Encourage 2 Are you feeling lonely? There would seem no need for this in today’s busy bustling world, and yet . . . in a crowd the fizz seems to have gone out of the bottle – you feel flat. What can you do? There are a number of things to try or consider. Are you right for the crowd or is the crowd right for you? Do you feel lonely because you need to belong. Take time to re-evaluate your companions for life’s journey and link with the ones which guarantee life and solid values.
Encourage 3 Too much time is spent in looking around ourselves and our world, comparing ourselves and what we’ve got with current values. This leads to uncertainty and discontent. Look instead at values which last – love, faith and hope. Develop your inward rather than your outward side. That sense of ‘losing out’, of inferiority or superiority will soon vanish when our core values lead us out of ourselves, with our constant self focus, to seeing how we can benefit and encourage others.
Encourage 4 You cannot love effectively from a distance. You have to get close to make a difference. Those around you don’t need more words – they need actions to prove your worth. Don’t be slow today to reveal your love, your compassion for others. Each day, each opportunity, is like a precious gem set in its own particular setting. Miss that opportunity and that ‘sparkle’ that lustre may not be the same tomorrow.
Encourage 5 Greetings from others can have varying effects upon our spirits. A loud cheery greeting can encourage our hearts, lift our low esteem, while the same greeting To the suffering soul can rasp, can grate against their consciousness. Be careful how you approach others. Take into account how they might be feeling – look at their demeanour, then tailor your words accordingly. Let your words always seek to create uplift!
Encourage 6 Fear is so debilitating – it cripples and paralyses us, often without need. Someone says they have news for us, and instantly we imagine the worst. Our spirits, our lives are often negatively focused and need to be refocused to see the good and not only the bad around us. We need a new vision of our world and our place in it. When we go to an optician, it can be costly for us, and shows we recognise we have a need for change. Similarly we must be ready to ditch the old glasses and wear the new from now on. Once we’re in this FRAME of mind we’re less likely to make a negative SPECTACLE of ourselves!
Encourage 7 Rushing to make judgments, being quick to act, can often be a hindrance to our progress. It perhaps indicates a limited state of mind. Waiting, considering, taking time, without undue delay can often bring about the unexpected, something which did not enter our deliberations. The person you pidgeonholed might just surprise you. The situation you had cut and dried, might just offer you a different and infinitely better option than you had planned for and take you in a wholly new direction.
Encourage 8 Do you like rabbits? If you were a rabbit which would you prefer – to live in the wild, doing your own thing, finding your own food, being free to do exactly as you wish, taking your own risks. Or would you rather live in a hutch, with all your needs met, but living in a form of captivity. The daring or spirited soul would affirm that they wish to be free, to live their lives under their own control. But the more pragmatic of us, the more realistic of us, know that suffering a little captivity can produce benefits. Don’t be too quick to overthrow your so-called ‘limitations’, e.g. living in the truth,having a strong moral code living by a faith. Often these confines nourish you, build you up, determine the kind of person you are. To hanker after the wild, living under your own control might just endanger your wellbeing and perhaps lead to your destruction.
Encourage 9 Feeling a little depressed? Is the world taking a negative slant for you? Stopping your life to take stock of your situation can often be the worst thing you can do. There’s a time-worn saying which can help us here. ‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . .’ The secret is ‘walking through’. Stopping to drink at the wells of negativeness just increases the dark clouds hovering above you. Instead walk through, keep walking, don’t stop. Continuing to do the normal things of life, even if you don’t feel like it, will eventually bring you out of the valley into the sunlight beyond.
Encourage 10 Are you a pretend driver. When you were young you may have sat in the driving seat of your mum or dad’s car and pretended to drive, turning the wheel, pressing the pedals, but going nowhere. Sometimes we have a pretend or childish view on life too. We wish to get to our destination, achieve our goals our ambitions, but we only go through the motions of life playacting – doing all the right things, almost expecting everything to happen as if by magic – and of course going nowhere. We just don’t put in the effort. We prefer to stay where we are rather than embrace change. Do you wish to alter the direction of your life? Do u wish to achieve new goals, or reach a new destination? There’s no point in turning the wheel when you’re stationary. You’ll get nowhere until you’re switched on, in gear, and moving ahead!
