Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today…”

I ended part 2 with the thought that; I love the fact that Cleopas and his friend went without hesitation or delay back on the 7 mile walk to encourage and comfort the other disciples letting them know that Jesus was alive!  JESUS IS ALIVE! HALLEUJAH!

The word exhort is a compound of the words in Greek para and kaleo.  The word para – alongside and the word kaleo – to call, to invite, to speak, or to beckon.  When the two words are compounded into one, it gives this picture of someone who has come closely alongside another person for the sake of speaking to him, consoling him, comforting him, or assisting him with instruction, counsel or advice.

This should be a lifestyle we develop of encouraging one another so that it becomes a daily habit.  

Could this be our wakeup call that during this isolation period we can still encourage and show care to someone.  How many wonderful people have volunteered to help in this abnormal, scary time is a testament to the goodness and kindness there is in humanity.  

It is particulary strengthening to know that someone really cares about you if you’re going through challenging times!

So rather than fixate only on our need to be encouraged, let’s try taking our eyes off ourselves to see those around us who are also in need of strength and encouragement.

To encourage is – to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence – a coach encouraged the runner throughout the marathon to keep on running. 

Let us all think of someone we know whom we can strengthen by coming alongside to speak words of comfort, consolation or bravery.  Call or text someone, drop someone a note (the post is still working), can we go out of our way to see how someone is doing. Even if we are at the moment not allowed to visit in person I’m sure we can think of something we can do to encourage one another.  A few weeks ago in the chemist (after queuing outside for my third time for the same prescription item which had previously been out of stock), I had a lovely conversation with some young people in the queue, albeit 2 metres apart! One such person was a young man in his early 20’s who presented the staff in the Chemist with a very posh box of biscuits to thank them for all their hard work, he had gone there just to do that lovely act of kindness.  It doesn’t take much does it to encourage someone? After he had gone I heard one of the staff say, “see people do care about us, isn’t that nice”.  

Courage given for people to keep going especially for those on the front line.  That’s why the clapping is so good even if the NHS staff can’t see all the applause they know it’s there. Then there’s our refuse collectors who see little notes, and the songs people sing etc.  They all know we are saying thank you, we appreciate you, inspiring everyone everywhere to keep running, to keep going. See how powerful encouragement is, it strengthens, comforts and spurs people on and brightens their day.

Encourage someone today! And maybe when this ‘unprecedented event’ is passed and we know it will, we could continue a habit of encouragement.

Read with me, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 NLT

All praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ.  Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then we can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.  

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. (The trouble in the world today- paraphrase mine)  We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.  And He did rescue us form mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Cleopas and his friend, the two followers of Jesus who were not in the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, were despondent and probably fearful on the Emmaus road, yet He chose to encourage and reveal to them that He was alive, what comfort that must have been! They then went on, without hesitation, ‘running’ back to encourage and comfort the others, let us do the same! 

Be an encourager and a comfort to someone cheering each other on through this ‘unprecedented’ time and beyond…

I pray that God will keep you all safe from danger, illness and harm.  And as we are comforted by the Holy Spirit in all our troubles may we extend that comfort to others. 

In Jesus Name.  Amen.

His love & mine,

Pastor Lydia x

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