“Encouragement is like peanut butter the more you spread it around, the better things stick together.”—Unknown
One of the best-loved hymns of the faith, “It Is Well with My Soul,” was written by Horatio Spafford. Mr. Spafford, a wealthy businessman in Chicago, lost much of his real estate holdings in the Great Chicago Fire. After the fire, he sent his wife and four daughters on a ship to Europe, intending to join them later, for a time of rest as well as to assist Moody and Sankey with a revival in Great Britain. But the voyage was struck by disaster, and Spafford received a cable from his wife with the painful message, “Saved alone.”
George Truett was a tremendously effective pastor for decades in Texas. His heart was broken when he accidentally killed his best friend while they were on a hunting trip. His daughter said that she never heard him laugh after that day. Truett had a radio program, and each day when it came to a close he would say, “Be good to everybody, because everybody is having a tough time.” Because he knew personally what a heavy burden people could be carrying, he encouraged compassion toward them.
The Lord is my shepherd
I shall not want
He maketh me to
lie down in green pastures
He leadeth me
beside the still waters
He restoreth my
He leadeth me in
the paths of righteousness
For His name’s
Yea, though I
walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Ten days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, residents of North Platte, Nebraska heard a rumor that soldiers from their town, part of the Nebraska National Guard Company D, would be coming through on a troop train on their way to the West Coast. About five hundred people showed up at the train depot with food, gifts, letters, and love to give the boys.
As a young boy he worked in a factory, but had an intense desire to be a singer. When he turned ten years old, he took his first voice lesson which procured a less than encouraging remark from his teacher, “You can’t sing. You haven’t any voice at all. Your voice sounds like a wind in the shutters.”
His mother, however, believed that he could learn to sing. She was very poor, but she hugged him and said, “My boy, I’m going to make every sacrifice to pay for your voice lessons.”
A young boy, on an errand for his mother, had just bought a dozen eggs. Walking out of the store, he tripped and dropped the sack. All the eggs broke, and the sidewalk was a mess. The boy tried not to cry.
A few people gathered to see if he was okay and to tell him how sorry they were. In the midst of the words of pity, one man handed the boy a quarter.
Then he turned to the group and said, “I care twenty-five cents worth. How much do the rest of you care?”
On May 24, 1965, a 13½ foot boat slipped quietly out of the marina at Falmouth, Massachusetts. It would be the smallest craft ever to make the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to England. The Tinkerbelle was piloted by Robert Manry, a copy editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who felt that 10 years at the desk was enough boredom for a while. So he took a leave of absence to fulfill his secret dream.
A man stopped to watch a Little League baseball game. He asked one of the youngsters what the score was. ”We’re losing 18-0,” was the answer.
“Well,” said the man. ”I must say you don’t look discouraged.”
“Discouraged?” the boy said puzzled. ”Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t come to bat yet.”
Mamie Adams always went to the same post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know,” said Mamie, ‘but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.”
Source: Bits and Pieces, December, 1989
Forty thousand fans were on hand in the Oakland stadium when Rickey Henderson tied Lou Brock’s career stolen base record. According to USA Today, Lou, who had left baseball in 1979, had followed Henderson’s career and was excited about his success. Realizing that Rickey would set a new record, Brock said, “I’ll be there. Do you think I’m going to miss it now? Rickey did in 12 years what took me 19. He’s amazing.”
When the great painter Benjamin West was a young boy he decided to draw a picture of his sister. He got out bottles of ink and succeeded in making a mess. When his mother got home she said, “What a beautiful picture,” and kissed him. Later in life he said, “That kiss made me a painter.”
One morning Marion Gilbert opened her door and was surprised to see a small dog she had never seen before with her paper in its mouth. Delighted with his “delivery service,” she gave him some treats. The next morning she was horrified to see the same dog sitting in front of her door, wagging his tail, surrounded by eight newspapers. She spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their owners.
Source: The Reader’s Digest, Volume 1444
Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a prisoner in a Soviet prison in Siberia. He became so weak and discouraged that he wished he would die. The guards would beat and usually kill anyone that stopped working. He decided to stop working so that the guards would kill him. As soon as he did so, another Christian drew a cross where Alexander could see it.
Alexander said that he was encouraged by remembering that God gives hope and courage. He decided to continue working because of a Christian who cared too much to let him give up.
James Cash Penney (who started J. C. Penney stores) made some unwise commitments and became very depressed. He worried so much that he developed shingles. He went to see his doctor who admitted him to the hospital, but his condition became worse. One night he was prescribed a sedative that quickly wore off, and he awoke believing that he would die that night. He wrote letters to his family and fell asleep.
Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, “Brother, the grass grows on your path.”
Source: Today in the Word
Submitted by the homiletics class of West Coast Baptist College
I heard once of a man who dreamed that he was swept into Heaven, and oh, he was so delighted to think that he had at last got there. All at once one came and said: “Come, I want to show you something.” He took him to the battlements, and he said, “Look down yonder; what do you see?”
“I see a very dark world.”
“Look and see if you know it.”
“Why, yes,” he said, “that is the world I have come from.”
“What do you see?”
“Men are blindfolded there; many of them are going over a precipice.”
A little girl whose baby brother had just died asked her mother where Baby had gone. “To be with Jesus,” replied the mother. A few days later, talking to a friend, the mother said, “I am so grieved to have lost my baby.” The little girl heard her, and remembering what her mother had told her, looked up into her face and asked, “Mother, is a thing lost when you know where it is?”
“No, of course not.”
“Well, then how can Baby be lost when he has gone to be with Jesus?”