Encourage - Ephesians 6:21-24 - Episode 81

Encourage - Ephesians 6:21-24 - Episode 81
Season 5 Sweet Selah Moments Podcas...

 
 
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Nicole and Sharon finish with encouraging words for you today, friend. Paul ends his letter to the Ephesians with encouragement and we can learn from him how to encourage others. This is our last podcast of Season Five. Did you enjoy the Bible Study? What would you like to hear next? We take a break over the summer months, but will be back with Season Six, Lord willing, in September. Have a beautiful summer, and make sure to take time to be with the God who loves you intensely and perfectly.

Read the transcript for Encourage-Episode 81

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Is your world a little crazy and off kilter at the moment, feeling a bit frazzled? Well then, you’ve found the perfect place to regain some quiet today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study his Word and encourage one another. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.

Nicole (00:28):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. This is episode 81, simply called Encourage. The word encourage means to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope, to attempt to persuade, to spur on. And those are from the Merriam-Webster definition. Or, from the King James Version dictionary, encourage, to give courage to, to give or increase confidence of success, to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind, to embolden, to animate, to incite, to inspire.

Sharon (01:01):

Well, there we go. That’s quite the list.

Nicole (01:04):

These are great. Oh, Sharon, I really love being encouraged. And I have some friends who seem to have that gift. You know?

Sharon (01:12):

Those are the best friends.

Nicole (01:13):

You come away with that feeling of just feeling so much better about life.

Sharon (01:16):

You do, you do. I love friends like that. (Nicole: Yeah) Sometimes a simple word that says someone noticed what I did or something I said can buoy me up and make me grateful and happy. And there’s so many ways people can encourage: words, little cards, flowers, a meal. What else? How are some other ways you’ve been encouraged?

Nicole (01:37):

I love getting your random text message throughout the day from a friend. You know that either like, oh, I’m praying for you today, or, oh, here’s a verse I saw. I thought of you. Like that makes me happy.

Sharon (01:47):

That’s lovely.

Nicole (01:48):

Or, you know, I’ve got little kids. Most of my friends do. So they take time out of their busy day to meet up with me for coffee or to go for a walk or something, you know? (Sharon: Yes) That precious carving of time just means so much to me.

Sharon (01:59):

It does. Yeah. And I’m noticing that most of these things, we’re using the word little to describe, a little walk, a little card.

Nicole (02:05):

It doesn’t take much.

Sharon (02:06):

No, just the tiniest thing can change a person’s day. Words are, all these things are so meaningful. They really are. So encourage is a good word.

Nicole (02:15):

It is. This will be a fun podcast.

Sharon (02:17):

Yeah. Well, we’re gonna finish Ephesians and our season five podcast by reading Paul’s words of goodbye and encouragement. So can you read Paul’s last words for us to the church at Ephesus?

Nicole (02:30):

So, this is Ephesians 6: 21-24. “To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I’m getting along. He is a beloved brother and a faithful helper in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon you, upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” Aw. Those are beautiful last words.

Sharon (03:03):

I love how Paul is sending Tychicus to encourage the Ephesians, but as he is talking about Tychicus, he’s also encouraging him. (Nicole: Aww). Isn’t that sweet? He calls him a beloved brother and a faithful helper. That’s sweet praise, Nicole.

Nicole (03:17):

That is nice. I know. And I like how Paul talks about Tychicus not only as a good worker, but a beloved brother, you know? So it’s not just because Paul wants his work. Paul loves him as well.

Sharon (03:30):

And that’s so important.

Nicole (03:31):

It is.

Sharon (03:32):

We can’t look at people and define their worth by what they can do for us. They have intrinsic value because they’re human, made in God’s image, whether they can do stuff well for you or not. Right? (Nicole: Mm-hmm) I mean, babies— babies give you warm fuzzies in your heart when you hold them and they’re quiet. But other than that, they’re pretty demanding. They never say thank you. And they never offer to clean up their messes.

Nicole (03:56):

Oh, that’s very true. Or people with special needs or elderly folks who need care, God values all life as precious and not one of us is more valuable than the next, we’re all his children.

Sharon (04:07):

We are.

Nicole (04:07):

I love that.

Sharon (04:08):

We are. Well, Paul in almost all his letters has the nicest words to say for the people he loved. (Nicole: Hmm) I really like that about him. I also like how he encourages the Ephesian people himself. First of all, even though Tychicus was probably a great help to Paul, Paul knows the people in Ephesus need some loving. So, his first act of encouragement is to ask his friend to go visit, seeing he can’t himself, being under house arrest and in chains at the present time. (Nicole: A minor detail) So, Nicole, have you ever had someone show up who by their very presence encouraged you?

