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The Black Envelope

"Sometimes God sends His mercies in a black envelope." --Charles Spurgeon
Kent Crockett's Sermon Illustrations,

The Power of Encouragement

The students at Sandy's high school were badly shaken by the news that a classmate had killed himself. The suicide note said, "It's hard to live when nobody cares if you die." Glen, a teacher, realized this was a teachable moment about the importance of making people feel valued. He asked the class to imagine they were about to die and to write a note "telling someone how and why you appreciate them."
Sandy, who had a rocky relationship with her mother, decided to write her mom. Her letter said, "We've had some rough times and I haven't always been a very good daughter, but I know I'm lucky to have you in my life. You are the best person I've ever known. And even when I disagree with you, I never doubt you love me and want what's best for me. Thanks for not giving up on me."
When her mom read the note, she cried and hugged Sandy tightly but said little.

The next morning, Sandy found a note on her mirror. "Dearest Sandy, I want you to know being your mother is, by far, the most important thing in my life. Until I got your note, I thought I had lost your love and respect. I felt like such a failure. I intended to end it all last night. Your note saved my life."
--Character Counts!, Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with permission.

Comparing Ourselves with Others

If we compare ourselves with others, we will become either proud or discouraged—and neither is from God. (Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, p. 141)

Blind Eye to the Telescope

When Lord Horatio Nelson was fighting the Battle of Copenhagen, his senior officer, Sir Hyde Parker, also known as “Old Vinegar,” hoisted the flag signaling retreat. Nelson deliberately put his telescope to his blind eye and said, “I do not see it.”

If he had surrendered when it looked like defeat, he would not have captured twelve Danish ships.

I don’t see defeat. Do you?

            When you’re fighting the Battle of Perspective, Satan will hoist his flag, trying to discourage you. Remember to put a blind eye to the telescope. Refuse to see the retreat flag. Keep going forward.

(Kent Crockett, I Once Was Blind But Now I Squint, Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2004, 139)


Cross Reference:

Our Emotions Respond to the Way We Think

Home Field Advantage

Overcoming the Giants

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again

Two Days Before the Great Discovery

Discouraging the Union Army

Man_s Rejection Can Be God_s Direction

Imagining the Opposition