'Whatever Age....Be An Encourager!'
by Travis Wiginton
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Here in Oklahoma this week, our State lost one of it's biggest Encouragers!
Oklahoma City TV Anchorman and reporter, Brad Edwards died from a sudden illness at only 58 yrs. of age.
Brad had anchored one of the highest rated evening newscasts in the country until he created a much needed TV program, 'In Your Corner'.
For over 25 yrs. Brad (who was a very humble man) fought for people who were in need.
He instigated several programs to help others:
He encouraged people to take warm clothing/blankets to designated places,
to be given to those in need during the winter months.
He started a program of collecting electric fans,
to be distributed to those in need during the hot summers.
He created the "In Your Corner" program. People who had been 'scammed' in any manner, would write or call Brad and he would become the 'champion for their cause'.
Those episodes were televised and needless to say, some of the people who had cheated people were NOT too pleased to see Brad walk through the front door of their establishments....let alone see themselves and their actions on TV!
Many times as we watched those segments, we were thinking that Brad was really brave to be doing that! But his concern for people in need seemed to outweigh his own fear. He said once that when he was young, his own family was taken advantage of, so he knew how it felt.....and he wanted to help others!
One lady said, "I had tried unsuccessfully for 4 yrs. to get the refund that was due me. Brad got it done in 2 hours!"
These have been difficult days in our state, as there are TOO FEW ENCOURAGERS in our world. The comment we heard over and over was 'no one could laugh like Brad'.
Oklahomans are feeling that Brad was taken from us much too soon!!
We would appreciate your prayers for his wife, Mary Ann and their teenage daughter, Ashton (as well as the staff of KFOR as this has left a huge void in their lives, also!)
In our 83 website articles, we have chosen to post them under the heading of 'Encouragement' as we felt that we ALL need that.
Many of you who log on to these writings, have responded in positive ways and we want to 'thank you' for taking the time to write and ENCOURAGE us!
Sometimes as a pastor and wife, we might feel somewhat 'alone' but God would bring a friend, an ENCOURAGER into our lives.
Of course the family should be the first line of encouragers, but as the old song says, 'You sometimes hurt the ones you love".
Just this week we heard from a dear friend who is going through a difficult time with one of her children. She shared her situation with an extended family member who said, "Well, none of MY children would ever do anything like that!"
That was NOT what our precious friend needed to hear.....
she needed ENCOURAGEMENT, not unwarranted criticism!
Too many children grow up being beaten down by parents who are 'Negative Nellies' or 'Pessimistic Petes'.
This should not be, for without ENCOURAGEMENT, a child or a teenager can be like a 'whipped pup'.
We have a little Pekinese dog, 'Cosmo' and it's interesting to see how she just waits for a friendly word or a little pat on the head......ENCOURAGEMENT.
I once heard about a successful man who was asked the 'key to his success' and he replied, "I had a friend." Everyone needs a friend.
We are so thankful for the extended families and teachers who were 'vibes' during our growing up years!
I drink an energy drink each morning and the name of it is 'Boost'.
I guess it helps....but there's no doubt about ENCOURAGEMENT being a boost to anyone!
ENCOURAGEMENT gives hope, confidence and is a support and help.
Naomi had the support of Ruth...
Moses had the support of Joshua...
Joseph's brothers had HIS support even after all they did to him.
Otherwise their family of 70 would not have survived the famine in Canaan.
The Apostle Paul was an encourager to many, but he might not have been without Barnabas (who was known as 'Mr. Encourager')
Some refer to him as 'Son of Consolation' or 'Son of Exhortation'.
His ministries are recorded in the book of Acts.
As you study about him, please resolve to be a better ENCOURAGER.
Barnabas encouraged with monetary gifts in the early life of the church.
We have all been helped and encouraged in this way.
God loves a cheerful giver (II Cor. 9:7) and He will love you as He prospers you and you in turn, minister by giving.
Reflect and rejoice over your own life!
Acts 9: 26-27:
Barnabas encouraged at a time of great crisis in the early church.
Some called it 'broadmindedness' whereby Barnabas dealt in LOVE more than LAW.
He led the Believers to accept Paul (whom they did not know). He knew Paul, but the people were going along with some false stories they had heard, instead of being 'open' to receive Paul.
It is amazing how (if we let Him), there is Christ for every crisis,
but He may need human instruments.
So please be available to be one of those!
