What insight, idea or truth grabbed you? Why?
A farmer entered Mel, his very old, rather decrepit mule in the Kentucky Derby. When he walked ol’ Mel out of the stables the officials couldn’t believe it! “You’re nuts! Your old mule has a swayed back, bloated belly, popped knees, short legs, is blind in one eye and deaf. What makes you think that he can compete with these fine thoroughbreds let alone win?” The old farmer took a slow gaze at his old mule, “I don’t expect ol’ Mel to win. Just thought the encouragement would do him good!”
Men desperately need to be encouraged. Our Father knows if men are to be a BLESSING to others they must first be BUILT up through the constant, meaningful encouragement of His truth in this broken/bruising world. Paul understood the daily pressures, temptations and adversity men face in life so He begin this love letter from God with heartfelt encouragement. In what areas do men most need encouragement? In what ways are men encouraged? What happens when encouraged men encourage others? Why? What happens when they don’t?
What encouraging truth, promise or principle do you see in these opening verses?
Why is it so encouraging to understand what God is doing to, through, in and for you? Who in your life needs this same encouragement today?
Our English words for encouragement, courage and character are all rooted in the Latin word corāticum (core/heart). When a man’s heart is filled with God’s character (Who He is; what He has done/is doing) it will overflow to encourage all his relationships and he will act courageously to obey God to put the needs of others before his own as a servant leader. God deeply desires that we become encouragers to family and friends so He gives us 3 powerful pictures.
(Chazaq) I Samuel 23:14-18; Nehemiah 6:9
"Went to David"
"Do not be afraid"
"I will be next to you"
"Made a covenant before the Lord"
How has God BUILT you up by strengthening your hands with His truth or a friend He sent your way? Who is He now calling you to BLESS by strengthening their hands? What aspect of God’s character do they most need to see in you or hear from you as a first step of letting their heart be encouraged?
(Para/next to/alongside + kaleo/call to encourage, exhort, console or comfort)
What specific acts of encouragement do these verses describe when you come alongside someone?
II Corinthians 1:3-4
II Timothy 1:5
II Samuel 12:1-13
I Thessalonians 2:1-12
How has God come alongside to BUILD you? Who does God want you to come alongside to BLESS with encouragement, comfort or even exhortation? How will you do this?
(oiko/house + domeo/build)
All of us live in a home and we have certain expectations for it. I.e. Keep us safe, dry, warm, cool, with plumbing and electricity. When these expectations are met, it is joy to bless family and friends by having them over. God does not live in a temple but in the house He is building….you! (Col 1:2; John 14:23; Acts 7:48; 17:24; Eph 2:19-22; 3:17) And He has certain expectations while living in you as His home. I.e. Clean, He is owner, unity, encouragement, reconciliation, grace, praise, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… hmmm sounds familiar (Gal 5:25-26). And when these minimum expectations are met, He loves to invite others over so you can BLESS them with all with which He has blessed you (Built 2 Bless)! Every day the Father uses all the tools in His work belt and all the materials at His disposal to build, restore or repair you as His house to be more like Jesus (Romans 8:29-30). What do the following verses teach about God’s expectations as He builds you to be the ‘house’ He lives in to encourage others?
Colossians 2:6-7; 4-6
Romans 12:1-2, 9-21
I Thessalonians 5:11
I Corinthians 10:23
I Corinthians 14:26
Proverbs 13:3; 15:1; 27:5-6
What ‘home expectation’ most grabbed your heart as He lives in you as a Christ follower? How might you BUILD and BLESS another through encouragement?
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