Encouraging Yourself

Everyone experiences disappointment from time to time.
But some people tend to wallow in negativity, dwelling on painful memories or situations. Others quickly recover their joy, sometimes with apparently little effort.

King David knew how to overcome feelings of discouragement. Even in the face of tragedy, he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6, KJV). He had learned how to put his hope in God in the midst of adversity.

From studying the book of Psalms, we can discover the method David used to overcome discouragement. Let’s take a look at some principles that show us how to encourage ourselves in the Lord.

I. Be honest with God.

Life can be painful. Godly believers get ill, lose their jobs, and grieve the loss of loved ones. When you feel discouraged, share your true feelings with God: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18). Talking to Him about your struggles is often the first step to healing.

From each passage below, list a few negative thoughts that David expressed to God:

-Psalm 13:1-6
-Psalm 22:6-18
-Psalm 69:20-21

Do you feel comfortable pouring out your heart to God, regardless of how you feel? Explain why or why not.

II. Don’t dwell on the negative.

This might seem like a contradiction to “be honest with God.” But there is a difference between expressing your negative feelings to the Lord and dwelling on them day after day.

So how do you change your focus? One of the best ways is to thank God for what He has done for you.

-On what occasion did David write Psalm 18?
-Name at least 3 things he thanked God for in Psalm 18.
-What has the Lord done on your behalf that you are thankful for? (For this question, think about what He has done in your life personally, rather than what He’s done for all believers.)

III. Trust the Lord to take care of your needs.
God’s faithfulness is great, unchanging, and true. His Word reveals that anything He’s promised, He has always fulfilled. Therefore, you learn He truly is a God you can trust as He proves His faithfulness to you.

Mediate on the following verses. Write down the ways these Scriptures encourage you to trust Him more:

– Psalm 9:10
– Psalm 31:14
– Psalm 33: 21
– Psalm 37:5

IV. Focus on encouraging spiritual truths.

As believers in Christ, we have incredible spiritual blessings that cannot be taken away or destroyed. When life gets you down, remember to thank God for the benefits you enjoy because of your relationship with Christ.

Write at least one uplifting spiritual truth from each passage:
– Psalm 3:3-6
– Psalm 16:7-11
– Psalm 32:1-2
– Psalm 65:5-13
– What other eternal realities lift your spirits when you feel discouraged?

V. Look for specific passages that speak to your situation.

Aside from helping you focus on spiritual principles that apply to all believers, the Holy Spirit can guide you to encouraging promises that take on special meaning for your situation.

For instance, someone who has been feeling discouraged by the success of wicked people around them could find peace in these words: “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46:10).

-List five attributes of Scripture, according to Psalm 19:7-11.
-Can you relate to verse 10? Explain why or why not.
-Right now, in what area(s) of your life do you most feel the need for specific biblical encouragement?

VI. Put your hope in God—not in a particular outcome, another person, or even your own abilities.

Although our families and friends can be wonderful resources in adversity, we must be careful not to place all of our hope in them. People will disappoint us at times. However, our heavenly Father is always available to counsel us, provide strength, and work on our behalf (Ps. 73:23-28).

-What are a few benefits to trusting in the Lord, according to Psalm 37:1-11?
-What can you learn about handling discouragement from Psalm 42 (see verses 5 and 11 especially)?
-Psalm 146:3 teaches, “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.”
-What are some advantages of trusting in God instead of another person? (See Psalm 146:4-10.)

Closing: The next time you feel hopeless, ask God to show you how to be encouraged in Him. Place your faith and trust in the Lord, and discouragement will not gain a foothold in your life.

Prayer: Ask God for a specific scripture that will speak to your situation. Then, listen quietly for the Holy Spirit to bring a passage to mind. You may want to open your Bible and begin reading prayerfully. (Psalms, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the New Testament are particularly good places to start.) Once God “highlights” a passage to you, turn it into a prayer about your situation. You may also want to write it on a 3×5 card to carry with you or display where you can read it often.

by Dr. Charles Stanley

Our Risen Savior

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection form a solid foundation for our Christian faith. Scripture tells us that Jesus lived a perfect life—one without any sin. As the spotless Lamb of God, He willingly went to the cross and sacrificed Himself for us (1 Pet. 1:18-19). Christ bore our sins and endured our punishment so we might be reconciled to God.

