While I was in the car I found Blake's cassette tapes ( I know, old, right!?) titled "Winning in Life". So I pulled out one by Jim Laffoon entitled "Encouraging Yourself". It was really good. He started out by talking about the difference between fear and discouragement. Fear and terror can come on you in a wave, a matter of minutes or even seconds. Discouragement is similar to an IV drip that can happen over a span of time and mess up a healthy point of view.
I had never thought about the difference between the two. Both can be really debilitating. He went on to share a couple of passages from scripture that were really good. On of them I had actually already been meditating on for the past few months.
Psalm 42: 11 "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God."
I used to be the first one, and still occasionally let my emotions take me where they want. I used to ride life based off of my "feelings". Which frankly would not take me to the most comforting of places. These past few months I've had to claim this verse. I would have to grab my emotions by the scruff of the neck, like a dog and tell them what they were going to do. I would tell my soul, ' God's done so much for you, you better start hoping again because He is faithful'. It's hard to do when we are discouraged or even depressed but boy does it make a difference over time.
That leads into the next psalm that Pastor Jim talked about in that message, Psalm 103.
Psalm 103: 1-5 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me , bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons ALL your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years (or desires) with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle."
I mean just look at that list.(*See Bible for a complete list of all God's benefits) God has forgiven us of all our sins, heals all of our diseases, redeems our life from the pit. The list goes on and on. Man, that's pretty awesome stuff. I can encourage myself daily with this list. I don't know about anybody else but my life surely needed some redeeming, especially after college. I'm sure glad he didn't leave me in my pit to be a pit dweller. How miserable would that be!? So, go ahead, encourage yourself today. God loves you. He has a plan for your life. . .today.