Thursday, January 20, 2011



What do you think of when you hear that word?

I have a picture of a kind friend or family member sympathetically listening to my woes, giving me a hug, and saying they’ll be praying for me.

All wonderful, yes – but I think encouragement means so much more than a comforting word. It’s something more than a "warm fuzzy."

Grammar lesson time - (please don’t run away – there will be NO pop quiz!)

The word encouragement starts with the prefix "en." "En" means this – to put into, to go into, to cause to be.

Here are just a few of the words that start with the prefix "en."

Enable – To make able
Enoble – To make noble
Encode – To make coded

So, in this sense, encouragement means to make courageous to put courage into someone, to cause them to be courageous.

Quite literally, encouragement is to inspire with spirit or hope. To raise the level of confidence. To spur on. To imbue with resolution and tenacity. To give someone the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Therefore, conversely, being discouraged is more than just feeling bad, or a little down. It is literally being "un-couraged" having one’s courage taken away. It is being powerless, afraid, and defeated.

I don’t want to be defeated – I want to be made courageous.

It’s like this – (here comes the crazy English major with her word picture analogies – you’ve been warned!)

Out on a muddy battlefield, I’ve been fighting the good fight. But then, I fall down, losing my sword in the process. Laying in the mud, I am too exhausted to get up. I am discouraged. The truly encouraging comrade-in-arms is not the person who comes over, pats me on the back, and says, "Things will get better. Hang in there."


The EN-courager is the one who picks me up, wipes the mud from my face, finds my sword, slaps it back into my hand, grabs my arm, and says, "C’mon. We’ve got no time to waste. We’ve got a battle to fight, and we can do this! WE ARE CONQUERERS!!"

That person has made me courageous again.

So, I want to EN-courage you today. I don’t want to pat you on the back and tell you that things will get better. They might not. In fact, if you really choose to step out for the Lord, I’ll bet they get worse. The enemy doesn’t like an offensive warrior.

But, pay no attention to him.

He desires nothing less than to dis-courage you. Turn a deaf ear to his lies.

Listen instead to the ultimate EN-courager – God Himself.

"This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
(Joshua 1:9)

That’s the secret. God tells us over and over again – I AM WITH YOU!

So, let Him make you courageous again. Let Him give you His Sword.

Go to the Word of God and let it EN-courage you today. And then go out and EN-courage someone else.

We’re all in this fight together!

We’ve got no time to waste.
We’ve got a battle to fight.
We can do this.


BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”


  1. Woohoo! Thank you Sharon for slapping me on the back. We do get knocked down to the ground, BUT together with God we get back up, again and again and again. The hard knocks make us stronger, and with determination ('cause I'm pretty stubborn - in a good way) and the power of God that lives within us, nothing is ever going to keep us down. Woohoo - There is no time to waste. For God gives us this moment, to do His will, to fight and be mighty conquerors! Woohoo! Praise Jesus! I'm not yelling out ready-set-go, or on the count of three, Praise Jesus! i'm fighting this battle, with my sword in hand, yelling out from the top of my lungs 53787!!! J.E.S.U.S.

    C'mon Sharon, get up! Thatta girl! We have a battle to conquer, we have been deployed, 53787 is with us! We are conquerors! Yee-ha!

  2. Onward Christian Solider...
    A Loyal Soldier of Christ Jesus
    2 Timothy 2:3,4 NCV
    Share in the troubles we have like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. A soldier wants to please the enlisting officer, so no one serving in the army wastes time with everyday matters.

  3. Awesome, awesome post...just great. My word last year was courage...I felt I was a warrior who needed to speak courage to my spirit, because I was in the mud, face down. When someone came along and spoke true words of encouragement, then I was able to rise from the mud and enter back into the did an awesome job writing this out and putting the real meaning to encourage out there to visualize and sink our teeth into ....thanks!!

