Please, Encourage Me

Please, Encourage Me November 29, 2023

Photo Credit: Greer Relief

Please, Encourage Me

If you are anything like me, there are times when your heart cries, “Please, encourage me.” Between the times of blessing, we still have trouble, trials, and temptations that leave us looking for encouragement. In fact, Jesus told us it would happen.  Shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus told his followers they would soon face problems. John 16:33 is a record of what Jesus said to his disciples at that time. It was a word of encouragement to help them through the days ahead.

Photo Credit: The Life Of Jesus

Jesus Told His Disciples 3 Important Things

All of the words of Jesus are important. We are to build our lives on them. But the instructions he gave them just before he was crucified had even more weight. In this case, Jesus told his disciples 3 important things.

Photo Credit: Reston Bible Church

He Encourages by Promising Peace

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. Jesus reassured his followers with the promise of supernatural peace. He wanted them to know that he wouldn’t forsake them. The bond they shared for 3 years meant they belonged to Jesus and he belonged to them, and it also belonged to us. This promise of peace was necessary because of the next thing he said:

Photo Credit: Reston Bible Church

He Prepared Them For The Coming Trouble

“In this world, you will have trouble.” There you have it; plain and simple. It was not a disclaimer. Jesus did not sell a formula for an effortless or painless life. He ensured his disciples knew they would have spiritual experiences beyond their greatest expectations. But they would face the trouble that comes from being human. He might have said something like this in plain English: As long as you are alive on earth you will experience trouble and trials.

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He said: “I Have Overcome The World!”

“But take heart! I have overcome the world!” What a wonderful statement of encouragement! To “overcome,” as it is used here, means to subdue and to be victorious. Saying that he had overcome the world undoubtedly gave his disciples courage. Those same words of encouragement are for us too. Through his death and resurrection, Christ is victorious over anything the world could throw at him.

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“He Made a New Way and Better Way to God..”

He was also victorious because he made a new way and better way to God. The Jewish religious leaders opposed Jesus by harassing him and his disciples. But also because they were stuck in their tradition of making sacrifices for their sins. The author of Hebrews wrote: “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God,’” (Hebrews 10:4-7 NIV). 

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“Here Are 7 Ways That God Encourages Us”

God is not limited in the ways that he encourages us. Here are 7 ways that God encourages us:

  1. Through our time of devotion (His Word, prayer, and worship)
  2. Through a friend – Proverbs 18:24
  3. Through praying in the Spirit – Jude 1:20
  4. Through spending time in nature – Matthew 6:25-34
  5. Through encouraging others – Proverbs 11:25
  6. Through pastors and counselors – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  7. Through fellowship with people of faith – Hebrews 10:24-25
Photo Credit: Brimmond Church

Sometimes, God Helps Us Encourage Ourselves

I would like to be able to promise you that every time you face discouragement you will automatically be encouraged. Sometimes, God helps us to encourage ourselves. This is more than grit, optimism, or a positive mental attitude. Those are surely helpful, but there is something more. In I Samuel  30, King David and his 600 soldiers returned to their camp only to find that an enemy had raided it. They had burned the village and taken all of their family members captive. The men began to weep and lash out saying that they should stone David. “But David encouraged himself in the Lord”  (I Samuel 30:6).

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How Do I Encourage Myself In The Lord

It’s 1 thing to quote the verse, but it’s another thing to know how to do what it says. So, how do I encourage myself in the Lord? I can tell you what works for me when I’m done freaking out. After I’ve thought the situation through, I make myself settle down. Psalm 46:10 is a verse that has helped me to be calm. It begins with, “Be still and know that I am God…” I usually meditate on that verse and soon my heart begins to stir. It’s not long before another verse comes to mind. Then I’ll start to worship God aloud, telling him what I believe about him. Then I rehearse Philippians 4:6-7: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

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It’s not always easy to find a way out of discouragement. If you find that you are having concerns about depression or anxiety, it’s perfectly appropriate to reach out to a counselor, pastor, or someone who will listen with care. There is no need to make it on your own and there is nothing to prove. God doesn’t expect us to be the heroes of our story; that’s his title.

 

 

 

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