Friday, June 30, 2006

Express Appreciation

"Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!" 1 Thess 5:13 (MSG)

Feeling grateful to or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. - Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Reinforcing positive behavior in children is something most of us are familiar with. I watched my daughters-in-law at work this week doing that very thing with my grandchildren. "I like it when you sing quietly. It's pretty." "I like it when you use your fork instead of your hand." Words of appreciation prompted our preschool grandkids to behave appropriately.

Words of appreciation are important to adults as well. They tell us we are loved, respected, and valued. They are the fuel some need to go farther, work harder, and enjoy life more. They are the sparks that encourage a soul to greatness.

I like it when you encourage someone with a smile, make time to stop, initiate a conversation, laugh with them, and express appreciation.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Thursday, June 29, 2006


"If you have ears, listen!" Matt 13:9 (TLB)

With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing. - Catherine de Hueck

Do you know a good listener? They are the best friends we can have. They are healers, problem solvers, and ones who inspire. And often it is without a spoken word.

When you have a good listener to whom you can turn in need, do so. When we have to form the words and the sentences to tell someone what is consuming us, it helps us to work out our own solutions. There is something about another person listening that helps us to see more clearly what is behind and what lies ahead.

God is a good listener. That's why prayer is so important and so effective. When there is no one else there is our Heavenly Father who listens and loves and lets us pour out our hearts. By speaking to Him, we can be guided to the calm waters of life again even amidst the storm.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Initiative--Take Some

"To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; someone else may be especially good at studying and teaching, and this is his gift from the same Spirit." 1 Cor 12:8 (TLB)

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Shelley sent me a story of someone God used to encourage her:

I had some encouragement just this week. I had been asked to do the message part of the prayer meeting at my church this past week. I only had two days to prepare for it and it really wasn't enough. Anyway, I said my piece, was very nervous and felt like I was a total flop. I felt like I had failed in front of about 40 people. I had been told that usually there were only 10-12 people that show up to prayer meeting, so I felt even more pressure.

At the end of it all, one of the church members who is also a pastor and the president of the university I just graduated from, came up to me and told me I did great. He also told me that I have a gift for teaching, which is something that I have been wondering about. You see, I quit my job of 12 years to go back to school at age 33 with the purpose of becoming a teacher. I felt the Lord leading me to do this.

I graduated this past May, but did not get accepted into the B.Ed. program and felt very discouraged. I felt like maybe I heard God wrong, that He wasn't calling me to teach.

When this man told me that I have a gift for teaching, it encouraged me greatly so I am still going to work toward the goal of being a teacher. It just might not happen the way I had thought it would...who knows.

God is in control of things, and I just need to remember that His ways are not my ways and the situation might not happen the way I thought it would.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Make Time to Be Encouraged

"But I keep right on praying to you, Lord. For now is the time--you are bending down to hear! You are ready with a plentiful supply of love and kindness." Psalms 69:13 (TLB)

What may be done at any time will be done at no time. - Scottish Proverb

Time. It is the one thing we cannot make more of. We are alloted only so many hours and minutes in a day. Often we hear someone say, "Take time to..." Somehow taking time to do something seems arbitrary.

"I'll steal a few minutes here or there and get it done." How often do we think that and the time gets away from us, passes, and the day is done? That's why I say, "Make time to..." When we make time in our schedule, in our day, we have an appointment to keep. We don't just look for a place to squeeze something in.

Make time in your day to be encouraged through God's word, through prayer, and use that to encourage another.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Smile And A Wink

"Warm me, your servant, with a smile..." Psalms 31:16 (MSG)

"God encourages his children even when the umpire Satan is crying "You're out!" --Cathy Messecar, The Stained Glass Pickup

It only takes a smile or a wink to lift someone's spirits, refresh a soul, encourage a young mother:

"Years ago when my adopted son was around three months old, he began fussing during worship. Being a new mother after 10 years, I was becoming frustrated and frazzled. Out of sheer exhaustion, I sat down. A man in the row before us, turned around and winked. My spirit calmed and so did my son. I've never seen the man again. To this day, I believe God sent me an angel. " (from Cynthia Hickey)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Extol--Praise God

"Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever." Psalms 145:2

I have had but one passion, and I have lived for it - the absorbingly arduous yet glorious work of proclaiming the grace and love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. -John Henry Jowett

Yesterday afternoon was disasterous. Rain came down in a torrent for about 45 minutes. The storm sewers overflowed into the waste sewers and most of the homes on our strees, including ours, had filthy water in the basement. I should have been devastated as I waded through it all to try to save what I could. But my patience surprised me. My calmness was almost shocking even when the treadmill decided to start up on its own and I had to knock the plug out of the socket to stop it.

God's grace is hard to define sometimes. Yesterday I think I experienced it through all of the nastiness of the afternoon. His grace was enough to see me through the emergency until my husband made it home through the flooded streets. His grace sustained us both as we learned how bad the damages are. His grace encouraged me to face what lies ahead--the clean up--and know that He will get me through it, step by step.

Praise His name.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Thursday, June 22, 2006


"And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. "
Gen 21:5-6 (KJV)

"The most wasted day of all is that during which we have not laughed." - Sebastian R. N. Chamfort

Not only did Sarah laugh at the prospect of being a mother at her age, I'll bet she had a lot of laughs to follow as she watched her son grow and explore his world. This morning I checked my daughters-in-law's blogs. One wrote of my son and his escapades in fixing the air conditioner in their car. I laughed as I read of my child's attempts and final success and his promise to his wife that "ice cubes will come out of the vents."

