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*Encourage Ourselves*
By:James Cook

There are times in life when things become overbearing and it seems to pull us down, and in these times we long for some encouragement or direction by another.
However, in times as such, it can seem like we are fighting the battle all alone. Sadly, there are those who can turn their backs on those when they are at their most vulnerable time for further despair. This can come even in biological families, or brothers and sisters in the Lord, or just people period. David experienced this when he entered Ziglag with his men and saw how the Amalekites raided, burned down the whole place, and took captive their wives and children.
All David and his men could do was weep when they arrived at Ziglag after witnessing what had happened. David was faced with a crisis in his leadership, and became very distressed within his own personal life, when he learned some of his loved ones were captured, but also all his soldier's families being captured. In these times, David's own soldiers wanted to destroy him, and even thought about stoning him to death when they faced the truth of losing their families. What better revengeful thoughts could they come up with, as it was easier to place blame on their leader for what others did, instead of planning a stragedy to rescue their families that were taken hostage. In today's world it is not much different, there are those who want to place blame on leadership, or others, instead of taking the position of focusing on a resolution to the crisis. Just like in Exodus 17:4, Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me."(NIV). Often, when there are unhappy people, their nature is to vent through frustration with thoughts of hostility toward those they blame for their own crisis, and it is like a no win situation. I can just hear Moses crying out to God for direction in how to deal with these people. His frustration was overflowing with lack of confidence in how to deal with his crisis, but by crying out he was still dependant on God for leadership because of how God previously had blessed him.
I admire David being an experienced man of battles, as he knew God was with him, and this gave him strength to seek out a solution to this ordeal. In 1 Samuel 30:6 ”David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” He faced many oppositions, disappointments, and set backs. But the key to David’s success is found in the fact that despite the negative circumstances all around him, he drew his strength from the Lord and remembered what God had done for him in the past.

There are those times, when I just want someone to say something encouraging when I am struggling, but too many times this fails to happen. Being a member of the Christian family, we should take a moment or two and just say something to encourage another; however, when this doesn't happen, we can fall into despair, or just downtrodden, and in these times we just need to feel loved and appreciated. As a fellow believer, I believe it is so important to lift each other up and reassure each other just how important they really are, and that their efforts are so valueable to promote worthiness, acceptance, and to reach out in love to them instead of allowing them to feel all alone within their issues. Consequently, when this doesn't happen, we have to settle on encouraging ourselves just like David had to do in 1Samuel 30:6.
One of the greatest ways to encourage ourselves is to remember what the Lord has done for us. No one else can truly know how the Lord has provided for, cared for, blessed, and delivered us more than ourselves! Focus your mind and heart on what the Lord has done for you. You’ll increase your faith and have more strength, hope and joy to continue living a better life in Christ.
We all face difficult seasons in life. The key to victory during these times is to stay encouraged. Although it’s important to be lifted up by our friends, one of the best ways to stay encouraged is to encourage ourselves! In a day and age when people are very critical of themselves, we need to be just the opposite and become our own greatest encourager.
I want to relay to you that we must keep up the fight against all challenges by allowing God to pour out His love onto each and everyone so that we can keep the vision of just how great He has been to us in our times of discouragement from all the issues that surround us daily. Each of you are such a gift to God and others for all your investment into the lives of your fellow beings. Thank you for being that encouragement in my life, cause without it the journey would be so difficult in pursuing.

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