Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouraging words Archive



January 2024

A fool flaunts his folly

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly." (Proverbs 13:16) | Read more on hopereflected.com

Words are the streams

James wrote that “the tongue can no man tame;” (James 3:8). It’s funny how such a small thing can wield so much power.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29).

“Corrupt” here means rotten, worthless, or unfit for use.

In Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, he explains that the root word for “corrupt” is applied to “putrid vegetable or animal substances. Then it is applied to a tree that is of a useless character…”.

The words that proceed out of our mouths are based on our character. As Matthew Henry wrote, “The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication.”

Unless we get things right at the source, we are at risk of spewing garbage rather than ministering grace.

We are not alone in our struggle to tame the tongue

Proverbs 13:16 says that “in everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.” Making a joke of sin and making light of holy things don’t really seem like a big deal because we’ve been conditioned to believe that they’re not a big deal, and that we’re not a big deal unless we’re doing those very things.

Standing up for what’s sacred?

Don’t be a fuddy-duddy; you’re no fun!

Just take a look at what the world laughs at, and who the world holds in high regard.

Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Colosse that we are to put off “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;” (Colossians 3:8-9). “Filthy” here has the same meaning of the “corrupt” communication in Ephesians 4:29.

Rotten and worthless words that are unfit for use are so provoking that these cautions were included in two different letters to two entirely different groups of Christians. To think that we are alone in our struggle to tame the tongue would be grossly ignorant. Some people are just better than others at knowing when to speak and when to stay silent.

“By their fruits ye shall know them.”

Matthew 7:20

Jesus said in Matthew 7 that “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (7:20).

What are our fruits?

Our character, our actions, and of course, our words.

What do others hear from us in the course of conversation? Jesus also cautioned in Matthew that “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36-37). This is not a threat, but certainly a reminder that what we say—and what we don’t say—is of eternal significance.

We can talk a lot, but when our words and our actions don’t line up, others are going to notice. We can lie with our words but our actions betray us.

Originally published as “A fool flaunts his folly.” Independent Plus. August 25, 2022: 5. Print. Web.



April 2014

Hope, She Wrote: 10 Ways to Encourage Others

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work, Uncategorized


We don’t always realize the impact that our words and actions can have on the lives of those around us. Something I’m learning every day is how my words and actions can affect those around me (even if it’s not intentional). It’s so important to speak encouraging words and share encouraging gestures. Last week in my column for The Minto Express, I shared 10 ways to encourage others. Easy and practical, these are suggestions I’m challenging myself to practice more diligently.

The ‘E’ Word

You know those people in your life with whom you absolutely love spending time? What draws you to them? Consider all the people you’ve encountered, both past and present, who have made an impact on your life. Our biggest influencers are individuals who challenge us and move us to become better people; individuals who encourage.

I love the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition for the word encourage: “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.” The first known use of the word was in the 15th century, the Middle English encoragen, from the Anglo-French encourager, ‘en’ being French for ‘in’ + courage (‘cor’ is Latin for ‘heart’).

Each of us has the potential to become a person who encourages. That’s an incredible ability! Think about how many people you see each day. Some of them you may know personally, some of them you may see today but never again in your life. Can you imagine what our world would be like if we each attempted to encourage every person with whom we had a personal encounter? That’s a powerful thought.

Providing encouragement can be easy; it doesn’t require some grand gesture. Here are ten ways we can all incorporate a little ‘in’ courage into the lives of others:

  1. Be sincere – Authenticity is everything.
  2. Be specific – This goes for all of the points below. Encouragement doesn’t work when it’s generic. You’ve got to be personal.
  3. Listen – Encouraging another isn’t about providing advice, in fact, sometimes it’s just the opposite. Sometimes what a discouraged, weary soul needs is an open ear.
  4. Smile – Try putting it into practice every day. While thinking, or listening to another, we can subconsciously take on a more serious expression. Remember to smile!
  5. Give recognition – When someone does something outstanding that you think is awesome, recognize it!
  6. Give recognition to an everyday event – Don’t wait until something huge happens to encourage someone. Start with their everyday life and provide a word of affirmation. It will work wonders.
  7. Show Gratitude – We should all make it a daily practice to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. [Try combining numbers 4 and 7 and see how well it works.]
  8. Share Something – Have you been thinking about or praying for someone? Tell them about it! Give them a call, write them a quick note, send them a text. Knowing that you’ve got others who believe in you can make all the difference in the world.
  9. Offer practical help – Someone you know is going through a trying time. Ask them specifically if there’s an area in which you can assist them. [see also number 2. Instead of saying, “Do you need anything?” why not say “Could I help you by ___?”]
  10. Practice the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Knowing the difference that encouragement has made in your own life, why not spread some of that courage to the hearts of others!
Robertson, Hope. “The ‘E’ Word.” Minto Express 26 March 2014: 5. Print.