ACTS – Acts of God
“There is a time for everything under the sun” proclaims the lamenting wisdom in Ecclesiastes. Most times, we all need encouragement in staying physically, emotionally and spiritually fit for God’s invitations to His work. We need encouragement while we are at the beginning, in the middle of it all and as we come close to the finish line in life’s journey. There is never a bad time to encourage someone else.
Words of positive encouragement give life to a tried soul and a wondering mind, wondering if you are still doing the right thing. Encouraging words can heal a worn out spirit. Encouragement with a loving smile can put a spring back into the steps of one who is passionately trying to be a difference for God in this world.
Paul tells us often to encourage each other in God’s church. Do we? Paul’s greatest work with the churches he personally visited was to encourage the people in the what they were already doing. Many times, as we do our work, just one person with a kind affirmation of who we are in Christ and what we are doing for Him, is all it takes. Yes, sincere encouragement gives life…more than you will ever know.
Read this next passage and what how God works through Paul to encourage and give life in many ways…even to a boy who fell asleep during his sermon and fell out the window!
Acts 20, The Message
Macedonia and Greece
20 1-2 With things back to normal, Paul called the disciples together and encouraged them to keep up the good work in Ephesus. Then, saying his good-byes, he left for Macedonia. Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.
2-4 Then he came to Greece and stayed on for three months. Just as he was about to sail for Syria, the Jews cooked up a plot against him. So he went the other way, by land back through Macedonia, and gave them the slip. His companions for the journey were Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus, both Thessalonians; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and the two from western Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.
5-6 They went on ahead and waited for us in Troas. Meanwhile, we stayed in Philippi for Passover Week, and then set sail. Within five days we were again in Troas and stayed a week.
7-9 We met on Sunday to worship and celebrate the Master’s Supper. Paul addressed the congregation. Our plan was to leave first thing in the morning, but Paul talked on, way past midnight. We were meeting in a well-lighted upper room. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in an open window. As Paul went on and on, Eutychus fell sound asleep and toppled out the third-story window. When they picked him up, he was dead.
10-12 Paul went down, stretched himself on him, and hugged him hard. “No more crying,” he said. “There’s life in him yet.” Then Paul got up and served the Master’s Supper. And went on telling stories of the faith until dawn! On that note, they left—Paul going one way, the congregation another, leading the boy off alive, and full of life themselves.
13-16 In the meantime, the rest of us had gone on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we planned to pick up Paul. Paul wanted to walk there, and so had made these arrangements earlier. Things went according to plan: We met him in Assos, took him on board, and sailed to Mitylene. The next day we put in opposite Chios, Samos a day later, and then Miletus. Paul had decided to bypass Ephesus so that he wouldn’t be held up in Asia province. He was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem in time for the Feast of Pentecost, if at all possible.
–Think of who has encouraged you in a special way that pumped new life into your soul and work. Thank God for them. Pray for them. Praise God for them for they were sent by God to you at the special time and place.
–Think of a person today who YOU can sincerely encourage and affirm. Then, with the power of the Holy Spirit guiding you, DO IT!
Dear Heavenly Father,
You have invited us into a ministry of encouragement and we accept. Lead us to those who need it most. Help us to see others they way You see them. Help us to look for the good works You are doing through them and encourage with kind, loving words of affirmation. Thank you, Lord for the example of Paul as an encouragement to Your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen