Monday, January 12, 2015

Daily Encouragement (01/12/15) "Message On A Napkin"

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter scene in Eastern Maine (photo by Doris High)
Snow scene in eastern Maine
(Photo by Doris High)

"Message On A Napkin"

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"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver" (Proverbs 25:11).

Lunch around conference table
A number of years I had a lunch meeting with several men in a CBMC leadership group. We met in a conference room and brought our own lunches, which I am not accustomed to, since Brooksyne and I almost always travel together in the course of our ministry. The other guys had a couple slices of pizza, a Subway sandwich, chips, etc.

Ester's lunch bagBrooksyne prepared a lunch for me in one of Ester's lunch bags from school. I opened up my lavender and green bag loaded will all kinds of goodies, similar to how Brooksyne prepared Ester's lunch for school. The bag sure prompted some good-natured teasing by the guys but I had something none of them had in their lunches. Along with the tasty lunch items I pulled out a personalized napkin.

When Ester was young Brooksyne always included a note or Bible verse on Ester's napkin and tucked it inside her lunch bag on school days
. My napkin's message was, "God must have been thinking about me when He made you. I love you, Brooksyne." That's not a lot of words but they sure did build me up. It kind of made my heart shiver. I sure didn't use the napkin to wipe off the mustard that came off of my sandwich (they had a stack of them on the table for that). I kept it clean and brought it home to place on my desk!

Today's encouragement will hopefully be a reminder of the power of our words to bless and encourage others (whether spoken or written). Every one of you will have numerous opportunities throughout the day to build others up. For some that may be a lengthy "formal" discussion. However most encouragement is brief and may even seem inconsequential at the time, like the brief message on my lunch napkin.

Apples of gold in settings of silverThe daily Scripture verse is a proverb, which is a "short pithy saying" (pithy is a not a word I use a lot). The word "fitly" in the text translates a Hebrew word found only once in the entire Bible conveying the sense of "in season." The New American Standard Version uses the phrase, "a word spoken in right circumstances."  

These "words fitly spoken" are God-ordained words that go right to the heart to meet the need for that season or occasion. God uses others to bring these words to us. Several weeks ago we had lunch with some friends and afterwards received this email: "I always come away from time spent with ya’ll feeling renewed in spirit!  Your love of God is contagious and you keep us on track with the really important stuff." Now, that brief message really made our day and motivates us even further to make a positive difference in one's life.

I can think of many times in my life when I have received a word fitly spoken, mostly positive and uplifting but in a few instances it might have been an insight or loving reproof that I needed for that circumstance. I hope that I have offered many as well, although we may be unaware at the time that we have even done so. A powerful aspect of personal ministry is offering these words of blessing to others. Who needs to hear (or read) such a word from you today? As you ask God for divine appointments in your workplace or in your surroundings this day, be mindful of the needs of those around you and offer "a word fitly spoken."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we find those who speak into our lives words of encouragement and blessing further motivate us to stay on course and dispense the same kind of message to others. Whether in conversation by way of counsel, comfort, affirmation or on occasion, admonition. Harsh, cutting words abound and cut us like a knife, but when people give us a message in love and grace, it appears as an apple of gold - the best there is to offer. It ministers to the responsive heart and thereby edifies and builds us up in the body of Christ. May our words build and not destroy, bring joy and not pain, help rather than hurt, in keeping with Scripture that it might benefit others. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Note from Brooksyne: We had a good laugh that evening at dinner when Stephen shared how the men had commented on his lavender and green lunch bag. I called his friend Bill who had started the rousing, used a very serious tone and asked, "Bill, are you aware how hurt Stephen was, after you fellas needled him about his bag?" Bill paused for a proper response, but I couldn't keep the joke going. We all had a great laugh at Stephen's expense. Peer pressure follows us through our entire life. In fact Stephen used this as a teaching moment with Ester.

We were encouraged by this note from Lee, a reader from Singapore, which catches the spirit of what we hope to convey in our daily encouragement messages as we seek to share "words fitly spoken".

Hi Stephen and Brooksyne,
Firstly, I thank God for both of you for the daily encouragement you have faithfully and fearfully written to honor our God and to encourage His children. I am one who has been reading it daily and I have been encouraged tremendously. I have also shared it with my cell group members. Thank you for staying faithful to the Word of God. It is during such times that we have to trust in God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to work and transform our lives so that "the things of the earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His Glory and Grace."

Sandy with pretzel man 11/11/15
Yesterday we had a potluck dinner following our worship service where our friend Sandy shared these popular sweet and salty pretzel snowmen. Brooksyne talked with her this morning on the phone and she got the idea online.

Reader comments concerning my emergency mailbox photo posted last Friday:

Henry, from North Carolina commented, "Stephen, as a "good old boy", I can tell you a redneck would never use his good ladder."

Rest of story: I had set up the mailbox ladder as a temporary fix so we could get off to our appointments and still get our mail after a driver accidentally plowed it down. Our neighbor Frank called us while we were on the road and asked if we were giving the ladder away. He told us he had seen cars driving by slowly. Well, I reckoned that they were doing that in admiration of my ingenuity but just to be on the safe side I had Ester make a sign.

This weekend I made a longer-term temporary setup till I can reset the post in the Spring. Brooksyne says it looks like an animal. Perhaps you agree.

Temporary mailbox 11/10/15

Similarly Andre, a reader from South Africa, had this thought, "I chuckled when I saw your "mailbox fix" simply because in my native South Africa with its pervasive levels of crime we would never contemplate using so valuable an item as a ladder for such a measure as it would disappear in no time. Just yesterday however my cynicism was checked. I arrived home to find that the motor on the entry gate to the security complex where we reside had been knocked over and damaged by an apparent "hit and run" incident. As a trustee of the home owner's association I was therefore, last evening preparing to submit an insurance claim for the substantial damaged which was caused, when a young man knocked on my door offering his details and claiming responsibility for his actions. Whist visiting one of our neighbors his vehicle had rolled back onto the gate motor. It's at times like this that I realize that in the face of pervasive lawlessness (like in the time of Elijah) God always reserves for Himself a few who will step up and stand out for Him by doing the right thing. Shalom!"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

The message on the napkin was based on a song called 'When God Made You" Video by a group called Newsong.

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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
"A Little Foolishness" - Humor/satire blog (a great outlet for non-serious writing but at times with a subtle message!) (Note: This material is satire!)
"Clear Minded" - Longer, periodic articles on specific issues impacting the faithful believer and church. (Actually this is my intent but I haven't done much with it!)
"Hymns of Hope" - Brooksyne along with two friends made a CD using classic hymns. Brooksyne tells the background story of the 11 hymns. All of these songs are also available for download on the site.

Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Other versions are also occasionally used.

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