The Savior’s death was accepted by the Father as full payment for our sins, and it made a way for us to be at peace with Him (Rom. 5:1). Three days after the crucifixion, Jesus was raised from death to life. He had overcome the grave. In victory, He ascended into heaven and now sits at the Father’s right hand.

Christ’s death and resurrection are a picture of what happened at our salvation. Recognizing ourselves as sinners who could not pay for our own misdeeds, we expressed faith in our Savior. Then, “our old self was crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6), and we were reborn spiritually. Because of His sacrifice, we were forgiven, reconciled to God, and adopted into His family. Heaven will be our eternal home.

Paul emphasized the importance of the resurrection to the Christian life. He explained that if it were not true, our faith would be in vain.

The risen Christ appeared to many people. He let Thomas touch Him to know that He was alive. After the Lord ascended into heaven, the Father sent His Holy Spirit to indwell believers and bear witness to the truth of the resurrection. Our faith is based on the secure foundation of a risen Savior.

Fruitless Trees

“Woe unto them! . . . trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” (Jude 1:11-12)

Many illustrations in Scripture compare the responsibility of trees to bear fruit and the responsibility of Christians to produce righteousness. The reason for the frequent comparisons is that “a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Luke 6:43). It is easy to tell what kind a tree is because “every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes” (Luke 6:44).

Jude is making the point, however, that there are “trees” planted amidst the orchard of God’s Kingdom churches that have withering “fruit” or have already been rooted up as worthless, fruitless, and twice-dead. These trees have absolutely no place among the healthy trees. At best they scar and mar the beauty of the orchard, and at worst they spread their decay and rot throughout it.

Another very important point is that trees that have withered or cannot produce good fruit are not salvageable. All of nature demonstrates and reinforces the eternal principle that “every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17). Such dead, fruitless trees are to be “hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:10).

The common thread in all of these several pictures by Jude is the damage that can be done by ungodly “tares” among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30), fig trees that should be providing nourishment but do not (Luke 13:6-9), and plants that are choked by “cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19). All of these can spread the “leaven” through the whole “lump” and undermine the work of God (Galatians 5:9). HMM III

You are kept by the power of God through, faith unto salvation

Truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord.—Micah 3:8.
You, who are kept by the power of God through, faith unto salvation—1 Peter 1:4, 5.

THOU must not look so much at the evil that is nigh, but rather at that which stands ready to pity and help,—and which hath pitied and helped thy distressed soul, and will pity and help it again. Why is there a mercy seat, but for the sinner
to look towards in time of need? Be patient till the Lord’s tender mercy and love visit thee again; and then, look up to Him against this and such like snares, which would come between thee and the appearance of the Lord’s love; that thou mayest feel more of His abidings with thee, and of the sweet effects thereof, For, these things are not to destroy thee, but to teach thee wisdom; which the Lord is able, through many exercises and sore trials, to bestow upon thee; that thy heart may be rid of all that burdeneth, and filled with all it rightly desires after, in the proper season and goodness of the Lord; to whose wise ordering and tender mercy I commit thee. ISAAC PENINGTON.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, … though He was rich, yet for our sakes … became poor

Our Lord Jesus Christ, … though he was rich, yet for your sakes … became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. —The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. — Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation.

The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

Colossians 1:19. Hebrews 1:3,4. Philippians 2:6,7. Matthew 8:20. 1 Corinthians 3:21- 23.

Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins

Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins. — That we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. — He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. — Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, … that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations. — He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, … to give repentance. — Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. — Your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

John 3:5. 1 Peter 2:24. Hebrews 7:25. Isaiah 53:5,6. Luke 24:46, 47. Hebrews 9:26. Acts 5:31. Acts 13:38,39. 1 John 2:12.