Timely encouragement is one of the essential experiences that we can have and sometimes can come unexpectedly. Life can have difficult seasons, and a word of encouragement can make a huge difference. I remember encouraging a young man, and when I did, he stood up straighter, and a smile came to his face.
There is something about encouragement that changes us from the inside out. The book of Acts introduces us to Barnabas, whose name means encourager. Later he would go on the first missionary with the Apostle Paul. Think how important it was to have an encourager on such a journey and how his gift of encouragement affected others.
Jeremiah Wrote a Letter of Encouragement
Jeremiah was a prophet in Jerusalem and loved the Jewish people. Most people in Jerusalem were exiled to Babylon during his difficult time as a prophet. As a conquered people, you can imagine their discouragement and depression. It was during this season that Jeremiah determined he would encourage the people.
Jeremiah 29:1 Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  As God spoke just the right words to Jeremiah to encourage the people. Jeremiah listened to the Lord and wrote the message to make a significant difference in their lives. The Lord told the people to settle into their communities and raise families through Jeremiah. They were to remember that God had a plan for their lives, so they should be obedient and refuse to listen to false prophets. Jeremiah’s words of encouragement and guidance would have been life-changing if taken seriously and integrated into the exiles’ lives.
You Can Encourage Others
What if you became an encourager like Barnabas or Jeremiah? How would that change you and those around you? 1 Thessalonians 5:11So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”  Paul knows when we encourage others we build them up. The world we live in tears people down, but as followers of Jesus, we are to be builders of the body.
Also, remember the Lord is always with us to encourage us. Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. When we remember the Lord is always with us, it strengthens us to be that encourager to another person. Think of who you could encourage today and what a difference that could make in their lives.
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[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.