5 Stories of Encouragement, Plus Free Friday

Encouragement is a powerful force because it is a form of hope, one of the three things we know will always remain (1 Cor. 13:13). Every man, woman, and child stands in constant need of encouragement. Offering encouragement to others is easy to do, costs us nothing, and delivers kindness, love, and energy to the weary and downcast.

Today is The National Day of Encouragement, “a day dedicated to uplifting those around us and making a positive impact, no matter the magnitude.” To encourage you, we want to share a few personal stories of encouragement. We hope this inspires you in your walk with others. And don’t worry, we didn’t forget about Free Friday! You can download today’s free book at the end of this post.

“As a 9-year old boy, I was a Calvinist Cadet (my church’s version of boy scouts). My troupe met on Friday evenings and one night, our troupe leader called me into his office. I thought for sure I was in trouble. This man, who I respected, satTerrFayeCasperia me down and said, ‘I want to encourage you because you’re the best cadet in our group. You make our meetings fun for everyone, and others look up to you and follow your lead. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your attitude.’ Wow. I wasn’t expecting that.

As I look back now, I admire this man’s godly act of offering encouragement to a youngster. It lifted my spirits, made me want to become a good leader, and was an example of how to encourage others. It was an act of pure, unsolicited encouragement. And 50 years later, it still feels good to think about.

Encouragement is one of those ‘pay it forward’ experiences, and I’d like to encourage every believer to consciously encourage others. It’s a Christ-like force of goodness.”

-Terry Van Someren, Direct Marketing

“I’vGeri_Clinte found that the most encouraging thing someone else can do for me is just to tell me they appreciate my effort, whether it be in the office, as a coworker, or at home, as a mother, wife, or friend. I believe we all have several roles in our life, and we need encouragement in every area.”

-Geri Bogue, e-book Development

“I’ve fokristinaund asking the Lord to show me a specific way to encourage a specific person is very effective. He knows the person best, so I like to start with Him. Sometimes, He will lead me to pray for that person’s encouragement, sometimes He’ll lead me to send a note or a small gift. Then, there are other times when I might feel led to take a person to coffee and give them a listening ear. He might ask me to watch someone’s kids for an afternoon or clean their kitchen. Whatever tells a person, ‘You’re valuable. You matter. God has prepared good things for you to do’ and then energizes or enables that person to live this truth out is always a great way to pursue encouraging another.”

-Kristina Vandiver, Events Marketing

“Iaustin_bushn my personal experiences, I have seen encouragement in so many different forms. Often times, I can gain encouragement from others just by seeing a friendly smile. I also receive encouragement though from uplifting Bible verses and taking the moment to realize that God’s love and forgiveness surpasses all else.”

-Austin Bush, Sales & Support

“I am not by nature, or even by spirit, an encouraging person. I actually tend to be a little dumb about understacurtnding how others are feeling at any given time. The result of that is that sometimes I speak a casual word that brightens someone’s life immensely, and on the flip side I sometimes try to encourage someone and end up hurting their feelings deeply instead. However, I have developed a strategy for encouragement that I hope minimizes the chances of inadvertent discouragement. That strategy is summed up in three words: Make them laugh. A wholesome laugh brightens a person’s countenance emotionally, spiritually, physically, and—if the laughter is shared—socially as well.”

-Joe Hendley, e-book Development

Today’s free book is Mustard Seeds: Thoughts on the Nature of God and Faith. We hope you will be encouraged by the author’s stories of God’s grace during a period of hardship that sustain her faith today.

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After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page. Have you read anything that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

Remembering September 11

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Most people remember exactly where they were on September 11, 2001.

That morning, I walked into my math class where my teacher uncharacteristically had the radio on, listening to the news. The first plane had hit. When class was over, a few of us rushed down to the school library where they had a TV on the news channel. We watched the footage, horrified, as they played the images of terrorism over and over.

Every year 9/11 comes around on the calendar we should stop and remember. Remember the lives lost, the grieving families and friends, the city and country that pulled together and held each other up. Let’s not think of it as just something that happened 13 years ago today, but as an example of why we need Jehova Rapha, the Lord that heals. In the midst of everything going around us today, take a moment to be grateful for every day the Lord gives us.

Say a prayer that our God will bring the comfort and strength the loved ones left behind still need each day. That He will bring the peace the world needs to heal. And remember that even in terrible tragedy, the Lord gives us His hope.

I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:20-23, NIV

-Katie Cornett

Free Friday! 52 Words Every Christian Should Know

52WordsHappy Friday everyone! Today’s free download, usually $4.95,  is 52 Words Every Christian Should Know by Kendell Easley. Click here to download.

Kendell Easley believes words and their meanings are vital now and have eternal consequences. So he has provided this handy resource that both informs and inspires.

Each of the 52 terms is presented in a two-page study, organized into 8 major biblical categories. All begin with a pertinent citation from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, continue with a concise definition, move on to a brief discussion, and close with thought-provoking questions and a devotional prayer.

Kendell H. Easley is director of the Master of Christian Education program at Union University in Germantown, Tennessee, and serves as professor of Christian Studies. He is also pastor of leadership development at Germantown Baptist Church. Dr. Easley is author of Quicksource Guide to Understanding the Bible, Holman Illustrated Guide to Biblical History, Living with the End in Sight: Meditations on the Book of Revelation, Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation, and User-Friendly Greek: A Common Sense Approach to the Greek of the New Testament. Dr. Easley has degrees from John Brown University (B.A.), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.Div.), and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D.).

