Class 28: “Let God Encourage You” (Part 2)
Welcome to Class 28 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young women. I am Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society, working in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.
I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE Magazine bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men” and the national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Women.” My wife, Meriqua Whyte, and my eldest daughter, Daniella Whyte, co-authored “Letters to Young Black Women” with me. My daughter, who has her bachelor’s degree and is now pursuing her masters degree, and her mother, developed the Study Guide. We are using Letters to Young Black Women and its study guide to guide you through this course. This course is for all young women, but especially for young black women and young women of color who oftentimes face disadvantages that others do not. The goal of this class is to help you operate from a position of strength and power based upon the Word of God so you can be victorious in life. My prayer is that this class will empower you to win against your enemies: the devil, sorry men, and even yourself.
Today, we are continuing our study titled, LET GOD ENCOURAGE YOU.
— Let’s Pray —
Allow me to begin with a word from Elisabeth Elliot. She said, “Lord, teach me to treat all that comes to me with peace of soul and with firm conviction that You will govern all.”
Now, please pull out your text and your digital study guide or follow along on the screen. First, I will read a portion of the corresponding letter from the book, Letters to Young Black Women. Then we will proceed with this lesson:
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.
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 more of those ways:
1. Realize that discouragement often comes because we are walking by sight and not by faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
When we walk by sight, we can easily fall prey to the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Trusting only what we can see or feel or understand in our finite minds causes us to feel a sense of hopelessness because what we can see is limited and is often temporal. However, when we cease to walk by sight and choose to walk by faith, it is nearly impossible to get discouraged and to remain in such a condition. With confidence in what God can do, and by trusting in His promises, we allow Him to lead us and embrace the fact that He knows what is best. Walking by sight is easy, but faith is a daily intentional choice. When we make this choice, it brings the most peace and yields the most benefit.
2. Meditate on the promises of God.
Psalm 119:15-16 says, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”
Everybody meditates on something or someone in one form or another, but oftentimes we meditate on the wrong things, the wrong people, the wrong situations, or the wrong perspective. What we choose to meditate on influences our life, our attitudes, and our decisions. Meditation is not necessarily about positive thinking or subscribing to a certain form of spiritual practice. It is the way you choose to talk to yourself. What we tell ourselves is what we will believe. Let your meditation be about God and His promises to you — His goodness, His righteousness, His wonders. If we choose to meditate on our problems, we will find ourselves hopeless and despondent. If we choose to mediate on God’s promises, we will find ourselves hopeful, our outlook bright, and improvement in our situations.
3. Spend time helping others.
Philippians 2:4 says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
One of the best ways to overcome depression and discouragement is to reach out and help others. It is easy to get consumed with ourselves and our own issues that we forget life is not about us; it’s about God and other people. We best represent God to others by loving them and serving them without expecting anything in return. Regardless of how we are doing or feeling, God has given each of us certain gifts, skills, and abilities that we can use as a stepping stones in someone else’s life. What if Jesus had focused solely on the pain of the cross instead of the benefit His death would bring to people everywhere? Hope and eternal life wouldn’t be possible if He had done that. Taking our eyes off of our problems and focusing on someone else in their time of need will result in a happier, more hopeful, and more fulfilling life.
C.S. Lewis said, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”
In our next class, we will begin a new study, “LET GOD BLESS AND MAKE YOU A SUCCESS”.
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.