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

Quick Tip – Sort Through Thousands of Cross-References in Seconds

Depending on the size of your library, your WORDsearch books can contain thousands of references to Bible verses. If you want to study a specific verse of Scripture, it can seem overwhelming to even know where to begin.

The Cross-Reference Explorer shows you every single time a certain verse is found in every single one of your books. This is one of the most time-saving features of WORDsearch.

Let’s say you are doing a study on John 3:16. The Cross-Reference Explorer will search your entire library to show you every time John 3:16 is referenced. The best part? It only takes a few seconds.

First, click on the Cross-Reference Explorer icon to open up the tool. A few notes about the window that opens up:

  • The first bar at the top is where you choose the verse you want to search. Here we’ll use John 3:16. You can either type in the verse or use the drop-down to select, just like when you are navigating a Bible.
  • The little icon next to the verse chooser lets you arrange your windows either side-by-side or over/under. The usefulness of this icon depends on how many books you have open or what you determine to be more readable.
  • Just like in Bibles and commentaries, there is a sync icon. This comes in handy when you have a Bible or commentary open and want the Cross-Reference Explorer to follow your Bible navigation. If synced, the Cross-Reference Explorer will automatically update and find cross-references for whatever verse you are currently on. Pretty cool.
  • By default, the Cross-Reference Explorer will use all of your books, but you can also use a collection.

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Once we type John 3:16 into the verse chooser and hit enter, the results will display organized by book category. We can expand the categories in our results to see which books reference the verse, and we can expand individual books to see the different places within the book that reference the verse and how many times.

The results show us that John 3:16 is mentioned 31 times in the Bible Knowledge Commentary and in five devotionals in Daily Light on the Daily Path.

The red parentheses show how many references are in that section of the book. From there, you can click on any of the results to read more, or open the book in a new window for further study.

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Can you imagine trying to do this in your printed books? It would take a long time. With the Cross-Reference Explorer, it takes a few seconds. The Cross-Reference Explorer is a powerful and easy tool to find critical notes, historical and cultural information, and insights from others on God’s Word. Whether you want to see where the verse appears in your different texts or you want to build out your sermon, it can help you find any Bible verse, anywhere in your WORDsearch library.

Let us know how the Cross-Reference Explorer has helped you in your study in the comments below!

Guest Post – Reluctant Obedience

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Please note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of LifeWay Christian Resources.

My dad worked the evening or night shift so that he could work our family farm during the day. He got us started on our chores and then left around lunch time for work, leaving my mom in charge. My dad expected us to obey immediately when we were told to do something. He didn’t have the time to go behind us and double check our work. He expected us to obey his second-in-command (my mom) as if we were obeying him.

My mom was a bit more lenient in our more mundane chores (cleaning our rooms, washing the dishes, taking out the trash).  She knew that we would do what she asked, eventually. She might have to gently remind us, but those chores also got done.  When my dad would see us delaying our obedience to her, we would have a “come let us reason together” moment and we reasoned that it was better to obey immediately than later.

During a recent personal study of the genealogy line of Jesus in Genesis 9-10, I read Genesis 11, regarding the building of the Tower of Babel, trying to put it into the time frame of the families and their generations. Chapter 10 tells us that the families had their own languages (vs 5, 20, 31) and at one point (vs 25) the land was divided (which means it was undivided before that). Genesis 11 starts with telling us that the whole earth had the same language and the people wanted to stay together. I conclude from that, in my simple thinking, that chapter 11 took place as the families in chapter 10 were developing.

I wondered why God didn’t want them to stay together. Wouldn’t it be simpler if we were all of the same language?

I had to go back in my study to Genesis 9:7, to God’s command to Noah. Fresh off the boat, so to speak, God tells Noah to “be fruitful and multiply, spread out over the earth and multiply on it.”

How could this command be carried out if they all stayed in one place, as was the people’s desire in chapter 11?

There is also another little statement the people made that might have rubbed God the wrong way, “let’s make a name for ourselves.”

Verse 7 is a “come let us reason together” moment if I’ve ever seen one! God says, “Come, let us go down there…” I envision my mother at the bottom of the stairs, calling out to me and my brothers as we argued in our rooms; “don’t make me come up there!” Only punishment would come if she came up those stairs.

God came down and confused the languages. The people gathered by languages and were scattered over the face of the whole earth (vs 7-9). To my way of thinking, that was when the land was divided, (10:25) and how we have the different people groups in the different continents. The people probably saw this as a punishment and it was.

God had to force the people to do what He had commanded in 9:7. He also had to make it clear that the people were to glorify God, not themselves. The work they were doing for themselves, to make themselves great – building the city and the tower, was stopped. The people were forced to do the command of God, to spread out over the earth. Let’s face it – God has a plan and He will not be deterred from that plan.

I learned quickly from my earthly father that immediate obedience is better than forced obedience. The same is true with my heavenly Father. Reluctant obedience is the same as disobedience.

I quote my dad when I say “come let us reason together” because he says it often, however he is quoting this from Isaiah 1:18-20.

“’Come, let us discuss this,’ says the Lord… ‘If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.'”

How quickly do you respond to the command of your heavenly Father? I want the good things, not the sword. How about you?

