Friday, June 23, 2023

5 Ways to Stay Encouraged in a Lonely World

According to a study by Harvard, 36% of Americans, so more than one in three, described their level of loneliness as "serious." 

In a lonely world, how can we find encouragement? How can we find a mindset that leads to stability and peace? That is the challenge in this world. The battle is against ourselves. The battle is against our own minds. 

To that end, we're looking at five ways to reposition our minds and hearts to focus on God's goodness, to focus on the positive, and to find peace in a world increasingly stricken with loneliness. Let's dive in. Here is the plan…

First, We need to focus on Jesus Christ our glorious, victorious savior full of perfect love and grace and truth, and find refreshment for our souls. That's the first thing we've got to do, get our eyes off our problems, off our hearts, and onto the perfect Jesus Christ, the true King of the Earth, the Lord of all, and rejoice in his current total victory. We may see defeats, but our victory is so very secure. Others may reject it, we have not. And so our victory is secure. Other have their sacred choice to make. But we must keep our eyes on Jesus. I don't mean that as simple encouragement. I mean, as a matter of survival itself, you must, must, must keep your eyes on Jesus. Your salvation depends on it. So do it. He is victorious. Keep your eyes on that complete victor King Jesus, or you will lose heart and give up.

Psalm 123:1 "A Song of Ascents. To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!"

Hebrews 12:2 "Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Two, hope is the secret weapon of the Christian. Hope is the weapon of our mind to defeat any discouraging thought. Use this powerful weapon, by training your mind to counter any pessimistic thought with the truth of the scriptures, which is solid and real.

When you think to yourself "I can't go on" stop yourself in your mind and say, "that isn't true. The Lord says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. The Lord says in Christ I'm more than a conqueror through Him who loves us. God has not given me a spirit of timidity but of love and power and sober mind. Counter the negative thoughts immediately in your mind with the truth of God's word.

Isaiah 40:31 "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Romans 15:4 "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

Three, find refreshment in the place of intimate prayer with God. In any time of prayer in your life, you must get alone with God and begin to praise Him, thank Him, rejoice in Him, delight in Him, and make your requests known to Him. But you need to go beyond there, and press deeper into prayer, and as you pray, longer and longer, you'll notice at some point in the prayer you'll breakthrough and begin to sense God's presence around you. Then delight in God in those moments, time will begin to pass more quickly, because you won't want to leave that sacred place. You're with God. This time when you're in God's presence is healing, and you'll find refreshment. But it takes diligently seeking His Face. At those times you'll also receive divine revelation, and guidance, so you may know His will and follow it.

Psalm 34:17-20 "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken."

Fourth, the life of the Christian is suffering. I don't mean to be blunt, but that is a big part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. And the secret to learning endurance in suffering is something very odd and paradoxical that the apostle Paul talked about, he said, "I rejoice in my sufferings." He wasn't just making a cute statement to tell us how clever he was. He was talking about something very practical. When you suffer for Jesus, turn it around on the enemy and say I'm glad for this, I rejoice in this, because this is keeping me from apostasy, this is keeping me close to Jesus, this is training me toward godliness. Respond to suffering with rejoicing. I know it sounds crazy, it's actually biblical.

2 Timothy 2:3 "Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

Romans 5:3-5 "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Fifth, remember that Jesus Christ will return to give relief and victory to his dedicated soldiers. Jesus Christ will come again. I think it will be much sooner than we realize. I honestly expect it to happen within my lifetime. That's how close I think we are. So we should see that the return of Jesus Christ is very real and very close, and rejoice with hope. The return of Jesus Christ means the total victory of the cross will go from a faithful hope to a present reality, that transforms us into His likeness at last! Then, no more sin nature, no more law of death, no more suffering, it ends then when Jesus returns.

Revelation 19:11-15 "Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations."

Until that day brothers and sisters, keep the faith and never give up hope. Yake heart. Take a deep breath, and apply these principles to your heart and life. For me friends, I had to ask for someone to pray for me. I had allowed my heart to become somewhat callous and hardened. If that's you and you're demoralized, then cry out to God, ask your church family to pray over you, and God will hear from heaven and renew your heart and mind to softness and hope and a new outlook.

1st John 4:4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.