Encourage 11 Holding on is just about all we can do when assailed by the storms of everyday living. We feel the need to cling to what we know to avoid catastrophe. But what are we holding on to? Are we clinging on to our sanity, to our ability to keep ourselves OK? When you look around you at today’s world you can’t help but see how impermanent human beings are, how we are here one day then gone the next no matter how strong we are in ourselves. Instead we need to dismiss our self reliance, drop our defences and yield to the more permanent realities and truths around us. After all they’ve been here longer than us and are our only hope for survival in the future. By all means look around for help but choose very carefully what or whom you finally cling to – ultimately your survival may depend on it!
Encourage 12 Freedom is often a state of mind rather than a physical quality. Yes, it would be good to be free from the constraints of today’s world, to open the prison doors of our culture, to break the chains of our physical confinements such as illness depression, etc. But ultimately our freedom is really a state of mind. Many prisoners in the past have found that no matter what their physical limitations and difficulties, they could soar above them by cultivating a state of mind which did not look at the constraints but focused on the more enduring values and realities they believed in, things not bound by prison walls. Are you more taken up with looking at your own problems
rather than realising that your spirit cannot be bound, and is free. Look beyond your bars, and rise!
Encourage 13 Too many times we fall foul of our bad tempers. We look at short term difficulties and give vent. We fail to realise that taking the ‘long-term’ view might help us keep our balance. Taking time to think, and considering the effects of our outbursts, might just save us from using our tongue to start a fire we are unable to control, something which might lead to unplanned unwanted, unrepairable, unnecessary damage.
Encourage 14 Uplift is such a good word. It suggests being taken from one place to another. You call ‘Taxi’ and you’re whisked from one place, perhaps of inconvenience, to another, your desired destination. It also implies you’re being carried from one place to another – you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Do you need an uplift today? Don’t try and manufacture it – there are ways which can make it easier for you. Listen to a piece of music you enjoy, give time to doing things you like, watch an old film which holds particular memories,, meet an old friend you haven’t seen for a while. Above all, do something for someone else, plan how you can do it to achieve giving them pleasure. These ‘taxis’ will ensure you move from your current feelings to your new ‘uplifted’ destination.
Encourage 15 Have you got time today to do something for someone else? Or do you feel your time’s at a premium – you’ve just too much on your plate to get through to ensure you reach the end of the day having done all that is your duty, your responsibility? Making time for others is always important – we often spend far too much time thinking of ourselves and how things affect us, if we keep to schedules or if we don’t. We give these things legitimacy, saying ‘These things have to be done because of my job, my boss my family.’ Etc. It’s time to get off the treadmill of working for yourself. Taking time for someone else will release youfrom this constant roller coaster, so you can appreciate a different style of life and in the process you’ll be uplifted. By the end of the day you’ll have a sense of fulfilment you couldn’t have achieved any other way. Have you got time today to do something for someone else?
Encourage 16 ‘The times they are a changing’, but are you changing with them? Or are you stuck in the past, rehearsing past glories, reminding yourself and others how ‘the old days were the best’. By saying this you’re limiting your vision, and your possible enjoyment of anything good in the future. The past should serve the present and the future with choice encouragements which make it worthwhile going on, presenting you with hope for a new day. The future should now be something which should draw you on rather than make you fearful. What kind of person is it that walks forward with their head turned, always looking behind them. Not being able to face the future is unnatural,and will make it inevitable that disaster will result!
Encourage 17 How many times have you said, ‘I’m happy with things the way they are’, when really you are not? Why do you do this? to cover up your real feelings from those who would be critical, to avoid hurting others who would be offended if you were to complain or to give an alternative view to theirs? There are so many reasons why many of us don’t speak our minds, but we should be very clear about one thing. When we do not speak what we think, we are not enriching those around us. How can we help those who would be content to pidgeon-hole us see that there is more to us than they once thought, and therefore value our contribution differently? How can others have an accurate appraisal of us, and perhaps themselves, if we are sparing with the truth. A word from an earlier time says we should ‘speak the truth in love’. Speaking it without love is demonic, harshe and uncompromising, however speaking it with love, with concern and compassion for the other, is creative, liberating and plain honest.
