ODJ: encouraged

May 1, 2014 

READ: Acts 4:32-36 

The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and God’s great blessing was upon them all (v.33).

When I was young one of my favourite days was 1 May. Known as May Day, it gave me a chance to hope for a kiss on the cheek from my latest crush. Making small baskets filled with candy, my friends and I would leave the gifts of affection on the doorsteps of those we knew, ring the doorbell and run. If we left a basket for someone we liked, we ran slowly because getting caught meant getting kissed. This is the traditional way children celebrate May Day in my home country, America. Gone are those days of innocence.

Social strife. Financial collapse. Political injustice. When checking the news we find reasons for discouragement. Though there’s no new evil under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), human beings continue to face trying times just as Jesus foretold (Matthew 24:6-10).

The early church, however, stands as an example of how the power of Jesus becomes real even in times of challenge and despair. Because the believers in that age were convinced of the resurrection of Jesus, His Word became alive in their hearts and they quickly became agents of change. They preached, prayed and gave (Acts 4:24,29-37). In short, they were ambassadors of Jesus and His good news as they spoke new life to the people they encountered (6:10).

Today, we can come alongside others to offer them a message of hope beyond man’s ability (Isaiah 35:1-5). Just as He did in the early church, the Holy Spirit works through us to reveal the heart of God to others. More than positive claims or random acts of kindness, being an encourager presents the opportunity for us to change the world around us for Christ.

We share word and deeds of hope because Jesus showed us how (John 3:16; 1 John 4:19-21). No matter what we find in the news, Jesus’ good news extends true encouragement to all people. —Regina Franklin

365-day plan› Nehemiah 8:1-18

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:10-18 and consider why God’s message of encouragement must be present in individual members of His church for it to minister well to all people. 
How have you been (or not been) a source of encouragement to others? In what tangible ways can you be an encouragement to someone this week?