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I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way. 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NLT
Thursday 22 April
If you know anything at all about the church in Corinth you will know that it was a disaster area. Everything seemed to be going wrong. They were divided. They had a case of incest in the church and nothing had been done to sort it out. Their times of worship were an embarrassment. They totally misunderstood what the gifts of the Spirit were for, and viewed them competitively. It’s hard to find anything to celebrate but look how Paul starts this letter. He gives thanks for them and for the way in which God had blessed them and rejoices in the way that through Jesus God has enriched them in every way. I love this! He could have kicked off the letter with a long list of moans, but he doesn’t. He begins with encouragement.
My junior school was very small and so I found my huge secondary school a very bewildering place. I had never been a part of anything like it before. I struggled with the work and didn’t do very well at first. And I will never forget the piece of work that I did for a Geography teacher when I was 12 which he marked as “excellent”. Nobody had ever told me that I had ever done anything excellent before, and his words changed everything. I saw myself in a new light. It’s so important to use words of encouragement and particularly when we need to say something that is critical. Before we dare to say a single negative word we need to think of all the genuinely encouraging things that we can say.
Words of encouragement don’t normally need to be long. They may be communicated in a quick text or on a card or in a brief email. But they can be of amazing importance. They can turn people’s lives around. I wonder what you might be able to say today which will give solid encouragement to someone else.
What was the most significant encouragement that you have ever received and what did you learn from the experience?
Thank you, loving Lord, that you are the supreme encourager. Help me to become more encouraging day by day. Amen
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