Encourage Yourself In The Lord

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Regardless of what you’re going through, instead of REACTING to the enemy, determine that you are going to RESPOND TO THE FATHER!

…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. —1 Samuel 30:6 KJV

So, how do you do that?

GET REAL WITH GOD. VENT VERTICALLY.

When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, they wept until they could weep no more. —1 Samuel 30:3-4

David let God know about his discouragement. He told Him about his disappointment. He told Him all about his loss and pain.  He vented vertically to God.

Several of David’s psalms were written during periods of personal loss or pain. Psalm 142 was written a few years before the loss at Ziklag. The superscription of the Psalm says, “A psalm of David, regarding his experience in the cave. A prayer.”

Maybe this is what David said to God as he sat in that pile of debris and ashes…

I cry out to the LORD; I plead for the LORD’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. —Psalm 142:1-3a NLT

How many of you know how to complain?  Anybody?  How many of you think that might be your spouse’s spiritual gift?

David says, “I pour out my COMPLAINTS before God…  I tell him all my troubles. [Because] When I am overwhelmed, [He] alone know[s] the way I should turn.”

If you can complain, you can take this step.  I call this VENTING VERTICALLY.   Some of us are experts at venting horizontally.  We complain to all sorts of people, but some of us stink when it comes to VENTING TO GOD.

Next time you feel the urge to complain, go to your Father.

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CHANGE YOUR FOCUS.  WORSHIP, REGARDLESS.

David wasn’t living through a “bad day,” he was living through a “bad decade,” but somehow he found the strength to do this! 

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. —Psalm 34:1

“I will bless the LORD at all times…  Not just the good times…  Not just the times when I finally get to the palace… Not when everything is going my way…  I will bless the LORD at all times… His praise shall continually be in my mouth…”

I will glory (or boast) in the LORD let all who are discouraged take heart. —Psalm 34:2

David knew that there is a community aspect when it comes worship. MY commitment to and participation in worship can influence and affect the people in my relational world.

Maybe this is one reason why Jesus said, “…wherever two or three gather in my name, I’m there…” (Matthew 18:20). David knows this. So, he makes this determination: “I will “glory” or “boast” in the Lord, and maybe God will use my worship to help you break free from discouragement and depression.”

David began with PERSONAL worship.  Then He looked around at that group of six hundred or so warriors who were ready to stone him, and he had a heart for them. He wants God to use him to help them reorient their perspective. Check out Verse 3:

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! (v. 3)

When you magnify a physical object, you take the lens of a microscope or telescope and look at or study the object.  And that lens allows you to see things you wouldn’t possibly be able to see with the naked eye. It doesn’t make the objects “bigger,” it just makes them look BIGGER TO YOU!

David understood something that we need to understand!

When I had nothing, desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and He heard me, bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most. —Psalm 34:6 PT

We tend to magnify our problems, pain, loss, challenges, schedules, and our own agenda.  But in WORSHIP, we finally get it right!  In WORSHIP, we MAGNIFY God!  We look at, we gaze at and we devote ourselves to facets, aspects and nuances of God’s greatness and character that we may have forgotten! And as we magnify GOD, we become so filled with the reality of His MAJESTY, GLORY, SPLENDOR, POWER and GREATNESS that everything we’re going through becomes SMALL compared to how BIG our God really is!

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ASK GOD FOR NEXT STEPS.

Then he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod!” So Abiathar brought it. Then David asked the LORD, “Should I chase after this band of raiders? Will I catch them?”  And the LORD told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” —1 Samuel 30:1-8 NLT

David asks the priest for the ephod. The priest brings it out and David begins to VENT VERTICALLY.  He basically says, “God, there’s this group of bandits. They attacked our village while we were away. They destroyed our homes, took our possessions, kidnapped our wives and kids. At best, they’ll be prisoners; at worst, they could be killed, raped, molested and brutalized if we don’t go after them. Should we go?  Should we take action, or should we just throw in the towel, quit and call it a game?”

God says, “Duh…  Go!”  The very clear message of God is, “You bet!  Take some action! Don’t just sit there!”

GET BACK IN THE GAME. YOU ARE NOT FINISHED YET.

So he led David to them, and they found the Amalekites spread out across the fields, eating and drinking and dancing with joy because of the vast amount of plunder they had taken from the Philistines and the land of Judah. David and his men rushed in among them and slaughtered them throughout that night and the entire next day until evening. None of the Amalekites escaped except 400 young men who fled on camels. David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back. He also recovered all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock. “This plunder belongs to David!” they said. —1 Samuel 30:16-20 NLT

David goes after the Amalekites. He recovers EVERYTHING! The Bible says, “NOTHING WAS MISSING — SMALL OR GREAT…”

And after ten years of running, in the next few hours, God takes the kingdom from Saul and turns it over to David, beginning with the tribe of Judah, and followed seven years later with all of Israel…

Today could be the “worst day” of your life, but what you may not be aware of is this battle with the “Amalekites” and your loss at “Ziklag” is going to be the very thing that God is going to use to BRING YOU INTO YOUR DESTINY!

So, encourage yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6) and bless the Lord at all times (Psalm 34:1)!  Magnify the Lord (Psalm 34:3)! Taste and see that He is good.  Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him (Psalm 34:8)!