• Topic > Relationships > Encouragement >

    Sharing a Cup of Comfort

    A friend mailed me some of her homemade pottery. Upon opening the box, I discovered the precious items had been damaged during their journey. One of the cups had shattered into a few large pieces, a jumble of shards, and clumps of clay dust.

    After my husband glued the broken mess back together, I displayed the beautifully blemished cup on a shelf. Like that pieced-together pottery, I have scars that prove I can still stand strong after the difficult times God’s brought me through. That cup of comfort reminds me that sharing how the Lord has worked in and through my…

    Reason to Smile

    In the workplace, words of encouragement matter. How employees talk to one another has a bearing on customer satisfaction, company profits, and co-worker appreciation. Studies show that members of the most effective work groups give one another six times more affirmation than disapproval, disagreement, or sarcasm. Least productive teams tend to use almost three negative comments for every helpful word.

    Paul learned by experience about the value of words in shaping relationships and outcomes. Before meeting Christ on the road to Damascus, his words and actions terrorized followers of Jesus. But by the time he wrote his letter to the Thessalonians,…

    Bubbles

    Sarah sometimes wonders if she only believes in Jesus because she’s surrounded by family and friends who also do. She asked, “Am I a Christian because it’s true or because I live in a Christian bubble?”

    Encouraging Leaders

    A pastor friend told my husband and me that he’s considering leaving the ministry because he feels as if his efforts haven’t resulted in heart change for any of his congregants—that their priorities remained out of step with God’s. After my husband and I prayed for him, he told us that we had encouraged him. Even so, I’m not confident that he’ll remain in fulltime pastoral ministry.

    Taking the Next Step

    When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.

    Will You Ship Others?

    The week before Valentine’s Day, my students taught me a new word, “ship”. According to them, to “ship” means to support or be in favor of two people getting together.

    The Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative

    Not all initiative, the willingness to take the first step, is inspired by God. Someone may say to you, “Get up and get going! Take your reluctance by the throat and throw it overboard—just do what needs to be done!” That is what we mean by ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, “Get up and get going,” suddenly we find that the initiative is inspired.

    We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead.

    “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”

    None of us lives to himself… —Romans 14:7

    Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “sit together in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 2:6). “If one member suffers, all the members suffer…

    Running the Race

    By lap three of seven I was already exhausted. My trainer told me to give 80 percent of my best effort at first and build up to “200 percent on the final lap!” As I rounded the bend before that last lap, he shouted, “I need you to be throwing up at the finish line!” Unfortunately, I duly obliged. But I finished well and clocked a great time.

    Jesus broken on the cross can make us whole again

    Sometimes things can become so familiar that we don’t even notice them anymore. And if we’re not careful that can happen with the symbol of the cross. Today on Discover the Word, special guest Ann Voskamp joins the team at the table to consider how Jesus being broken on the cross can make us whole […]

    Being the hands and feet of Jesus

    The Bible says we are “the hands and feet of Jesus.” But what does being His hands and feet actually look like? Today on Discover the Word, special guest Ann Voskamp joins us as we continue the discussion of how “The Broken Way” is the way of Jesus. Be part of the group,  right here […]

    Discover how brokenness can lead to abundant life

    Today on Discover the Word, the team welcomes bestselling author Ann Voskamp to the table. They’ll be kicking off a new series of conversations based on Ann’s new book, called “The Broken Way.” It’s a discussion that reveals how it’s brokenness that can actually lead to the abundant life. Join the fascinating conversations the group has […]

    The Gift of Encouragement

    An old Merle Haggard song, “If We Make It Through December,” tells the story of a man laid off from his factory job with no money to buy Christmas gifts for his little girl. Although December is supposed to be a happy time of year, his life seems dark and cold.

    Discouragement is not unique to December, but it can be amplified then. Our expectations may be higher, our sadness deeper. A little encouragement can go a long way.

    Joseph, a man from Cyprus, was among the early followers of Jesus. The apostles called him Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.” We meet him in Acts 4:36–37…

    What About You?

    Emily listened as a group of friends talked about their family Thanksgiving traditions. “We go around the room and each one tells what he or she is thankful to God for,” Gary said. Another mentioned the last Thanksgiving meal with his dad before he died and went to heaven: “Even though Dad had dementia, his prayer of thanks to the Lord was clear.” Randy shared, “My family has a special time of singing together on the holiday. My grandma goes on and on and on!” Emily’s sadness and jealousy grew as she thought of her own family, and she complained:…