It seems to be "going around" this week.
From a little glum to down in the dumps, to out-right desperate, I've encountered them all this week.
Earlier this week, as I walked into the locker room at my gym, a young woman was loudly talking to someone on her cell phone. Although she spoke in another language, the look in her eyes was clear. She was really discouraged.
Discouragement is all around us.
Maybe, even, discouragement has made its home in your heart this week.
If so, I have some hopeful words for you today... you don't have to STAY discouraged.
Discouragement is a choice.
And, the remedy for discouragement is found in the middle of the word...
DIS – COURAGE – MENT
To overcome discouragement, we must become courageous. We must take on a stance of courage, tenacity and bravery.
What does this look like?
In the book of Joshua, we are told that the Lord spoke to Joshua and gave him leadership instructions. Within about 4 verses, God told Joshua the same thing over and over.
In verse 6, He says, "Be strong and courageous."
In verse 7, God says again, "Be strong and courageous."
And, in verse 9, He says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Be strong and courageous. How do we do this – really?
Let me use a story to illustrate.
A few years ago, there was a crazy situation at a nearby elementary school. During afternoon carpool pick up time, a little grandmother accidentally hit her accelerator instead of her brakes. This accident propelled her car onto a group of students.
As the teachers rushed to the scene to help the students, witnesses say they actually lifted the woman's car off of those children.
Petite teachers became powerful weightlifters that afternoon. How? They became strong and courageous in order to save the lives of those precious kids.
What does this have to do with you and me?
When a glum mood or a big wave of discouragement washes over you and me, we must become strong and courageous!
We have to BECOME strong and courageous in order to save ourselves from defeat and discouragement.
I honestly believe that if Satan CAN'T get us to sin, he will PILE ON the discouragement.
We are no good to the Kingdom of God if we are consistently living down in the dumps.
So, today, stand up!
Become strong and courageous.
Step up and fight that discouragement with courage!
How do we do this – really?
That's what we are going to pray about today.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Have I not commanded you?
Lord, I understand that this verse is not a wish or an idea; it's a command. You instructed Joshua to be strong, just as You are now instructing me to be strong.
It's a mandate. It's a clear command, and I want to follow it. Would You give me the grace and the strength to do what You ask? Would You fill me with power and make me bolder?
Father, I'm going to need You desperately if I'm going to be courageous!
Be strong and courageous.
Sometimes, Lord, it's easy to be strong and courageous. But, today, I'm not feeling particularly strong or courageous. I know, however, that these are not feelings. They are choices.
With my eyes on You, I will step out in strength and in boldness today.
You are my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? You are my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
I will choose to not be afraid or discouraged today, Lord. Even though it can be tempting to fear. I will choose to face everything in my life with courage.
Would you empower me to be strong and courageous? Help me NOT to be afraid and NOT to panic today. For You, (the LORD my God) will personally go ahead of me. You will neither fail me nor abandon me.
Lord, I know that I can trust You totally and completely – every moment of this day.
For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.
And, Lord, thank You for this truth – You never leave me alone. You never turn Your back on me or forsake me. As Your child, I can depend on you 100% of the time!
Like Joshua, I want to be strong and courageous. You will be with me.
Like Zerubbabel, I want to be strong and get to work, for You are with me. You are the LORD of Heaven's Armies.
Like Timothy, I want to be strong through the grace that You give me in Christ Jesus.
Like the Apostle Paul, I want to be strong in You, Lord, and in Your mighty power.
Father, as the Psalmist reminds us, You are for me so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?
Yes, You are for me! You will help me. I don't have to do this alone.
Thank You, Father.
In Jesus's name, I pray.
Melanie is a Christian blogger, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Marketing and Social Media Consultant. She's married to Randy and mom to two awesome college students. God's grace never ceases to amaze her. You can find out more about Melanie & her ministry at www.melanieredd.com. You can connect with Melanie at Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.The Ministry of Hope is all about helping others to succeed in ministry and in life. All of our messages, written materials, blog posts, and resources are designed to offer hope and encouragement.