Extending Forgiveness and Encouragement

Open Your Bible

Hebrews 10:1-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-24, Malachi 2:10

Words of affirmation used to compete for the top spot among my love languages. Working in church ministry for several years, I’ve had the privilege of watching believers go above and beyond in practicing it. Social media posts with captions that could make you weep, cards and treats, and endearing announcements from the stage or pulpit—you name it, I’ve seen it. It didn’t take long for my internal challenger to kick in, wondering, “Do they really mean that?” It wasn’t that the encouragement came from disingenuous people, but often the encouragement I witnessed was rooted in subjectivity, dependent on ever-changing opinions. The encouragement we extend is usually intended to boost someone’s confidence or answer the question, “What can I do to make this person feel better?” 

Today, we read two passages that, despite different church contexts and authors, arrive at the same place—the call to encourage (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). The call to encourage is commanded in both, but it’s different from the call I’ve often witnessed and practiced. 

Hebrews 10:1–25 explores Christ’s fulfillment of Old Testament sacrifices and priests, along with exhortations for believers in light of Christ’s past and present work. As our priest, Jesus allows us to dwell in the presence of God with boldness and confidence. Out of this new position, Paul’s exhortation to encourage emerges. The command in Hebrews extends beyond a person—it’s not meant to be dependent on our impression of someone, but in all Christ has done for them.

Whereas Hebrews 10 focuses on Christ’s past and present work, in Thessalonians Paul focuses on Christ’s future return. In a book clarifying questions about the reality and timing of Christ’s return, the call Paul emphasized wasn’t to sit around trying to determine when Christ might return, but to encourage one another in kingdom work until Christ returns.

I’m thankful that the call to extend encouragement isn’t rooted in a surface level boost of confidence—instead it is rooted in the rich theology of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and His coming return. This is a call rooted in the Lord, rather than the recipients of our encouragement. 

Don’t get me wrong, encouragement that’s all about me feels great in the moment, but it doesn’t last. It doesn’t point me to Christ or call me to obedience. 

Let’s be women who encourage beyond the surface, rooting our encouragement in the gospel. Consider taking your inspiration from Hebrews, reminding a doubting brother or sister in Christ of the impact of the gospel you have seen evident in their lives. Or, take your encouragement from Thessalonians, encouraging an exhausted believer in their obedience to the gospel you have witnessed. Today, how will you root your words of encouragement in Christ’s work and His calling for our obedience? 

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46 thoughts on "Extending Forgiveness and Encouragement"

  1. Jennifer Lumley says:

    This reminder to encourage my sisters and brothers in Christ and making sure it is Gospel centered encouragement. This follows along with what our pastor has been preaching on.

  2. belle ingersoll says:

    such an encouragement to my ♡
    i can use my words to encourage others && not belittle them. Lord , help me to encourage those who are weak in their faith && be a light to those who need encouragement in their walk! ✞

  3. belle ingersoll says:

    such an encouragement to my ♡

  4. Susanna Schlecht says:


  5. Sheena Frederick says:

    Who is churchmouse ?

  6. Leslie Warnick says:

    Thank You Churchmouse !! Reminds me of a song by audio adrenaline.. Big House! Thankful that you are back here. Would so love to meet you this side of heaven!

  7. Jeanette Armbrust says:

    Churchmouse – thank you! Welcome back….!!!

  8. Claire B says:

    Love, this, Churchmouse

  9. Skylar Hilton says:

    Hello Dear sisters! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Extending forgiveness is such an important lesson, especially today (although it should be an important lesson all days). Malachi 2:10 says we all have one father… so why do we act like we are all not children of God? Why do we insist on being bitter when the bible tells us not to? Being bitter forever is the easy way out…and might even be the selfish way out too… but we as children of God must refrain from choosing both of these ways. Although our culture might preach that forgiveness is weak and that we don’t owe that to anyone… we must not be like the world.. we must be like our God who forgave Israel when they gave Him all the reasons not to.

    God loves us.. and despite all of our sins… He forgave us. WOW! To think that God loves us after what we did to His son… is something we never deserve… ever. But Our God is such an amazing God. We must learn to forgive like Him.. or else we will regret it.

    I also want to tell your dear sisters, that I started my RCIA classes. Im so excited to go on this journey to becoming Catholic with our God. Im so grateful to finally find a religion!

