Roger Alford

I heard the story the other day about an Native American out Nevada way who was sending smoke signals when, far in the distance, the military tested an atomic bomb, sending a huge mushroom cloud high into the sky.

“I wish I had said that,” the Native American muttered as he stood up, folded his blanket and walked away.

The late evangelist Billy “Red” Kelly used to tell that story. He was such an encouraging man. He still is, thanks to YouTube, where you can still hear him even though he went to Heaven in 1997.

Oh, how we need encouragement in this day and time. It seems everyone and everything is under attack these days. Mr. Potato Head. Pepe Le Pew. Even Dr. Seuss. Negativity seems to be at an all-time high. So many things are being said that shouldn’t be said.

I have been doing this column for many years now in hopes of being an encouragement to others, but, wouldn’t you know, there are a few people out there who read what are intended to be uplifting words and send me hateful notes in response from time to time.

Proverbs 12:18 tells us that there are some people whose words stab like daggers and others whose words are healing. While I suppose we should expect both kinds, I’m partial to words that are healing.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all live up to the biblical admonition to speak words of grace to each other. The Bible tells us, “Let no corrupt communications proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto others” (Ephesians 4:29).

I think what’s needed today is for us to stand up, like Brother Billy “Red” Kelly, and proclaim the Good News in a world gone crazy.

Wouldn’t it be something if every single one of us shared words of encouragement, whether by smoke signals, old-fashion letters, email, text or telephone? Wouldn’t you enjoy getting gracious words from someone telling you to keep on keeping on, that God loves you, and that He has a great reward stored up for you?

Wouldn’t it be something if you opened that envelope or email and read words that put a smile on you face?

Wouldn’t it be something if, after reading such gracious words, you said to yourself, like that Native American, “I wish I had said that.”


You can reach Roger Alford at

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