Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Hosea 9:10-17 & Acts 20:1-16.

Acts 20:2 Paul traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece. (NIV)

We are living in pretty discouraging times. Our people are divided and our leaders are not working together. Terrible acts of violence have been committed and hatred is on the increase. Good folks everywhere are feeling insecure and most people are looking for real solutions to our problems. All this strife is adding to our stress which fragments our relationships, leaving us isolated and vulnerable. No one seems to know how to fix things and heal our problems. Our souls are damaged and our hearts are crushed. We just need something or someone to say the right things, give the right word, and point us in the right direction.

This is the Great Commission of Christ’s Church in the 21st century. We still have a pertinent platform where words of encouragement can bring people closer to God and, in the process, bring us together. How we express those words is very important to the folks around us. For encouragement to work, we have to be sensitive and supportive. If we present Christ in compassionate ways, we will help others who are struggling with life. If we share our confidence in God’s love, we will enable others to find refuge in Him. It all depends whether we are willing, like Paul of old, to be vessels of Christ’s mercy and grace. If we choose to channel His Loving Spirit, we will help others to overcome their fears and rediscover the inner strength which faith in Christ empowers.

Wherever you are today, be an encourager. Whatever you do, let it be done in love.

Point to ponder:  How does God encourage me? How can I share this with others?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we can grow weary of the world and fearful of its fallen ways. Enable us to overcome our current concerns by placing our hopes, dreams, and lives into Your hands. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s latest winter drawings called ‘Red Cardinal in Snow.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.