How to Encourage Yourself in the Lord

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Samuel 30:1 Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, 2 and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. 3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. 7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?” And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

Being fruitful in every area of life depends greatly on you. While it is God who empowers us, we must be in position to receive from Him and take correct action. Your level of encouragement is critical to your success and fruitfulness. David and his men's encouragement level came under direct attack after the Amalekites attacked Ziklag, burned the village and took their families away. 

Below are my notes from the message, "Encourage Yourself in the Lord." (Available on Firm Foundation Podcast)

A. The attack upon Ziklag by the Amalekites was an attack upon the encouragement of David and his people

1. The Amalekites and Amorites were sometimes used interchangeably because they were all essentially sworn enemies of Israel and continue to be an archetype of satanic attack and hindrance to progress and stability.

2.  The Amalekite "spirit" continues to seek to burn down your Ziklag, bring confusion in your camp, confusion to your mind, and to discourage you.

B. What to do when crisis happens: The word crisis means, "danger and opportunity." Every crisis presents the danger of things becoming worse, or the opportunity of turning things around for the better. 

  1. Know the promises of God you are standing on (specific Scriptures)
  2. Know that the enemy wants to shipwreck your faith and make you compromise your Christian witness
  3. Make no excuse for a lack of faith, but ask the Lord to “Increase my faith”
  4. Encourage yourself in the Lord
  5. Don’t overreact by burning bridges, severing relationships, rendering judgment “before the time.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
  6. Don’t make any critical decisions, before committing time to seek the Lord. Crisis will impair judgment and hinder your faith until you leave “crisis mode.”
C. In his moment of greatest distress, David decided to encourage himself in the Lord!

  1. This was necessary BEFORE asking for the "ephod" to seek God for direction. Regardless of how he felt, David did not take actions before restoring encouragement and hearing from God.
  2. You cannot hear from God and do the right thing if you are in distress and discouraged.
  3. God said is essence, “Go, get your stuff and people back!” In other words, “Send the devil a message that you will not get away with this attack.”
  4. When a thief is caught, he must restore seven-fold. Pro. 6:30
  5. If satan thinks he is going to get away with his attacks upon us, he has another think coming.
D. Through renewed encouragement from God, David and the willing men rose up and attacked the Amalekites for some 24 hours.
  1. Note that 200 of the men were too weary to go up. They stayed at Besor and were refreshed. The other 400 were ready to go up – and they went in a big way!
  2. When you get encouraged, you need to give the devil “hell”.
  3. David recovered ALL! The Words says that “nothing was lacking...”
  4. As James said, “Count it all joy..." knowing that trials of faith bring great fruit afterwards. (James 1)
Some keys to encouragement that bring fruitfulness:
  1. One of the things you can always control is your perspective. No matter what happens, YOU control what the meaning is, and what to do with the meaning you give to the circumstance.
  2. Stay focused on your race within. Joseph did this event when betrayed his brothers and falsely accused by Potiphar's wife.
  3. Learn the lesson. You will experience the same challenges/problems over and over again until you learn your lesson.
  4. Learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  5. Creativity is your unlimited capital. God can give you new and fresh insight. We don’t have many visionaries today. We have people taking credit for other peoples work. We have people riding the coattails of others.
  6. Remember that abundance is everywhere. You must choose to see it and believe it in order to fully experience it.
  7. There is no progress without action.  Once you get started every step afterwards gets easier and easier.  Until eventually, what had once been invisible, starts to become visible, and what once felt unattainable, starts to become a reality.
  8. Persistence always wins.  As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”  It may take more than one swing to compose an efficient hit, so make sure not to give up on strike #1.  And remember, a river cuts through rocks not because of its power at a given moment, but because of its persistence over time.
  9. Focus is everything.  When you are too busy looking behind and around you, people are passing you.  If you never focus clearly on something, you will never be 100% efficient at anything.  
  10. Positivity fuels productivity.  Thoughts are like the steering wheel that moves our life in the right direction.  Success comes from positive energy.  You can choose to get caught up in the negativity surrounding you, or you can decide to do something positive about your situation.  You always have a choice.  Remember, happiness is an element of success, and the happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything, they use positive energy to make the best of what they have.
  11. Helping others is a big part of being successful.  Successful people constantly come up with new ideas, new projects, and new and innovative ways of helping others.  This means that your aims and objectives just benefit you, but also help benefit others as well.  Bottom line:  Your long-term success is directly tied to how well you serve your community. 
  12. Success is a journey of countless baby steps.  It’s a constant process of growth.  If you want to be successful, you must continue to hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else, and strive to improve. 

 (Some of above points from: