Read Ephesians 4:28-29 I’ve always been a schemer. When I was younger, I loved getting money for my birthday and Christmas. Even more than spending the money, I loved the process of planning how I could get the most of what I wanted with the money I had. Throughout High School, I’d often go eat fast food with my friend’s family. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of their money, but I also wanted a bunch of food. I would always scheme to figure out how I could get the most amount of food for the least amount of money. Many of us are good at spending our energy to figure things out for ourselves, but what if God wants us to spend that energy encouraging others? In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he addresses a unique group of people. He spends a verse talking specifically thieves. He tells those who are thieves to quit stealing. Instead, they should use their hands for good work. All the effort, planning, and skill that goes into successfully robbing others should be spent giving generously to those in need. Paul continues by telling us to not use foul or abusive language. Paul’s counter to this way of talking is for everything that comes out of our mouth being encouraging to those who hear what we say. Paul’s point in these verses is that we spend a lot of time and energy in our life causing pain to others. Instead all of that should go to giving and encouraging to others. If most of us would look back on the last few weeks, we would find several instances of when we, whether big or small, hurt, put down, or discouraged someone around us. Maybe it was in response to something negative they said to us. Maybe it was just by the way we were acting over something totally unrelated. Maybe we were jealous. Whatever the reason, discouraging others can seem to come naturally to us. However, one of the most spiritual things we all can do in a world that is very negative is to stay positive and be a voice from heaven of encouragement to lift up those who are down. Instead of defaulting to being discouraging, we should got out of our way to intentionally encourage those in our lives. “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Reflect Think about the way you talk and act towards various groups of people in your life. To whom are you the most encouraging? To whom are you the most discouraging? Why? Pray Spend a few minutes as you begin to pray today to ask God to help you use words that are encouraging in your life. // TWO-A-DAYS // GO A LITTLE FARTHER WITH YOUR DAILY DEVOTIONS // Go through these questions with your spouse, kids, or friend, or you can even journal about the answers to these questions:

  1. What was the best part of your day?
  2. What was the toughest part of your day?
  3. Where did you mess up today?
  4. Where did you see God today?
DIG DEEPER: Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 What To Do: Taking everything you’ve done with the passage this week, make a list of 2-3 takeaways for yourself. This should be 2-3 ways you can APPLY the passage to how you live your life that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Consider sharing these takeaways with someone from your connect group, a spouse, or someone else that can help keep you accountable to apply the truth you learned this week. You might even post these takeaways on social media.]]>