Encouragement to Others

Sometimes when I write I realize I am talking publicly about some things our family usually does in private. Since God has called me to write and to write often, the one thing I am led to write about is what He teaches me daily. Yes, God seeks to teach all of us daily, for us to seek Him in all things, and to look for Him in all things. Scripture tells us “If you seek me you will be found by me!” (Jeremiah 29:13)

With that being said, I have realized that the Back 9 journal could mislead some people into thinking the “Bradshaws are saints” and I for sure want to dispel that thinking. We are a family far from perfect. We are a family of 5 sinners who are at different points in our relationship with Christ. My prayer is that we would be daily seeking a HOLY God who can give us perfect guidance and who renews us daily.

BUT, when you read my writing…please don’t assume we have it all figured out….or walk…a perfect walk….We are filled with imperfections….but we all know we are made righteous by Jesus’ atonement for our sins and failures. My writing and the mission of Back 9 Ministries is to encourage, strengthen and motivate others to lead a life of significance and to find their significance in Christ.

I love the scripture found in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but let us encourage one another…” I search for ways to encourage others…my parents set a great example for my sister and me when we were growing up.

One way my parents chose to encourage others was by inviting people to go out to eat, especially on Sunday after church. I looked forward to Sunday nights….as a kid I didn’t always look forward to church on Sunday nights (just saying………) but I did look forward to going out to eat with friends afterwards. Our current church doesn’t have Sunday night activities…and this past Sunday…was a day I reflected much about my mom and my dad….and was impressed to put into action….what I had learned from them…..so we invited to dinner…a family in ministry that we wanted to get know better.

It was a very last minute request and it was such a blessing that they said yes! Last minute meaning, I texted them at 5:30 and they met us for dinner at 6:15. We had a marvelous time…..the motive was to fellowship, get to know them better and to serve a family who is in ministry at our church and who serve us all the time. It was a desire that I had to duplicate what my parents had lived and instilled in me in hopes that our kids would:

1. enjoy the fellowship.
2. learn to encourage.
3. build friendships that would last a lifetime.

The family, the Petersons, have something in common with our family, Type 1 diabetes….diagnosed a year ago….their oldest son, Max, who is headed into the 7th grade this year. A year ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I received a phone call from a church member as I was on my way home from visiting my parents, I was told that Max, the Peterson’s son was a new diagnosis. I drove straight to their house…..at the time, they were strangers even though they were in ministry at our church. It was a sweet time of meeting a “fabulous family” but a devastating one as well. Neither of us would have chosen to have diabetes as common ground, but that made last night even more special.

As I looked across the table at the restaurant, I saw our 22 year old “whip” his pump out of his side holster like a gun slinging cowboy and Max do the same…..comparing, not guns, but “insulin pumps”. At the same time, I watched Collins cut “teeth” out of a lemon peel and stick them in her mouth to make their 3 year old, Reed, smile. Jake, their 4th grader, was smiling too. WE had a wonderful time. Of course, the girls were on one end of the table and boys on the other….thus, I could only guess that Brandon and Bill were talking about everything from sports to work to guy stuff. A great time…to build friendships and encourage.

The book of Acts speaks often of encouraging believers or being encouraged by believers. Take Acts 11:23-24 as an example, “When he [Barnabas–whose name, by the way, means son of encouragement] arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” Wow! People were encouraged and people were brought to the Lord. You never know how far reaching encouragement can be.

God is good…He shows up and anoints times for everyone, not just the Bradshaws, to encourage others….I encourage you to pray for ways to “spur others on in their walk of life!” Take the charge given in I Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

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