Archive for the ‘Gift of Encouragement’ Category



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: , , ,

I’ve never been very athletic. I did play Little League baseball as a kid and played a little friendly baseball after my service experience, but I was never in demand on anybody’s team. And I wasn’t much of a coach for my boys’ athletic pursuits.

Our daughter, Jenny, was a cheerleader and we tried to be at all her games. It was amazing how critical parents and observers were toward their sons trying their best in basketball and football. “Come on, Michael, wake up! What’s the matter with you?”

What an encouragement it was when our son, Nathan, decided to go out for cross country. We attended most of his track meets, but he arose to the occasion with those long distance runs. He, wired like his Dad, learned how to take it easy and pace himself. I would maneuver to key places along the run to cheer him on. He never knew where I’d be, but always knew I was there.

In those years of attending cross country races, I never heard a discouraging word. Even last-place runners get cheers, not jeers. “Go, Nathan, You can do it!” Cross Country just might be the most positive sport out there.

Pleasant words are…sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).

The Christian life is a long-distance run. Its not who starts the race, but who finishes. As fellow believers discipline themselves to run the race, they need encouragement. They need “pleasant words” that bring “sweetness to the soul”.

What are some pleasant words you have received lately?



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: , , ,

I watched them tearing a building down…
A gang of men in a busy town,
With ho-heave and lusty yell.
They swung a beam and a side wall fell;
I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled
And the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave a laugh and said, “No, indeed!
Just common labor is all I need;
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do!”
And I thought to myself as I went away
“Which of these roles have I tried to play?”
Am I a Builder who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square?
Am I shaping my deed to well made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a Wrecker, who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing it down?
-Mr. Anonymous



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: , ,

John P. DiMarzio observed the following lesson: “During my early farming days I decided to invest my holdings in poultry. So I started with one hundred cheap chicks ($6.00). Periodically I noticed that one of the chicks would get an open sore. As time went by the sore grew larger, and eventually the chick died from the wound.

Trying to find the cause, I watched the chickens more closely; the outcome was quite revealing. When one chick would get a small scratch, another would peck at it. Then the others would follow suit, and before long it seemed that all the chickens were pecking the one chick’s sore. Each time the victim was pecked the sore grew, and more chickens pecked it. Finally, the innocent chicken, who really needed protection from his peers, died.

Now which chicken was the real assassin? Was it the one who made the first peck at the open wound? Or was it the one who made peck #99 or peck #100? Possibly it was the one that made the final peck before the chick’s demise. In any case, the chick died.

By and by more chickens died of pecking. When winter came, there weren’t enough chickens to huddle together and protect each other. They all died. Those cruel cannibalistic chickens! They didn’t realize as they killed each other that they doomed themselves; in a sense they had signed their own death warrants.

The other day I noticed a brother’s flaw; so I pecked at it. I told others, and they followed suit. As the flaw grew in size through our pecking, many others joined in. Instead of giving our brother a band-aid to cover the wound, we exposed it for the world to see. My brother died.

Who was the assassin? By and by there was more pecking, and more brothers died. Eventually I got cold and needed my brothers’ comfort. They were gone; I died.

Oh, those cruel cannibalistic chickens!”

But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:15).



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: ,

Far too noisy, my dear Mozart. Far too many notes” (The Emperor Ferdinand after the first performance of The Marriage of Figaro).

If Beethoven’s Seventh Symphany is not by some means abridged, it will soon fall into disuse” (Philip Hale, Boston music critic, 1837).

Rembrandt is not be be compared in the painting of character with our extraordinarily gifted English artist Mr. Rippingille” (John Hunt (1775-1848)).

Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant…utterlyimpossible” (Simon Newcomb (1835-1909)).

We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out” (Decca Recording Company when turning down the Beatles in 1962).

You will never amount to very much” (A Munich schoolmaster to Albert Einstein, aged 10).

And on and on it goes. The only thing we can be thankful for when it comes to blowing it is that nobody keeps a record of ours. Or do they? Or do we with others?



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: , ,

Wes Seelinger sums up ministry to one another:

“Ever feel like a frog? Frogs feel slow, low, ugly, puffy, drooped, pooped. I know: One told me. The frog feeling comes when – you want to be bright, but feel dull. You want to share, but are selfish. You want to be thankful, but feel resentment. You want to be big, but are small. You want to care, but are indifferent.

Yes, at one time or another each of us has found ourselves on a lily pad floating down the great river of life. Frightened and disgusted, but too froggish to budge.

Once upon a time there was a frog. But he really wasn’t a frog. He was a prince who looked and felt like a frog. A wicked witch had cast a spell on him. Only the kiss of a beautiful young maiden could save him…So there he sat – an unkissed prince in frog form.

But miracles happen. One day a beautiful maiden grabbed him up and gave him a big smack. Crash – Boom – Zap! There he was – a handsome prince. And you know the rest of the story. They lived happily ever after.

So what is the task of the church? To kiss frogs, of course.”



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: ,

William Barclay wrote: “It’s easy to laugh at ideals, pour cold water on enthusiasm and discourage others. The world’s full of such people. But we have a duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the one who speaks such a word.”

Epaphroditus was commended by Paul as “my…fellow worker…[who] ministered to my need.” What did Paul need? Encouragement! Imagine being rememerbered as the one who encouraged the Apostle Paul! Those with his same spirit instinctively know how to speak “The right word at the right time” (Prov. 15:23). They strengthen the discouraged and comfort the grieving. In fact, we look for them in times of crisis because their very presence “lifts” us.

The Bible is filled with such people. When Moses was overwhelmed, Jethro counseled and supported him ( Ex. 18:1-27). When Paul was alone in prison, Epaphroditus jeopardized his own safety to visit and comfort him (Phil. 2:25-30). Paul also found great strength in Timothy (2 Tim. 4:9), and later in John Mark (2 Tim. 4:11). Every time he went through another trial, God surrounded Paul with people who provided practical help and spiritual sustenance just when he needed it most.

Stay prepared to be an encourager! Who is your greatest encourager?



   Posted by: pastordiehl Tags: ,

During the Boer War (1899-1902), a man was convicted of a very unusual crime. He was found guilty of being a “Discourager”. The South African town of Ladysmith was under attack, and this traitor would move up and down the lines of soldiers who were defending the city and do everything he could to discourage them. He would point out the enemy’s strength, the difficulty of defending against them, and the inevitable capture of the city. He didn’t use a gun in his attack. It wasn’t necessary. His weapon was the power of discouragement.

Discouragement is opposite of faith. Faith says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Discouragement puts doubt in my mind and undermines my faith in Christ.

What has discouraged you lately?