“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NLT).

What we do for God is our response to his goodness and grace. As we learn to love and trust him more, our desires change. His grace teaches us how much better it is to love God and one another instead of wanting only to please ourselves.

The prayers in the New Testament reveal how God feels about us as well as how he wants us to live. He knows our nature, our weaknesses and our tendency to get discouraged, even as we are going through this process of learning to love others and do good to them. He has an encouraging heart and wants us to succeed. When we get tired and think about giving up, he’s there to remind us how much he loves us and give us strength to continue. God’s encouragement comes in many forms but it’s always the proverbial ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.

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