My other daughter-in-law wrote of another clever response from her son--one of many she is documenting in her daily blog. I laugh with each new adventure in her day as she explores the world through the eyes of a preschooler.

Humor is uplifting. Laughter is encouraging. Look for the humor in what your day brings and laugh. It really is the best medicine.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Inspiring Words

"Therefore encourage each other with these words."
I Thessalonians 4:18

"I know that faith made my life possible and that of many others like me...Reason hardly warranted Anne Sullivan's attempt to transform a little half-human, half-animal, deaf-blind child into a complete human being. Neither science nor philosophy had set such a goal, but faith, the eye of love did. I did not know I had a soul. Then God in a wise heart drew me out of nothingness with cords of human love and the life belt of language, and lo, I found myself. In my doubly shadowed world, faith gives me a reason for trying to draw harmony out of a marred instrument. Faith is not a cushion for me to fall back upon; it is my working energy." -Helen Keller, Let Us Have Faith, 1940

If God could reach through the silence and darkness that was Helen Keller's world, certainly He can reach into anyone's life. He can reach into your life through "the cords of human love and the life belt of language." He can also use you to encourage another.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Make Time to Encourage Another

"I weep with grief; my heart is heavy with sorrow; encourage and cheer me with your words." Psalms 119:28

"Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away. When I am gone, I hope it can be said of me that I plucked a thistle and planted a flower wherever I thought a flower would grow." -Anonymous

If you have ever lost someone close to you, you know what the busyness of a funeral is like. That's not a bad thing. It brings people together, gives the family something to concentrate on those first few days when the reality of the loss is just settling in. But once everyone has gone home, the last of the lunchmeat and ham is eaten, the hole in your life is felt more deeply.

Right now do you know someone who is in that position? Do something positive. Cheer them with a card. Make it a card that doesn't say "sympathy"--they probably have a stack of those. Make it a card that will bring a smile to their face or a note that simply says, "I'm thinking of you." Not only will it lift the receiver, you will feel better for having done it.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Smiling--the early stages

"A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;" Proverbs 15:13 (The Message)

The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps— does anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumor that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the dream of a dew-washed morning. -Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali, 1912

We all do it. Sometimes we do it when no one else is around so we won't embarrass ourselves. We make funny faces and noises to make the baby smile. When a baby smiles, he smiles from head to toe. It's a smile that brings a gurgle eventually developing into a giggle. It's a smile that warms our hearts and lifts our day.

According to Martha and William Pieper of , "The first social smile may appear as early as 6 weeks, but it's unlikely to be a regular feature for quite a while. Generally, babies smile readily by 12 weeks, and by 6 months most smile ecstatically at the people they know best."

I think babies are smarter than we think. They know when they smile they are encouraging us. After all, with a smile a baby says, "Mom. Dad. You're doing a great job. I'm happy, healthy, and well-cared for. Now make another funny face."

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Extol Another's Accomplishments

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders." Psalms 9:1

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." ~ Anne Sexton

It's Father's Day. My father is no longer with us but I do remember him each year and am grateful for the love he showered on my brother and me. Dad was a great outdoorsman and we spent hours fishing together, hunting worms for those fishing trips, and once, I was allowed to follow along as the men went hunting. Turned out it wasn't my thing and I couldn't handle a shotgun anyway.

Dad was a good provider, a father who took pride in his children and enjoyed them. But to my knowledge, Dad was not a Christian. We talked about that on occasion and he confirmed in a way that he believed in God but to have a relationship with Jesus was something he would never talk about. Dad was a proud man and it would have been difficult for him to admit he relied on another's help even if it was Jesus. I can only hope that sometime in the quiet solitude of being outdoors watching the fishing line, God tugged on his heart and caught him as His own.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Listen, Laugh, Love

"You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry." Psalm 10:17

Don't miss the donut by looking through the hole. -Author Unknown

Sometimes in seeking encouragement we need only find someone who is a good listener. Lori sent me this story:

When we first moved into the apartment we were renting while our house was finished, I was very depressed for the first couple weeks. The place was dirty, cramped, and I missed my house. Then Ron went away and the TV broke. Nothing about our routines was normal, and the kids were adjusting to the changes the only way they knew how - by misbehaving. It just seemed like it was one thing on top of another. During that time, Patty called me every single day just to see how I was and to listen to my growing list of complaints. She just listened. Emotionally speaking, She came and sat in my corner with me. She comiserated with me. That was really all I needed, someone to sympathize with me, not fix anything. I knew she was busy with her own life, yet she cared enough to check in on me and spent the time to listen. That was just the encouragement I needed during that time.

God is an encourager and a listener too. But sometimes we need a human ear as well. Could you be that listener for someone else today?

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Smile Power

"Encourage one another daily..." Hebrews 3:13

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." Mark Twain

It's a little thing--a smile. No matter how dark the day however, a smile breaks through the darkness and lights a little corner. A smile given is almost always a smile returned. Start with smiling at the person you greet in your bathroom mirror every morning. I guarantee that if you smile at that person, your smile will be returned.

Smiles come in all sizes. Some are large grins. Some are little curls at the corners of the mouth. All of them speak of encouragement. A smile is probably the single most non-verbal way to express to another that you care about them.

So, if you're feeling a little down, try smiling at someone else. It's good exercise for the spirit. The world will look a little brighter and the smiles will start coming your way as well.

(Copyright 2006 Karen Robbins)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


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