Class 27: Let God Encourage You (Part 1)
Allow me to begin with a word from Karen Hughes. She said, “My faith instills in me a deep sense of humility and gratitude, reminding me how often I fall short and how much I need the Savior, and how thankful I am that God has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
Now, please pull out your text and your digital study guide or follow along on the screen. First, I will read the entire corresponding letter from the book, Letters to Young Black Women. Then we will proceed with this lesson:
Dear Daughters & YBW:
I trust that this letter finds you doing well. As I write this letter, I am in my living room thinking of how I continually teach my daughters to encourage themselves in the Lord. That is just what I want to talk to you about today.
As I write this letter to you, I am greatly reminded of a story in I Samuel 30, which tells of David fighting against the Amalekites. After the Amalekites had taken the city of Ziklag, and had taken captive the women and the children, and had burned the city, David and his men found the city in total destruction. David’s own family was taken, and his men talked of stoning him. The Bible says in verse six that David was “greatly distressed”; then it says, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
Encourage yourself in the Lord! You are His child, and He will never let anything harm you. The Bible says in Isaiah 54:17 that “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”
In order to stay encouraged, you must strengthen yourself through prayer and build up your faith by reading the Word of God. Go to church regularly. God wants you to be involved in a good, Bible-believing church, for that is truly the encouragement place. Fellowship with other saints and allow them to encourage you in your spiritual journey.
Always look back to where God has brought you from, and thank Him for allowing things to be as well as they are.
Encouraged by God,
Now, please follow along as we begin our study:
What are some ways you can encourage yourself in the Lord? Let’s take a look at three of those ways:
1. Understand that the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The devil aims to take away your joy, and the main way he tries to do that is by taking away your strength. If he is successful in taking away your strength, you are downgraded to weakness and rendered ineffective to fulfill your purpose in life. If you stand strong and resist the pressure of the devil, in the end, you will be victorious, joy will be yours, and your strength will increase. If the devil cannot steal your joy, he cannot steal your strength, and he cannot defeat you. God does not want His children depressed or sorrowful, fearful or worried because He provides joy and strength that goes beyond every circumstance you will ever face.
2. Remember that Christ in you is greater than anything you face in the world.
1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
“God is greater.” This is a statement of fact, not of feeling. This is a powerful reminder to us that not only is God great, but He is greater than any person (even us) and any situation. When the circumstances of life begin to weigh down upon you and feel like hope is lost, remember that Jesus Christ has overcome the world and that same power with which He overcame the world, the devil, death, and the grave, is the same power that He has placed in you. Because that power is in you, you can be encouraged and embrace God’s plan and purpose for you.
3. Refuse to focus on the negativity.
Psalm 34:3-4 says, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Refuse to dwell on negative thoughts and magnify negative circumstances. Doing this will only make you depressed and discouraged. The Psalmist David faced many situations in which he felt as though God had abandoned him. Many dark caves were his home as he ran from Saul and there were many dark nights in which he was tormented by personal anguish and heartbreak. However, David never gave up on God or rejected His promises. He remained faithful. All throughout the Psalms, we find David singing songs of praise and exaltation to God not because his situation was favorable, but because He knew God had his back. When we focus on God and His power and might, we will feel ourselves become encouraged.
In our next class, we will continue our study, “LET GOD ENCOURAGE YOU”.
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what church people said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
God bless you and keep you until we meet for our next class.