Encourage yourself in the Lord

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I have been spending a lot of time reading the Psalms. Someone once told me that when you are searching for answers, just read the Psalms and stop and meditate on the first thing that stands out to you in that moment.

Psalm 43 made me stop and meditate on its words…

… verse 5… then I will say to my soul, “don’t be discouraged; don’t be disturbed, for I fully expect my Savior-God to break through for me. Then I’ll have plenty of reasons to praise Him all over again.” Yes, living before His face is my saving grace! {Passion Translation}

Here in this psalm David is speaking encouragement into his own soul. He is telling himself not to be discouraged and not to be disturbed about what he is going through. Even though his enemies were out to get him, David encouraged and strengthened himself and he knew that God would come through for him.

David did not turn to anything or anybody else to find encouragement and strength. He spoke to his own soul in his time of trouble, he strengthened himself in the Lord.

When I feel my troubles pressing in on me I want to be as strong and confident as David. I want to encourage and strengthen myself in the Lord. I want to be able to tell my own soul to not be discouraged but to fully expect God to break through for me.

To encourage and strengthen yourself in the Lord you must mediate on the promises that God has spoken to you. These promises may come to you through another person who spoke a word to you or prayed an anointed prayer over you. It may come from a passage of scripture that just jumped out at you as you are reading the bible. It could come to you in a dream or a vision or by the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within you.

However the promises come we must remind ourselves of them often so that we do not forget them. When the troubles are pressing in on us, those promises are our life line, our hope and our future. Calling us to be strong and to press through the situation and to watch as the Lord helps us to break through.

To encourage and strengthen yourself in the Lord you must fix your eyes on Jesus. We become like the one we behold and if we are fixed and focused on Jesus and His very nature we will begin to reflect Him. Spend time reading about the nature of Jesus in the gospels. Learn how he responded and reacted to the things going on around Him, look at how he loved others, how He loved His Father and how he walked His everyday out.

You need to have constant communication with God. His presence gives you everything you need.

Encourage yourself by being thankful.  Remember all of your answered prayers and all the good things in your life and then celebrate them. Being thankful helps us to reconnect with what God is saying and doing in the midst of our circumstances and to fully focus on Him and see things from His perspective.

So say to your soul, “don’t be discouraged; don’t be disturbed, fully expect Savior-God to break through for you”. Then you will have plenty of reasons to praise Him all over again. Living before His face is our saving grace!

Fear

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Just when I thought that I had done a good job kicking fear out of my life I discovered that it had made its way back in again. It was ever so subtle, but each day it was beginning to grow more and more.

I recently read this wonderful quote by Havilah Cunnington…We need to increase our faith and not just reject fear. The best weapon against fear is increased faith.

I had never thought about it that way before. Usually I take a stand and try to reject fear by making declarations over my fears, praying and aligning my thoughts with the truth. All these things are important to do but perhaps the best weapon I can have against fear is my faith?

Faith can be defined as confidence and trust. When you have complete confidence and complete trust in God you can’t be easily shaken. You fear nothing when you trust God. You have complete confidence that He will do what He said He was going to do and so you do not fear the future because you know that God is taking care of it. You have complete confidence that He loves you unconditionally so you are not afraid to seek His grace and mercy when you stumble.

So how does one increase faith?

You spend time reading the word of God letting Him speak to you through its pages, remembering the many signs and wonders that displayed Gods power, majesty and love and know that they are still happening for us today.

Listen to others tell their stories and share their testimonies of how God miraculously transformed their lives. Of how He has made a way where there seemed no way, when He opened closed doors and when He restored broken relationships.

Go back and remember your history with God. Reflect on the times He has shone through brightly in your circumstances. Remember the ways He has provided for you, uplifted you, strengthened you and comforted you.

When you take the time to do these things, your faith will increase and you will grow closer and more intimate with the Father and fear will have no stronghold over you.

Anchor

This is my song at the moment. I find myself singing it over and over again, declaring it over myself until I fully believe it.

It helps me to remember that in every season, and through all the changes that I may go through, God is always near. He gives me strength, He gives me peace and He is my anchor through every storm. God holds my world in the palm of His hand, where else would I want to be.

It reminds me to hold on to hope, to hold on to grace and to fully let go of everything that I am trying to hold on so tightly to and just surrender to His ways. For His ways are perfect, His timing is perfect and what He has for me is far better then anything that I could come up with on my own.

The more that I sing the words the more I believe in them. The more that I sing that He is the anchor for my soul and that He will never change, the more I believe it.

The more that I sing that His loving hand is always there to guide me, that He is my great redeemer and constant friend and that His mercy and grace always follows me, the more I believe it. Then I can begin to walk in the peace and freedom that those words bring.

I encourage you to listen to the song. The more that you listen and sing the words the more you will believe in them and they will become a comfort for your soul too. You can then begin to walk through your season in the peace and freedom that these words bring.

The good shepherd

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The Lord is my Fierce Protector and my Pastor.
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me
In his luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace,
The quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.
He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure,
And leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness,
So that I can bring honor to his Name.
Lord, even when your path takes me through
The valley of deepest darkness
Fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely for you are near.
You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight.
You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;
You give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future?
For I’m being per sued only by your goodness and unfailing love.
Then afterwards – when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you! Psalm 23 The Passion Translation

Put yourself into this Psalm, David wrote this Psalm but it is true for us too. We will never be lonely because God is near to us always and we are being pursued by His love. He will restore and revive us. He will lead us and when we are walking through hard things He remains close. His love and comfort are always there so we need not to fear. We are strengthened with the Holy Spirit and we have power and authority in the name of Jesus.

Let this be an encouragement to you. When things seem hard read this Psalm aloud and let it fill you and restore the fight in back in you. You were born for such a time as this and you can do hard things.

Getting out of the pit

imageI recently read this and I just loved it….

…. Part of the seduction of “why me?” is that we expect a reward for our suffering. It’s like we expect our families and friends to turn around and feel sorry for us and somehow ease the pain and make it all better. We expect people and God to rescue us from our pain and helplessness. But God is not trying to spoil you, He’s trying to raise you. He’s looking at you face to face, saying, “Come on! You can do this! You’re the only one that can climb out of this pit. If I come and rescue you from where you are, you’ll stay there!” In fact, it’s His kindness that is trying to coach you out of your pit. If you feel like He is not near you, I would suggest it’s because He wants you to come after Him and the only way to get you out of the pit is to remove His tangible presence to cause you to run after Him and climb out of the pit. Havilah Cunnington.

I have found myself “in the pit”. Stuck in a season which I don’t want to be in, waiting for the difficult season to be over, feeling overwhelmed, stuck and no longer enjoying the journey. I cry out for somebody to rescue me, somebody to just reach in and pull me out of “the pit”.

But that is just an easy fix, no learning or growing will take place if I am just lifted out and I may just find myself down in another ditch further down the track. God is trying to show us that we are in fact powerful, strong and brave and we can raise ourselves up out of the pit.

He is there with His loving kindness, wisdom, strength and empowering words but we need to get up and chase after Him. We need to make the decision to lift our heads, stand to our feet, climb up out of the pit and start running.

If you too are down in the pit I encourage you to get up and climb out and chase after God with all that you have. He lights the way but we need to make the decision to go along. To stop dwelling on our circumstances, stop reliving past hurt and pain and to stop saying why me. We need to fix our eyes on only the good things, what we have to be thankful for and let joy back into our hearts again.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4 v 4-7

Focus on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Accept the things that you can not change about your season, work hard on the things that you can change and start releasing over to God the things He will take care of.

Lets get up and out of the pit!