    Have a good rest of the day!

  10. Mercy says:

    Extending forgiveness is what the Lord has done to all of us. Now where these is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. So we too need to extend forgiveness and not deal treacherously toward those God has forgiven. This reminds me of the verse, “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” And it moved me to tears realizing how many times the Lord has allowed me to stand, again and again, though statistically I should have fallen flat, but GOD, Mighty God, regardless of men’s judgment and all the odds. Praise be to God. Let us help one another to stand through building them up, bearing the heart of God for them, praying for them to stand and not fall. Happy Thanksgiving to you my all dear sisters from Canada. Wishing you and your family a wonderful blessed time.

  11. Catherine McVey says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you my dear SRT sisters. I love starting my day with all of you. Prayers for peace and love this Thanksgiving day! Thank you for what you all share every day. I picture us as a women’s Bible study group in someone’s living room and I love that. I learn so much from each of you. May God richly bless you and your families today. ❤️

  12. Mari V says:

    Victoria, I went back to check on yesterday‘s posts. It is a blessing praying for you. And as I reread my comment I noticed a typo but I know I made sense.

  13. Victoria E says:

    Happy thanksgiving !! I am so thankful for all of you. Thank you to Angie and Mari V and all who are praying for me. Thank you Churchmouse for that comment, God is biggest of all! How easily that fact escapes me. Mari V I replied yesterday to your post, I’ll write it again here THANK you for praying for me. It meant a lot to me to know that you were yesterday, I had a hard day yesterday. Bless you all !

  14. Mari V says:

    Aw….Angie I am so encouraged this morning by YOU!

  15. Rachel D says:

    I am thankful for this community of devoted women, for family, for the never-changing nature of God, and for the opportunity to access Him through every season of life. I’m grateful for the things money could never buy, could never satisfy. I’m grateful to have a body and a soul and a mind that God touches and ultimately changes. Glory to God! Whatever challenges you’re walking through, I pray the peace and security of God would flood through you today and that you’d be able to rest in thankfulness for the goodness in your life. Happy Thanksgiving SRT!!

  16. Rhonda J. says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Friends. Always grateful for these studies and the comments. I am really looking forward to advent this year and to digging even further into my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! It truly does bring JOY to my spirit, even when the world seems to be going crazy. I keep praying to shine His light to the people in my day-to-day life. It is my greatest desire. Yet…I wonder if I am, the day goes by, and I wonder? Lord, show me how, show me opportunities that I don’t see, help me to be bolder…or quiet when I need to be. All I can do is pray and stay close to you, amen.

  17. Dorothy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who live in America.

    Encouragement is something I need to work on, especially with certain people I’m around. I sometimes feel defeated and deflated with them. I guess that part of me comes from not receiving much encouragement from my father. My siblings made “A” and “B” in school, I had learning disabilities — which my father had a hard time excepting — I made mainly “C” with some “B” it was rare if I made an “A”. My father was also very smart. It wasn’t until after I was married, divorced and living with them with my two AD/HD sons that he realized the difficulties I had, this was because my mom had given him information on the subjects of AD/HD and learning disabilities and dyslexia (my older son had a problem with that and so do I) to read.

    God remind me that everyone needs encouragement at some point in there life. Amen.

    Be well and be blessed sisters. Only three more days til the start of Advent, I can’t believe it.

  18. Penny M says:

    Churchmouse so thankful for you and your Godly wisdom shared with our community. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  19. Lindsay says:

    Happy Thanksgiving SRT! Thankful for this community of believers!

  20. Maura says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Sisters, thanking God for all my SRT sisters. Encouragement in Christ brings joy with it. And I always find it here amoung you all. As we share in God’s Word, pray for one another, share the blessings, praises and struggles He is with us and as I read your stories, insights, joys, and sorrows and lift up my prayers and praises I am so very blessed. Churchmouse He is the biggest of all. Beautiful Jenna. Your words reminded me of a message I have kept in my heart for when I am overwhelmed. The Minister was talking about how we define God in our minds, to the point that sometimes even in our prayers we are praying so small. Our God is Big Enough to handle whatever we need. He helped a boy defeat a giant, parted the Red Sea, turned water into wine, raised Lazarus from the dead, makes the lame walk, the blind see, defeated death and raises us to life. Our God is Big Enough. Yes Jenna He is the biggest of all, may our faith rise up to How Big He is. Praise God He is more than able to hold us in the storms and carry us through. Praying for you Corina Kropp, and for your community, for safety, that the rain would stop and the damage be minimal. God’s abundant provision. I love how the best in people comes out in such times. Praying this continues and many come to understand His grace and love. Thankful.

