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Posts Tagged ‘Encouragement’

In God’s gates

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

A new study finds that faith or religion can do more to provide “sustained happiness” than other types of social activities, like taking a class, volunteering for charity, or even playing sports.  Writing for TODAY, Eun Kyung Kim[i] explains that “Going to church, mosque or synagogue regularly often provides a more reliable boost in mental welfare than belonging to an active group like a book club, political organization or a sports team.”

According to researcher Mauricio Avendano of the London School of Economics (LSE) and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life.”  American psychologist Jennifer Harstein added that religion tends to have longer lasting power than other types of activities for many people.  Religion has permanence in our life.  As she said, “Our religious affiliation is something that’s longer term. You can go, you can leave, it’s always there.  It’s sustained, like the happiness, whereas a sports group ends. It might be seasonal. Or a volunteer opportunity might end.”

While sports, politics, or hobbies can play an important role in our lives, religion tends to reach a deeper level for us.  As Harstein explained, “We know that spirituality is something that really helps people feel like they find that higher power, they find that center, that groundedness”

The study from LSE study also found that religion also helped ease symptoms of depression and help the sick cope better with their illness. One of the reasons this is so is because houses of worship often help lessen burdens for people.  When we go to church we get to present our burdens to God, and share them with people who care about us and who pray, support, and encourage us.  That gives us a powerful boost even in the most discouraging of circumstances.  This is something that social clubs, sports, or politics can’t ever do for us.

Father God, may I be blessed as I enter within your gates weekly, and may I also be a helper to those that come to your courts for help.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/study-religion-faith-can-help-provide-sustained-happiness-t39036

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Scripture: But I would strengthen you with my mouth, And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief. Job 16:5 (NKJV)

Observation: Job had lost all his property, but what hurt him most was the loss of his children. Ultimately he was struck with some skin disease and with the discouraging words of his own wife. To add insult to injury, his friends, who came to encourage him, used words that were more like accusations and a call to repentance.
The words of today’s text are in response to Eliphaz’ boasted “consolations” (Job 15:11). Job would have like words that would strengthen him, words spoken from the hear, with love, words that would bring true consolation. The text could be paraphrased: “Like you, I could also strengthen with the mouth, with heartless talk and the moving of my lips – mere lip comfort could console in the same fashion as you do.”

Application: I know that for the most part people have good intentions when they say some things. I have heard people say things, particularly at funerals or to bereaved families that make me cringe. Probably the most commonly used are the words “I know how you feel!” By that they mean, “I have also experienced pain, so I know what your pain is like. The reality is that no one can possibly know the pain we feel because pain is a very personal experience. Just because I lost my father or mother I can’t tell someone else whose father or mother has just dies that I know how they feel.
Have you heard someone say to a parent whose child has died, “well, at least you have other children”? Or, “You can have more children”? Or have your heard someone tell a person whose relationship has ended, “There are plenty more fish on the ocean!” Our careless words, intended to bring consolation, may sometimes do more harm that they can help.
In dealing with people who have experienced great loss, your presence is often more helpful than any words you may say. Later, after the funeral, when you visit those who are still going through the process of recovery from grief, let them talk about their loved one. In fact, encourage such conversation by asking about their loved ones – their favorite memories, etc. After six to twelve months, friends and family go back to their own life and routine and inadvertently leave those grieving alone. It is at those times that your presence and encouraging them to express their feelings and to talk about their loved ones can become one of the most helpful tools for healing.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, help us to become instruments of healing through our presence and through our heartfelt words.

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