I want to thank you for our lives, I want to thank you for your strength, love, guidance and forgiveness. There are times when things don’t always go our way but it is important for us to keep you at the centre of it all, pray read the word and walk in obedience. There are many times we fall short of your glory and try to do things in our own might, but I pray that in those darkest moments you will strengthen us and cause us to follow your will with patience and wisdom. So help us father in all that we do. Help us to remain firm in the word, help us to learn, help us to grow, help us to love and help us to walk in the spirit at all times. In your name we pray. Amen.
We can all relate to the fact that we will go through things that will hurt us, change us, cause bitterness, anger, life changing moments and more. But it is in those times that I have learnt the importance of self-development, strength, patience and maturity. You see it is easy to smile and give God thanks when all is going well and we have everything under control. But the moment things get tough, or don’t go our way then we begin to panic, become anxious and doubt why it is happening.
One thing I always remind myself of is the fact that to get to the good one must first pass through the bad. You need to have your character refined and endure the process to be able to be trusted by God with what He wants to share with you, the works He wants you to do and how to be relational with others. What you pass through is not for you alone to say that you overcame it and are much stronger, but for you to be an example to others out there who are also going through similar and are assured that they are not alone, but the same God they serve is the same God who did it for someone else.
So what is encouragement?
Yeshua told His disciples ‘In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33
Yeshua made them aware that troubles will come – this walk isn’t easy and trials and tribulations can’t be avoided. You will be mocked, hated, spoken of badly. But remember each time people try to bring you down, that are set apart and created in His own image- Gen 1:27, you won’t be liked by everyone even though you do good. Pain will come and cannot be avoided or complained away or cried away. But thank God He is greater than all we face, that alone is encouragement for us all to stand firm on.
When I think of God’s encouragement it makes it easier to go on in this messed up world, knowing He has me and will never leave me or you, and will continue to guide us to walk in holiness and righteousness. It is also a reminder that He loves us despite our mistakes and falling short of His glory.
He is there for us, don’t doubt this, trust and believe and know that you are a conqueror and will never lose.
Joshua 1:9 ‘Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid neither be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’
Notice here that God starts off by reminding Joshua, ‘Have I not’- serves as a reminder to show that He is not only reminding us, but commanding us to be of good courage. He commands us to be strong, in saying this He expects us to pull through, to not be afraid, anxious or distressed. He is assuring us that He will always be with us wherever we go- knowing that we will face trials but are always able to overcome those trials.
Our darkest moments are not a punishment, but the fact that He commands us, shows the seriousness to follow and align our actions to His- not emotions – not people – or things. But sadly when trouble comes we are so fast to do the opposite and rather than go to the word and go in prayer, we become fearful, distressed, low, bitter and negative. We are humans and so emotions do run wild when the going gets tough, but we must learn to cause those emotions to submit to the word of God for peace, wisdom and understanding. Yes we read the word, but in our darkest moments of family issues, friends issues, work disappointments, relationships ending etc do we still seek God and pray? Do we still read the word? Do we still worship God?
You see many of us have carnal minds, which are in need of being renewed to refocus on the word of God, so that when a dark moment comes we are equipped to read the word and fight in prayer, to get your peace and direction.
Psalm 34:4 ‘I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.’
Another word for sought is to seek – when you seek you are attempting to find something, help, shelter, answers, direction etc. This scripture is telling you to therefore seek the Lord, here we are told to do this one thing, and in this same scripture we see that God does two things in return for us. He first of all hears us and then He delivers us from our fears.
You see God knows what we will go through, He knows we will have bad day, He knows we will complain, BUT with all this He assures us that what He will do will be to bring us through all our trials to the end- But we must seek Him. You cant expect God to do these things if you do not seek Him and put Him first. Now if we were to look at the opposite of this scripture one can say that it could say ‘I fled and sought help in people and things and was temporarily free from my worries.’ We tend to distant ourselves from God when dark moments come, because we have the I can do it my way mindset, but when you pray and seek God remember it will be His will that is done in our lives at the right time in His own timing not ours. So when you take it upon yourself, though things will happen quicker doesn’t mean it will lead to peace of mind and healing from that dark moment, if anything you will make it worse and go around in circles.