Encourage 18 Something solid can often be deceptive. Just look at the box securely bound, the parcel too difficult to get into – they seem impregnable, at first. Skill with a knife or scissors can soon make short work of their apparent solidity. What once stood firm, now is nothing. How solid and impregnable are you, and those around you? You should value this state TODAY while you have it. Life has a funny way of unravelling what we think secure until we can’t recognise what we once had. The old adage, ‘Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof’, suggests we shouldn’t look too far ahead, after all who knows what our future lives will hold. Make the most of what you have today. Enjoy it, be happy in it, and let the future take care of itself!
Encourage 19 How happy are you? Do you live from one bout of happiness to another? Do you seek out a life of enjoyment? Is this how you put value upon your life – to what extent you are happy or are enjoying yourself? These are very surface gauges of your wellbeing. Someone who experiences all the good things cannot appreciate what they have as they’ve avoided all the bad things and can’t gain a true perspective. We need the negative to appreciate the positive, the dark to appreciate the light, the difficulties to appreciate ease. Never rush towards the negative, to put difficulties in the way of yourself or others – but when you experience them let them make you a person of balance, and remember, night always surrenders to day. Both, however, are vital.
Encourage 20 How many times have you said ‘sorry’ and didn’t really mean it? Did you feel guilty when you knew you were leading someone up the wrong path? If the answer to these questions is ‘some times’ and ‘no, it didn’t bother me’, you need to look again at your values, and whether you have got things right in your life. Human beings tend to expect the same standards of each other, and someone who puts themselves beyond the norm can become very unpopular. Ask yourself, ‘Do I fit in with society and with my friends, or am I held at arms length?’ If you’re aware of a distance between yourself and others, perhaps it’s time for a deliberate, serious and realistic attitude overhaul. There’s no time like the present.
Encourage 21 ‘Time and tide wait for no man.’ How many people, how many of us, are stung by the thought that we were too late in doing something and now we have to live with the consequences of it? Guilt and resolve to do better next time are often the result. But what if there can’t be a next time. Supposing we’ve had our chance and there’s no further opportunity to do what we now know is the right thing. We must be honest with ourselves, acknowledge our shortcomings and then move on. ‘Confession is good for the soul’ so tell someone, share the burden and then move on. If you don’t you’re trapped by the past and can be of little use in the present or in the future. People around you also get tired of watching you hit self destruct mode. Move on!
Encourage 22 Time is precious, and yet we live our lives as if we’ve all the time in the world. Helen Keller, that blind, deaf and virtually dumb girl, once wrote an article about what she would do if she had 3 days in which to see. People were fascinated as to what she would value in that time. If you only had 3 more days to live would you continue with your plans or would you make some adjustments to your priorities? While we shouldn’t necessarily live in the fear of dying, we should each treat our time as special. After each moment is lived we cannot relive it.Perhaps a greater awareness that our time has limits, that it is finite, might just help us rearrange our values and priorities so that we might have a more beneficial impact upon the world around us.
Too many people nowadays seem unhappy to be happy. ‘when something good happens, or there’s the prospect of a great time ahead, they will minimise their joy and expectation by looking for what might go wrong to disrupt their plans. Inbuilt in humans is this sense that enjoyment must be wrong, and we should expect some form of disaster to marr it. While it’s good to recognise our own shortcomings, that we and our planet are flawed, and therefore nothing is perfect and no happiness will last, we must somehow get beyond this and realise that everything in our universe is a gift for us to enjoy. Only after dealing with our flaws will we be in a happier position to enjoy our gift of life.
Encourage 24 ‘Get ready’ on the lips of our parents has the power to evoke varying emotions in us – strong anticipation of happiness on the one hand, and on the other fear and dread of what is about to occur. Getting ready means we have to steel ourselves, prepare ourselves for an event which has the power to make us happy or miserable. To hide one’s face and do nothing may be tempting – we can avoid any effort on our part and maintain our current state. However what might we miss if we don’t get ready? Might we miss the most important experience of our lives which could have the power to change us forever? Can we afford to take the risk by not being ready? No-one who discovers a lump on their body and awaits test results would hide away in fear and boycott the meeting with the Doctor. Instead they would prepare themselves for the judgment which has the power to alter their lives drastically either way. Some of the events in life and death we are asked to face can, and should have, a sobering effect upon us, and should cause us to prepare carefully. We should be glad to do this, especially when our preparation has the power to affect the outcome.
