Encourage one another: Lessons from my Brother
The 80s were known for excess. From drugs to greed to big hair, everything was done to the extreme. The 80s were not known for its moderation. My family did not escape this trend. Some time during the early 80s my family made a disturbing discovery…
They discovered that you could make photos into 16 x 20 posters for a reasonable cost. Thus began “the big picture” era. Pictures would be blown up for birthdays and exchanged as Christmas gifts. My brother Jerry and my dad took it to a whole new level. They began to make pictures frames for these photos. I think they really thought that everyone wanted poster size pictures in their houses. It actually got to the point where a picture was taken of my dad, holding a framed 16 x 20 poster of my brother and his daughter, Tracie. My brother, Jerry, in turn had that picture blown up to poster size and framed for my dad. (And I found this very picture in my closet this week!!!! 🙂 )
I was reminded of this last weekend when I went to visit my niece, Tracie. I saw the wonderful picture of her and her dad (the one that my dad is holding in the above picture) in her apartment. The photo was taken in the early to mid-80s. It is a treasured possession for her. Both my dad and brother are no longer with us.
At breakfast the next morning, we were talking about the picture. She said that after she moved, she was cleaning the glass and its frame and hidden in the back was a note that her dad had hidden. It was a note that he had wanted her to find later. A hand-written note saying how much he loved her. She found it after he passed away. What a precious gift.
It reminded me of a card that my brother Jerry sent me shortly before he died. I still have it in my memory box. When I got home from visiting Tracie last week, I pulled it out and read it again. It never ceases to encourage me and make me tear up and appreciate my brother. And I am reminded of what God did in his life before he died. And that one day, I will be with him and my dad, worshipping Jesus…the One who made us all whole.
In the book of Hebrews found in the Bible it says “But exhort (encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” We live in a society that is so quick to point out each others sin and faults and things that would disqualify us from being used by God. I do believe that sin is a serious issue and living a holy life is important. But I also believe that it is God’s job to convict and transform people. I want to be someone who sees the good in people and encourage them in their tough times and rejoice with them in their good times. I want to point people to Jesus.
At the end of last year, I purposed that every Tuesday when I got into the office that I would mail 2 cards to people from my church. I pray and ask God who needs encouraged that week. I also write to a friend that is currently in prison and Jessie, who is in Bible college preparing for ministry. I have also added choosing one family member or friend that is not a part of my church to that list.
This past week was rough. Some personal issues that I was dealing with seemed to be overwhelming. And I didn’t realize how much things were weighing me down until I received a card in the mail and chocolate covered cookies and a note at my door. I also received three texts from people from all over just telling me that I had been on their heart and they were praying for me. It was so encouraging to me. God uses people to let us know that He is there and that He sees us. And that He will take care of us.
I believe we can never out bless God. When we practice acts of kindness and encouragement, He will bless us way more than we bless others. It is just how the Kingdom of God works.
I am always surprised and tickled by what God uses to speak to me. This week, He used my dad and my brother and those obnoxious picture frames! 🙂 This week, look for ways to encourage someone else. Whether it be a note or a text or chocolate covered cookies…