By Stephen Smith, Lt. Colonel–

When I was 12 years old, I entered the soloist competition at music camp, something I had done for several years. This occasion was different, however.

The beginning of my solo started out like any other solo: the piano played an introduction, I stood there waiting for my part to begin, I blew air into my horn, stared out into the audience and then the big moment came—my first note. 

Well, for some reason, that first note just did not come out, nor did the second or the third or the fourth for that matter. I was having trouble making any sound on my horn.

Finally, after attempting for a minute or so to play my solo, I walked off the stage.

It must have been an awkward situation for the audience, my piano accompanist and for the emcee of the program. And I was upset and stunned that I could not even produce a sound.

All these years later, I remember that night not so much for my inability to play my cornet, but for what happened afterward. A person, who I didn’t know all that well followed me out of the chapel and met me as I was standing, bewildered, under a tree, and encouraged me. I don’t remember what he said, but I know he ministered to me in a very special way that day.

Today, I want to encourage you. Maybe you have failed to accomplish something, maybe you feel you have let others down or perhaps you are just having a bad day. Know that God loves you, and it will be alright. And maybe you can be that encourager to someone else who is struggling today.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

In this time, when people have become pretty adept at tearing each other down, what an important message from the Lord this is.

There is a song in The Salvation Army Songbook by Lucy Milward Booth-Hellberg that gives us hope for those times when life does not seem to be going well:

When you feel weakest, dangers surround,
Subtle temptations, troubles abound,
Nothing seems hopeful, nothing seems glad
All is despairing, everything sad:

Keep on believing, Jesus is near;
Keep on believing, there’s nothing to fear
Keep on believing, this is the way;
Faith in the night as well as the day.

(Song #691/721 – Keep on Believing) 

My prayer is that you will be full of faith and full of God’s blessings today.


Do Good:

  • Pick a Scripture study to follow this week and read one part each day for the next four days. On the fifth day, send it to someone you think would also benefit from it.
  • See how you can get involved in the Fight for Good at westernusa.salvationarmy.org.
  • Did you know The Salvation Army served more than 23 million Americans last year fighting hunger, homelessness, substance abuse and more—all in a fight for good? Where can you help? Take our quiz to find your cause and learn how you can join in today.