Proverbs 10:11 says, "The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence." (See also 13:14, 14:27, 16:22)
This is so often my prayer because I know that my mouth is often not a fountain of life, but instead gives the "sword thrusts" that Proverbs also speaks of (12:18). So, wanting to get into a God-given habit of encouragement and knowing that believing precedes and requires doing, I post many of them here for you to read and be encouraged. May God use these word for His glory in Jesus. He is the only way I could write such words.
My wife, my love, the Bible says that you are God's gift to me (Prov 18:22, 19:14, 31:10), and I am believing it more and more every day. God's grace is so evident in the way you help, follow, encourage, and listen to me, and in how care for our neighbors and our church. You are my best friend, my #2 always to Jesus, my wife, my love, my song, His greatest gift in the flesh to me, and a great cook. I can see that your love for Christ and for me grows daily as we work Him out in more and more of our details. He is surely at work in you to pour out His love and make you more like His Son. I am excited about whatever length of time God gives us together.
Stephen, your notes over the summer have been just what my heart has needed. Your fellowship and conversation over the last two and a half years is just what the good Lord Jesus ordered for me. He has given you such a gift of encouragement, listening, and preaching. I miss you, my brother, and can't wait for you to get back.
Gary, I spoke with you this morning and you are always an encouragement. "There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother," (Prov 18:24) is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus but He is certainly using you as one of my closer-than-brothers. Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, a brother is born for adversity." That is you.
John Aaron, you always have something funny to say. You often lighten my heart. It is God's blessing on me to be able to see you - the brother I have long prayed for - grow up into His man.
Mom, I am growing more and more thankful for your involvement in our lives. You always want to help and encourage and share, just like the Holy Spirit comes along to help us. Your faith in God's enduring faithfulness is a constant testimony to your sons and daughter.
Dad, you always have some sort of practical advice to give me. The Lord has given you a gift with people and taught me many of those things through you. I am excited for you as God grows your third son up into a man.
Mattrock, I just wrote you an email and was reminded that we are as close as ever, even when you're far apart. I am reminded of how Paul wrote that he was with his churches "in spirit," and I think that means in prayer, in heart, in mind - not in some ghostly way, but in a real, heartfelt way. That is how I would characterize our communication lately - with each other in spirit. May God keep it that way, that we may press on toward His upward call in Christ Jesus. The music will be much better there!
John Aaron, how I enjoy being your older brother! You have taught me so much. I am thankful for your frank and honest look at life, your sense of humor, your care for others, and desire for happiness. May you find it in God the Son.
TCC - the elders, the guys, the community group, the families - you all are a constant encouragement to us. God has given our church the gift of hope - living hope in the resurrection of His Son - and you all live it before us and speak it to us regularly. Thank God for you being the body of Christ with whom we want to live and raise our family. We look forward to the coming weeks and years with you.
Papa Ben and Dolores, the Dunlaps, Stan the Man, the Macdonalds, the Bill Treece family - I'm not even sure you guys would come to our blog; but if you do, please know how thankful B and I are for your help and support during our engagement, wedding, and marriage. You all mean so much to us and are a tangible evidence of God's love and comfort toward us.
The E Family, how I have loved learning to love you. Steve called me yesterday and it was one oof the high points of my day. Praise God for your steadfastness in love and prayer and your commitment to each other and to us. We look forward to our next family vacation.
Jason and Paul and Robert - the guys at work - I am thankful for you three keeping me sharp, productive, and accountable. It can be boring and tedious working alone downstairs, but God has given me you guys to keep me jumping.
I'm sure I forgot some people, and I should have added some since I began this a month ago, but may God use this to encourage your hearts and point you toward the Life - Jesus Christ. He is the One who says, "I am the resurrection and the life," (John 11:25).