Drops of Encouragement

Who was the last person who encouraged you? Who have you encouraged?

Would you believe a cough drop is the inspiration behind me asking those two questions for us to ponder?

Recently I bought an economy-sized bag of Hall’s cough drops and found a pleasant surprise. As I was about to throw away my Hall’s wrapper, I noticed the words “A Pep Talk in Every Drop” and the following:

  • “Don’t waste a precious minute.”
  • “You’ve survived tougher.”
  • “Don’t give up on yourself.”
  • “The show must go on.”

I smiled. What brilliant marketing! What wonderful encouragement! I’m so proud of Hall’s.  I will buy Hall’s cough drops just for this reason.

If a simple cough drop wrapper can make me smile and encourage me, imagine what encouragement precious you can offer someone, even to a stranger.

Encouragement is such a gift. It is even considered to be a “spiritual gift.” See below from Romans 12. A man in the Bible named Barnabas had a knack for encouraging people. In fact, his name means “Son of Encouragement.” (Acts 4:36).

Have you considered  smiling at the Target cashier and asking how she is?

Have you thanked your mom and dad for raising you and sacrificing so much for you?

How about complimenting the lady in the  Chick-Fil-A with the well-behaved children?

Or what about telling the adorable, little, elderly lady in the elevator how beautiful her scarf  is?

It might be the only positive reinforcement or encouragement he/she may get today. Today is our day to encourage, to be a Barnabas. Be encouraged, friend.

Hall's cough drop

Reflect:

–What is a recent example of someone who encouraged you or who you encouraged? Please comment below.

–How did that encouragement make you feel? Please comment below.

Renew:

–“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us…if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others; let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him to it cheerfully. “ –Romans 12: 6-8 NIV

–“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” –Romans 15:5NIV.

–“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:11NIV

PS. Happy, Shiny New 2016! Today is also a great day to print out my “Creating Your Personal Mission Statement Template,” which is free by simply adding your email address and subscribing to my weekly blog.  My personal mission statement is “Shine,” based on Matthew 5:16.

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Help For the Stubborn: Calling As At Other Times

I’ve been known to be stubborn.  It’s embarrassing to confess that to you. When my will yields to God’s, though, it thrills my heart. To hear God speaking, calling me brings so much peace.

Samuel in the Bible experienced that peace when he said, “Here I am; You called me.”  It’s a scripture response and passage you may have heard before, but I just noticed five words of this profound Bible story I had never paid attention to before.

 “The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. ..

Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down.

God called him again. Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” –1 Samuel 3:1, 4-11 NIV

Did you notice it? The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times…That phrase hit me over the head.

God talks with us all the time, yet we are so distracted, we do not listen. Or we may think it’s someone/something else, not God. It took Eli to prepare Samuel to really listen the next time the Lord “came and stood there” and called him. How often do we blow off the Eli’s in our lives and dismiss their insight?

Who is an Eli in your life, who can help you  focus on God, preparing you to listen to Him calling you? The Lord is talking to you, calling your name, calling as at other times. Listen to God, and listen to your “Eli”, so you can listen to Him.

It has been a blessing for God to call me to work at Proverbs 31 Ministries in Matthews, NC and to relocate here. It took me a while to hear Him speaking to me.

Lord Jesus, thank you for yielding my stubborn heart. Thank You for slowing my pace so that I may hear You speaking clearly, Lord. “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Reflect:

–Do you find that your world is noisy, distracted, hard to hear God? Please comment.

–Who is an Eli in your life? Please comment.

Renew:

–“And the Lord said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.’ …The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and He let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.” –1 Samuel 3: 11, 19-20 NIV

–“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” –Psalm 46:10 NIV

Recharge:

–What will you do this week to quiet yourself, focus, and listen? Shhh… can you hear Him calling as at other times?

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Are You For Real?

It is so refreshing to be around authentic people. How real, how authentic would you say you are? Do you find that you act differently around different people? You may have answered yes to that question.  I’m embarrassed to say that my answer was yes.

A well-respected Christian leader said that she wanted to strive to be the same person 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where she is or who she is around. Wow. That statement sets the bar pretty high. That is the standard I pray to reach one day… one day. The journey is long.

I feel blessed to surround myself intentionally with authentic friends and mentors. You know–those people who are unpretentious, humble, can laugh at themselves, have servant hearts. People who talk the same about you to your face as behind your back. When these people/friends give you feedback, it’s mostly positive and uplifting, and even when it’s needed constructive criticism, it is uttered to your face and not only behind your back.

Have you ever overheard someone speaking positively about you? What a sweet treat. Now, have you overheard someone speaking negatively about you?  How did it make you feel?

Today is a new day. Let’s get real. What does “getting real” mean, you might ask? I heard a mentor say that success is treating our friends like family and our family like friends.  To me, that is what being real, being authentic means.

Reflect:

–Who are some people in your life who are real/authentic? Please comment.

–Who are you when no one is around?

–Who is the REAL, authentic you?

Renew:

–“Therefore, encourage each other and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” –Titus 2:6-9 NIV

–“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear gifts? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. –James 3:9-12 NIV

 Recharge:

–What will you do be more real? Please comment on some ways to be more real.

–Call an authentic friend/mentor with whom to spend some intentional time this week.

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