Dear Friends,

I have no desire to be a downer today, but in the past few weeks I have struggled with discouragement.  My very close friend, Dave Richards, passed away; I had hip replacement surgery and wound up with some nerve damage that is making my recovery difficult; then some additional hurt has come along; so that all of these things have combined to push me toward discouragement.

When I was a kid I saw a silly plaque that read, ” ‘Cheer up,’ they said, ‘things could be worse.’  And so I did and sure enough they got worse!”  Or consider the person who, referring to Murphy’s Law, claimed, “Murphy was an optimist!”

Don’t we all struggle with periods of discouragement?  Sometimes circumstances converge to bring us down.  Some are more resilient than others, but I believe everyone is susceptible to times of discouragement and even despair.  We begin to lose hope that things will ever be better.

It is immediately upon the initial feeling of discouragement that we should turn to the Lord for help.  If we don’t apply His truth quickly it can lead to depression, which is much harder to remedy.

7 STEPS FOR CLIMBING OUT OF DISCOURAGEMENT:

  1. Believe You Are on the Brink New and Better Days

Isaiah 43:18–19 (NLT) “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.  For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

  1. Worship and Praise the Lord

Psalm 43:5 (NLT) Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!

  1. Remember God Is with You

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

  1. Set Your Mind on Spiritual Things

Colossians 3:2 (NIV84) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

  1. Pray for God’s Encouragement and Strength

Psalm 138:3 (NLT) As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.

  1. Find a Barnabas—an Encourager

Acts 4:36 (NLT) For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”).

 

Proverbs 12:25 (NLT) Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.

  1. Focus on Thanksgiving

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NLT) Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

I am taking these steps even as I write this article.  My Mom used to smile when she said her favorite Bible verse was, “It came to pass.”  She always believed that any time of discouragement was only temporary.  God’s encouragement is more than enough to overcome a period of discouragement.  He understands we are weak so He has promised, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Come on, you can climb out!  I didn’t say it would be easy, but with God’s help it is doable!

Onward encouraged,

Pastor Gary