True Christian Stories
by Deb Matthews

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Welcome! Here's another true Christian story from my collection of things that have really happened to me (including stories about miracles, angels, Civil Air Patrol and God's love and blessings). This is a Bible message on encouraging ourselves when everything around us seems to be falling apart.

Encourage Yourself in the Lord

Copyright © 2000 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved

Ever have one-of-those-days, or maybe the week-from-you-know-where? The Bible tells of just such a day in the life of David, a man after God's own heart.

David and his men had returned to their home town one day, only to find that the Amalekites had raided the city. The raiding party had taken all the women and children captive, including all their belongings, and then burned the city.

The Bible says David and his men lifted up their voice and wept until they had no more power to weep. Then, ... in all their anguish and helplessness, David's men turned on him:

"And David was greatly distressed: for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." (I Samuel 30:6)

Those words -- but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God -- are awesome to me. At last mention, David had six hundred men. Can you imagine six hundred guys standing around and blaming you for the loss of their families?

"It's all your fault!"

"If we hadn't come out here after you, none of this would have happened!"

"Stone him! Stone him!"

Did David panic? No, the Bible said he was initially 'in great distress,' but then he did what we should all do. He remembered the Lord. He remembered God's promise to bring him into the kingdom. He remembered that the Lord was the great shepherd looking out for him. The Hebrew word used here to say he 'encouraged' himself tells us he fastened his mind on the Lord, he seized or grabbed hold and hung onto the Lord in his heart and took courage in God's ability to help.

He encouraged himself in God's promises, and then he sought God's guidance. He asked the Lord if he should pursue after the Amalekites. He asked if he would overtake them if he did. The Lord told him to pursue after them, and promised David that he would overtake them, and 'without fail recover all.' And that's exactly what happened. They got their families and all their belongings back, and some more besides, but only after David had encouraged himself in God's ability and faithfulness.

If only we could always remember as quickly as David to turn our thoughts immediately on the Lord when we ourselves are in 'great distress'. God has made us some awesome promises of his love and care for us, if only we will stop and remind ourselves that he really is here. And he's ready, willing and able to help -- if we'll just let him.

If we love the Lord and are trying to live for him, we can encourage ourselves in his promise to take even the bad things and turn them around for good. He's promised to take care of us, be our provider, our helper and friend. Let's take time to thank him and 'encourage ourselves' in his promises and his faithfulness to carry them out.


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Added February 20, 2000