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July 1, 2022

This month’s Pastor’s Perspective is delivered by Mark Bethea, First Baptist Church, Montgomery

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Recently I received a text message in the middle of the day that simply read, “I’m praying for you right now.” Six simple words that likely took a few seconds to tap out on a phone but was deeply meaningful to receive. The person that sent the message had no idea what myself or our family had been walking through, but knowing they were at that moment, lifting us up to the Lord impacted me greatly.

You can never discount the impact a word of encouragement and prayer can mean to someone.

I have found that as I have sought to encourage people around me, it helps me to find the best in each person rather than flaws or shortcomings. Somehow, in our flesh, we become mighty good at finding the imperfections in other people. When we covenant to encourage those around us, our eyes look for the good, the positive, and the “Jesus” in others rather than deficiencies. Intentionally encouraging those around us trains our hearts and mouths away from our flesh.

There is such joy in giving encouragement, but how refreshing to the heart and soul to receive it. For something that does not take a great deal of energy or effort, it can have a mighty impact instantly.

The local church should a place of immense encouragement for believers. Thriving churches are places in which members utilize their words towards one another to encourage, build up, and point one another to Jesus. Strive to proactively foster this environment in your church through the influence God has given.

May I challenge you this week to intentionally encourage at least one person each day? Write a note, send a text, make a phone call. When someone does something that blesses you or you see someone doing something worthy of praise, encourage them in the Lord.

Has there been a teacher than impacted you in a meaningful way? Is there a marriage that you see Christ reflected in? Have you watched someone display Christ-like service? Is there a person that reflects the joy of the Lord? Is someone walking through a tough season? Has someone blessed you? Is someone needing a nudge of back on the path?

Think and consider who could benefit from a word of encouragement from your heart. Take the few moments to sit down and craft a note or tap out a message on your phone.

Encouragement changes both people. After all, the familiar verse in Ephesians encourages us to, “let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only such as good for building up as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear.” There’s always a good occasion to build others up in the Lord and encourage them no matter their season or circumstance.

Be a people-builder-upper this week. You’ll find yourself happier in the Lord and find others to be happier in the Lord alongside you. Be intentional and grow in the grace of encouragement as you follow Jesus today!

Mark Bethea is senior pastor of First Baptist Church, 305 S. Perry Street.

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