Nicole (04:39):

Yes. When I was pregnant with Olivia, I met a military couple at our church and the wife was pregnant with her first child too. Our babies were due about two weeks apart and we just became the best of friends. I was working full time then, and I had only one day off a week. Oh. And she would just make that day so special for me and for our babies. She would plan these fun play dates and pack lunches for all of us and trips around the seacoast or just a fun day at her house, the little ones playing on the floor, but she would just pop up and she was such a joyful and encouraging person. She knew I had one day off and she made it so special and she’d helped me make homemade baby food for Olivia and pass on great parenting tips she had researched because she was a stay at home mom at the time. And I didn’t have the time to do all that since I was working, she was such a blessing to me. (Sharon: Oh, that sounds lovely) at the perfect time in my life when I needed her, you know?

Sharon (05:25):

Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole (05:26):

She moved away and I missed her so much some days, but God brought her in at a very crazy time of my life. My first child and I was not ready.

Sharon (05:34):

I love that. I love how he did that. And what you don’t realize because you were not a military wife, is what a blessing you were to her. Because I have to tell you when I moved, there were some people that didn’t wanna be my friend, cause I’d only be there for six months or I’d only be there for a year. And they’d sort of be entrenched. They had all their family around them, you know? And they had their best friend from third grade still being their friend.

Nicole (05:57):

Right. You had your village already, so it’s hard.

Sharon (05:58):

They already had their village, (Nicole: Yeah) but you reached out to a military wife. So I feel the encouragement was mutual.

Nicole (06:05):

Oh! I hope so.

Sharon (06:05):

Well done, Nicole.

Nicole (06:07):

I just loved her.

Sharon (06:09):

Well, we recently had a missionary couple stay in our home. (Nicole: Oh, fun) They work in a very dangerous country and yet honestly, everything about them speaks of joy and peace. They encouraged me just by smiling at me.

Nicole (06:21):

Oh my word I love that.

Sharon (06:22):

I’m not kidding you. Their eyes were just all shiny with God’s love and light. You know, when they first came, they had the, our downstairs section that has a little like family room and a bedroom. (Nicole: Yeah) I prayed for them cause I always pray for people when they come to stay with me. And I started crying because the Holy Spirit was so present. (Nicole: Yeah) They just walked in and they radiated God. I don’t know what else to say.

Nicole (06:44):

That’s so beautiful.

Sharon (06:46):

So, I was encouraged just by being able to give them a place to be for a bit. It was an honor to share my home with them. (Nicole: That’s so neat) It really was. Oh well anyways, this letter is an encouragement and sending Tychicus was an encouragement. So let’s reread verses 23 and 24 because this is Paul’s benediction encouragement to the Ephesians and his very last words in the whole letter.

Nicole (07:12):

Oh, so Paul writes, “Peace be with you dear brothers and sisters. And may God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Sharon: Hmm) Beautiful.

Sharon (07:26):

Well, let’s unpack this. When you hear peace be with you, Nicole, what comes to mind?

Speaker 2 (07:31):

I think if we hear that from the world, it’s kind of like a wishful statement, you know, (Sharon: Mm-hmm) and you might think, well, that’s nice, but that’s never gonna happen. (Sharon: Yeah) But Paul is obviously speaking from a place of encouragement and a place of authority as God speaks through him to write these letters to these Christians. So that this peace clearly is from God and it carries some weight from here to eternity.

Sharon (07:52):

It sure does. It sure does. Yeah. And it reminds me of Jesus, after he rose from the dead and the disciples are all huddling in the upper room and he walks through the door and the first words, peace be with you. (Nicole: Oh yeah) Peace be with you. God’s peace is not like this world’s peace. It is lasting and it’s a whole body calm. Right?

Nicole (08:18):

Yeah. Yes.

Sharon (08:19):

It’s a wonderful thing to wish for someone.

Nicole (08:21):

Oh yeah. And it finds, God’s peace finds us in the darkest places. (Sharon: It does) With his disciples, all huddled in that room, and into these Ephesians, you know, in Ephesus and this time of darkness, God’s peace comes at those moments when we need it the most.

Sharon (08:35):

We do. Right. And it’s a peace that passes understanding as Paul said elsewhere, because you really shouldn’t be feeling it sometimes. And yet there it is.

Nicole (08:42):

Right. How am I at peace? Oh, so that is a nice thing to say to them.

Sharon (08:45):

Yeah, so that’s an encouragement.

Nicole (08:46):

Thanks Paul.

