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TEXT: 1 Kings 19:4 - But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree.tAnd he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
Introduction: God had used Elijah’s mouth to warn the people and to
suppress idol worship. Queen Jezebel placed a death warrant on Elijah’s life. He fled in dismay at his own weakness. Elijah felt so alone and was so discouraged:
Have you ever felt like Elijah as his soul was in anguish under the tree? It is no disgrace to be discouraged; however, the Bible identifies several ways we can overcome discouragement.
1. Remember that you are not alone. God told Elijah that there were seven thousand people who had not worshiped Baal (1 Kgs 19:18).
The Lord told Paul on a ship tossed with waves that he was not alone (Acts 27:23-26). For this very night qthere rstood before me san angel of the God tto whom I belong and uwhom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; vyou must stand before Caesar. And behold, wGod has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.26 But xwe must yrun aground on some island.”
Discouragement rarely wants companionship. Talk with God and with your fellow Christians; give and receive encouragement.
2. Know that God is in control. When it looks like all creation is breaking loose and chaos runs rampant with its feverish fury, know that God is still on His Throne in Heaven. The psalmist said, "I know the Lord will maintain” (Ps. 140:12). Solomon said
that the righteous will come through trouble (Prov. 12:13). God said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
People ask: Where was God when this happened?
3. Speak a kind word to others. Discouragement muffles the pleasant words of encouragement. Force yourself to say good things to those around you and your mind will remember that you have a good heart to speak good words. The wise man said
that anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad (Prov. 12:25).
4. Let God’s Word remain in your heart. We will suffer no persecution which is unfamiliar to God. Persecution will come but the awe of God’s Word will remain in our hearts (Ps. 119:161). Princes persecute me swithout cause, but my heart tstands in awe of your words.
5. Do not give up hope. Deferred hope makes our heart sick (Prov. 13:12). Jesus hasn’t given up on us so why should we give up on Him? He promised— "I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).
1. ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER DAILY - The writer of Hebrews admonishes us with these words, "But encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13). In other words, encourage others on a regular basis. Take advantage of every opportunity you have because the need is always great. You don’t have to go very far into the day to find someone in your network of people who needs a word of encouragement.
2. ENCOURAGE OTHERS WITHOUT DELAY - The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, "...while it is called Today” (Hebrews 3:13). Why are we to encourage one another without delay? Go back to Hebrews 3:12, for the answer—"Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).
Delay can be deadly for the person who needs to be encouraged. Why? If Christians do not exhort one another daily they will be in danger of being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, therefore it should be the great concern of everyone to encourage himself and others to beware of sin. "Without delay” is to act upon encouraging someone immediately.
APPLICATION: Ways we can encourage others.
1. Become aware of what encourages you and do the same things for
others. Knowing what a big difference encouragement makes in your own
life will help you help others when the going gets tough.
2. Encourage other Christians with a reminder of Christ’s coming. It redirects our thinking to an eternal perspective and ultimate deliverance from sin and death. Encourage other believers with a reminder of Christ’s coming. "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:17b-18).
3. When you see someone making positive changes in their lives, affirm
them. "You seem to have a really great attitude about…” "It may be that
I’m just starting to take notice, but I see that you’re…” "Do you think that
you are becoming more…?”
4. Write someone a note to tell them that you’re praying for them. Tell
them what you’re praying. You can pray specific Scriptures for individuals
such as Rom.15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
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