Day 40 #liftupforlent

This is the final installment of the Lift up for Lent series on encouragement. Today we begin the journey of Holy Week, from the joyous shouts of Hosannas to the breaking of the bread at the Last Supper to the cries of "Crucify Him!" to the tragedy of the cross and on to the victory of Easter.  It is quite a roller coaster of a ride. This is perhaps the best ...

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Day 39 #liftupforlent

As someone who is a master at falling on my face, crashing and burning and failing utterly and completely, I can attest to this quote. It may not be the best one to use immediately after someone has experienced a colossal fail, but it's still a true statement. It's a reminder that failing means we've tried--that we were brave and bold enough to try something new. Sometimes encouragement means affirming someone's actions--even ...

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Day 38 #liftupforlent

It's coming up on graduation season. Young people all over the country will be wrapping up a phase of their lives and moving on to something new.  Perhaps you know of adults who are getting ready to embark on a new thing--a new job, a promotion, a marriage, a child. Anytime you start something new, there is excitement, but there is also apprehension. Getting encouragement in advance of starting something new can ...

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Day 37 #liftupforlent

This is one of my favorite scriptures of encouragement--especially in times when grief or pain or disappointment is so great that I can't imagine ever soaring or running or even walking without feeling weary. I think it's the use of the future tense in this passage that makes it so powerful. It doesn't tell me that those who trust in the Lord find new strength right now or that those who ...

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Day 36 #liftupforlent

Today, whenever you encourage someone (and by now you should be well practiced), imagine the ripple effect you are creating. Know that whenever you make someone feel encouraged or good about themselves, they are much more likely to make someone else feel that way. And that person is more likely to encourage yet another person. There really is something to the whole pay-it-forward thing. When the problems of the world seem ...

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Day 35 #liftupforlent

We can encourage people because it is Biblical: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 We can encourage people because we want to help We can encourage people because it makes us feel good to be the encourager rather than the discourager Or we can encourage people because science tells us it is an effective tool in our workplaces, communities and ...

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Day 34 #liftupforlent

As always, words of encouragement need to fit the person and their situation, but I have found this quote from Einstein really helpful at times. A pastor's schedule can easily spiral out of control. Illnesses, deaths, relationship crises, conflicts in the congregation are never on the calendar--which is often already overbooked.  It can be overwhelming and become almost paralyzing. When there is more to do that I can ever get done, my ...

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Day 31 #liftupforlent

Today's encouraging exercise will need to be practiced thoughtfully and judiciously. That's right. I'm talking about hugging. In a world where sexual harassment still abounds even after we have all taken sexual harassment training, hugging has become taboo. And though I will always applaud awareness about and action against harassment, the ban on hugging has hurt us all, because hugging is good for your health. Former Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center program ...

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Day 29 #liftupforlent

May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. Romans 15:5 [Common English Bible] One of the things I fail miserably at every day is the effort to be more Christ-like. Where Jesus was kind and patient and gentle, I tend to be cranky, impatient and snarky.  Perhaps this is why I'm drawn to encouragement as a spiritual discipline. I like ...

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