Tag Archives: Encouragement



Silence. We fear silence. It’s to be avoided at all costs. We keep the television on at home and the radio playing in the car. If a newscaster is quiet for too long, he gets embarrassed. When the preacher pauses, we get nervous. When was the last time you and your spouse rode along in silence?

There’s actually a lot of sound, just not much worth hearing. Sometimes, silence is desired. It’s healing, even therapeutic. Leave the earbuds in the car and walk through nature. The sound of birds, crickets, and a chorus of basso profundo frogs is the perfect inoculation against the ruckus of the world.

People talking without speaking

People hear without listening

Simon & Garfunkel, The Sound of Silence (1964)

The folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel bemoaned the silence despite a chorus of noise all around. Nothing was said worth listening to. There was only The Sound of Silence.

They were correct 60 years ago, and they are still right today.

Silence. When Words Hurt

Sometimes, it’s better to be silent. When tragedy struck Job, his three friends came and sat in silence with him. They said nothing for a week (Job 2:11 – 13). There are times when words are ineffective and may bring more pain. In tragedy, there are no magical missives. A gentle hand on the shoulder may be best.

We may become too aggressive in our desire to show concern and offer aid. We don’t mean to cause harm, but sometimes, week intentioned words are misheard or misinterpreted. As students of human behavior, we can sense when we are getting too close or too personal. “I love you” may be the only words they need.

Silence. When Words Help

There are times when carefully directed discourse can bring encouragement and healing to the hurting soul.

Paul said it this way: Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:6). He seems to be talking about our interactions with unbelievers. But one key phrase is so useful for us today. He says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” Have you eaten food without enough salt? Unsalted speech is also tasteless.

The king questioned why Nehemiah was sad. Nehemiah explained that his home, Jerusalem, lay in ruins. The king asked what Nehemiah was asking for. Then, before saying another word, Nehemiah “prayed to the God of Heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4). The King gave Nehemiah all that he asked for and more. Prayers need not be elaborate or long. Pray before speaking.

Our parents and grandparents often advised us to count to 10 before answering or speaking. Words can help but only when well considered. Never respond in anger for you will surely regret it later.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” wrote James (James 1:19).

Slow down. Think. Make sure you say something worth hearing.


by Linda Farris

This article is from a dear friend and fine Christian woman, Linda Farris. She, her husband Garland, and sweet son Jeff attend with us at the Eastern Shore church of Christ. She is a wonderful wife, mother of three, grandmother, and dear friend to all who know her. I am happy to present her article here.


 While preparing to go to worship this morning, I was mentally making a list of the things I have learned from the terrible pandemic caused by Covid-19. There really have been blessings, mixed in with the fears and the sorrows, brought on by this unexpected, unimagined plague.

  The thought of appreciating having God as our refuge came to my mind, then my challenge of staying focused kicked in. Remembering the time, while living in Kentucky, Jeff and I were stranded in our home by a terrible ice storm. We were without power, heat, hot food, lights, hot water, cell and phone service. We got through three days by staying in his room with a small transistor radio someone had given him. I had slipped out occasionally to walk our dog, try to get the one set of gas logs to burn, and check on the damage. (There was a lot!)  Not knowing the cell tower had fallen into the Cumberland River, most of my time was spent trying to contact my family, out of state, to let them know of our predicament. This was a situation where neighbors could not help neighbors and we had not seen or heard from anyone since the storm began.

  Finally, after hearing on the little radio the temperature was going to be 15 degrees that night, I knew I had to get us out of there to somewhere not covered with ice and snow. Climbing on our car to unlock the garage door, I managed to raise it manually. Then making sure Jeff’s stairlift was working I had to trust the battery to get him to the basement and into the car with our dog, Tex. When all that was done, while holding my breath and praying, we dodged trees and limbs in the driveway and down the steep hill.  Some men from the neighborhood were just beginning to clear the road with chain saws and muscle. The town was completely deserted, no gas, no Walmart, no restaurants, nothing happening, it was a ghost town. As we passed the veterinarian’s office his truck was parked outside, so I stopped to see if he had generators, and could keep our beloved pet. He was happy to assist us, and we were on our way.

