Be Encouraged and Strengthened

by Pastor Dan

          Have you ever stopped to think about our conversations with each other these days?  I know I have written similar thoughts before about prayer and well-being.  I tell people often:  Do not say you are going to pray for someone and then walk away and don’t pray.  Don’t ask someone how they are doing unless you really what to know how they are doing.  
            Well, I do wonder how you are doing, and I do wonder how I can pray for you.
            While I think there are times to challenge one another in the faith of Jesus Christ, I also think there needs to be times of encouragement and refreshing.  Time after time, God rescued the Jews from their oppression and captivity even when it was brought about by their own doing.  Throughout scripture, God gives promises of freedom from the challenges of life and blessings in our lives.  One of these times, God spoke to the prophet Isaiah and said “Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble.  Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not.  Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.’" (Isaiah 35:3-4)
            So that is what I want to say to you today:  Be encouraged and strengthened!  As a Christian, there are days that we get tired and discouraged.  We wonder why the world must be this way, and is seems to only change for the worse.  Life has not been fair to me and the harder I work, the behinder I get.  It may not make you feel any better, yet scripture is full of people who felt just like this with their life.  I pray the Holy Spirit will encourage and strengthen you not only when you read this but every day after that as well.  I believe there is a reason Solomon wrote “The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.“ (Lamentations 3:22-23)  Just as a good night’s sleep rests your body so will encouragement put your soul at rest.  I urge you to encourage another person you meet.  
            The Apostle Paul wrote similarly:  “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)  I ask you:  Please do not give up on God because He will never give up on you.  Do you have an anxious heart?  God gives courage during worry.  God gives bravery during fear.  When we ask for God’s help, He is willing to help.  Have you lost hope?  God is the restorer of hope.  Have you been sick?  God is the healer.  Each day may find a way to challenge you, but God has provided a way for you to overcome that challenge.  Our faith in Jesus Christ can provide a different perspective on each situation than the world’s perspective on the same situation.  
            If there is one thing I have found to help in all situations, it is praise.  Praise gives God a pathway into your heart and mind to begin to think of the possibilities to overcome any obstacle in front of you.  Praise is an attitude of gratitude.  Praise breaks down walls that stand in the way of God’s promises for your life.  Praise acknowledges your inability to change anything and God’s ability to change everything.  Praise will adjust your attitude and allow you to see God’s strength.  The stars carry God’s praise with their beauty, trees sing the praise of God’s strength, the mountains sing of God’s majesty, but there is one who can sing the praise of God with a greater beauty than all of them.  That is you when you sing the praise of God from your heart, mind, and voice!  Today, may you be encouraged, and may you know you are being thought of and prayed for!          

-Pastor Dan