  4. This was a great post, Sharon!! And it was very ENCOURAGING! I have felt the enemy attacking me all week, but have also been sure that it was because I was threatening some ground he didn't want to lose. This morning I am feeling like crying (one of the effects of MSG in my system which I suffer). I had a lovely day yesterday, accomplished a lot, visited a friend in the hospital, took my 89-year-old mom to an eye doctor appt. and then she, my daughter and I had lunch. That's when I must have had something I shouldn't have, and I cannot tolerate it well. Today, I have errands to run, and possibly a meal to bring to a gal with a little one in the hospital, and then get back to pick up my daughter by 4:00. But, I will not give up, nor give in, and will put one foot in front of the other. My friend, Sharon, is helping me up, wiping the mud off my face (with the aid of the tears flowing down it) and handing me my sword. I will press on and fight! Thanks for the ENCOURAGEMENT!
    Bless you,

  5. Oh you have no idea. This one just "hit the spot" like a cold drink of water in the dog days of summer. Or maybe a hot cup of soup on a cold and dreary day.

    I've been thinking a lot about encouragement. I've even put together some notes for a lesson on it. This is just perfect. Just perfect.

  6. Kinda cool today how so many of us are
    talking about encouragement. This is what
    we are supposed to do--encourage and
    build one another up in the Lord.
    Thanks again, Sharon. You always make
    me smile.

  7. I like that - glad you are an encourager - there are too many discouragers in life - you know what I mean? sandie

  8. YESSSS! (That's as close as I get to a written version of a fist-pump). That's the difference between sympathy and encouragement. A sympathetic friend will wallow in it with you, an encouraging one will drag you out (by your hair, if necessary)
    It reminds me of the four men who carried the paralytic to Jesus. He was completely incapable of helping himself, and lesser friends would have settled for sitting next to his mat and trying to make him feel better about his situation. But these four men wouldn't stop until they saw his situation CHANGED!

  9. Good words! This was very timely for me today. Thank you for the encouragement. :-)

  10. Hi Sharon -

    This message is EN - GOD. His stamp is indeed on this, Sharon. Thank you for sharing what we need to remember.

    Isaiah 40:29 - KJV
    He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

    Isaiah 40:31 - KJV
    But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings with eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

  11. Buddy- thank you for being one of my very own EN-Couragers today!
    Love you sister and am so blessed and grateful that we are in this BATTLE together!
    xxooo Janet

  12. You "encourage" with your words and wisdom. Thanks, Sharon. Another great post!


  13. Sharon,
    I am linking to this post, and have written about what you did for me, today on my Thankful Thursday post! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, my dear bloggy friend!!
    Faith's Firm Foundation

  14. This is one of the best analogies I have ever definitely have the gift of encouragement....

  15. Blessings Sharon! Thank you so much for the EN COURAGE MENT... (meant to make us courageous to fight the good fight and be conquerors in Christ)!

    Sword drawn; breastplate in place; belt of truth and shoes of peace on; shield of FAITH... all because my helmet of salvation given to me by Jesus and Words of Wisdom through your pen (keyboard) with a true gift of being an encourager and helping us to forge ahead with a great CHEER to end this English lesson! Thanks!

    You really do make learning fun with your creative and clever writing style.

    "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact YOU are doing."
    1 Thessalonians 5:11


  16. A powerful witness on this word, encourage! To give courage to a hurting soul--WOW... I love this. A great word picture for me as I march on through the battle field and see so many in need of courage. May I always be found lifting another up!


  17. Hi Sharon,

    You have given me a lot to ponder here, puts a whole new look on encouragement and is in line with something I have been convicted on too - so go girl go - guess balance is the key, sympathy yes, empathy yes,but you are right, there is more to it than that. God Bless - Nita

  18. What an AWESOME post!! I love it! Thank you for reminding us what a good encourager looks like. Sympathy has it's moments, but in the battlefield we need our swords drawn and someone to come alongside of us and get us to our feet!
    Thank you Sharon!

  19. Kerrie - I LOVE IT!! Yee-ha! Your comment has ME all fired up! I'm fighting for "53787" with watch out, enemy!!! Loved your verse, too - just PERFECT!

    Janette - Oh, thank you so much. Isn't it funny how a "word for the year" really does something to our spirit? I've picked "determined" this year - mostly because I'm sick of letting my fears hold me back! And en-couragement from other believers like you, is the key to keeping me determined to fight!!

    Wendy - I am incredibly blessed that God used me to help you! As I shared on your blog - this was a message that I needed to hear. And to find out that it helped others, THAT is so very wonderful - and THAT en-courages me!! Thank you, dear friend - for linking this post to your blog, and for being such a good blogging sister!

