E is for…..


This is not a word we use on a day to day basis, or at least I don’t.
Most of us think of exhorting or exhortation as the same as encouragement.  And when it boils down to it, it really is the same.  After all, encourage is a synonym for exhort and it’s in the definition.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines exhort this way:

To encourage, to embolden, to cheer, to advise.  The primary sense seems to be to excite or to give strength, spirit or courage……to use words or arguments to incite to good deeds.

Exhortation is a spiritual gift.  I like to think that I have it, but I’m really not sure.  I mean I can send a card or make a phone call when someone is sick or hurting but often, I am at a loss for words.  
 The Bible is not, however, at a loss for words about encouragement — oops, exhortation.  Here are just a few of my favorites about both:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 ESV)

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, (Romans 15:5 ESV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Philippians 2:1 ESV)

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.   (2Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV)

 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 1:7 NIV)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV)  

Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. ( 1 Corinthians 4:16 NAS)

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.   (Hebrews 3:13 ESV)

 So, as you can see, God tells us in His Word that we are to exhort and encourage.  These verses give us instruction on acting these out. but any passage in the Bible can be an encouragement at any time.
Books, music, and people can also exhort or encourage us.  {Side note:  the people part is my favorite}
I pray that this reminder, these verses, have somehow encouraged you today!
This post is linked up with Marcy over at Ben and Me as we are “Blogging Through the Alphabet”
Joy to You!

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