Echoes of Encouragement (11 of 13) by Bailey Smith

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Echoes of Encouragement (11 of 13)
Series: Revival Preaching
Bailey Smith
Exodus 15:23-27

Maybe you remember Naomi. She had her name changed to Marah because her life had been bitter. If there is one predominant word that would describe the feeling I find among pastors and church workers across America, it is the word discouragement. America needs to be encouraged.

I have to be careful when I preach because it is not encouraging to people for me to tell them what kind of people they really are. That sometimes is discouraging rather than encouraging. For this reason I am usually totally quiet about the good things that God has given in my own church.

I talked with an evangelist friend lately and asked him what he felt was the greatest need of people today. He said, ''The greatest need is encouragement. People are so discouraged. In fact, if I were to count all of the happy pastors that I know of in the 200 churches that I was in last year, I could count only six that I would say are really happy.''

Isn't that a shame? I know preachers get horribly criticized by their members sometimes. They get down and blue. One deacon recently said, ''I have never seen my pastor's eyes shine. When he prays he closes his. When he preaches, I close mine.'' The pastor replied to this statement by saying, ''When I am dead, shed no tears because I will be no deader then than you've been for years.''

Notice in this passage we find a grand and glorious word of encouragement. One titanic theme in this passage is the simple, yet profane, point: The battle is the Lord's. Forty-five times in eighteen verses of Exodus 15 we find this recurring theme. The battle is the Lord's.

While I lived in New Mexico I once tried to water the yard with a sprinkler that was about twelve years old. The sprinkler just barely moved around. As I was watching this sprinkler try to work, suddenly the sky darkened and there came the biggest rainstorm I had ever seen. ...

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