    Debbie - Thanks, buddy. And I have an idea how this might have spoken to you - cause it was speaking to me, too. THIS is the year that we fight a different battle, my friend. THIS is the year that we REFUSE to be dis-couraged in our pursuits.

    Sandy - I have often noticed how God seems to "co-ordinate" His message on several different blogs! He's such a Master Weaver. You have said it well - we are SUPPOSED to help each other! That's what the Body of Christ is meant to do - hold each other up, spur each other on. By the way, making you smile makes me :)

    Sandie - OH BOY, do I ever know what you mean about discouragers. And some people even seem to ENJOY bringing other people down. Let's not listen to them anymore, OK? Let's just choose to listen to the people that make us en-couraged!

    Paula - What a PERFECT example from Scripture!! I LOVED it! (Fist pump right back at you!) I love how you put it, too - an encouraging friend will YANK you up, if necessary - and they'll do it even if you WANT to wallow in the mud! Thanks for your great comment.

    Melissa - I'm always glad when I hear that a post has been "timely" - I really needed to hear this message for myself right now, too. Seems I'm not alone! That's the great thing about being united in Christ - we can hold each other up, and turn to each other for re-arming in the battle.

    More responses to come - I'm EN-couraging you to read on...!

  20. Sandra - Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Yes, that's what I want - for God's stamp on everything I do and say. Isaiah 40:31 is one of my FAVORITE Scripture verses. It is one of the most EN-couraging passages in the Bible. Wings of eagles, Sandra - that's what we have. And you are so often, the wind beneath my wings.

    Janet - THANKS, friend!! We had quite a morning, didn't we?! Talk about an EN-couraging meeting! It is really awesome to be standing next to you on the battlefield. FIGHT ON...with each other, we're winning - with God, we've already won!!

    Janis - Thank you. It's such a joy to speak the words that the Lord gives me. And it's such a privilege to be able to encourage people. You have often offered me words that have uplifted me, and given me a new strength to stand firm.

    Karen - How very thoughtful of you to say that. I so appreciate it. I have to say that what you say on your blog has caused me to say each time I visit, OH YES - Hallelujah, Anyhow!! That's encouraging, for sure!

    Peggy - I'm so glad that you mentioned the ARMOR of God - it's SO important that we are equipped for battle, properly suited up to fight the good fight. Thanks for being a person that stands beside me in this life. It makes me glad to know you as my friend. Wonderful Scripture.

    Elaine - For me, YOU really define the word courage. The battle you have fought over the last several months has been truly inspiring. I am EN-couraged by your witness - that God IS able to carry us through the TOUGHEST battles. And that a heart yielded to Him (like yours), though muddied and exhausted, can STAND FIRM and FIGHT. Thank you for your comments - and thank you for you.

    Nita - Balance, yes! You've brought up a good point. I'm not much encouraged by someone who isn't sympathetic. On the other hand, when someone is just nice to me, telling me what I want to hear, then I'm not much encouraged either. You're so right - we need both. Thanks for your friendship - it means a lot. And let's BOTH of us GO GIRL GO!

    Julie - WELCOME! And thank you for joining me on the journey! It's always a treat to meet someone new! I'm with you - sword drawn! I so want to be a warrior for God - a Joshua - and I can only do it with the help of the Holy Spirit, and with the company of my fellow believers! Thanks for being one of my new "platoon" buddies!

    My dear friends, how grateful I am for each one of you. God is so good. I love how the Holy Spirit teaches and reaches us in ripples. A pebble dropped here sends ripples out to many others. And in turn, your words of encouragement have bounced back to me. Thank you.


  21. Hi Sharon,
    Yes your friendship means a lot to me too and you are so right, sometimes it is very nice to get all the sympathy and if I am honest that is what I prefer to give too. But I know that God wants us all on here to be empathetic but also honest in love and to be willingly to accept it too. So, Yes go girls go, here's to being the wind beneath each others wings. God bless - Nita x

  22. Nita - You have said it so wisely. As you mentioned yesterday, it's all about balance. And listening to the Holy Spirit, following His example - for He comforts us when we are brokenhearted, and also gives us strength when we need to fight.

    GOD BLESS, Nita - Thanks for coming back to add your wise words. "Honest in love" - that was perfectly said.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)