 The trip to the Tennessee border was an adventure in itself but when we made it that far, the cell service was restored and our family was notified that we were on our way to our daughter’s house in Murfreesboro. Darkness had fallen when we finally arrived, exhausted and hungry, and so thankful to have made it. Once we were in the house our son-in-law’s greeting was, “Welcome, refugees.” Why did that offend me that night? Of course, he was trying to show understanding and compassion, however, I didn’t want to be looked at as a refugee “a person who flees for refuge or safety”.

  We are all refugees when we do not seek refuge in the love of God. Where else can we turn? He has offered “shelter in the time of storm” to all who believe and obey Him, accepting His gift of forgiveness. 

Yes, this is a difficult time but we are still blessed beyond measure by a loving God. He is our refuge now and always.

I’ve Got Good News…I’ve Got Bad News

bad news stormYou can’t have one without the other.

What is a beautiful day unless you have experienced a stormy day?

What’s sunshine without rain? What is good news without bad? It takes one to contrast and highlight the other.

I’ll start with the bad news. You are broken. You are sinful, and there is nothing you can do about it.  God, through Jeremiah, said, “Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying ‘I have not sinned’” (Jeremiah 2:35). Writing to Christians, John said, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us “ (1 John 1:8). This may offend and even anger us because we usually think quite well of ourselves. We don’t claim perfection, but we do see ourselves as pretty good people. We don’t break laws, and we are nice to others. We help out when others need help. The idea that we are a rank sinner is hurtful!

I think we overlook what sin really is. Sin is not determined by comparing ourselves to the guy next door or the man down the street who kicks his dog and beats his wife. Sin is the contrast between God and me. Sin is the result of a comparison between God’s glory and my attempt at reflecting that glory to others. We have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23).

There is no diagnosis worse than sin.

But the good news is that there is a cure! Sin need not be a permanent condition. There is good news!

This good news is called the gospel. The original word in the New Testament can be translated as “good news” (Acts 8:12, 35; Romans 10:15) or as “gospel” (Matthew 4:23; Luke 9:6; Acts 8:25). There is good news!

The good news comes from God. As far back as the Garden of Eden, God declared the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin while, at the same time, he proclaimed the good news of one who would destroy sin forever – the offspring of woman, Jesus (Genesis 3:1-15). It was Jesus who first began to spread the good news of the coming kingdom (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:14).

Not only was Jesus a messenger of the good news, he was the good news! Jesus declared of himself “the son of man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). From the day of his birth, until the nails pierced his hands, Jesus was doing the will of God to save man from sin (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). As the life slipped from his torn and tortured body, he could say, “it is finished” (John 19:30). God had come into the world in the form of man (Philippians 2:5-8) and offered his perfect life as the ransom for my sins. As we sing, so says the Bible, he paid a debt he did not owe (Colossians 2:5; c.f. Hebrews 4:15)!

The good news has been preached. The gospel of the kingdom of Christ has been once for all delivered (Jude 3). You have been set free in Christ. Romans 8:2: “for the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Christ’s law is the absolute antidote for sin. It is Jesus who breaks the bonds of the imprisoned sinner and allows the inspired Paul to shout “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).

Have you come to the great physician for your treatment? Have you come to the free fountain of life for healing?  Jesus awaits. Do not delay. By submitting to Christ in all areas of life, one may be saved from the eternal ravages of sin. There is good news for you in Christ!


A Man, A Horse & Me

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Horse_heads#/media/File:Horse_2.jpgI am in Orlando, Florida for Lads to Leaders and Leaderettes. This morning I went for my walk down International Boulevard. I passed several people (actually, they passed me) also walking. I noticed that most were concentrating on their walk. One or two, three counting me, were obviously struggling. But there was one man, about 30, who was briskly walking and thoroughly enjoying his jaunt. He smiled as he passed and kept right on moving. I first thought I should trip him, but he was moving too fast and I couldn’t catch him. Instead, I noted an illustration based in Scripture.

