I've been thinking lately about encouragement. Being unemployed and needing it is an interesting place to be. I've found that people either tell me that they've been praying for me or they try to fix my problem by giving me advice on job searching, thinking of ways to help me financially, etc. The former is great, the latter is not so helpful* (see below for more about that, here's a preview - it's not so great if that's all you get).
8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
9where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
10That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.'
11So I declared on oath in my anger,
'They shall never enter my rest.' "
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I think from now on I will seek to encourage others in the gospel, in the hope of their salvation, using God's word and pointing to them how He works.
Think I will be looking into encouragement some more. Stay tuned...
*I do want to stress that offering to help is great! But I thing that sometimes it's just easier for us to offer solutions to a problem, instead of maybe giving more of ourselves for someones spiritual good. I think a balance of both is good. Personally I'm getting more of this kind of help, and would really appreciate more encouragement for my heart.
**Psalm 33:11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purpose of his heart through all generations.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
***The answer is the hazards to my heart.