Some people are dangerously near compromising their faith. A word of encouragement from you may put them back on track. -Chuck Swindoll
I’d just posted Why Everyone Needs An Encouragement Folder last Monday when I spotted the above quote on Facebook. Chuck’s words struck a chord because I know the power of encouragement firsthand and perhaps you do as well. 
Biblical encouragement isn’t fluff that soothes momentarily but rather, sincere words and actions that linger, resulting in healing, and a spiritual boost that only God can measure. I’m still learning how to shift from giving surface-type compliments to offering genuine soul-stirring encouragement. Here are a few things I’m learning along the way:
Focus on the internal. What actions are we seeing in others? Do we see a servant’s heart? If so, we need to share the specific ways we see Christ-in-action through their lives. And if it’s in front of someone they respect, even better.
Celebrate! Maybe it’s someone in our youth group, life group, neighbor, or co-worker. Have they conquered a hurdle in their lives? Received a promotion? Graduated? Let’s take them out for coffee, send a card, or share a small meaningful gift that represents the reason for the celebration. 
Be present. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. It’s not a matter of if we or others will fall at times, but when. It’s a crossroad for not only the person off track, but for those who surround him/her as well. So here’s the question: When this happens, will we quietly fade into the background because it’s the easiest, cleanest thing to do or will we, instead, choose to come alongside that person, love them unconditionally, and continue to point them back to Jesus? We may be the only representation of Living Water during their driest season.
In Acts 4:36, Luke translates Barnabas to mean “son of encouragement.” The original Greek word for “encouragement,” paraklesis, means consolation, exhortation, and comfort. Apparently, the apostles who gave Joseph the name Barnabas, saw these qualities in his character. 
When Jesus sees us does He see these qualities? Could we be known as a son or daughter of encouragement?
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us
and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort
you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17

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