Lord, find me willing and obedient!

wordsearchbibleDeborah Boutwell is a wife and mother to 2 grown children. She works for B&H Publishing Group and serves in her church as a women’s leader. Deborah blogs at www.apurplecloth.com. She lives outside Nashville and enjoys quilting and reading.

 

 

 

John MacArthur Calls This “The Most Comprehensive Material That Has Ever Been Written on Prayer”

exposition on prayer, wordsearch bibleToday I’m delighted to announce the new release of a 4-volume commentary that is unlike anything in your digital library. An Exposition on Prayer by Dr. Jim Rosscup is a masterpiece of scholarship that covers the entire Bible. An Exposition on Prayer is normally $149.99, but, for the next 14 days, you can take it for our introductory price of $99.95. Click here to add this outstanding resource to your digital library today. Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8375.

An Exposition on Prayer – Here’s What Impressed Me:

Jim Rosscup realized that prayer is one of the most fundamental disciplines of every believer. The Bible is filled with prayer; in fact it appears in 61 of the 66 books of the Bible. Rosscup spent 15 years researching and writing this commentary that walks you through each book of the Bible, with a laser-like focus on acts of prayer.

This commentary is written in a way you’ll find useful for preaching and teaching. It covers every prayer and reference to prayer in the Bible. This includes the prayers of Christ, along with every man, woman, child, and even demons. I was amazed and inspired by what I learned about prayer each time I consulted this work while studying the Scriptures. Prayer pops up everywhere, seeming like it has been hiding in plain sight. Rosscup draws us into it, showing how prayer plays a significant role in every book of the Bible except for Esther, Song of Solomon, Obadiah, Haggai, and 2 John.

Beautiful Outlines and Alliteration

Rosscup certainly wrote this with the preacher and teacher in mind. He often outlines his points just like you would for a sermon or a lesson. He also finds a way to alliterate his points so they’re ideal for preaching and teaching. For example, in Matthew 8, you’ll find the prayer of the centurion. Rosscup’s main points are titled:

The Entreaty of the Centurion
The Emphasis of the Centurion
The Exhibition of Jesus

Later in Matthew is the story Rosscup titles Prayer in the Terror of a Storm. His commentary is divided into these sections:

The Crisis on the Ship
The Cry of the Servants
The Calming of the Storm
The Consideration of His Sufficiency

Tap Into the Power of Prayer and Share it With Others

We’re blessed that the Bible makes over 1,000 references to prayer, and Rosscup takes us on a journey through each instance. Prayer is the one thing we all do, yet all of us want to do it better. Imagine the benefits of injecting the element of prayer into every Scripture you study and every lesson you preach or teach. This is how An Exposition on Prayer can minister to you as you minister to others. Click here to add this work to your digital library now. You’ll be enjoying it within minutes. Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8375.
In His Service,

Jim Baird

Quick Tips – Narrow Your Search with Topic Explorer

The Topic Explorer in WORDsearch is a powerful tool that searches your entire library for a single subject in seconds. Instead of searching every word of every book for your search term, the Topic Explorer narrows your search by looking only at the the titles of articles and chapters that include or are related to your search term. Imagine searching the subject indexes of all of your books in an instant, and you’ll have imagined the Topic Explorer.

Let’s say we want to teach a lesson or create a sermon on the broad topic of “love.” First, we’ll click on the Topic Explorer icon to open the window.

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There are two different types of searches we can do with the Topic Explorer. The first and fastest type, “At beginning of topic,” looks only at the first word in our subject indices for our search term. The second and more thorough type, “Anywhere in topic,” searches every word in our subject indices for our search term.

Let’s look at how to get the shorter list first. To do this, we’ll follow these steps:

  1. Type “love” in the Search for: bar at the top of the Topic Explorer window
  2. Choose “At the beginning of topic” from the Find topic text drop down option
  3. Select a collection of books to search or choose to search all books
  4. Click the search button

As expected, all of our results start with the word “love,” because we chose to find only the index entries that begin with the word “love.”

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For the second type of search we can do, we follow the same instructions as above, but choose “Anywhere in topic” in step two, we’ll see a longer list of results. For example, our search results now include “Beloved Disciple,” “Brotherly Love,” “Family of Love,” and more. This is because we chose to find index entries that include the word “love” anywhere within them.

topic explorer, wordsearch bible

When we click on the plus sign next to one of our search results, for example, the “Beloved Disciple”, we’re shown the book that includes the topic (sometimes there is more than one). From there, we can click on the entry in the book to read what the book says. If we want to continue reading a particular entry in a new window,we can click on the button “Open in new window”.

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The Topic Explorer defaults to sorting our results by Topic alphabetically, but we can also sort our results alphabetically by book title or book category (i.e., location). Another helpful feature within the Topic Explorer is the red level button. When we click this button and then expand a topic, book, or category, every sub-folder underneath that topic, book, or category will also be expanded, so we don’t have to keep clicking through the levels to get to our results.

topic explorer, wordsearch bible

The Topic Explorer is one of our favorite features of WORDsearch, because it makes finding relevant material so easy and so efficient.

Have you made an exciting or surprising discovery because of the Topic Explorer tool lately? We’d love to hear about it in our comments below!