The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

-William James 

Read Philippians 1:6.

The seventh grade can be a challenging year for anyone. For me, it was agonizing. Everything in my world was changing. My father had open-heart surgery, and I was sure he would not live. All my peers seemed to have no trouble finding ways to excel—in sports, academics, art, band– but not me. I tried everything, but I was average at best. With hindsight, I can see that what I needed was someone to look past my failures and see the best in me.  Someone who believed I would amount to something. Instead, what I got was a no nonsense, plain-spoken math teacher.

One day, after reviewing my grades, she casually said, “When you get to high school, make sure you sign up for remedial math. You are not Algebra I material.” I’m sure she never gave the statement a second thought, but it crushed me. It mattered to me what she thought. Isn’t it amazing how just one sentence can affect how a person sees himself for a lifetime?

To show her wrong, I did take Algebra 1 and every advanced math class offered in my high school. From that point on, my grades changed from mediocre to all A’s. Of course, I made sure that she saw every report card throughout high school!

As I look back, I know that my scholastic career could have easily gone the other way. It reminds me that we all need a word of encouragement!

The Apostle Paul says three things in verses 3-6: 1) I am thankful for you, 2) I am praying for you, and 3) I have high expectations of what the Lord will do in your life. Let his words challenge you to go out and change someone’s world today. People desperately need us to speak words that will build them up and not tear them down. Be a blessing.


Write down the names of four people that you can encourage in some way today. Pray for God to help you to guard against hurting people with your words. Pray for the insight and wisdom to say the things that will truly bless others.