How to encourage one another: an example from Paul.

I love to encourage people and I like to be encouraged by others also. One of my frequent prayers is Lord; cause me to be an encourager to others. During the weekend I was at the local skate park and noticed a father sitting down drinking some beer while watching his daughter ride. I then noticed how they sat together and interacted with each other as father and daughter.

As they were leaving; I said to him. Do you mind if I say something to you; and then told him that I had noticed how he and his daughter interacted and from one dad to another I wanted to say well done. His response was fantastic.

He seemed to grow before my eyes 4 inches taller and stood high. He shook my hand; telling me he was separated and only saw his daughter every 2nd weekend and made an interesting remark…I do my best; I make mistakes…there is no rule book in how to be a dad. ..he made that comment about the rule book a number of times. They then rode off on their bike and scooter.

Paul tells us to encourage each other on a daily or regular basis and we can learn a lot from Paul in how he encouraged others through prayer. For Paul not only told people he was praying for them; he told them how he was praying. This is something I have tried to develop in my own life; to personally pray with people and if that is not possible; I send them a note telling them how I am praying for them.

It’s comforting to know people are praying and indeed there are times in my life when I can feel the prayers of people praying for me. Today my prayer for you is that no matter what your going through; that you will know the love of God. May his love shape and inform your lives. May you know that he causes good to work out from all situations and strengthen you with joy,

About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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4 Responses to How to encourage one another: an example from Paul.

  1. tildeb says:

    Paul? The same Paul who tells us to repudiate the world? Craig, I’m disappointed in such a unworthy source for your motives trying to do good. You can do so much better!

    What most christians simply do not understand is that to become a christian in christianity’s first few centuries meant that one had to segregate ones self radically from the world. Early christians took very seriously Jesus’ claim that you had to hate father and mother, your brothers and sisters, for his sake. Becoming a christian was to repudiate the world. As a consequence, of course, many of them were quite prepared to die, in fact, many were eager to die for the sake of the gospel – the ultimate sacrifice to copy Jesus. The world had no allure, and life in the world was good only for the leaving of it. Nice philosophy, eh?

    So why not use this kind of ‘encouragement’ about repudiating the world… the kind much closer to Paul’s contextual teachings if you insist on using Paul as your example?

    If Paul is the kind of authority about our knowledge of god you assume him to be, then he must also be an authority when he speaks about the foolishness of worldly wisdom. That’s the problem with scriptural contradictions. You can’t have it both ways, Craig. You can’t accept Paul’s “philosophical” argument about the existence of god, and then simply ignore Paul’s anti-intellectualism. As ex-priest MacDonald writes Paul is clearly familiar with the philosophical arguments for the existence of God. But he also wants to condemn them. And this traps you, too, in a deceitful web of your own choosing when you use Paul to motivate your own interactions in the world.

    So by all means encourage people for the admirable behaviour you see them do – although I would skip the praying together part because it makes it look like you’re trying to earn spiritual brownie points rather than exercising open and honest admiration (and perhaps concern) for their well-being and appreciation for their wonderful example here on earth. But I would not use use Paul as your model. It makes your reasoning look pretty funny (according to Paul, one must stand apart from the world in order really to know. The wisdom of the world, after all, is, for Paul, foolishness (1 Corinthians 1.20)).

    Too much christianity these days is based on the absurdities of Paul and his anti-human, anti-life, anti-women, anti-Other, anti-authority-except-his-own beliefs. But, to be honest, the examples proffered by those who wrote about Jesus aren’t that much better.

    • Craig Benno says:

      It really appears to me that you have had some real terrible encounters with Christians in the past and if so; I would like to apologise for that.
      It seems to me that the type of Christianity you are so militantly against; is the sort that I don’t know and is something I haven’t experienced.

      My example of prayer is that Paul prayed for people and told them what he prayed for. Come to think of it; so did Jesus.

      It would seem from your closing statement that we are actually at odds in understanding Paul’s position regarding many things. Indeed I have often commented on this blog how Paul clearly teaches that the Gospel of Christ says there is no distinction on a racial, social class and gender basis.

      Admittedly there are some who clearly teach and distort the scriptures to make out that Paul was who you said he is and so it would seem you agree with those who teach that… however; its my experience and understanding that Paul actually teaches a remarkable freedom.

      Of cause though; the true basis for your antagonism is that you are really against the the birth; death and resurrection of Christ…and so when ever someone makes a point of believing that; you want to pull them down for believing such…

      Your attitude of antagonism doesn’t phase me…after all there is just as much hype and antagonism in some quarters from those who are passionate that the Jewish Holocaust never happened under Nazi Germany… no matter what history says otherwise.

  2. tildeb,

    What do you mean by “segregate oneself radically from the world”/”repudiate the world”? Where do you get that Christians believed “life in the world was good only for the leaving of it”?

    Where does Paul show he has an “anti-intellectualism” bend?

    Where does Paul say that “one must stand apart from the world in order to really know,” and to what is Paul referring when he says “really know”?

    What did Paul mean by “worldly wisdom” in 1 Corinthians 1:20?

    Where did Paul advocate views that are “anti-human, anti-life, anti-women, anti-Other, anti-authority-except-his-own beliefs”?

    I’m curious where you came up with all of this.

    • tildeb says:

      No, you’re not. Not really. You already know I’m wrong because I have to be. And that’s why I’m not playing this game with you.

      There is plenty of evidence in Paul’s letters for those who are willing to read them to discover for themselves the reasons why I say these things but I have absolutely no doubt that you are theologically agile enough as a seminary student with just enough interpretation and swings between the metaphorical and the literal, quick dodges into metaphysics when the heat gets too much for the temporal details, run and cover into the bushes of nuances and sophisticated theology to penetrate the unknowable mystery of god’s word when faced with false truth claims, that you can weave whatever meaning into the letters you care to in order to support the conclusion you had before you ever cracked scripture: that this is truly the word of god as a compendium so it must be true in the whole… to better justify in your own mind why my accusations MUST be wrong in the reading of the details while yours that support the ‘correct’ reading of the whole, which is by necessity right, true, and accurate.

      But my conclusions have been reached only after an honest inquiry and Paul’s letters reveal these obvious contradictions and anti-human stance in many places. You know it, and I know you know it before we go any further. So we can leave it right here and you can continue your ‘education’ to harden your shield of theology to better deflect legitimate and penetrating criticism… as long as you don’t particularly care to look too closely if what you’re defending respects what’s actually true, what’s honest, what’s compassionate, and what is right. That soul-searching usually doesn’t happen until you’ve been practicing for a couple of decades. Once you have to face your justifiable doubts head on, then we can have a good chat.

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