Sharon (08:47):

Yeah. I also like how he calls them, dear. Dear is such a nice word. I like the word, dear. It just shines with love and affirmation. If someone is dear to you, you want them near and you wish them well.

Nicole (08:59):

That’s true. I like that. (Sharon: Yeah, yeah)

Nicole (09:01):

I love what Paul prays for them, Sharon, that God, the Father and Jesus would give them love with faithfulness. (Sharon: Mmm, yes) That is such a terribly important combination. You know, just think if we entered a marriage or relied in motherhood on just the feeling of love? We would fail so quickly.

Sharon (09:17):

Oh we would.

Nicole (09:17):

Oh, we really need the faithfulness that accompanies love to continue on loving with intention because things are not always smooth sailing, as we all know.

Sharon (09:27):

Right.

Nicole (09:28):

Love is not just a feeling. It’s a commitment to love someone despite their faults and to put their needs in front of our own. And we certainly need God’s help with faithfulness to do that. I know I do. I am a terribly selfish person on my own.

Sharon (09:42):

Me too. Me too.

Nicole (09:43):

I won’t do it naturally. We need him.

Sharon (09:44):

We absolutely do, so love with faithfulness (Nicole: Yes) is the only kind of love that’s gonna last (Nicole: Right, right) basically. Yeah. Yeah. And then Paul asks that God’s grace, his undeserved pardon and favor would be with them eternally and on all who love the Lord Jesus. Now, when you are praying for people all the way through to eternity, you’re praying big.

Nicole (10:06):

That’s a great point.

Sharon (10:07):

And what a lovely last thing to say. (Nicole: Aww) If I were an Ephesian Christian, I would read that part over and over and feel a blessing in it. (Nicole: Oh) I’m encouraged. How about you Nicole?

Nicole (10:17):

Oh, wow. For sure, Sharon, I just love this whole book. I think my favorite part is back in chapters one and two, where Paul just goes over all the things we are in Christ. (Sharon: Yes) You know, because of our salvation. But one of my favorite verses is Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago'” With our identity being found as God’s masterpiece and just knowing how loved we are we can go forward fresh and new in Christ and do the good work he planned for us. I can’t think of a better existence to have than that. You know, like this one verse sums up who we are, why we were created and what we were created for.

Sharon (10:59):

It does. It does. And it gives such great meaning to life and such joy in life.

Nicole (11:03):

Yes. And purpose, everything. (Sharon: Yeah) So good. I love it.

Sharon (11:07):

It’s definitely a memorized verse.

Nicole (11:08):

For sure. Yep.

Sharon (11:09):

Well, I love the study too. I love both the practical wisdom Paul gave and all his reminders of God’s love and grace too. And the mystery and gift of the gospel and pondering that. It was packed.

Nicole (11:21):

It was.

Sharon (11:21):

I’m so thankful we could still read it today. (Nicole: Oh) Well, we’re done season five and getting ready for our very unique and special month in this ministry called July Rest Month. (Both: Ahhhh) So, Nicole, explain for those that don’t know what is the beloved July Rest Month?

Nicole (11:43):

Well, for the whole month of July, we rest as Sweet Selah Ministry. We rest.

Sharon (11:48):

We do.

Nicole (11:50):

It’s wonderful. And I gotta say it’s one of my favorite parts of being part of this ministry. We are practicing what we preach. It always comes at such a nice time too. July is such a busy and fun family month for us, right in the middle of school vacation. (Sharon: Yeah) So, it’s nice to be fully present with the kiddos and have nothing else on my mind, but summer fun and family time. Though, I always try to sneak in a few naps in the hammock. Oh and a couple good books.

Sharon (12:14):

Good. I approve. (Nicole: Aww) That’s so cool. Well, I love it too. I love that we stop everything. We shut down the website. There’s nothing new there. There’s nothing on social media. (Nicole: Yes) Everybody rests.

Nicole (12:27):

Everyone. (Sharon: Wahoo) Tech to the typers to everybody, no podcast.

Sharon (12:32):

Nobody gets to work.

Nicole (12:33):

Right.

Sharon (12:33):

You know, even Anne, our event chair for the Sweet Selah Retreat we’ve got coming up in 2023, we were talking about that and she’s already got the concept so well, she’s like, wow, the retreat’s in September, but July rest month is gonna happen. And I’m like, yes, it is. (Nicole: You’re right) Kabam, and we’re gonna rest.

Nicole (12:51):

Right before the conference too.

Sharon (12:51):

So, the registration’s, you know, up to June 30th, you can register with us. And then I guess you’ll have to wait till August 1st.

Nicole (12:59):

Right. We mean it.

