Five Words That Can Change Your Life and the Lives of Others


Power of Encouraging WordsI love words. Words can change your life and the lives of others. Words are my vocation, partly because of some encouraging words I received when I was only a senior in high school.

Years ago, a stranger clipped my senior picture from the local paper and enclosed it with a hand-written, encouraging note in the mail: “You have a beautiful smile.” Just five words–and a simple gesture that took maybe five or ten minutes, but can you guess I started flashing my pearly whites after that?

Those Words Made an Impression

Those thoughtful words made such an impression on me that I decided I could do the same thing. As a young wife and mom I started scouring our small-town newspaper for articles about people: wedding announcements, death notices, school honorees–anything that warranted a “Good for you!” “I’m praying for you,” or “I’m so sorry.”

People would call me, wondering why a stranger would take the time to send them a note. I wasn’t trying to enlist them for anything. I was simply copying a kind deed someone had done for me. I kept remembering Paul’s words in the book of Acts that talked about how Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38). Maybe my simple “words” could classify as doing some good for others.

A Lack of Encouraging Words

But it took a negative experience to cement my belief in the true power of encouragement: working in a job where words of encouragement were as scarce as the time given me to complete the demanding work overload for two anxious employers. I was young and inexperienced but it seemed as if mistakes were, um, unforgivable. The constant lack of grace, sensitivity, and encouragement left me drained–and sent me home sprawling across my bed in tears on many nights.

I hadn’t yet discovered my love of words through writing then, but I knew enough to recognize the power of positive, encouraging words. God reminded me of the powerful words of Proverbs 25:11 (NIV): “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

The job ended after a year but my determination solidified: With God’s help, I would always try to paint word pictures that would bring beauty, encouragement, and healing–ones that would create “apples of gold in settings of silver” in the hearts of others.

God’s Encouraging Words

Ultimately it was–and is–God’s encouragement that constantly lifts my spirits and keeps me positive and loving life. Listen to some of His words of encouragement:

  • “I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).
  • “My peace I give you” (John 14:27 NIV).
  • “I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15 NIV).
  • “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV).
  • “You are precious and honored” (Isaiah 43:4 NIV).

Now, those are the kind of words that can change your life, as well as the lives of others.

(Poster thought from Day-votions® for Women, © 2009, Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan).

It’s Your Turn

What about you? When and how have you discovered the power of encouragement? What words have encouraged you? How have the words of God and others changed your life? Challenge for study: What five words in Scripture can you find that have made (or could make) a difference in your life? Please share your comments below.

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17 Responses to “Five Words That Can Change Your Life and the Lives of Others”

  1. Tammy on February 23rd, 2010 11:19 am

    your gift for words lifted my soul so much this day,and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was just outside praising the Lord and lifting His name up high and then came back in to see the answer from the Lord on daily inspirations, FROM THE FATHER’S HEART
    My child, do you know how much I enjoy blessing My children? Do you understand that all I want for you are good things? But it is also My goodness that forgives and prods your heart when it needs changing. It is My goodness that allows tests to come your way. It is My goodness that holds you in the palm of My hand and will not let you go. I love you, My child.

    I stand unworthy of any good thing. Yet You, Lord, continue to pour into my life good and perfect gifts. Daily blessings, special relationships, answered prayers, undeserved favors—You give them all, Lord. Even in difficult times, Your goodness is always evident. Thank You, Lord.

    My husband and I have been through some seriously rough times, but through it all we have not complained, as a matter of fact we have praised and worshiped the Lord even more than before the trials that came upon us. You see we understand that my my my the Lord loves us so much that He has found us worthy of being chastened.
    Your words have worked a wondrous work on my heart this morning,as we are believing for a wonderful blessing and it was as though the Lord were saying through you, exactly what we are believing for. Thank you very much for sharing your gift of words with us.
    Tammy Levesque Monroe WA

  2. Docena Moore on February 24th, 2010 11:33 pm

    Rebecca…this article triggered a memory of mine from 1992. I was working for a college textbook publishing company as a receptionist. I also answered the phone. One day I messed up a phone communication for one our employees who had given me specific instructions to be very careful with this call. I was quite distraught over this woman’s response to the situation. My apologies did nothing to calm her down.

