Today, many of us may be facing more challenges than at any other time in our lives. Dr. Tonya Lewis offers us 4 ways which God has given us to stay encouraged.
We don’t have to look far or long before we encounter discouraging situations. Daily news reports are filled with occurrences of trouble in the lives of both young and old. There are all kinds of abuses of God’s people, and of His creation, His animals, His natural resources. Respect for others and respect for self seems to be a thing of the past.
There are also the events we experience in our personal lives which, if left unchecked, could easily usher in discouragement. But in order for us to be spiritually, mentally and physically healthy, we cannot allow ourselves to park in discouragement and linger there. We must never allow pride of age, titles, positions, etc. to prevent us from seeking and getting the help that’s needed.
Help could come from various sources, such as:
- God’s Word
- Professional Christian counselors and therapists
- Trusted friends
But whichever method we use, we must personally participate in our own deliverance from discouragement.
Here are 4 ways we can reflect upon God and keep ourselves encouraged:
- Have a “Psalm 42 Conversation” – One way we can keep ourselves uplifted is to have a “Psalm 42 conversation” with ourselves where we talk, question, reflect, and make decisions to change our own outlook. Psalm 42:5-6,8 – Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and 6 my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— 8 …each day the LORD pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.Psalm 42 helps us to remind ourselves that there is no other source to place our hope in; for who we place our hope in must be stronger, greater, wiser, and more powerful than we are. He must be greater than man, so that we can always come back to Him as needed.
- Praise Him! When we reflect upon how He has made it possible for us to have relationship with Him, it enables us to praise Him out of our discouragement. We must decide that no matter the situation, we will praise God again, for that brings a refocusing of our minds. Until we gain the strength to praise Him from the mountain tops, our initial praise might be just a whisper. As it only takes a mustard seed of faith to ignite the power to move mountains in our lives, it only takes a mustard seed of praise and reflection to move us from discouragement to encouragement.
- Meditate on His goodness. With redirected attention on God, and reflection upon who God has been to us, we gain strength. When we reflect on His committed promise to continue to be with us, we gain strength. And when we reflect on how blessed we are to be the Sons and Daughters of God, our reflections become the “tow truck” to pull us out of our ditch of discouragement.
- Keep a praise journal. When we keep a praise journal, we can reflect upon and remember how God pours and lavishes His great love over our lives each day. No matter how numerously and miraculously we have been blessed by God, we can’t remember them all! This is why we need to record them to reflect and remember them. Satan does not want us to remember them, for in so doing, we are strengthened to overcome discouragement and depression. Keeping a praise journal helps us to reflect upon and remember God’s blessings in our lives for our own peace of mind, health, strength, and spiritual victory. It also helps us in our ability to glorify God on earth, to complete our God given assignments, and to demonstrate Kingdom living.
Yes, there may always be something to discourage us and make us sad. But there are also so many more reasons to have faith and be glad. Whatever our situation is, there are worse situations which would make us gladly bear our own crosses, rather than the crosses of others. We have to remember that God is ALWAYS with us, and has brought us too far to leave us now. He will enable us to overcome the sting of whatever situation we are going through, and we cannot help others until we first help ourselves.
Reflect, remember, and be encouraged in the Lord! God bless!
Dr. Tonya Lewis has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for over 40 years. She serves on-staff as the Executive Director of Bereavement Ministries. She holds both Honorary Doctorate and Earned Doctorate degrees. Dr. Lewis has been teaching the Overcomer’s Bible Fellowship for over 34 years at West Angeles, along with other teaching venues.
Hear the West Angeles Mass Choir, lead by David Daughtery and soloist Carolyn Johnson-White, perform Kurt Carr’s “I Never Lost My Praise,” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ:
DID YOU KNOW that West Angeles offers counseling? The West Angeles Counseling Center offers Bible-based services, programs and classes to help provide spiritual support to you and your family both in times of abundance and in times of trial. We are open to everyone, and you don’t have to be a West Angeles member. Please read more about the West Angeles Counseling Center HERE, or call 323-737-7463 to find out more about our programs and services.
OVERCOMERS BIBLE FELLOWSHIP – You are invited to join the Overcomers Bible Fellowship, facilitated by Dr. Tonya Lewis. This fellowship can teach you how to overcome any and everything that’s contrary to God’s Word, thus developing you into strong, spiritual, Kingdom citizens. Join us each Sunday morning, 8-10 a.m., or Sunday evening 5:30-6:40 p.m. in the North Campus Sanctuary.
LEARN SPANISH! – Did you know West Angeles has Spanish classes? Learn Spanish from teachers whose first language is Spanish. The classes are open to all. Join us each Sunday, 7-8 a.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the West Angeles Multipurpose Bldg. Room 1. 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.
For more information on the Overcomers Bible Fellowship or the Spanish Class, please contact:
Dr. Tonya Lewis at [email protected], or please call 323-733-8300 ext. 2242.