My Encourager

Published December 14, 2012

As you know by now I have shared some windows of my early and formative years. Perhaps I should have included more experiences with greater details. The risk taken is that I have shared appropriate experiences; enough to have this blog become a workable, functional, friendly user tool. Too much sharing with to many details could quickly become boring and overwhelming. Truth be said, some things I am just not comfortable with sharing. Through out those years I had a lot of discouragement but also a lot of encouragement. Always, it was the encouragement that made live easier!

I progressed into young adult hood, marriage and children. Maintaining my identity as a hard worker became my purpose in life. I did work hard and feel I may have done better than most. I was greatly encouraged for many years with accolades from my employers and co-workers about my work ethic. I did not miss many days of work. I was a steady Eddy, so to speak. I had a nice home, a beautiful wife, and a wonderful five-year old daughter. Still (my early thirties) there was unhappiness and a great void in my life.

My live was about to be changed! It wasn’t instant change and it wasn’t steady change but the change was good (when I would let it be good) and it was encouraging (when I would let it be encouraging).

While pregnant with our second child my wife started attending church. With little enthusiasm I agreed to go with her, more to honor the agreement we had made when first married. The agreement was that when we had children we would make sure they attended church.

Yet there was a curiosity and even a fear that developed within me when we became church goers. I could not understand what had caused a total life change in my wife. It was positive change, good change but such radical change. When my wife agreed to be baptized with the full belly bump of pregnancy I thought that was kind of crazy.  But what was really radical in my mind was when she agreed to be baptized in a swimming pool. She told me she thought it was quite ironic and it was pay back for the times she had ridiculed and mocked others for being baptized in a pool. My curiosity was heightened even more by the pure joy and happiness she had with her baptism experience.

I also mentioned fear. My greatest fear was the possibility of losing my wife who I so desperately love. She was my life but now her life was rapidly changing and going in so many new and different directions. I feared the unknown and I feared what I did not understand.

Because of these fears I decided to give this religious, “churchy” thing more of my attention. The first thing that came to my attention was the importance these ‘strange people’ placed on reading and studying the Bible. The second point that gripped my attention and which I thought quite ridiculous was the emphasis they placed on establishing a personal relationship with Jesus. I just didn’t get it! However, I could not refute the undeniable change that started to transpire in my wife when she began to read the Bible. As her reading progressed page by page, book by book, from cover to cover so did her life continue to change. She started to talk about a new birth, an unconditional love, an intimate relationship that only God could give.  I also could not refute the abundance of encouraging words that were now being heaped upon my wife and how they so wonderfully impacted her life. This is something I used to thrive on and had come to realize I was hungry for those same uplifting and positive words too.

And so I purchased a Bible. The biggest and bulkiest I could find because I erroneously thought the bigger the better. That it might put some stature in my appearance was also a bonus!

I took on the challenge of reading the Bible. From the first pages I began to see thoughts, plans, actions, and words of great encouragement. Some are subtle and whispered others are bold, forceful and spoken loudly.

In my reading of the Old Testament I discovered a rich and fascinating history of God and man. It is a history of encouragement that teaches and promotes a unique and personal relationship with God. It is a relationship of God’s love to man and of man’s love to God. God desires for it to be intimate, personal, one on one. It is a relationship that is to be built upon obedience and trust but also is one of great freedom and choice of will. It is a history that describes sacrifice and restoration. And it is a history that tells of God himself coming to this earth. It tells of Gods son Jesus (fully God himself) to be born as a human, living as man, tempted as man, and suffering as man.

In my reading of the New Testament I discovered the fulfilling of the Old Testament history. The New Testament for me was another but greater history of encouragement. It tells of the arrival of Jesus Christ and of His ministry of obedience, love, and sacrifice. This history teaches us how we can better become like the ‘image of God’ we were created to be (Genesis 1:26-2). It is within this history of both the Old and the New Testament I found Jesus Christ, the greatest encourager of all! It is Jesus whom was, has been, and will always be my life changer!

There are many wonderful attributes and titles for Jesus. For me Encourager is one of the greatest of all!

Next posting I will share directly from the Bible a few of the most impactful scriptures that are of great encouragement to me. It is my prayer and my desire they will do the same for you!

Be encouraged in his name of many names, EMMANUEL, God is with us.

Dave

(Rev. David Larsen – Chaplain Compassion Nevada)

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