  21. Lexi B says:

    Happy Thanksgiving She’s!

    Today I am thankful for SRT and you! SRT has been a part of my mornings every year since 2013. Thank you for helping me draw nearer to God.

    Thank you She’s for all your wisdom in your posts, your prayers and encouraging words. I cherish your comments and look forward to them after every study.

    I am thankful for my coworkers who showed me so much love yesterday that I’ll never forget it. I was feeling so discouraged by work and God showed me not to lose heart or lose my joy through their actions. My heart truly needed that.

    Today is the first thanksgiving holiday without my uncle. It is so weird knowing that I wont see him again on this side of Heaven. Right now, he’s enjoying the best feast in the best place! Thanksgiving will always hold fond memories because he was a part of it and I am thankful for those memories <3.

  22. Kathy A says:

    So thankful for this group ❤️! Happy Thanksgiving to all our American Shes. @Churchmouse I loved your post from yesterday! Such a powerful reminder to keep a stone in our pocket. Praying for peaceful and enjoyable gatherings for us all! May God be glorified as we love ONE ANOTHER, rejoice, pray and give thanks. Let us hold on to what is good! Amen!

  23. Kerry Rowley says:

    Happy thanksgiving! I’m so thankful for this group. I read your comments every day but rarely post. May you glorify God today in all that you do. ❤️

  24. Nancy Singleton says:

    What a great lesson for Thanksgiving Day! May I look beyond the surface to find words of encouragement that point back to Jesus & all He has done & continues to do in our lives. I love the lesson taught by your Jenna, Churchmouse.

  25. Corina Kropp says:

    *pouring not luring.

  26. Corina Kropp says:

    I am a Canadian from the Fraser Valley in a town with major flooding. I hear more rain as I type. While my home is not directly affected by the floodwaters I know many whose are. I am thankful in this moment for the luring out of love and support in my community—a unifying coming together at a time such as this. I too am extremely thankful for those who pour into SRT. I am blessed by this devotional daily and am so grateful for the nourishment I receive from it! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you lovelies from America!

  27. Sherry says:

    “Our world may seem like it’s falling out of control but it’s actually falling into place. God’s redemptive and restorative story goes on. We who believe stand confidently on His promises. His Word gives us the encouragement we need to persevere.’ Thank you for these words today, Churchmouse!! Just what I needed to hear.

  28. Corina Kropp says:

    I am a Canadian from the Fraser Valley in a town with major flooding. I hear more rain as I type. While my home is not directly affected by the floodwaters I know many whose are. I am thankful in this moment for the luring out of love and support in my community—a unifying coming together at a time such as this. I too am

  29. Angela Dong says:

    Happy thanksgiving! I am thankful for this group of wonderful women! ❤️

  30. hope says:

    Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll! Today’s reading is so good and timely. I really appreciate what Hannah had to say, we’re called beyond surface level niceties, which are still useful and can be used appropriately. But, in our Christian walk we all will face times where we will need building up and encouraging that surface level compliments can not reach. Matt Redmond over on HRT also stated it so well.

    “So many Christians walk around discouraged. But if the gospel is true—and it is—then we have so much to encourage one another in. We are eternally secure. We have forgiveness, given to us by the conquering King (Colossians 1:14). He defeated the real enemy of sin and death (1Corinthians 15:26). We are citizens of His unshakable kingdom (Hebrews 12:28). We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). These truths are just some of what we should encourage and build up our brothers and sisters in Christ with.”

    I’m grateful for each and everyone of you. You have no way of knowing how much this group has done to encourage me. So much good from both Hannah and Matt and the community today. Thank you!
    I pray that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  31. Michelle Patire says:

    My prayer today is to heal and be generous despite pain, which is Holy Spirit work. I often want to encourage family member, but my heart hurts when I try, so I withhold encouragement… :(

    I very much enjoyed the devotional write up, that says encouragement is also rooted in supporting/praising work of gospel in someone’s life.
    That’s an interesting take.

