut to success in life, career or ministry.

Thirdly, the apostle Paul prayed with the elders before his departure (20:36). He demonstrated genuine love and care for them (20:37). Because he showed such strength of character, his friends wept when he left them. Effective leaders not only make good decisions, they also make good friends.

The apostle Paul's story in this passage demonstrates that providing encouragement doesn't always accompany auspicious circumstances. Paul was facing hardship and separation from his friends, and their parting was difficult.

But his uplifting words despite the coming trials show us that the gift of encouragement must always be related both to God's soverign power and to the leader's genuine concern.

April 19 - The Gift Of Encouragement - Christian Daily Devotions

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