Why do you need encouragement? What affliction or reason for discouragement is threatening your joy? Can you identify with any of the following factors?
Things that Generate Discouragement
*Inadequacy for a called task or responsibility?
*Weariness of mind, body and spirit?
*Battle fatigue over spiritual warfare?
*An unmet goal or unanswered prayer?
*Doubts about God’s love and faithfulness?
*Conflict with someone you love?
*Bodily illness or pain?
*Lack of observable fruitfulness in your ministry?
I’ll let these texts speak for themselves, without my commentary (except for the question that precedes each one).
1. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
In what way are you currently experiencing temptation or another form of spiritual warfare? “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
2. 1 Corinthians 15:58
What are you currently doing for the Lord for which you are not seeing observable fruit? “My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
3. Revelation 21:4
What pain or reason for mourning are you currently experiencing? “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.”
4. Isaiah 41:10
What are the implications of this verse for a fearful situation you are facing? “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
5. Jeremiah 29:11-13
How does it help to know that no matter what happens, God’s ultimate plan for you is your welfare? “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ ”
6. Lamentations 3:22-25
What is causing you to question God’s love and faithfulness right now? “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.”
7. Philippians 4:6-7
According to these verses, when you are worried about a circumstance or person that is out of your control, what is your responsibility? “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
8. James 1:5
How do you need the Lord to give you discernment this week? “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
9. Psalm 50:15
When you are so needy that your only recourse is to call upon God, how does God receive honor from your plea? “But call on Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
10. John 14:1-3
In what sense is Jesus’ promise of heaven a basis for endurance for Christian living and ministry? “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; it it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
11. Hebrews 11:6
Why is this promise a motivation to call upon the Lord when we are hurting? “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
12. Hebrews 10:36-37
How does it make you feel to know that the pain or threatening circumstance you are facing as God’s child is temporary? “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. ‘For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.’ ”
13. Matthew 11:28-30
Today, in what way do you need the rest that Jesus promises? “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
14. Psalm 73:26
In what area of weakness or failure do you need the strength that God is willing to supply? “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
15. Isaiah 46:4
What is the significance of the Lord’s use of repetition in this verse? “Even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you; and I shall bear you, and I shall deliver you.”
Reflections on God’s Promises
Which promise encourages you most right now? Why?
Which truths associated with these verses resonate most with you? Why?
Is God’s Spirit nudging you to memorize this week one or two of the Bible verses listed? Which ones?
What Bible promise would you add to this list? (Share this promise with me, and why it is special to you.)
Value of Scripture Memory
The promises of God’s Word have little efficacy for us unless we know them. When we store them in our mind and heart, the Holy Spirit will bring them to our consciousness at the very moment we need the truths they contain.
One of the most erudite, yet humble scholars I have ever read is the late Dallas Willard, whose helpful books included Renovation of the Heart and The Spirit of the Disciplines. This mental giant was a strong advocate for memorizing God’s Word. Here’s an excerpt from his book on spiritual disciplines: “As a pastor, teacher and counselor I have repeatedly seen the transformation of inner and outer life that comes simply from memorizing and meditating upon Scripture. Personally, I would never undertake to pastor a church or to guide a program of Christian education that did not involve a continuous program of memorizing the choicest passages of the Bible for people of all ages.”
If there is one means of grace to which I owe my spiritual (and possibly my physical) survival during episodes of deep depression, it is memorizing promises in the Bible and mulling over those promises when God’s Spirit brings them to mind. My resolve for the near future is to start memorizing larger sections of His Word, such as Psalm 42 and Romans 8.
With whom can you share this post as a means of encouragement?