bits from bob....
"If you have any message of encouragement, by all means speak." (Acts 13:15)
Perhaps nothing more effectively cripples achievement and progress than discouragement. Discouragement suffocates us; encouragement is oxygen to the soul. Goethe said, "Correction does much, but encouragement does more...." We must recognize the importance of our words.
A constant awareness of what is wrong is discouraging. Negativism does not build; it tears down and destroys.
If we ever learn to support the things we support with anything like the enthusiasm with which we oppose the things we oppose, we will be a vibrant force for change in our world. Our changed lives will be channels through which those around us and the lost souls of our world will be changed for eternity.
We have a responsibility to edify one another. We must avoid unprofitable words; we must strive toward gentle words of encouragement fitly spoken. History records a remarkable event. The watchmen on the walls of an ancient city cried out when they thought they saw an enemy approaching. They gave so many false alarms that the people began to resent them, and then to ignore their calls. The watchmen resolved to remain quiet. When the enemy did come, the city was devastated. A town destroyed by silence.
Application time. Do you or I ever destroy by silence? When a teacher spends extra time to make sure a Bible lesson is just right, or an elder spends long hours visiting the unfaithful, or a deacon accepts a responsibility and works diligently to do a "bang-up" job, or a secretary works extra hours to make sure the bulletin or an extra mailing is "just right," what do we do? Do we notice? When one works hard to serve Christ and provide the very best, silence is devastating, criticism worse. "If you have a message of encouragement, by all means speak." Almost as if to say, "If you have a message of discouragement, by all means keep it to yourself."
Let us resolve to speak words of gratitude and encouragement. Others can be destroyed by our silence. Our friends, neighbors, and families outside of Christ desperately need to hear the gospel message. Will we speak or be silent? I encourage you to join me in prayer that God will make us bold to speak to him and sensitive to encourage those about us?
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