God knows we are weak vessels. He is aware that unless he encourages us, we cannot be able to make it through difficult situations. God did not intend for us and that is Christians to spend our days preoccupied with fear, anxiety and worry. 3 John 2 states, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” God desires that we prosper in all areas of our lives. The King James Version of the bible says “fear not” or “be not afraid” 103 times. God needs to remind us not to live in fear but to trust in him.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.” The same verse in the Amplified version states, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
God knows the difficulties we go through. He can see the issue from every angle and he knows exactly what we need to hear. God is the perfect encourager. What are the ways God encourages us?
God Encourages us with His presence
God does not appear often to people. This is not the way he primarily speaks. But he still does appear to people and encourage them. The reason I know this is because he appeared to different individuals in scripture and since the Word of God states he is the same yesterday, today and forever, it means he still does the same things he used to do many many years ago. In Acts 23:11, the bible reads, “On the following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Be brave; for as you have solemnly and faithfully witnessed about Me at Jerusalem, so you must also testify at Rome.” Here, the Lord meaning Jesus Himself, stood before Paul and encouraged him in his difficult assignment. Be of good cheer means take courage. Be of good cheer is a phrase Jesus used often when His followers were suffering. In Matthew 9:2, “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” In Matthew 9:22, “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.” In John 16:33, Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
I will put visions in this category because I am dealing with God’s presence. God has encouraged people with visions and still does that today. When Paul was in Corinth, he had a vision. And in the vision, the Lord spoke to him and told him not to be afraid. Acts 18:9-10 states, “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” Because of that encouragement, he stayed in Corinth for one year and six months teaching the Word of God. Paul would not have known that God has many people in Corinth but God knew and therefore encouraged him to continue speaking and not give up. God encouraged Abraham in Genesis 15:1. After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
God Sends His Angels
There are angels God uses to bring messages. There are two angels I believe mentioned in scripture; Angel Gabriel and Angel Michael. According to scripture, both of them have different roles. Gabriel is a messenger angel while Michael is a warring Angel. He fights.
Elijah needed encouragement from the Lord. He had just killed 850 false prophets and hewas running away from Jezebel who had vowed to kill him because he had killed her false prophets. So he ran away and because of discouragement, he prayed to God that he may die. He then slept and in 1 Kings 19:5-8, an Angel was sent to him.
Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
God knows what you need. God knew Elijah was very discouraged and he took care of him.
God had promised Abraham a Son but that had not yet come to pass. This did not mean that he had forgotten. It meant that it was not yet time even though it had been many years. God again reminded him that he had not forgotten his promise to him. In Genesis 18:9-15 Scripture states,
They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
The reason Sarah laughed was because what was said sounded ridiculous. Maybe God told you he was going to do something but he has not done. He has not forgotten. His timing is perfect.
God Encourages Us Through Dreams
God chose to send a message via a dream to Joseph. Can you imagine how confused and hurt Joseph was when he found out Mary was pregnant. He was discouraged too. What kind of news was that? As far as he was concerned, she had just done the unthinkable. An angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Can you imagine how relieved he was? He may not have understood how that happened but God had told him not to fear. God had encouraged him. God encourages us even when we do not understand why we are going through what we are going through.
God encouraged Gideon through a dream that someone in the enemy camp had. In Judges 7:13-15, scriptures states,
“When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the LORD has given the camp of Midian into your hands.”
God knew Gideon needed to hear that dream and its interpretation because he had been left with only 300 men who were supposed to help him fight a huge army.
God Encourages us through His Word
This is primarily how God speaks. His word is still active and just as it applied to generations before us, it still applies in our generation. There are so many encouraging verses in the bible. If you are not reading the Word of God, you are missing out on a lot on his promises. God has spoken to me through his Word so much. He has encouraged me by preparing me for a situation before it happens. Once I start going through it, then the Holy Spirit reminds me the Word that God gave me. Here is an example. Last week, I mentioned that the first book I ever read was Jeremiah. So as I read the book of Jeremiah, not understanding anything really, God gave me a revelation. In Jeremiah 12:5, the Word of God states, “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?
The Holy Spirit started ministering to me. His message to me was, “If you cannot endure the easier challenges, how are you going to endure the harder one?”
At the time, I did not understand why I had been given such a message. In fact I thought it was someone else’s message until a while later. The devil attacked me and when I refused to give up, he mounted a major attack against me. Later I started understanding that God uses his Word to encourage us. Another example; as I was reading the passage on the children of Israel coming from Egypt, God said that there was a shorter route but that route would have discouraged the children of Israel so much that they would have turned back to go to Egypt therefore God chose to take them through a longer route but it was not going to be as hard. At that time, God encouraged me. He told me that we would go through the wilderness; it would be long but not so difficult. I urge you to read the Word of God. Don’t wait for someone to come give you a word of knowledge. God is very willing to encourage you through His Word.
God Encourages Us Through People
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul encouraged Timothy not to let anyone put him down because he was young. Timothy was a young man who was striving to lead a church with many older members. These older members may at times criticize him so Paul was exhorting him.
Have you ever heard a message given to you a number of times by someone? I have been encouraged by people many times. Just as recent as two weeks ago, there was a lady who gave me the same message 3 times. I knew that God was encouraging me. God has also used me in strange ways to encourage people. One day, I was asleep in the afternoon. I woke up, opened the bible to the book of Isaiah, a passage I had never read I might add, wrote a message to a lady who I did not talk to as much. She was not a friend but an acquaintance. I quoted the passage and then wrote to her the message from that particular passage. I emailed it to her and then turned off the computer and went back to sleep. A few months down the line, she told me thank you. Her words were, “you don’t know what that message meant to me. She was so humbled and encouraged about the love of God for her.” I am not the curious kind so I never asked her what mistake she was at the verge of making. I just told her God is faithful and left. I had to open my email and look for the message.
God is gracious and cares for us. He wants the best for us and He encourages very well. His message of encouragement carries His peace. He is faithful to His Word and He will never fail us. He wants to minister encouragement to you and I. He wants the best for us and He is the best for us.