Sometimes we need to be encouraged! The glorious truth is that, to a Christian walking in the will of God, there is no such thing as a dead-end street. However, discouragement and frustrations sometimes come our way. Moses got discouraged. Samuel got frustrated. David got discouraged. Jesus even became discouraged. There are five (5) ways the Christian can be encouraged.
1) Scripture: The Word of God can give us encouragement. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. King David wrote the Psalms as a way of not only to give praise to God but to be encouraged. Scripture is important because it reminds us of our past and it tells us of our future. When Paul talks about death and resurrection, he ends the words with Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (14) We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (15) According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (18) Therefore encourage each other with these words.
In Hawaii, because of the time differential with the continental U.S., the NFL Monday Night Football game is played in mid-afternoon, so the local TV station delays its telecast till 6:30 in the evening. When my favorite team plays, I’m too excited to wait for television, so I’ll listen to the game on the radio, which broadcasts it live. Then, because they’re my favorite team, I’ll watch the game on television, too. If I know my team has won the game, it influences how I watch it on television. If my team fumbles the ball or throws an interception, it’s not a problem. I think, That’ s bad, but it’s okay. In the end, we’ll win! “In this world you will have trouble,” said Jesus. “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). When going through trouble, knowing the final outcome makes all the difference.
2) Fellowship: The Church is very important in giving encouragement. During the time of my wife’s illness, the Church was a tremendous help and source of encouragement. HEB 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Attendance in Church is very important. It will usually tell us if there is a problem. HEB 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (NIV)
3) Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is the comforter. Jesus said, I go that the comforter may come. ACT 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. Jesus said, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. PHI 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
4) Prayer: Remember how it felt when you needed to be encouraged and you talked to someone special who understood? MAT 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (NIV)
5) Discipline: Those who God loves, He disciplines. HEB 12:5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
Bart Starr was the great quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. One year he made an arrangement with his oldest son to encourage good grades: for every “A” Bart Jr. brought home from school, Dad would give him ten cents. One Sunday the Packers had a particularly bad game, and Starr didn’t do well at all. It was a long plane ride home, but as he arrived home and entered his own bedroom, he felt better to see a handwritten note from Bart Jr. It read: “Dear Dad. I thought you played a great game. Love Bart.” Taped to the note were two dimes! There are times in each of our lives when we can use a little encouragement!