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 Issue #100 Tue, 17 Oct 2006

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Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #100 Tue, 17 Oct 2006   March 12th 2007, 00:38

ARE YOU BURDENED WITH DISCOURAGEMENT?

Dear Youth,

I'm sure you all know what it is like to experience discouragement. There are many times when it seems that you're all alone in the world. Sometimes this feeling of "aloneness" comes from within our family circle; it may feel like we're always being "picked on" and criticized. Other times we may become discouraged in our friendships; we may be surprised at the way our friends may leave us to stand alone, or sometimes they may even turn against us and shun us for the principles we stand for. Sometimes our circumstances are most trying and discouraging at times. Often it's easy to become discouraged in our Christian walk; sometimes it seems as though we know what's right but we just don't seem to have the will-power to perform it!

Probably the most comforting thought during these seasons of discouragement is to know that Jesus is always by our side, and He takes a very personal interest in our affairs. He says: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5) "And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20)

I just want to share with you an experience one of my friends had about a year ago. She was going through a very difficult and discouraging time in her life, and she began to feel as though God didn't love or care about her anymore. One night she couldn't sleep, so she went upstairs and sat on the couch. The tears began to flow and she cried there that dark night for some time. After a while she decided to pray, and in that prayer she asked God for a sign that He really did care about her and that He really did love her. Immediately after she said that prayer, she received a message on her phone, with her favourite Bible verse: "The mountains and hills may crumble but My love for you will never end; I will keep forever My promise of peace. So says the Lord who loves you." (Isaiah 54:10 The Good News Bible) When she shared that testimony, I was just so overwhelmed with the kind of God we serve who takes such a personal and special interest in our individual lives!

While we can take great comfort in the fact that God is with us all the time, we need to claim the promises that will help us overcome discouragement and melancholy in our lives. Discouragement leads to depression, and Christ wants us to experience "the joy of salvation." (Psalm 51:12) For this reason He inspired men and women to write down the keys to overcoming discouragement.

The first key I would like to share with you was written by the prophet Isaiah: "Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." (Isaiah 26:4) Trusting in God to provide us with the strength we need will dispel any feeling of insecurity and depression. Often discouragement comes when things aren't going well for us, when friends disappoint us, when family abuse us, and when we are failing as Christians. People will fail us, ambitions may be thwarted, we may be lacking in scholastic achievement, or we may even experience loss, and any one of these things, besides many others, may cause someone to become disheartened, but if we put our trust in God, it doesn't matter what happens because we have an sure anchor that will keep us secure!

"Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings--as much a duty as it is to pray." (The Ministry of Healing, p. 251) A very simple, but practical remedy to discouragement is simply singing! When you go about singing and smiling, you begin to look more positively on life, and have a more optimistic approach to circumstances. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:" King Solomon writes, "but a broken spirit drieth up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22) Next time you feel a little low, try singing and smiling to yourself, it really helps!

Depression often springs from a selfish motive. Maybe we're hurt by the way someone has treated us, perhaps we're disappointed with our lack of accomplishment or success, or maybe we feel that we can't cope with the circumstances. We may not realize that we're coming from a selfish perspective, but all these things really point back to a "poor me". In this case we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus; self will fade and melt away as we behold Him in all His beauty. "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18 ) If we continue to dwell on all our troubles and difficulties, self-pity will find a place on the throne of our hearts; but if we would only focus on the Jesus, He would be crowned as Lord of our life.

"For the disheartened there is a sure remedy--faith, prayer, work. Faith and activity will impart assurance and satisfaction that will increase day by day. . . . In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He knows your need. He has all power. His infinite love and compassion never weary. . . .And He will bestow upon His faithful servants the measure of efficiency that their need demands" (Conflict and Courage, p. 213) If you are struggling with the burden of discouragement, faith and prayer are indispensable elements to overcoming, but another key here that I would like to touch on briefly is activity and work. If you're feeling down, it is a good thing to keep yourself active and occupied. Busy yourself with housework, cooking, gardening, study, music, or anything that keeps you from eating the bread of idleness. Labour also for the members of your family. Just little kindnesses that plant love in the heart's of your family, but also help you to focus on the good of others instead of your difficulties and failings.

Lastly, NEVER GIVE UP! Jesus is right there by your side, strengthening you and upholding you. He experiences your pain with you, He is acquainted with your trials and hardships, and He loves you! Discouragement is easy to fall into, but it hinders our growth and may also stunt the growth of others. "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'" (Isaiah 41:10, 13 NKJV)

Friends, give your life to Jesus. You don't need to become discouraged with your failings and short-comings as a Christian, as a friend, as a parent, or as a student. All you need to do is place your will on the side of Christ, He will then give you the strength to become a victorious Christian! You don't need to become depressed at your future, because if you're life is safely in the hands of Christ, He will take care of your future for you! "For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

Jesus came to give you life and give it more abundantly. He wants you to experience that abundant life, free from all the burdens of life, including discouragement. He is standing at your heart's door, waiting for you to open it to Him. Won't you open that door, and surrender your life to Him today?

--Stephanie Fox

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PLEASE NOTE: All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version, unless stated otherwise.
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Issue #100 Tue, 17 Oct 2006
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