    Anyways, thankful for this community! God bless you and your families, today. Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow American friends!!

  32. Kristen says:

    @ Sarah Joy, I just read what you wrote. I was rehashing things in my mind that I’d done or failed to do on Tuesday night and this continued when I was reading the devotional from yesterday. I was thinking that I shouldn’t even pray. Then, I too, had a breakthrough! I was reading what ERB wrote about repenting and this meaning to actually not even want to enter in to that sin again. I was reading what one of our sisters wrote about not complaining. I was thinking about what ERB also shared about our hearts being changed. I’ve been tormented by the enemy since I was a child. The enemy doesn’t want us to pray or have hope that we can truly be forgiven and changed. However, God is so amazing! I felt a change come. We can repent. He gives the Holy Spirit to help us. Our hearts can be changed. I don’t have to keep condemning myself. God can change our desires!
    I’m so glad God touched you and you received grace and were encouraged. How beautiful! May we all walk in His love and freedom from the tormenting of the enemy today. May we be overflowing with gratitude and be ever in awe of His love, sacrifice, Sovereignty, and power. Amen. Thanks for sharing!!!

  33. Angie says:

    Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving sisters.
    May your day be filled with a heart of gratitude and words of a hope and future, filled and fulfilled, by Jesus Christ our Lord.

    I, too, thank the Lord our God for this group of ladies. May His blessings rest upon you today and every day. May our Light shine brightly and may our words and actions be the salt the flavors and preserves this day in the hearts of all as they see Jesus in us.

    Just a couple extra thoughts before I start preparations for the day:

    Sarah Eral – you and your church situation are in my prayers. A word of encouragement: There is a church in our community that went through pastors pretty regularly. It seemed there was a group stirring up division. The beautiful present day update to that story is, they had the last pastor for 17 years. A pastor who loves the people and community. I know because his wife is my friend. I will pray for God’s leading for your Body of Christ and the right shepherd for your flock. Holy Spirit, lead them.

    Victoria E. – May you be protected from fear, while guided by the Holy Spirit, as to the best choice in the situation regarding the clinic. May you hear the voice of our Lord helping you know what direction to turn. There are so many times in our lives where we just don’t know…this is a big one for you. My prayer for you is the God will make it evident – with no fear, guilt, or condemnation for your choice. That you will make the decision and rest in whichever way He leads you. I often pray for you and your baby…I will add this guidance to those prayers.

    Mari V., Maura, Foster Mama, Kristen, CeeGee, Kelly, Tina, Churchmouse,…oh my, the list goes on. As I read through comments and requests, I hold love for you in my hearts. I often read the post before I read who wrote it. Then my heart sings, yes…this sounds like my sister, and I pray and praise for you. The list above is not all the names – goodness knows I would not get my Thanksgiving dinner started if I listed them all. You are loved ladies.

    One final note: Tuesday at my public school I went into a room, apparently quietly, because the person in the room said lovingly, “I didn’t even hear you come in, you are like a little churchmouse.” My face broke out in a huge smile and I thought, hey, “Churchmouse,” that is my sister in Christ, and thanks for the compliment.

    Have a blessed day ladies…lets pour out the encouragement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – He is coming again!

  34. Kristen says:

    Thank you all so much. I’m grateful to have a place to learn from others and I’m thankful for prayers that you have given when I requested.

    @Churchmouse, thank you for your story about Julia. How precious to see that this little girl sees God as bigger as I can forget that at times. God bless her!
    You wrote: But gaze intently at your Father’s loving face and rest in His purpose and His plan. All is well, my friends. All is well. He is the biggest of all!

    When I read what you wrote I was reminded of the song that says to turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!
    What a beautiful, hopeful, encouraging songHere is a link: https://youtu.be/j5qc0EcNgqw
    God bless you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

  35. Sherri says:

    I will praise the name of God with a song, and I will magnify Him with Thanksgiving.-Psalm 69:30

  36. Aimee D-R says:

    Father God we love You and want to encourage others to stay strong in the hope of Heaven. Please Holy Spirit help us to encourage another’s according to your Word. Amen

  37. SarahJoy says:

    Today many of these verses struck me right where I am. Struggling. Struggling to forgive myself for the unhelpful habits I have, the ways I improperly prioritize and then pay for it and living in a place of rehashing my failures. Yesterday I cried more than once as I re-lived some foolish moments (and likely released some of the stress of trying so hard).

