Anthony's Challenge of the Week: Be Encouraged!

Sometimes I spend hours upon hours trying to think of a story or a situation in my life that I can use to help illustrate a point I want to make. Ask pastors/reverends/ministers about it. Ever notice how they always seem to have a story that fits? Sometimes I just can't think of a good story to fit my point, and it takes forever.

This week I didn't have that problem, because I can think of hundreds of times I have been in need of encouragement. Every one of us has those stories - times when we were broken and tired physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes we tell ourselves: "If only someone would encourage me. If only someone would give me a boost."

Sometimes things happen - sometimes a lot of things - that seem to drain us. The death of a family member, the "big breakup," losing a job or a hundred other things. These things almost always seem to just pile up an accumulate, and we just don't know what to do. We just... need something, some one.

I like to consider myself pretty close to God. I have a long way to go, no doubt about it, but the Big Guy and I have a pretty good relationship. That being said, sometimes it is just hard to turn to Him for help, for support. In fact, the more discouraged I get, sometimes the harder it seems to focus on God. It is like the discouragement has clouded my vision, making I hard to see the truth I know.

Psalms 34:18-19 - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are

crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

God is and will always be the ultimate encouragement. Know this: That no matter what happens, how terrible things seem to be turning and how much you think you can just not do it on your own, God is there! He is close to the broken hearted - it is as if when you hand fallen, he kneels next to you, holding His hand out in an offer to help you out. Sometimes it is hard to see that hand through the tears and the pain, but He is there! Accept the hand!

Not only that, but God has given us other Christians. The Bible tells us that we are all members or the same body, so when on part is hurting, the whole body feels the pain. We are to help and support and encourage each other. One of the kindest things someone had ever done for me I remember as clearly as it was yesterday.

I was going through a very tough time in my life. I didn't tell anyone - I was holding in all the pain, hurt and despair. No one, as far as I had known, was any the wiser - they had no idea. In fact, I always seemed extremely happy. Anyway, one day a man at my church handed me a small, folded piece of paper when he shook my hand. I knew him, but not extremely well. He didn't say anything, but gave me a kind smile. I opened it and read the simple, powerful message. It said something along these lines:

"Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved. - Psalm 52:22

I have and will always be praying for you.

Love, One who also struggles"

I didn't start crying, but I had wanted to. The note seemed to open a flood gate that I had built in my heart. That night I went home and spent a long time praying, giving my burden to God. I had heard that verse before, had known it... but for some reason, being reminded of it by a fellow Christian just broke me down. The following day was my first day free from the slavery of the despair I had been experiencing. It was the first time in what seemed like months my spirit was renewed.

If you are at a point where you are doubting or experiencing a situation where you are discouraged know that you are not alone. You do not have to struggle by yourself. Not only do you have the body of Christ here to support and love you, but you have the creator, the Father - God.

Be encouraged! Be encourages because, no matter what you are going through, God is right there to help you. Be encouraged because, whether or not people of this world acknowledge and thank you for what you do, God knows. So don’t grow tired while doing good! Be encouraged because you have a body here on Earth that is going through some of the same things you are – you are not alone. That is where despair comes from, the thought that we are alone – but we aren't.

John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

In Christ's Love,

Anthony DiGeorgio


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