All of us are in a race of sorts (1 Corinthians 9:24). Some seem to run better than others. Why is that?

A Good Run Means Practice

The man who ran by me had run before. He was not a novice. He had a military demeanor about himself and his stride was strong and confident.

The Christian improves as his walk with God ages. Our first steps are tenuous and slow. We are uncertain of our direction. Yet, God is with us. The more we draw close to God the nearer he becomes (James 4:8). We follow him and our steps improve (Hebrews 7:25). [bctt tweet=”The Christian improves as his walk with God ages. “]

A Good Run Gets Easier

I am convinced that the man in Orlando, was enjoying himself. I was proud that I got out of bed and left the hotel. But this man was really enjoying himself. I doubt his first run/walk was quite as enjoyable.

I do not imply that being a Christian is always easy. It is not. But once a man has shed the old ways and thrown himself wholly into God’s love and mercy, he will find that the way grows fairer. The writer of Hebrews spoke of a cloud of witnesses who cheer us on (Hebrews 12:1). Most of all, Jesus leads us (Hebrews 12:2). We are encouraged to not grow weary (Hebrews 12:3).

As we run, we improve and the way becomes a bit easier.

A Run Gets Faster as the End Gets Nearer

I use a fitness monitor as I walk. When I got back to the room I noticed something odd. The speed of my walk increased dramatically as I approched the ending point of the walk. It reminded me of a horse I used to ride. As soon as we turned the corner of the field and he saw the barn, he took off. He was ready to be done.

I suspect that it true in life. As we grow older and become more aware of our mortality, we long for the eternal home. You can almost hear the expectation in Paul’s voice as he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness…” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).

The whole point is this. Whether you identify more with the man, the horse or me, just get moving and stay moving. Walk every day with God and for God. The benefits are incredible!


Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.


Satan has a large arsenal of weapons to use against the Christian. Some are more obvious than others yet all are potentially damning. Thankfully, we are “not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11) and can prepare adequate defenses against his assaults. His schemes are numerous. Each is tailor-made for the individual and for the specific circumstance he finds himself in. Today, we consider discouragement.

The opposite of encouragement, discouragement drains a person of both hope and energy. Future prospects are dimmed and negative thoughts dominate thinking. Discouragement produces sadness and even the most positive thinking believer is not immune. The Bible warns against causing discouragement in others (Colossians 3:21).

Keep the Prize in View

We are only passing through this world. Our hope is beyond and is eternal. The writer of Hebrews spoke of another land, a place with foundations (Hebrews 11:8-10). For us, this old world and all of its troubles is passing away. We have a hope anchored in the very nature of God. “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:17-19).

The prize is eternal life free from the troubles and concerns of this world.

Encouragement Beats Discouragement

Like fighting fire with water, discouragement can be battled with encouragement. First, redouble your efforts to encourage others. Never stop encouraging and building up the people who surround you. By doing so, you will blunt the pain of your own struggles. We often say that there is always someone else in worse circumstances. A trite, but true statement. Find the person in your circle of friends who faces even worse problems than you. Build them up and you will find your discouragement lessened.

Next, surround yourself with encouraging people. It’s a fact that some people are just negative. The “Negative Nancys” of the world suck the life out of people around them. One politician once spoke of the “nattering nabobs of negativity”; these people are to be avoided at all costs. Instead, surround yourself with people who look for the good and positive in life. Their lives are contagious and will help you find the good in every situation. Avoid the bad and enhance the good.

Job was struck with every imaginable evil but he was also surrounded with 4 negative “friends” and a wife who told him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Yet, Job maintained his faith in God and was delivered. His negative wife and friends did him no good.

Count Your Blessings

Life is rarely as bad as it seems. It is wise to pause and take stock of the extreme level of blessings God has given you. Remember, the greatest blessings are not found in the bank. Things like health and family are far more important than cash. And your spiritual blessings are immense. Count those blessings. You will be encouraged.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.



