Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The “Parakaleo” Ministry

This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it! I hope you will as well.

God has challenged my heart the past few days on the importance of encouragement, and guarding my words.

Isaiah 50:4 (TM) says, "God, has give me a well-taught tongue."

My words are like nitroglycerine: they can either blow up bridges or heal hearts. You can tell more about somebody by what they say about others, than by what others say about them.

There are so many of God's children that are thinking about giving up because they feel alone, and uncared for. There is such a great need for The "Parakaleo Ministry." What do I mean by that? Well, I would love to use the words of one of my favorite authors to explain this…Rick Renner. I have taken the following from his book, "Sparkling Gems from the Greek."

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13

If you want to fulfill God's plan for your life, there's one thing you must not do: Don't forsake the daily fellowship and encouragement of other believers! Hebrews 3:13 tells us that we need to "exhort one another daily." But what does it mean to "exhort"?

The word for "exhort" that is used in this verse comes from the Greek word parakaleo. It is a compound of the words para and kaleo. The word para means alongside, and the word kaleo means to call, to invite, to speak, or to beckon. When these two words are compounded into one, it gives the picture of someone who has come closely alongside of another person for the sake of speaking to him, consoling him, comforting him, or assisting him with instruction, counsel, or advice.

Because it is so helpful when someone comes alongside to support you in this manner, this word is often translated in the New Testament as the word encouragement. Jesus used the word paraklete, a derivative of parakaleo, to describe the Holy Spirit as the "Comforter" in John 14:16.

These verses make it abundantly clear that we need to both give and receive encouragement from other believers on a daily basis. This is such a vital principle that the tense used in the Greek language calls for continual action. In other words, we are not to just encourage one another once a week; we are to make this a matter of lifestyle. We must get into the habit of encouraging one another, doing it so often that it becomes a daily practice!

Think how encouraging it is when someone cares enough to take you to lunch, call you on the telephone, write you a note, or go out of his way at the office or church to come to you and ask how you are doing. It is especially very strengthening to know that someone really cares about you if you're going through challenging times!

But rather than fixate only on your need to be encouraged, try taking your eyes off yourself to see those around you who are also in need of strength. Think of someone you know whom you can strengthen by coming alongside him to speak words of comfort, consolation, or bravery. Maybe you can take that person to lunch; call him on the telephone; drop him a note; or go out of your way to see how he is doing. Remember, you're not the only one who needs encouragement!

We all need encouragement from brothers and sisters in the Lord who will lovingly attach themselves to us — watching us, making observations about us, and finding ways to provoke us unto love and good deeds. But we must also turn around and do the same for other believers. That's what the Body of Christ is all about!

So recognize that when you're feeling down and left out, you need fellowship with people of faith more than ever. Jesus understood this principle. When He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray the night before His crucifixion, He asked Peter, James, and John to come pray with Him. Jesus needed their fellowship and strength that night, or He wouldn't have requested it.

Recognize your need for others — and acknowledge that others need you as well. The daily exhortation and encouragement of other believers will help you stir up your faith to hold fast to your confession until it becomes a reality. And as an added side benefit, you will experience more deeply the Presence of the Lord in your life through the joy of knowing and loving other people of like faith!

What a challenge! "Lord, use me today in The Parakaleo Ministry!


Pastor Rusty L. Blann