    I spent an anxious night praying and wondering what I should do to try to impact the situation in a Christ-like manner. This woman was not a Christian and I wanted to respond to her as Christ would have me.

    The Holy Spirit reminded me of Matt. 6:1-4 where Jesus spoke about rewarding us for what we do in secret. So, I decided to go to work early. I stopped at the grocery store on the way to purchase a flowering plant to place on her desk with a card saying, “Have a nice day!” No signature…I was able to complete my “secret mission” without her seeing me. I went on with my day at my desk comforted that I had been obedient to Christ.

    Imagine my surprise when she later asked me if I was the one who had given her the plant! I guess my face gave her the answer, because she threw her arms around me and hugged me and thanked me! All was well….because I did something in secret that God used to heal a broken relationship!

    I was truly blessed because of God’s faithfulness to His Word. I have shared this a number of times through the years to encourage others to do the same.

  3. Rebecca on February 25th, 2010 9:59 am

    Thank you for your kind words. It sounds like God has taught you much through your difficulties. May He continue to bless you.

  4. Rebecca on February 25th, 2010 10:10 am

    What a wonderful experience and lesson you shared. Your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit made the difference. And God truly is faithful to His Word. Keep sharing that story. It will encourage many, just as it did me.
    Blessings, Rebecca

  5. Maggie on January 4th, 2011 10:39 am

    Those words meant the world to me. I know words are very important and can either make or break you. That’s the reason I
    speak the word of God daily on my life.
    Life is already so difficult, that we need the sweet words of our Lord to help build and uplift us when we are down or as a daily
    meal as it were.

  6. Rebecca on January 4th, 2011 12:46 pm

    Thanks, Patty, for your encouraging comments. The words of God are so powerful!

  7. Cecilia on January 22nd, 2011 3:04 am

    I would 2 focus more on God.what does it take to pray 2 God and hear from Him.

  8. Rebecca on January 22nd, 2011 2:27 pm

    Thanks, Cecilia, for sharing your thoughts and comments!

  9. Treasure Ejiasa on August 9th, 2013 12:46 pm

    There is power in words,words can either mar u or build u.thanks for sharing these.

  10. Coralie on March 2nd, 2017 5:28 pm

    Rebecca, thank you for this post. Just yesterday I was being served by a lady at the grocery store. I commented that she looked very tired – something that I would normally say. She then explained how she had been visiting her husband in hospital a lot and (looking at her watch) said that he would be just coming out of surgery. The concern was that he had cancer. I said that I would pray that they would get a good report and keep them both in my prayers. This lady looked at me and said something had been lifted from her and she wasn’t so stressed about it now. I gave her a hug.

    I had been waiting patiently to be served for some time with some very grumpy folk and there was confusion about who was being served as queues were mixing. A staff lady came to me and asked me to go to a counter and she would serve me. I had a big shop with a lot of product that needed the chiller.

    Am I amazed at how God works — not at all. I just know how much He loves to meet the needs of those who are hurting in a world that has become so cold, heartless and self-centred. As Christians, we need to show our love with a Word in Season, just as you have said. It can be the very words that can encourage, uplift and yes, even save a life.

    God bless you Rebecca – know that you are appreciated.

  11. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on March 3rd, 2017 12:18 pm

    Coralie, thanks so much for your encouraging words–and for your testimony about showing God’s love through our words, love, and compassion.

  12. mary umesh dicholkar on March 23rd, 2017 12:54 am

    Praise the LORD.



  13. Nancy Stevens on March 27th, 2017 6:32 pm

    Hey, twin – sure wish we could see you all and catch up on life and family! We are with Rick, Shirley, Robin and Jerry in Branson, MO.
    Life in the Lord has blessed us beyond measure!

  14. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on March 27th, 2017 8:06 pm

    Mary, you are in our prayers.

  15. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on March 27th, 2017 8:12 pm

    So nice to hear from you, Nancy! Will send you a PM or other e-mail.

  16. Mercy Akpan Fidelis on April 6th, 2017 8:26 am

    I need going through difficult Times and is affecting my self esteem.need help from God’s word.thks

  17. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on April 12th, 2017 1:24 pm

    Mercy, you are in our prayers.

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