Monday, November 9, 2009

God's Tools for Encouragement - Part 1

Okay, I know I've been gone forever, but I've missed my blog!!! You know those times in life when you are doing everything but what you actually want to do...or just no time for play! Anyway, things are slowing down a bit and I'm ready to update! I'm going to do a series over the next week entitled "God's Tools for Encouragement." This is the subject I did for a ladies day in Kentucky a few weeks ago. I hope you find it uplifting and a little enlightening!

It seems that dealing with the things life throws our way can be extremely difficult at times. All of us have faced discouragement at some point in our lives. Some may find it was during financial hard times. Others may have experienced discouragement while dealing with the loss of a child or loved one that was close to them. We've seen many struggle with illnesses as bad as cancer or even those that stop living due to severe depression. What about those that are affected by addictions? Have you ever watched as someone addicted to alcohol, pornography or even drugs struggled down the road to recovery? What about the loved ones that were affected by those addictions? Have you ever heard the hurt and utter hopelessness in their voice? It could be said that discouragement is an emotion that we are constantly battling as the difficulties of life continue to come our way.

I propose to you today that it is what we do with those discouraging times that determine how we will come out of the situation. We have two choices:
  1. We can become so heavy from the load that we throw in the towel, and I will tell you that is what Satan desires us to do!
  2. Warning....this next option is difficult and will take some perseverance and strength if we choose this option. However, it will be the most rewarding option that will make us more beautiful than when we started....are you ready....OK, the second option is using those hard times as a means of glorifying our Lord and drawing near to him. Some of you may be thinking, I've already done that and it doesn't work! Although it may seem that God didn't stand by us through the hard times when the hard times kept coming, it is the exact opposite! I know it can be hard to understand "why" sometimes, but I believe that often we will never know why however we can always know that the Lord is with us during those times and is making us stronger people!

When studying this subject I found myself asking the question, "Have times changed or has discouragement been around since the beginning of time?" Well I want us to look at two Bible characters that prove that times have not changed and they indeed faced times of discouragement!

  1. Noah - Imagine having the task before you that Noah faced. Would God's work have been carried out if it had been in your hands to complete an ark, care for the animals, and also preach to the people warning them about what was to come? That is a very sobering thought for me. Under the circumstances in the days of Noah you know he had some discouraging days! However, we know that with all the challenges facing Noah he still overcame and OBEYED God. Do you think his faith was strengthened as those flood waters began to rise and he and his family were safe inside the ark? He had to go through some temporary discomfort to achieve the reward of living through the flood and taking his family with him. I know we can draw a direct parallel of our own lives to the life of Noah. We too as Christians much go through some difficult times, but we must work fervently for the Lord and his purpose while here on this Earth. Do you think Noah knew specific names of many of the people that died during the flood? It must have caused him much grief to know that had they listened to the words of God their lives would have been spared. Don't we know people like that in our lives that we beg and plead with to heed to God's words but still chose to live a life of disobedience? How does that make you feel. I know that I feel such internal conflict and pain when those I love most live unfaithfully to God. However, like Noah we can't let those people and discouragements keep us from "being about our Father's business!"
  2. Hannah - Wow, the life of Hannah is truly one of my favorites! It can be found in the book of 1 Samuel. The more I study her and the many discouragements she faced the more I admire and gain strength from her example. Hannah is most known for her inability to have a child, and unfortunately for many women in this world they can relate to this specific struggle in Hannah's life. However, there is so much more to the woman Hannah. She had many different struggles and discouragements in her lifetime. For example, she had to share her husband with another woman. Not just any woman but a woman that was able to give her husband the one thing she couldn't, a child. I can't imagine the pain that caused her as she looked upon Penninah and her children daily. Not only would the mental struggle be difficult, but Penninah actually ridiculed Hannah to the point that she would actually cry and refuse to eat. In the end, we know how Hannah's story ends. The Lord remembered her and gave unto her a son, Samuel. When Hannah faced her many discouragements she sought refuge in the Lord and was blessed because of that. Can we say that we seek God in our greatest times of need? Do we really believe that he can help us? Our God is listening to his faithful followers and we deny ourselves that peace that God can provide when we don't seek his face in our times of need.

In the next article we will look at some of the specific tools God has given us to use during our most difficult times!

1 comment:

  1. Amber, I really, really needed this! thank you so much for posting it. I definitely need to apply this!!!


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