Four Things God Does to Encourage us

If you are like me it’s so easy to become discouraged and disappointed when things don’t go as you had planned. Life can be difficult and painful at times and most people become weary and tired as well.

In the book of Acts Paul faced many challenges, disappointments, rejections and dangerous situations on his missionary journey’s that started the early church and Christian movement. I’m sure he was weary, tired and discouraged. There are some consistent things that God did to encourage and help Paul for his mission and journey.

God does these same things in our lives. The key is being aware and acknowledging these things when they happen. I don’t believe things just happen by chance, God is always at work in our lives if we pay attention.

  1. God sends helpers and encouragers. God always works through people. People that are obedient to His ways and looking for ways to love and serve those around them. When you are discouraged, feeling alone or struggling with issues of life. Pray and ask God to bring the right people into your life. It’s in times like this that God sends people to encourage us and help us. 

Remember, we also have an enemy that does not want that to happen and will try to get you to isolate yourself even more and to avoid people. Battle against that. As you connect with God he will give you the discernment to know who is from Him and who is not from Him. That’s important because some people are not good for our faith and walk with God. Some people will give counsel that does not line up with Scripture and can deceive us. That is why we must be in God’s Word ourselves and work on the most important relationship in your life and that is the relationship with Jesus Christ.

The big question is who are those people that God has brought into your life to be an encourager, helper or mentor. But even more than that, who are you doing that for. Who are you encouraging, helping or mentoring?

2. God does the unexpected. So many times in Scripture and in our own lives God does something unexpected or miraculous. It’s usually at the most unexpected times as well. It’s those only God moments, where you can’t explain it other than only God.

For Paul there are so many times that God does the miraculous. Whether it’s a person believing that he does not think will, or God healing someone or delivering someone from evil. When we are down and discouraged look for God to do the unexpected to bring us encouragement.

3. God spoke to him directly.

In Acts 18:9-10 it says this: 9 “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

This is what God said to Paul and I believe this applies to us today as well. God uses these words to encourage and help us. Today we have all of the Bible to hear from God. That is the primary way God speaks to us today.

  • God’s Courage – Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.” 

Embrace perseverance: Courage often requires perseverance through trials and difficulties. Endure with faith, knowing that God is refining your character and strengthening your courage. James 1:12 encourages us, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Pray for courage daily: Bring your fears, anxieties, and concerns to God in prayer. Ask Him to grant you courage to face challenges and to trust in His power. Psalm 31:24 says, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!”

Trust that God will equip and empower you for the task. Isaiah 41:10 assures us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

  • God’s Presence“For I am with you”

How do we stay aware of God’s presence?

Become more aware of God’s presence by creating space.You cannot become more aware of His presence without quieting your soul. Dallas Willard said, “Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life.”  You need time and space to hear God clearly. When we are always on the go, moving from task to task with the earbuds in, email open, television blasting, and social media buzzing, God is left in the background.  Listen to what Jesus did according to Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Why was it solitary? Simply, he was removing the distractions so that He could focus on God. You and I should do the same at least once a day if not more. And then we need to do it for extended times. It is during these times when we can hear and sense God more clearly.

Become more aware of God’s presence by obeying His Word. A key spiritual principle is that God makes Himself known and reveals His presence to those who choose to obey His word. Jesus explained it this way, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (John 14:21)  The word “reveal” means to appear in person! How cool is that? God shows Himself to those who are willing to obey because their obedience reveals their love for Him. In this sense, God is just like you and me. He is drawn to those who love Him.

Become more aware of God’s presence by talking to Him. Paul encouraged all believers in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “…pray without ceasing.” When we turn our inner conversation into a conversation with God, it brings Him into our lives like nothing else can.  You can literally talk to Him about everything that is going on all the time. As you get better and better at this, you begin to hear Him speak back to you. And this, my friends, is what you were created for.

  • God’s Protection – “and no one is going to attack and harm you”

God’s protection is not the absence of trials but the confidence that He is with His people, providing strength, guidance, and shelter in every circumstance.

When it comes to God’s protection:

Pray for Protection: It’s appropriate to pray for God’s protection in specific situations or for loved ones. Philippians 4:6 encourages believers to “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Put on the Armor of God: Ephesians 6:11-13 encourages believers to “put on the whole armor of God” to stand against spiritual forces of evil. This spiritual armor includes truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, and the Word of God.

Stay Connected to the Church: Being part of a Christian community is a way God protects us. We all need the strength of companionship and support in times of adversity. Brothers and sisters in Christ, praying for each other, listening to each other, caring for each other, guiding each other, and even challenging each other.

  • God’s reveals part of His Plan – “because I have many people in this city.”

Why is God reminding him to not be afraid, keep on speaking, reminding him that God is with him and that he will protect him. It’s because God knows there are a lot of people in this city that will believe in Jesus and be saved. He wants Paul to stay there and deeply invest in the people of this city. 

God is all knowing and His plan needs to be our plan. Our obedience is key in this. That means sometimes doing things that don’t make complete sense to us.

God’s ultimate plan is always for people to believe in Jesus and have eternal life – Salvation. Our part is planting the seeds, watering those seeds that have been planted and being a Christ like example to the people around us.

God reveals His plan to us in small doses. Here He is telling Paul to stay, to invest deeply into these people and develop disciples. 

However, if we are not spending time with God, not praying much, not opening our Bibles, not going to church or in community with other believers it’s very difficult to hear from God and his plan for us.

4. God Guides us to what was next.

That vision from God gave Paul a peace about continuing to stay there and preach the Word. Paul was able to teach, coach and disciple many people because of the people around him, the courage he got from knowing that God was with Him always and that He would be protected on this journey. He also knew that many would come to faith which spurred him on to share about Jesus.

Because Paul was regularly practicing the presence of God and deepening that relationship with God he was guided by God through the Holy Spirit. He could sense when he was released to pursue something else or go to a new place.

Throughout the book of Acts on this journey that Paul is on we see him walking with the Spirit. God’s Spirit guiding Paul to stay or go, speak or be silent, even who to talk to and what to say.

Today we too are guided by the Holy Spirit. When we walk in tune with the Spirit we get the guidance to what is next. We get the courage to take that step and we are often protected along the way.

Ask God to guide you to what is next in your life. It starts with prayer and asking God for help and direction. Then look for the people God will send your way and dig into God’s word to hear directly from him, and of course expect the unexpected.

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