You need to get into the habit of running to God for everything and in every moment, not just in the good moments but the bad moments too. For assurance, help, comfort, healing, strength, wisdom, guidance and direction. Our ways will always fail, but His never will. It is also very important to remember that each time we read the word we need to pray for understanding and fresh revelation, to read the word with our spiritual eyes, because if you read the word with your natural eyes you will become more aware of the issue rather than the solution (God’s word) you will begin to doubt yourself and even God and by doing all this will distance yourself from God.
He delivers us from our fears because we cannot say we serve Him and also fearful too. Light and dark ways can’t mix. Fear will have you doing the opposite to the word of God to get quick results, leading to a dead end of no fruitful results. As it says in 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE and SOUND MIND. So the moment you feel fear, anxiety and worry creeping up on you go into prayers and let God have His way in renewing your mind and outlook on the matter at hand. After all He does say that we can do all things THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US- Phil 4:13.
Proverbs 16:24 ‘Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’
The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions, with this God bring healing, strength, wisdom and guidance, instruction, protection and answers. We need to be careful of what we feed our souls with because not all things that are said to us and information out there provided is good for us. You have to guard yourself (Proverbs 4:23), don’t fall victim to being led astray by false information appearing real, or what people say which doesn’t align to the word of God. Not all sources are genuine. We cannot go to people to fill the voids only God can fill, because He knows everything about us and what we need as opposed to what we think we need. He has all we need and even if you lose everything and all the people around you, He will always be enough for us.
We have it in mind that when something happens we are to go to our friends, pastors, family etc but then we don’t go to God first rather He is usually the last resort. The people around you can help only to some extent, we are all limited resources they can only do so much for you. They may mean well and have your best interest at heart but God’s word gets to the root of the issue, heals, edifies and equips us- His way will always work for us.
Go to word of God every day, at all times to get your own understanding, apply it to your issues and learn to walk in obedience. This will help you to seek out the error of your ways and live a Christ like standard, not to people please, but to God please in every action and thought.
Whether it is a sickness, friendship issues, job cuts, death, whatever disappointment it may be, God is not smaller than those issues and will see us through each time something we can’t handle alone arises. The enemy is very crafty, as we all know he comes to kill, steal and destroy John 10:10. He always works to turn our thoughts around to go against what God says about us, to cause a distance from Him and please ourselves rather than living to please God.
But we must remember that ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.’ Ephesians 6:12. So with this it serves as a reminder that it is not just matters of worldly things we face but the battle spiritually- so the encouragement in Christ provides the strength, willpower and spiritual armour to overcome. Ephesians 6:10-18.
When we are discouraged we shouldn’t – take matters into our own hands to try to handle it, we shouldn’t stop praying and reading the word and we shouldn’t distract ourselves from God. Look at Elijah, one of the greatest prophets who struggled with discouragement 1 Kings 19:3-10. So it doesn’t matter who you are, discouragement happens but it can be defeated with the word of God always.
FINAL POINTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT-
· The spirit of rejection is very common and many are battling secret battles which need to be addressed not ignored.
· Our darkest moments are for a purpose too – Romans 8:28
· Just because you don’t believe it in the moment doesn’t mean it won’t change or get better – Must work on the mind (Romans 12:2) and guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
· Life can be so difficult but we must not fall into the victim mentality and get depressed.
· Never give up – God makes all things possible in His own time
· In all things whether good or bad there is always something to learn
· God calls us to be faithful, and gives us the power to be faithful
· Like Elijah God will always meet our needs at the right time. Psalm 183:3 ‘As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.’
· He is our strength when we are weak
· God loves us and will keep us – He won’t leave us
GOD BLESS YOU ALL