Sunday, April 11, 2021

Giving an Encouraging Word

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

I ignored the call, imagining it just another spam call from someone who wanted to ruin my Saturday morning with their nonsense. 

Writers’ conferences present a double-edged sword. I hang on every word from speakers, authors, and editors who are more experienced than I. Experts who share their journeys and help me with mine. I hear their instructions and cautions. Be patient. The publishing world takes time. 

Don’t give up when you receive rejection letters. Perhaps the timing is not right, or you are not as prepared as you need to be. Show don’t tell. Get an agent. Submit something for publication…anything. Make your manuscript, devotion, or article as good as you can before submitting it. Pay an expert to look over it if you need to. Remember, you only write for an audience of One. On and on the good advice trails. 

But then that devilish angel hops on my shoulder. I hear him, too. You’ll never succeed. Your writing stinks. Don’t expect any compensation for your writing. Who would pay for what you write? 

And hearing from those who’ve experienced a measure of success in selling articles or publishing books doesn’t help. The jealousy bug emerges…angrily…and largely. Why couldn’t the same happen to me? I’ve been writing longer than they have. Why did the agent accept them as a client but reject me? Why did the publisher accept their manuscript but toss mine? 

Between sessions, I headed for the bathroom. While taking care of restroom business, I heard the call and saw the number appear on my screen. Although the number was local for where I lived, I didn’t recognize it. Knowing spammers can fake a local number just to make me answer, I ignored the call and waited to see if the caller would leave a voice mail. 

A minute or so passed before I heard the ding notifying me I had a voicemail. I waited for it to transcribe. Nothing. I pressed the play button to listen. “You don’t know me, but I’m….” 

A pastor with a congregation not far from where I live had read some of my devotions in a denominational magazine. Enjoying what he read, he had investigated my bio. Seeing I had a website, he visited. 

And the purpose of his call? Just to give me a word of encouragement. Just to tell me he enjoyed reading my devotions and to express his appreciation for what I did. 

“I know we all get a lot of spam callers,” he said, “but I wanted you to know this isn’t what this is. I just wanted to give you a word of encouragement.” 

Most of my voicemails, I erase. This one, I saved. A day will come when someone will give one of my books a critical review or put a judgmental comment on one of my blog posts, and I’ll need this voicemail. I’ll need to hear a word of encouragement. 

Doing what Paul says takes initiative. Our default mode is often criticism. It seems to come more naturally. But God wants us to do what this stranger did. I needed encouragement that day. He didn’t know I did, but God knew, and God’s timing proves perfect every time. 

Rather than criticize, encourage. When you ask, God will direct you to the person who needs it, and at just the right time. 


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.


  1. I needed to hear this this morning. Thank you.

  2. No matter how long we have been in the publishing world, or how much success we have experienced, we all need this powerful reminder! Thank you, Martin!

  3. I blog weekly and write for our small local newspaper, once a month on average. Rarely do I hear from readers, and I, too, sometimes feel discouraged—hearing that sneering voice, “What difference do your words make? Why do you try so hard?” Recently, however, I received an email from a woman. She simply told me how much what I wrote, my message in the paper, meant to her... how she needed to hear my words. Her encouragement made such a difference.

  4. Thank you for the blessing Mr. Martin. Right backatcha my friend.

  5. What a blessing to read this message today! Thank you.

  6. When I was a new high school teacher, my principal advised, "Keep a 'happiness file' of the complimentary and congratulatory notes you receive. They will encourage you in the future when disappointing circumstances arise." He was correct, of course.

  7. What a wonderful message for you and one we can all remember when we need that extra boost. Those encouraging words are out there and we need to take those to heart instead of the negative ones.

  8. One of the most encouraging things that happened to me was when I wrote a monthly column for our small-town newspaper. A woman I didn't know came to me in the Walmart parking lot and told me how much she looked forward to reading my articles. I got a lot of mileage out of her words of encouragement.