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2011 October 11
by Bill

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “A bold heart is half the battle.” How do we get there? Encouragement. To encourage people is to help them gain courage that they might otherwise not posses. Courage to face the day, to take risks, to make a difference.

In Numbers 6: 24-26, the Lord instructed Moses to instruct Aaron to bless the nation of Israel thus, and they were encouraged.

“May the Lord bring good to you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be kind to you. May the Lord show favor toward you, and give you peace.

Encouragement motivates. Encouragement changes everything.

The first time I heard this I was living outside of Washington, DC and my home office was in Irvine, California. Occasionally I would travel out to the home office for quick meetings but the majority of my work was by phone and Fax. (This predated email.) There were several customer service representatives that I dealt with almost every day, but had not met due to the rapid growth of the company and my travel schedule.

I received a teaching on motivation and encouragement that moved me to write some “thank you” notes on some new cards that my company had recently sent to me. I sat down at an early computer (a Tandy 8000 as I recall) and I wrote words of encouragement to my children, my wife, several dozen friends and to the customer service representative who worked my territory.

Several months later I was in the home office and during a break in meetings was able to go and visit the customer service area. There, hanging on the cubical wall of my representative, was my note. She read it every day.

Jesus encouraged people, and said:

“We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak in order to build them up in the faith.” Rom 15:1

Rick Warren recently shared that we all need confidence. “When you know that someone believes in you, it brings out your best. Jesus did this with the Apostle Peter. Peter’s name, Petros, meant pebble. But Jesus said, “Pebble, you are going to be a rock. I’m giving you a new name.”

At the time Peter was anything but a rock. He was Mr. impulsive and Mr. Foot-in-Mouth, but Jesus did not tell Peter what he was, He told him what he could be. Jesus encouraged him to live up to his potential.

John Maxwell’s book, “Encouragement Changes Everything” sets forth some great guidelines for encouragement. He points out that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone, both young and old, successful and less than successful, unknown or famous who receives encouragement is changed by it.

An encouraging word from a teacher can change the direction of a child’s life and encouragement from a spouse can change and even save a marriage.

When you give encouragement it must be genuine, given from the heart with sincerity. You also need to give it generously, don’t be stingy with encouragement. Your family needs to hear it frequently especially if you are the head of the household or you are the organizational leader, and it needs to be specific to the task. General encouragement is OK but specifics are what we are looking for.

When Dr. Cho started his ministry in South Korea he prayed for a bicycle so that he could get around Seoul easier. He prayed and prayed but no bicycle arrived. One day he asked the Lord why his prayers went unanswered. The Lord replied, “Because you have not told me what kind of bicycle you want. Red? Black? One speed? Two speed, Three speed? How will you know that I have answered your prayers unless they are specific?” Dr. Cho modified the prayer and the next day received the exact bicycle that he prayed for.

Specific encouragement motivates and directs positive activity.

John Maxwell has said,

“God’s love for us gives us the reason to encourage others.
God’s love in us gives us the ability to encourage others.
God’s love through us gives us the way to encourage others.”

Encouragement can motivate a person to go further, accomplish more and grow faster than they thought possible when someone else thinks they can and says so. Encouragement enables us to persevere like nothing else. And, it helps us as we encourage others. The way you treat them is often the way they become.

“When someone does something good, applaud! It will make two people happy.” SAMUEL GOLDWYN

While we are on the subject, encourage yourself. Truett Cathy says’ “How do you find someone who needs encouragement? That person is breathing.”

If you have no one to lift you then do not allow yourself to worry when you are doing your best, hurry when success depends on accuracy, think evil of another until you have all of the facts…and even then you may want to re-consider. Don’t believe something is impossible without trying it, waste time on the trivial, harbor bitterness towards God or another person or imagine that good intentions are a satisfactory excuse. (Remember, we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.)

“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:6

“Treat a man as he appears to be and you may make him worse. Treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.” GOETHE

My goal as a manager is to create an environment where those who are in my employ have the opportunity to grow and succeed way beyond what I have accomplished. I let them make mistakes, develop alternative systems and products and encourage them along the way. Charles Schwab says, “I have yet to find the man, however his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”

It works for me.

I have tried to be an encourager as a husband and as a father. The results have been wonderful. My wife is on her way to her doctorate in the area of her passion, my son is about to launch a music product that he developed, my oldest daughter has a successful voice-over business and my youngest daughter is a full-time praise and worship minister. All are following their passions. I do not believe that they would be where they are without the encouragement of others and me in their lives.

“Flatter me and I may not believe you.
Criticize me and I may not like you.
Ignore me and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me and I will never forget you.”

How to fight discouragement

“He will shield you with His wings.
He will shelter you with His feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
Psalm 91:4

Reject rejection, see mistakes as temporary, see failures as isolated incidents, keep expectations positive and realistic, focus on strengths, vary your approach to achievement, bounce back!

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”

The six most encouraging phrases:

I love you.
Dinner is served.
All is forgiven.
Keep the change.
You’ve lost weight.
I believe in you.

“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

Remember, God can do anything!

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