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Encouragement

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Words matter.

After my Mom passed away I found a short letter she had written to me. Although I don’t know exactly when she wrote it or why she didn’t give it to me, nonetheless, it touches my heart every time I read it. In it, she expressed how proud she was of me as a son, as a husband to Nicole, and as a person. She used the words, “What more can a mother ask for?” And she reminded me to always put God first. I believe the Lord made sure I found the note.

Words matter.

I need a constant reminder of this.

I need to practice this all of the time.

Recently I deeply hurt a friend with my words and I didn’t even know I was doing it. We had grown so close that I would make fun of this person in jest, not even thinking about the words I was saying and how they might be received. Levi Lusko, Pastor of Fresh Life Church says the following about words: “Words are powerful things. They can build up and tear down. They can unlock potential and they can crush spirits.” Proverbs says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (18:21). I have apologized and I am trying to learn from my mistakes. I have so much to learn.

In Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica he wrote: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Mom was a great encourager to me. I try to be an encourager to others but fall short when I let my pride—wanting to be funny and make people laugh—overshadow my desire to encourage. This too I have to change.

Part of my Mom’s legacy is encouragement. On this, the third anniversary of her going to Heaven and spending eternity with Jesus, I want to try and encourage you with my words. Although I miss her greatly, her legacy lives on with this blog which I started one year ago today. I’m celebrating this first anniversary! All of you have been an encouragement to me, and this blog has helped me immensely, letting me synthesize my thoughts and culling them into one central place. It has worked as a healing place for me to give and receive encouragement as we all drive towards living the life God created us to live in Christ.

I am still convinced the best is yet to come and although life is full of challenges, I know Jesus is my greatest encourager and corrector, my ultimate source of joy, love and wisdom. I know that whatever pain or suffering we are currently going through, He loves us perfectly (John 15:9), and we are His treasure (1 Peter 2:9-10). ALL will be worth it, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

My prayer for us is that we can encourage one another, learning together to live the life God created us to live in Christ.

How are you doing with giving and receiving encouragement?

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Who’s Your Teammate and Encourager?

Chris was my friend, teammate and encourager the year I was MVP of my T-Ball league back in 1982. Although I lost contact with Chris, I still look back at our friendship fondly. I remember Chris as humble, happy, always friendly and a very good T-ball player as well. He was a great teammate and I know I would not have been MVP that season if I did not have him by my side.

Who is by your side? Who is the Chris in your life? Do you have a friend who is humble, happy, always friendly, an encourager and on the same team as you?

Life is meant to be lived in community. From the beginning, God modeled the idea of community through the Trinity of God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus.

Jesus also modeled friendship and community.  He had three close friends—Peter, James, and John. “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves” (Matthew 17:1).

Among those three, Jesus also had a best friend, John. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26).

They supported Jesus, though not perfectly, to help Him accomplish his mission for His life.

They were on the same team, not always humble, happy nor friendly, but they were with Him and for Him and always willing to support Him. If Jesus needed community in life, don’t we all?

Whom do you have in your life as a friend, teammate and encourager, and how have they supported you to live the life you were created to live in Christ?

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Financial Friend

I find money and possessions fascinating and frustrating, usually not at the same time. The more we have, the better we are supposed to feel—more secure—but that’s usually not the case.

We most likely have our team of advisors: CPA; attorney; insurance person; financial advisor; maybe even a bookkeeper and other professionals who advise us. But have you ever considered having a financial friend?

As you already know, money is still a taboo topic to discuss personally in social circles, with family, and with friends.

But what if we had a friend with whom we could share our entire financial life? We could discuss our financial mistakes, our fears, our struggles, our dreams and the concerns we are currently having.

Would our financial lives—and life for that matter—become better or worse?

I’ve had a financial friend for a couple of years now, and it’s been great. We’re able to encourage one another; learn from one another; pray for one another and best of all, bring this dark topic out into the light. We ask the hard questions to challenge one another to see money in a different light. My financial life has improved and my perspective has changed because of our “financial friendship.” We study and continue learning what the Bible says about money and possessions, and talk about how this impacts our lives and eternity. This isn’t a mentor/mentee relationship but one of walking  together with  one another in an area of life that is often avoided in community.

What do you think about this idea of having a financial friend?

“But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after” (1 Timothy 6:9-10) The Message.