Sharon (13:01):

Cause we’re not working and you can’t make us. So, I just thought that was really cool too.

Nicole (13:07):

Oh, that’s great. But it’s so needed though.

Sharon (13:09):

It is so needed.

Nicole (13:09):

It’s really good.

Sharon (13:10):

And especially before a big retreat.

Nicole (13:12):

Absolutely.

Sharon (13:13):

The best thing we can do to serve women well at this retreat is to do nothing in July to get ready for it.

Nicole (13:19):

Yeah. And we benefit so much from this rest because even doing a ministry with rest, it’s still work. And to have that sweet time of rest with God, it renews the reason why we rest and why we talk about resting.

Sharon (13:31):

Exactly.

Nicole (13:31):

It firms It up in our heart that this is worth talking about.

Sharon (13:34):

Yep. Yep. One of my favorite quote is ‘rest restores’. (Nicole: Mmm) It does.

Nicole (13:37):

Absolutely.

Sharon (13:38):

And I have to confess by the end of June, I’m ready. (Nicole: Mmm) I love this ministry. It’s my dream job. (Nicole: Yeah) And yet by June 30, I’m like, bring on the hammock.

Nicole (13:48):

We’re ready. We’re ready to rest. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of rest. Oh, but speaking of this retreat, listeners, we would really love for you to come to this retreat. It’s our first Sweet Selah Retreat. (Sharon: Yes) We’re so excited. Mark your calendars. It’s not this September, 2022, but it’s the next September. It’s September 15th through the 17th in 2023. We’re calling it Refuge and it’s based on that beautiful verse in Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble”.

Sharon (14:21):

I love that verse so much. And I feel like in these times, which are times of trouble, (Nicole: Oh yes) one of the best gifts we can give women is not only—(we just did our mission statement, so I’m all about this right now) it’s not only to give them a refuge for the weekend (Nicole: Right) but to equip them, to find their refuge in God, as a very present help in whatever troubles are ahead of them.

Nicole (14:45):

Oh, I love that.

Sharon (14:45):

So, it’s like a dual purpose. Come away. We’re gonna be on Lake Winnipesaukee . There’s a mile of shoreline there. September 15th, we discovered, is one of the peak wedding weekends in New Hampshire, because it’s one of the best weekends of the year.

Nicole (15:01):

It is. That’s when we got married, is that weekend!

Sharon (15:03):

No way, are you serious?

Nicole (15:04):

It’s perfect weather. It’s perfect.

Sharon (15:05):

Oh my goodness.

Nicole (15:06):

Just a few little leaves turning.

Sharon (15:07):

Well, we’ll have to send you away with Josh early so you can come to the retreat.

Nicole (15:11):

Yes. Absolutely.

Sharon (15:13):

But it really is such a beautiful warm month. And then for people that are traveling outta state, I’m like, and then if they stay on they’re almost in the White Mountains where they can see the foliage.

Nicole (15:22):

It’s going to be beautiful.

Sharon (15:23):

It’s so beautiful there. It really is. I love the location. I just love it.

Nicole (15:27):

I’m so excited.

Sharon (15:27):

And then speakers, we’ve got speakers. Fern Nichols is speaking, who is my personal mentor, who I love so so much. And she’s gonna be talking about Prayer as Refuge. That when we enter into a time of prayer with the Lord God, we’re in a safe spot. And that it brings refuge from praying and that we enter into it for it. So she’s gonna do the prayer part.

Nicole (15:52):

Oh, I love that.

Sharon (15:52):

I’m gonna talk about Quiet Time, which is my wheelhouse. Yes. And how that little Oasis every day of meeting with God is so necessary and how being equipped with the Word enables us to keep that peace throughout the day in times of trouble.

Nicole (16:09):

Bring that refuge with us. Good, good.

Sharon (16:10):

Right, right. And then we have Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith coming. I wanted her so badly I can’t even tell you. I was jumping up and down when she said yes.

Nicole (16:18):

Oh, I’m so excited.

Sharon (16:20):

We have got the best speakers. She wrote the book Sacred Rest. And she’s a medical doctor and a believer in Christ. And she discovered that the hard way from, you know, doing too much. Like most of us do. (Nicole: Oh yes) Not only that rest is necessary, but she started studying all the different ways we need rest. She has seven different areas where we need rest.

Nicole (16:40):

Oh fascinating.

Sharon (16:40):

We need mental rest. (Nicole: Yeah) We need relational rest, even if we’re extroverts. (Nicole: Wow) Physical rest, spiritual rest. So, she’s gonna unpack just how beautifully God wired our body for rest.

Nicole (16:51):

Oh, neat.

