"...Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak." Acts 13:15A kind word can warm three months of winter. - Japanese Proverb
I remember when we were going through the agony of dealing with a rebellious daughter. She had done everything she could think of to go against what her father and I and her church had taught her was right. I felt like such a failure as a parent. No matter where I went, I tried desparately to avoid talking with people. I dreaded the question, "How are things going with your daughter?"
Then one Sunday morning at church, another mother, a little older and wiser, took me aside and said, "I know you're having a tough time right now. We went through a really hard time with our daughter too." This was a lady I thought had it all together. She always proudly brought her grandchildren to church with her. I never knew the story behind it.
When she was done sharing, I suddenly had a deep sense of relief. Someone understood. Someone had been there before and had survived all the hurt. She didn't give me platitudes of how God was going to work things out. By initiating that conversation, she simply told me she cared and understood. That was what I needed most then and I knew that God was in it.
(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)
Mailbag--God's love letters
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." Romans 13:4
"The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." Allan K. ChalmersIn a box in the closet, I have a collection of letters exchanged between my husband and myself when we were dating. It was a long distance romance and an unusual one in that we wrote letters to each other almost everyday for a year. It's hard to call them love letters since they were more humorous than sweet and sappy but they were letters of encouragement. Each of us encouraged the other in our studies (we were both in college) and in the hope that our relationship was growing and would bring us together in the future.I have often heard the Bible referred to as God's love letters to us. It not only teaches, it inspires, gives hope, and encourages a relationship. Do you go to your mailbox each day and collect the mail? Check your e-mail box for messages at least once a day? Why not open your Bible and see what God sent you today? Be encouraged.
(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)
If a sponge is all dried up, it is of little use until it is filled with water again. To be an encourager, you too, must be filled--with living water.
There is an account in the Bible of Jesus meeting a woman at a well. He must have planned this meeting for he'd separated himself from his disciples and was alone when she approached the well to draw water for the day. His objective: to offer her the living water, the spirit filled life that would leave her so full, she would never "thirst" again.
Set the scene in your mind. A woman, alone, is approaching the well. She sees a man--a stranger--sitting there. She hesitates. Should she continue? After all, in these days you never knew what dangers might be associated with strangers. Now here, in my mind, Jesus smiles at her. It's a smile like no other she's ever seen. It's inviting but not threatening. It's warm not coniving or sly. It's genuine not forced. It's a smile that prepares her heart for what he is about to tell her.
Smiles are like that. They prepare the way for you. Jesus still smiles at you today. He does it through his love letters--the scriptures. Start your day with a smile. Fill yourself with the living water he has to offer. Then use that smile on someone else to bring joy to their day.
©2006 Karen Robbins