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But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin's deception.
-Hebrews 3:13 (HCSB)

My heart sang this song:
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
I reflected on these words and decided that the key line is,  "Where seldom is heard a discouraging word".  The heart-cry of the song is to live free of discouraging words.

The author of "Home on The Range" (originally called My Western Home, in 1872), was a man named Brewster Higley VI.  He went through some serious pain and suffering.  But he lived to be 88 years old.

Besides Hebrews 3:13, I found these other verses admonishing us to encourage one another, encouragement being the opposite of discouragement:
Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
-Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT & HCSB)
This word, encouragement, is used a lot in the NT.  Paul uses is a lot, often saying, "I encourage you to..."  This same word, encourage, also mean comfort, or urge.  It means to, "come along side and build up".  It also means, "to appeal", or even "to beg", as in strongly encourage you to do the right thing in Christ.

Preachers should encourage this way and not discourage or beat people up, and this is how the Holy Spirit functions: as encourager, comforter, appealer, and admonisher.

Another word for the one who encourages is exhort - "exhorter" or "exhortation".  I have a best friend, who when we met, told me that his spiritual gift was exhortation.  That is one of the gifts in Romans 12.  I have learned to call these the design gifts.

Certain people are born with that gift, and being encouraging comes natural to them, but we are all called to encourage one another.  In fact, if you ask the NT what the purpose is of the gathering of the church, the answer is mutual edification (1 Cor. 14:26 & Heb. 10:25).  Encouraging words edify.

I need encouraging words spoken into my ears, close up (in my face, if you will).  I need eye contact with you encouraging me and I need to do that to you to.  We need to edify each other.  We were designed to "one-another".

The picture is from Pacific Beach Presbyterian's blog.


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