When Pain Is Good

A top college football coach has a motto for his team: “Pain instructs.” One of his top players sports a tattoo that reads, “Pain Lies.” Each is counterintuitive. They seem silly. We think that pain only hurts. That it must be eliminated at all cost. We might even think that pain is the only truth because we feel its reality. Pain is bad. Maybe not.

Pain is ubiquitous. Always with us in some form or to some degree, pain is never far away. We all have physical pain ranging from inconvenient to excruciating. We also suffer mental or emotional pain because of external events as well as our own errors. And there is certainly spiritual pain which is reflected in the knowledge of eternal condemnation because of our own sins.

We cannot avoid pain. It comes along with the frail, mortal bodies we posses. And unless we can find a way to live without ever making a mistake we will continue to suffer emotionally from our missteps. Certainly the pain of living apart from God is not something we alone can change. Even the righteous man sins and even though forgiveness is certain there is still the pain of knowing we have hurt our Lord and shamed him again (Hebrews 6:6).

So if pain is a part of life, how can we use it to our benefit?

Pain teaches us to rely on Christ

All pain is subject to Christ. In Matthew 8:14, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever. In Mark 9:14-29, Jesus heals a young boy possessed with demons that would cause the young man to fall into the fire or into the water. Luke 7:11-17 Jesus raised an only child from the dead and healed the deep pain of his widowed mother. In John 14:16-20, Jesus promised his apostles a “comforter”  or “helper” because of their fear over his departure.

Mankind seems to have an innate understanding to pray in difficult times. Who among us has not been driven to their knees in times of trial? Paul says to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Like our Lord we will still suffer. But he alone can soften the blows and bring us through any pain.

Pain teaches us to rely on others

I am thankful for my families. I am thankful for my physical family who cares for me and supports me in all struggles. But I am also thankful for the church, the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), which is my big family.

The original Christians of Acts 2:41-47 were always supporting one another. In fact, within weeks of the beginning of the church the Christians were already targeting the weak among them, the widows, in an effort to meet their needs (Acts 6:1 ff). While independence is a fine trait, it cannot meet all of our needs. When suffering, reply upon the brethren.

Pain teaches us how to help others

Can anyone understand the fear of cancer as well as someone else who has suffered through it? Can anyone understand the intensity of despondency of one who has lost a child? As we stumble though our agonies in this life, we learn how to persevere and bear up. We then become well equipped to share with others our understanding and to point them to a better place.

Pain and agony are Satanic tools to crush the spirits of the righteous. Torments and afflictions are demonic items which the devil hopes will separate us from our Lord. The wise man however will use pain as a stepping stone to a better place. Even Paul came to understand the proper place of pain his life (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Do not fear pain. Accept it and grow though it.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter  @jbevans.

Auntie Rosie

What follows is an email from brother H.M., a native preacher in Guyana. This is a true story of a fine Christian lady who shows enough dedication to put many younger people to shame. You will be encouraged by reading it.

Aunty Rosie, a Christian, has stopped attending when the doors of the Canal 1

Church Building was closed a year or two ago.

After visiting, she has returned to worship – her first visit was July 26.

She lives under 2 miles from the building but walks with her legs back and forth.

Yesterday, she was back carrying a black plastic bag with a handful of cement,

and a small bottle of water, (to fill the cracks on the concrete floor of the building),

4 pints brown paint, 3 sheets of sand paper, rags and a paint brush – her donation

to scrub & paint the church benches.

What makes Aunty Rosie story interesting is

a) She is 85 years +, and a widow

b) She saw a need in the church and without being told, she was willing

to contribute.

My friends, you can draw your own conclusion/s and lessons but to me

Aunty Rosie is my heroine.

She came, she saw, and she contributed.

What an inspiration!

We had a good service at Canal 1 congregation  – 30 – 35 in attendance.

This is not the only story of this kind that comes out of our work in Guyana. There are many people who truly go the extra mile for Christ.