Sharon (16:51):

She’s— Oh man, so good, love her book.

Nicole (16:53):

I’ll have to bring a big notebook for those.

Sharon (16:54):

That’s all underlined. Then we’re gonna have workshops and we’ve got some really, really cool people that are telling me yes, right now. (Nicole: Oh, great) So I just can’t wait. And we only do it once every five years and you wanna know one of the silly things that I love best? (Nicole: What) I will tell you. Where I live I see some stars, but there’s streetlights. (Nicole: ) So, you know, I see the brightest stars. (Nicole: Yeah) And I always wanna be where it’s really dark at night (Nicole: Mm-hmm) so I can see like all the millions of stars. (Nicole: Oh yeah) Well Geneva Point, where we’re gonna be, they have these special nightlights that look like bird houses. They don’t even look like lights. (Nicole: Oh my) But they’re like covered on the top and they’re little yellow lights that just light your paths. (Nicole: Oh) So when you look up in the sky, you see every star.

Nicole (17:39):

Oh, Sharon.

Sharon (17:40):

And Annetta is gonna lead us in vespers one night after the main event’s over and people can go to bed if they want to, but if they wanna look at stars like I do, twenty minutes of outside singing and praying (Nicole: Oh my word) with every star beaming down on us.

Nicole (17:54):

I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it.

Sharon (17:54):

Please Lord, don’t let it be cloudy.

Nicole (17:58):

Sign me up. I’m so excited.

Sharon (17:59):

I am. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.

Nicole (18:00):

That’s going to be amazing.

Sharon (18:01):

Plus, there’s gonna be a bonfire on the beach and there’s gonna be all kinds of things. So please come, people.

Nicole (18:06):

You don’t wanna miss it. This is gonna be so great.

Sharon (18:07):

Please come followers. We really wanna meet you all. (Nicole: Yes) And we only do this every five years. So, I mean, come. Save up now.

Nicole (18:14):

Absolutely.

Sharon (18:15):

The end.

Nicole (18:16):

Yes.

Sharon (18:16):

Okay.

Nicole (18:17):

But sign up before July. (Sharon: Yes) Next July.

Sharon (18:18):

That’s right.

Nicole (18:20):

Oh, we are also looking forward to being back in the studio in August taping for Season 6 of this podcast. Wow. Already Season 6. That’s crazy.

Sharon (18:30):

I can’t believe it.

Nicole (18:31):

Oh, it went so fast. Listeners, if you have any suggestions or requests on what you would like to hear, now is the time to write us. We’d love your input. As we close out Season 5, Sharon and I would like to pray some blessings over you from the word of God. We hope to encourage you with this last episode to go out and encourage and bless others. Quiet your heart and listen friends. Be blessed as we pray for you now.

Sharon (18:53):

From Numbers 6:24-26 “May the Lord bless you and protect you, may the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.”

Nicole (19:09):

From Psalm 23:1-3 “May the Lord be your shepherd and give you all you need. May he let you rest in green meadows and lead you beside peaceful streams. May he guide you along right paths so that you bring honor to his name.”

Sharon (19:27):

From Jeremiah 17:7-8 “May you be of those who trust the Lord in this passage. But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought, their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.”

Nicole (19:59):

From Ephesians 1:2-3 “May God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. May he bless you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because you are united with Christ.”

Sharon (20:17):

And Nicole and I are gonna close out this prayer with a beautiful blessing Paul prays in Ephesians 3:14-21. And we’ve adapted it as a prayer for you, dear listener.

Nicole (20:29):

“When we think of all this, we fall to our knees and pray to the Father.”

Sharon (20:34):

“The Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.”

Nicole (20:38):

“We pray that from his glorious unlimited resources, he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.”

Sharon (20:44):

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts. As you trust in him, your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”

Nicole (20:54):

“And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is.”

Sharon (21:03):

“May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

Nicole (21:16):

“Now all glory to God who is able through his mighty power at work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Sharon (21:25):

“Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Nicole (21:33):

Amen. We’ve loved studying Ephesians with you this season. We hope you’ve gained insights and encouragement. Thank you for being a part of the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. If you’d like to contribute to the production of this podcast and to all that goes on at Sweet Selah Ministries, please visit us at Sweet Selah.org/donations. We love comments. We need reviews because that helps more people find us and we would appreciate your prayers most of all. We’re off to finish up production before July, and then we’ll hit the hammocks and soak up some beautiful rest during July rest month. May God bless you with many Selah Moments of rest with him. Dear friends, we’ll be back in September with all new episodes for Season 6. Until then may God bless you.

Speaker 1 (22:19):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.

 

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