    BUT GOD…
    He has a word for me.
    “… by ONE sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14
    Not me.
    He has made me perfect AND is making me holy.

    “So then, let us not be like others who are asleep, but let us be alert and self controlled.“
    I Thessalonians 5:6
    “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God‘s will for you in Christ Jesus.“ I Thessalonians 5:16-18

    Alert, self-controlled, awake to the work of God in me and around me. Communicating with Him continually.

    Today I received a word of grace and encouragement. For me. Today I want to love my people and encourage them out of the work God has done and continues to do in me. Not to make me feel better, but out of genuine love that can only come from God.

    “We love because He first loved us.” I John 4:19
    He is the biggest. ❤️

  38. Debbie PursuedbyHim says:

    Happy Thanksgiving from the Midwest! I will try to genuinely encourage everyone who walks through my door today in the loving name of my Savior and Lord!

  39. Beverly Watley says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all SRT believers. May God bless your day!

  40. Churchmouse says:

    It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. We gather to thank God for His provision and protection. We gather to acknowledge His sovereignty.

    May I share another Jenna story? Jenna attends pre-K at a local secular community center. Her class of 4 year olds was challenged to create a Thankful Book. They were to draw a picture of whoever or whatever they were thankful for. They would tell the teacher who and what they had drawn and the teacher would write that under the picture (their printing skills are a bit limited). The first page of Jenna’s Thankful Book is a picture of her sister. “I am thankful for Julia.” Page 2: “I’m thankful for my friend Laurel(her 3 year old neighbor).” Page 3: “I’m thankful for Daddy.” Page 4: “I’m thankful for Momma.” Page 5: “I’m thankful for Maci (their puppy).” Page 6: “I’m thankful for God!“. Each page has a picture of her and the object of her gratitude. God was drawn noticeably bigger than all the others. Jenna’s explanation: “That’s because He’s the biggest of all!“

    And isn’t that just what we need to remember in this stressful world? Our world may seem like it’s falling out of control but it’s actually falling into place. God’s redemptive and restorative story goes on. We who believe stand confidently on His promises. His Word gives us the encouragement we need to persevere.

    Don’t stare at this world in despair. Just give it a passing glance. But gaze intently at your Father’s loving face and rest in His purpose and His plan. All is well, my friends. All is well. He is the biggest of all!

  41. Vickie B says:

    I am also a “non-poster,” but I want to tell you how thankful I am for this group of my sisters in Christ. I love reading your posts and have often wished for a “love” button so I could let you know. I look forward every morning to meeting with you in spirit and I look forward to the day we meet in person! Happy Thanksgiving to all and wishing each of you God’s bountiful blessings.

  42. Kelly says:

    Hannah nailed it! Accolades about what I do often falls flat to my ears. I thought it was just me being insecure. Hannah’s words ring more true, I want to hear that someone is seeing Christ’s work in me and through me.

    “Let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works”

    Praying for peace-filled gatherings for you all today. May we put into practice what we have been learning over the last few months! To God be the glory!

  43. Elaine Morgan says:

    Even though it has been a tough year for our family we still have so much to be thankful for. Our relationships with the Lord Jesus and fellow believers are so valuable that they can never be replaced. There is nothing in this life worth more to me as they are treasures beyond measure.

  44. Chris S says:

    ❤️❤️❤️ So thankful for this community. What a blessed encouragement for how to encourage our fellow workers in Christ. Happy Thanksgiving She’s!!

  45. Tammy Durn says:

    ❤️ thankful today for Gods blessings and learning from our readings. I’ve been a “Christian” my whole life but never had a relationship. Now I’m drawn to his word and teaching. I actually dreamed about verses in my sleep last night. This group and this platform offers so much encouragement. It is truly a blessing. ❤️

  46. Melinda Capaldi says:

    Wow. I never post. But today, I just had to respond. What an amazing text and encouraging word today. And thank you Hannah for calling out what you did. I am encouraged and spurred on to take encouragement to the next level and encourage brothers and sisters in Christ’s work in their lives instead of encouraging them in themselves.