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  • Shawn Thornton

Everyone Needs Encouragement

Sunday - August 23rd Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Hebrews 10:23-25

Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 6:5-18


Anxiety weighs down the heart,

but a kind word cheers it up.

Proverbs 12:27

The Capitol Records building has been emitting secret messages since it opened. The building opened in Hollywood in 1956 and has been a Los Angeles landmark ever since. Only those with a keen eye for Morse code can decipher what the blinking light atop the building has to say.

In addition to helping invent the telegraph, Samuel Morse developed a code (bearing his name). Morse's code assigned a set of dots and dashes to each letter of the English alphabet. It allowed the simple transmission of complex messages across telegraph lines or via a blinking light. In 1844, Morse sent his first telegraph message, from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland.

Alan Livingston, the former president of Capitol Records, came up with the idea to have the light on top of their building send out a Morse code signal. The word chosen for this secret message was "Hollywood." That seems so appropriate with the most identifiable building along the Hollywood skyline. When the building opened, Samuel Morse's granddaughter Leila Morse was honored to turn the light on.

The light has been sending out the same message ever since—with a few exceptions. The year 1992 marked the 50th anniversary of Capitol Records. To celebrate the milestone, the signal from the blinking light was changed to "Capitol 50" for the entire year. After the anniversary year, it was changed back to "Hollywood." A decade later, it would be changed again. Before a Katy Perry album release, it was changed to "Katy Perry. Prism. October 22, 2013." The message was the only official announcement of the album release date. It was there in plain sight for anyone to read, but no one noticed.

The light on top of the Capitol Records building keeps sending out Morse code signals even today. Anyone who passes can read the message being sent out. Who knows, a passerby might be the only one to receive news that others will miss.

In a world where we have all weathered the effects of a global pandemic and economic downturn, all of us could use a little good news. We could all handle some encouragement right now. When we know our brothers and sisters in Christ need a message of hope, the Bible tells us we should be the ones who encourage each other. The Book of Hebrews tells us that being together, stirring each other up to do good things, and finding ways to give words of encouragement, all help us hold onto hope (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Over the years, I have learned that my attempts to encourage others actually boomerang back as much encouragement (if not more) than I shared in the first place. Sharing in building each other up is part of the plan God has for His people to be reminded of the hope they share. Encouraging each other is another of the "one another" commands of the New Testament.

Let's face it, life is hard. On any given day, we can be hit by overwhelming circumstances we never saw coming. We can also wake up in the morning, feeling physically rested but still weighed down by yesterday's challenges. Discouragement can hit us all at once, or it can pile up layer by layer. Either way, it can get our eyes off of the hope we have in Jesus. We can lose our bearing.

When we know that about each other, it should nudge us toward bringing encouragement into each others' lives. Just being together can help lift the spirit of someone who is discouraged. The best kind of presence involves being together in the same physical space. That is not always possible - especially in the season of COVID-19. When we cannot be physically present, we can be present with our words, voice, or image via texting, email, a phone call, a Zoom connection, or social media. The how is not necessarily as important as the heart, the words, and the act of encouragement itself.

Who have you intentionally taken the time to encourage today, this week, this month, or this year? Proverbs 12:27 says, "Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up." If you haven't cheered someone up lately, do so today. Reach out to someone whose heart has been weighed down. Don't beat around the bush. Make sure they know you thought of them, and the Lord prompted you to reach out with a kind word. Be clear. Don't communicate in such a stealthy way that you become like the Capitol Records building, and people miss the message. Let that person know you care and there is hope!

Everyone needs encouragement. Take the time to say or send a kind word to a brother or sister in Christ today!


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