Spiritual Director · August 18, 2017

Devote #86

Encourage Each Other

I really do believe there’s a huge swing in the pendulum between encouragement and discouragement. I also believe we get our fair share of discouragement on a regular basis and in good amounts. That’s why encouragement is such a must.

It doesn’t matter how the discouragement comes, whether verbal or in actions, because it daunts and dampens everything inside of us.

Maybe it’s the lack of acknowledgement for a job well done. We did it because it was supposed to get done and weren’t really looking for applause, but it sure would have been nice for someone to notice. And then to top it off, not only wasn’t it noticed, but then when it was, someone criticized the work. We thought to ourselves, “I’ll never do that again.”

Or maybe you set out on a new goal, a project, a dream, your bucket list, but you got easily discouraged because the results you expected didn’t come quickly enough and there was no one to help spur you on.

Or, there’s that one person at work who has the gift of negativity and they have this way of demoralizing you which easily saps your energy and enthusiasm. I’m pretty sure you get my point – we’ve all been there.

I share that with you because as I read 2 Chronicles 32, I read how the Assyrians were planning to attack Jerusalem, they started by trying to discourage all the people. They told them they were losers and their God was a loser god and there wasn’t a god who could actually stop the Assyrians.

This is what the Word says,

“The officials said all these things in Hebrew, so that everyone listening from the city wall would understand and be terrified and surrender. The officials talked about the LORD God as if He were nothing but an ordinary god or an idol that someone had made.” —2 Chronicles 32:18-19

The Assyrian officials were attempting to do was to so discourage the people that they couldn’t win, so they would just fold up and quit. And that’s something probably all of us can relate to.

So let me share two Bible verses with you, to put in your arsenal when discouragement attacks.

Jesus said,

“Take courage!” —Matthew 14:27

He told that to the disciples when their boat was sinking. Here’s another one,

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulations, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

I hope you caught that. Jesus said, “Take courage.” In other words He’s saying, “I have courage to give you, take it.”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

When you are discouraged, there’s only one place to get your courage back – Jesus. He’s offering. It’s free for the taking. Reach out and grab some courage to be encouraged.

I’m reaching out today for some courage, so as to be encouraged. I feel better already. Thank You, Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.