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page. Have you read anything that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

Loving God on Earth Day

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. – Job 12:7-10, NIV

Today is a beautiful spring day in Austin. Everything is turning green, (well, as green as it can get in Texas) and bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes are popping up everywhere. Every time I go outside, I try to take a deep breath and appreciate the beauty, especially since this is a brief respite before the sweltering 100+ degree summer that is coming soon.

It is easy on days like this to be in awe of God’s creation. The cool breeze, the blue sky, the birds’ songs, the sun shining down on my sun-screened face all make it a perfect day to celebrate Earth Day. Every April Earth Day reminds me that the earth doesn’t belong to us, it is the Lord’s. And since the Lord loves and cares for His creation, it follows that we should love and care for the earth. Especially since He gives us the responsibility to care for it in Genesis 1.

And isn’t this a great responsibility? It isn’t an easy task, but it is one where small steps can make a difference when they all add up. I want to live everyday, not just Earth Day, as a steward of the earth. I’ll stop and be grateful for what the Lord has blessed me with, like water, that people around the world might not have easy access to. I’ll recycle, use less water, walk more, plant a garden, turn the lights out and praise God for how beautiful and creative He is.

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How are you celebrating Earth Day this year? Share with us!

 -Katie Cornett

Resurrection Sunday

photo (1)The Resurrection is the most important part of our story as disciples of Jesus. It is what sets us apart, makes our beliefs different, and gives us great hope.

On Easter, we celebrate Jesus doing the unexpected, the unbelievable, the miraculous – rising from the dead. So many witnesses, including the disciples, had seen Jesus arrested, publicly beaten, and paraded through the streets up to Golgotha. They saw Him nailed onto the wooden cross and lifted up to hang there between criminals. They saw Him give up His spirit, take His last breath, and die.

And with it, they saw their hope lost.

But what they didn’t realize was that this wasn’t the end of the story that God had written before the beginning of time. A few days later, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb where they had buried him, sees the stone rolled away. Peter and John walk over, look in the tomb, see He is gone, and they leave.

Mary waits, crying. And in her waiting receives the beautiful gift of Jesus giving voice to her name, “Mary.” It was really happening – He was risen!

“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father – to My God and your God.” – John 20:17.

He told her to go tell the disciples what she was witnessing – that Jesus was alive! A fact that changed the course of history and our lives today.

As we celebrate the joy of the resurrection and the new life it means for us, let’s also celebrate the God who comes to us in our waiting.

Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for Him are happy.” – Isaiah 30:18

-Katie Cornett

Interview with Dr. Darrell Bock Concerning Truth Matters

Post by Selma Wilson, president of B&H Publishing Group, and originally posted on her blog.

I am very excited to share a Q&A with Dr. Darrell Bock, author of the new release, Truth Matters. This book supplies its audience with well-reasoned responses to their often honest questions or to the objections they read or hear. Those questions may come from professors, friends, or their own personal reflections. It’s an enriching lifesaver for curious young minds and hearts everywhere.

9781433682261_cvr_webQ: First, what was the motivation behind the book, Truth Matters?

A: I wrote the book to myself. What I mean by that is when I was in college, I was an agnostic. I didn’t believe. I had a lot of questions and a lot of skepticism about the Bible. I knew what it was to have those questions, and to think that way. And I’ve come in my time in ministry to know what I think the answers to those questions are. So in a very real way, this book is written to me, or someone who would have been my roommate, who was a Christian and didn’t know the answers. I roomed with a Southern Baptist and I had all these questions and he really didn’t have a clue how to answer them. The quality of his life spoke to me just as much as some of the answers he was trying to tell me. On the flipside, I thought that if he had been better equipped it would have been nice. So this book is written to me and my roommate at the time.

Q: So you had all these questions, where did you start finding your answers?

A: The first thing I saw was the quality of life that people had, they lived differently. They viewed the world differently, and that got my attention. Then having gotten my attention that way, I began to pay more serious attention to the answers they had provided. Tone came first, truth came second.

Q: Who’s your target audience?

A: Everybody: the college student who heads off who has questions; the person who has more questions about the Bible; the roommate who lives with the person who has questions; the parents who don’t know how to answer the questions. It’s really written for anybody, and in my view it’s really the rest of the story. It’s often what you don’t hear the culture saying about Christianity that the culture should be aware of.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for students to have a resource like this before they set off for college?

A: They’re going to hear a lot of things about Christianity when they’re on the college campuses. If they’ve grown up in the church, especially the conservative church, most of what they hear will be news to them. And in some cases, it could be unsettling news. So, knowing what they’re hearing isn’t the only angle on what they’re hearing is very, very important.

Q: Anything else that you really want readers to know?

A: Here’s what I think is somewhat distinctive about the book: We are not claiming—as often previous apologetics types of books do—that we can prove to a 100 percent degree everything that we’re talking about. We are trying to say that what happens in the conversation with the culture is you’re trying to get them to discover the plausibility, probability, and likelihood to be open to what it is the church has to say to the culture. And we think there are good reasons for having that openness. I don’t think anyone can put a 100 percent fail-safe proof on it, no one can do that. If someone could do that, we wouldn’t need to have faith.

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Thank you, Dr. Bock, for sharing your insight on such an important issue today!

Blessings,

Selma