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Summary: exhortation to encourage others will help in spiritual battle against the tide of discouragement

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Encouragement works

Eph.6:21-24

21Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. 23Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Scene from "Meet the Parents" movie -

Girl brings home boy to meet her parents. U can hear the words "Anxiety Attack" going through the boy’s mind! Girl greeted by HER father and mother and they have a great reunion, they do their "family" rituals with an elaborate and complicated high 5’s and shakes, hugs and kisses which seems to last an eternity while the poor guy is left standing on the outside, feeling a little more anxious with each second... Feel for the guy eh? Just a few words of assurance, just a few instructions, perhaps some warning, would have help ease that awkward moment don’t just leave him hanging there!

I believe encouragement works!

The power of words.

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,

But a good word makes it glad.” Pro.12:25 (NKJV)

The tongue has the power of life and death… (Prov.18:21)

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances (Prov.25:11)

Paul’s circumstance – prisoner – yet he looked for ways to encourage. Send Tychicus, and he writes to encourage… always trying his best to encourage.

Less than a week before Martin Burnham’s abduction by Muslim guerrillas on the Philippine island of Palawan in May 2001, the New Tribes missionary gave the devotional at a Wednesday evening service at Rose Hill Bible Church in his small hometown outside Wichita, Kansas.

Some of Burnham’s last words in the United States were also the last words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John, said Ralph Burnham, Martin’s uncle, during yesterday morning’s service at the church. "His very last words were, ’Follow thou me,’" Ralph Burnham said, his voice choking up. "Martin not only spoke of following him, but he took on that responsibility. Of course, at that time neither he nor any of us expected how far he was going to be required to go to. But he was willing to go."

Martin Burnham, 42, kept that attitude throughout the 376 days he and his wife, Gracia, 43, were held captive by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

Just before a Philippine military raid on the kidnappers that led to Martin’s death and Gracia’s freedom, the two huddled together in a hammock under a makeshift tent.

"Martin and Gracia had really been thinking that there would be a chance that they would not make it out alive," said Martin’s brother, Doug, relying on a phone conversation with Gracia. "Martin said to Gracia, ’The Bible says to serve the Lord with gladness. Let’s go out all the way. Let’s serve him all the way with gladness.’"

The two then prayed in their hammock, recited Scripture verses to each other, and sang. They laid down to rest. Then the rescue assault began and bullets began to fly, puncturing Gracia’s leg and Martin’s chest.

Martin’s words encouraging his wife, his words now have brought encouragement to many people God is raising up to be missionaries!

Many times I feel like giving up esp. feel unwanted, unloved, sermon bombed… then I look at some e-mails I kept of people I have ministered to, remember words spoken by key people in my life, some bad ones too come to me, erase them and ask God to have mercy on them… But Some people live to do this…

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Such people who follow Christ-like ways of speaking to benefit those who listen, really ministers! Just a simple word can help an average person…

According to research…. An average person’s anxiety is focused on :

40% -- things that will never happen

30% -- things about the past that can’t be changed

12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue

10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress

8% -- about real problems that will be faced

It follows that 92% of our stresses or anxieties can be relieved by just a word of encouragement…

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