This Ink with Pen and Brush is of Historic Mill Creek Sawmill about 2 miles south of Mackinac, Michigan. In early September, Marj and I revisited this area we used to visit annually, but had not returned in more than a decade. It represents ‘Encourage’ in a couple ways: First, it was an encouragement to the students of the High School teacher who took his class on a field trip to this area decades ago to explore the woods in search of historical clews. They found the site of this original sawmill. Second, the sawmill was an encouragement to the settlers of Mackinac Island and the fort located there as they developed and needed lumber from the mainland.
For ‘courage’ the Thesaurus lists many synonyms: bravery, nerve, pluck, valor, daring, audacity, mettle, resolution, ‘guts’, gallantry, heroism, nerve, fearlessness, boldness. We need ‘courage’ every day!
‘Courage’ can be ‘doctored up’ to express opposite meanings.
Add the prefix ‘dis’ to the beginning and you get ‘discourage’—to take away or put a damper on courage.
Add ‘en’ at the beginning and it becomes ‘encourage’—to add to or embolden courage.
Which do you prefer? That’s what I thought! Me too!
When we arrived in 1983, in answer to God’s calling to become Senior Pastor for a congregation in Andover, Minnesota, it was the start of many new and mostly wonderful experiences. On the back of the oak pews was a little wooden holder for envelopes and cards. One card was titled ‘Encouragement Card’. I’d never before seen this in any church building. What was it for?
The card had a line for the name of someone you wished to send a note of encouragement. There were several lines—plus the whole backside—for the encouragement message you wished to send. You had the option of signing your name or leaving it anonymous. You dropped the completed card in the Offering Plate. The church office would see that your card got delivered in person or by mail.
Periodically, I got a card with a short encouraging message, signed ‘Barnabus”. The name actually means ‘encourager’. I never knew who that was but God used the note to add courage to Pastor Jim! Giving encouragement to someone you know is one of the greatest acts of love you can allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate through your life. They were a great reminder to our congregation to ‘love one another’ through words of encouragement!
We are between a Thanks giving and Christmas giving season. Pastors and counselors will tell you from experience that we are entering a season where too many are dealing with discouragement in all flavors. It’s a perfect time for an encouragement note, text or phone call to someone the Lord brings to your mine. Ask God for a name.
Remind yourself and the person you wish to encourage of this truth—God loves you!
Earlier this week I was drawn to the Hymnal on my shelf and to an old hymn of prayer that has encouraged perhaps millions, based on Deuteronomy 31:6 “…The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Abide with me!
“Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide! When other helpers fail and comforts flees, Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!
“Swift to its close ebbs our life’s little day. Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away. Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changes not, abide with me!
“I need Thy presence every passing hour. What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? Thro’ clouds and sunshine, oh, abide with me!
“Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine thro’ the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee! In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me! A-men.”
“…The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress…”Be still and know that I am God:” Psalm 46
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41
I hope to be your “Barnabus” today.