When I was in graduate school, I was part of a group that modelled a certain technique to the class using a fish bowl exercise. How it worked was that a group of six of us plus the professor sat in a circle working our way through a technique we were learning, while the rest of the class sat in a circle around the outside of us, looking in and watching. At the end of this five-week demonstration, those of us in the fish bowl exercise each took out a piece of paper and wrote our name on it. We then passed it around the circle, and one by one, we would write an encouraging comment for the person whose name was at the top. The comments were pointing out the strengths we saw in each other during this exercise. The professor then wanted us to keep it in our purse or wallet, and then, when we started working and found we were getting discouraged or had a bad day, we should pull out this paper, re-read it, remember the strengths people saw in us, and gain encouragement from others.
I found this paper today when I was cleaning out an old purse. I had forgotten all about it, but I will admit that it made me smile to read what people wrote about me so many years ago and to think how much my life has changed since then. It made me think that everyone should have something they can pull out and read, to make them smile when they are discouraged or having a bad day. We are fortunate to have such a thing available to us: the Bible! There are many encouraging words found within its pages. All we have to do is take a look inside:
In God's eyes, we are beautiful:
Genesis 1:27a – So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them. (NIV 2011)
Psalm 139:14a – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (NIV)
We are not alone:
Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)
Hebrews 13:5b – Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (NIV)
God wants us to be fulfilled:
Matthew 7:7 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (NIV)
We are loved:
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the Bible. May we faithfully read it and find the love and encouragement that You have for us, not just when we need encouraging, but daily, so that we may grow closer to You. Amen.