Encourage 25 ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ is an adage which many of us use in order to justify doing things on our own. We get on with things ourselves without having to trust and rely upon others. We ‘know’ that by our own efforts we can get through. However this is only one side of the argument. Doing things on your own could make you autocratic – you might make a wrong decision because of your own limitations. Also doing things on your own could deprive others with insight of developing their own skills. A balancing statement is ‘There is safety in a multitude of counsellors’ – the combined wisdom of those around you, the ability to listen and discuss, the power to delegate – all these things and more, might just supply the impetus to get through the situation that is more than a match for you alone.
Encourage 26 Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. Groucho Marx
Encourage 27 Life will not be easy, you will be hurt, you will lose loved ones, your finances, relationships, jobs, living arrangements, and physical appearance will all change. No matter what may occur in your life, good or bad, know that it is a part of the greater good in why you are here. Unknown
Encourage 28 Do you think you are: Too quiet, not intelligent enough, lacking social skills, unlucky? Such discouragement happens when you compare yourself to others. Don’t do that. Get quiet, meditate, play tapes, post a variety of famous motivational thoughts on your mirror or dashboard. Having confidence in yourself is a remarkable gift. Don’t you find confident people attractive? Even when they don’t have the most beautiful faces or the most fabulous physiques, confident people are fun to look at, interesting to be with, and challenging! Unknown
Encourage 29 If you have a dream, pursue it, for a dream is just a dream if it’s not pursued. You are worthy of greatness but it can only be achieved by taking action to reach it. Never let anyone tell you that “you can’t do it.” Unknown
Encourage 30 At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent. Barbara Bush
Encourage 31 Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Encourage 32 You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you. Sarah Ban Breathnach
Encourage 33 A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them. Leonard Louis Levinson
Encourage 34 “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi
Encourage 35 “There are those who work all day. Those who dream all day. And those who spend an hour dreaming before setting to work to fulfill those dreams. Go into the third category because there’s virtually no competition.” Steven J Ross
Encourage 36 Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie
Encourage 37 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
We hope that the quotes below of some of God’s remarkable promises reminds you that he is near, that he cares, that he loves us more deeply than we can ever truly understand…
‘Take time to pray’ is a statement which many people laugh at or disregard, being too busy, or not inclined to belief. But prayer doesn’t mean an outward position e.g. kneeling, putting our hands together, bowing our head – it is an attitude of heart. Many people, although they wouldn’t admit it, have a sense of their littleness in the universe, sometimes even have the sense that there is ‘something’ greater than them. They get a feeling of awe and wonder at great natural events and scenes. At t
hese moments their heart rejoices or feels humbled and allows itself to express itself in words, spoken or unspoken. This too is a kind of prayer – a communication with the ‘bigger things’ of the universe. It is perhaps a small step from here to allow our heart to speak when faced with the everyday situations of life.
God will not be mocked says the Bible, and yet today many feel the need to do so, denying His existence, hating what He stands for, they feel they have the right to rail against Him and His people. Similarly His Son is treated with ridicule, disregard, or just plain derision. People have the inability to take serious things seriously, and therefore put themselves at odds with their Maker. God responds to them not with angry words, but with compassion and patience. He gives them opportunity after opportunity to change, to make amends, to take life seriously. He does so to avoid their destruction. His justice means that every mocker will have his comeuppance. He delays because he wants to give them what they don’t deserve – he wants to lavish upon them what they are not capable of receiving at present. He knows that what is coming will sweep them away and He hates the thought of that. Delay is not impotence or non-existence – it is for their benefit if they could only see!
God employs his people to encourage one another. He did not say to an angel, ‘Gabriel, my servant Joshua is about to lead my people into Canaan—go, encourage him.’ God never works needless miracles; if his purposes can be accomplished by ordinary means, he will not use miraculous agency. Gabriel would not have been half so well fitted for the work as Moses who had led them thus far, experiencing the hardness and also the blessings along the way. Today seek to be an encouragement to others and watch God work a miracle in them!