Peacemakers and Encouragers are ALWAYS needed in families, churches and elsewhere.
Acts 11: 23-24:
Barnabas had the gift of Exhortation from God and exhorted all of the Believers in Antioch, that with purpose of heart, they should cleave (stayed glued) to the Lord.
Verse 24 gives the key to his life. "He was a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and full of Faith."
Because of his use of his gifts and his witness, many were added unto the Lord.
This can happen in our lives if we desire it and will 'let go and let God' have His wonderful way in our lives.
Acts 11: 25-26:
Barnabas was an inspiring influence to help Paul and the Antioch church for a whole year.
It was here that the Believers were first called 'Christians'....and it was for 3 reasons:
1) The Christ in Whom they believed
2) The Church they comprised
3) The Commitments they made and lived by
Acts 11: 29-30:
Barnabas was a trustworthy servant of the Lord.
The church took up an offering to send relief to the fellow-believers in Judea.
Paul and Barnabas took it to them.
How we handle the money that God places in our hands is important to God and very necessary in our love and our witness. (II Cor. 9:6-8)
Money is a wonderful servant, but a terrible 'task-master' if we're not controlled by God.
Acts 13: 4 to 14: 26:
Barnabas was strong in missionary work.
Someone has well said, "Evangelism and Missions is one beggar telling another beggar 'where' to find bread."
I like that saying except that I don't feel like a 'beggar' now, for with Jesus, God gives us SO much! But we are channels only.
Please note that both Home and Foreign Missions are taught in Acts.
La Moyne and I have enjoyed being a part of Home Missions in Wyoming, California and Hawaii.
I was on our Home Mission Board for 8 yrs. and was Chairman of the 85 member Board for 2 yrs.
We also enjoyed serving in Korea under our Foreign Mission Board (which is now called International Mission Board).
We can no longer go physically as missionaries, but our church channels the members' gifts through the Cooperative Program. We hope that you are helping to support missions in your own church.
When Philip Brooks was asked 'what to do to revive a dead church', he replied,
"I would take up a mission offering!"
Acts 15:36- to 18:22:
Mark left the first missionary journey and returned home.
Paul and Barnabas continued and God blessed.
When it came time for the second missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement over whether to take John Mark or not. Paul took Silas and Barnabas took Mark.
God blessed both ventures, but my question is, "What would have happened to Mark without the love and encouragement from Barnabas?"
SOMEBODY out there needs YOU and YOUR encouragement!
Catherine Marshall calls it 'Redeeming every situation'.
We don't hear much about Barnabas after this, but that's ok.....God's work was being done.
Galatians 2:1 tells us that 14 yrs. later, Barnabas' influence was still being felt.
There are many 'nameless' followers today who get little glory or recognition,
but they are VERY important in God's work!
You may not get much recognition down here,
but God will recognize your ministries of love and encouragement.
He will say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!
Enter into your reward!"
The old song, "If I can help somebody along life's way, then my living will not be in vain."
You may meet someone TODAY who needs your encouragement.
Let's use the mass communication methods for the Lord to lift and encourage folk,
as satan certainly uses it for his evil ways!
By the way, sometimes the only one who can encourage YOU, is YOURSELF.
I Sam.30:6: "In a bad time, the people spoke of stoning David,
but David encouraged himself, in the Lord God."
We pray that God will bring others into your lives, as well as our's.....
people whom we can ENCOURAGE!
Remember too, that 'someone' needs to take up the slack that has been left by Brad's death, as well as other Saints who have gone on Home.
God will give you (and us) the strength to BE ENCOURAGERS to all those around us!
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Travis, this article IS SO ANOINTED, for when I read it my spirit just leapt within me. I will indeed pray for this precious saint that died, that God will send a replacement. Not only that, but that the God of the harvest would begin to raise up many encouragers and send them out to those in need. To those who have been fighting such hard battles for the Lord and being on the front line, whom the enemy works the hardest at trying to discourage. May God bless you and La Moyne richly for serving on the front lines and for doing battle with the enemy in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My love to both of you, Sharon
Powerful anointed piece of Encouragement Pastor Travis!!! Wow, this article shall lift and Encourage many many many souls!!!! I was greatly Encouraged and Blessed. My Husband and I will be praying for Brad's family and friends and coworkers as they go through this great time of sorrow in their lives. With Christian Love to you and your wife and family. Dee&David!!! "Numbers 6:24,25,26"