Encouraging Words

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word
And skies are not cloudy all day.
Interesting that clear skies are linked with the lack of discouraging words.  When I think about how I feel when I’m discouraged, I could certainly link it with cloudy skies.
On the other hand, the power of encouraging words can clear cloudy skies, lift the fog and make the sun shine so brightly.  Encouraging words don’t need to be big long dialects or diatribes.  Simple words like, ‘Thank you’ can make a world of difference.
My mother always had me write thank you notes.  In fact, I don’t remember a Christmas or birthday growing up where I didn’t receive a box of thank you notes.  My mom said that if someone cared enough to give me a gift, I could take the time to say thank you.  Notes aren’t the only way to say thank you, but they certainly are effective.
As we were driving the other day, two of my younger children were talking about some thank you notes they had received for Christmas gifts they had sent.  They had received some but were wondering when others would arrive.  I had to stop and explain to them that not everyone sends thank you notes.  “Oh.” they replied together.  I guess I took up where my mom left off with the thank you notes.  The girls wanted to know why we would send them if others didn’t.  I explained to them that many people say thank you in person or over the phone or even in an email.  Many others feel that return gifts are thanks enough.  As they took this in, I asked them how they felt about receiving thank you notes.  Both were quick to reply that they really enjoyed them and that they made them feel special and that they were glad that the writer had appreciated their efforts.
As the day progressed, we had a number of encounters with people who said thank you.  They said thank you for simple courtesies like holding doors, they said thank you for some things we had organized and  they said thank you for time shared.  Above the courtesy thank yous, the others were all accompanied by encouraging words.  The thank yous were, in many cases, explained.  By doing this, you helped this happen.  By giving your time, you allowed this blessing in my life.
I’ll tell you, if I ever felt burned out (and oh have I felt burned out!!!) a day full of thank yous and encouraging words would be enough to set me straight and get me back on track.
It is so easy to get frustrated and let our words affect those around us.  What if… what if we all purposed for one week or even one day to say nothing but encouraging words.  Even in our discipline with our children.  Is there a way for us to make that encouraging to them?  A way for us to use that opportunity to motivate them to want to do better?
Job 16:5
But my mouth would encourage you; 
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
Acts 15:32
Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, 
said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.
Acts 16:40
After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, 
where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them.
Acts 20:2
He traveled through that area, 
speaking many words of encouragement to the people 
Romans 12:8
(speaking of spiritual gifts) 
if it is to encourage, then give encouragement 
2 Corinthians 13:11
[ Final Greetings ] Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!…, 
encourage one another 
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, 
just as in fact you are doing.
These are just a few examples of encouraging words in Scripture.  Encouraging one another was obviously something God wanted us to understand and do. 
My goal for this week is to be as encouraging as I can possibly be.  How about you?
 Home, home on the range
Where the boys and the little girls play
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word
And we grow closer each day.

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