“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 42:11) I was talking with a Christian brother the other day about how many people seem to be living in sadness and something very profound came out of his mouth. He said that it was impossible to be discouraged if we are WALKING in God’s presence. After our conversation I began to think about this statement and I must say that I agree with this view. Do you believe we can be depressed and be living in God’s perfect will? Can we be sad and discouraged yet walk in the fullness of presence? I am not saying this is an easy revelation but I believe it is worth researching and seeking God’s face about. Being joyful in the Lord and being encouraged with our personal relationship with Him go hand in hand as it is an encouragement to be filled with joy and it is a joy to be encouraged! I believe the reason why our human feelings are so unstable and double-minded is because the flesh is builds its “house” (life) on the temporal. But our spirit is connected to the Holy Spirit and is always focused on the eternal. Glory to God! If we are walking in the default system of the world, we are “happy” when the lawnmower starts but are sad when it doesn’t. We are in a good mood when our electric bill is lower but depressed when it is extremely high. Even the word “emotion” contains the word, “motion” which reveals the idea of something moving or changing constantly. If we are walking in the divine reality of His presence, we are on fire with excitement, interceding for others, worshipping Him and thanking Him for His love – no matter how fierce the storms of life are raging! We KNOW that God is solid, stable, perfect, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and NEVER CHANGES! Praise Him! Darkness CANNOT chase away the light! It is the light that always overcomes the darkness! God is waiting for His people to flip the switch and want the full wattage of His glory in their life – and be determined to LEAVE IT ON! So can we establish and say with confidence that If anyone lives in a valley of sadness, it is because they have taken their eyes and thoughts away from Jesus? I realize we all go through times of feeling down and are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves. I have invited myself to many pity parties where I arrived early and stayed late – but this is NOT WALKING in the destiny that He died for us to live in! I am not handing out condemnation – I am presenting a revelation of spiritual truth! Depression is darkness and God’s people are not to be walking in the opposite of what God’s Word say’s they should be! “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and DO NOT the TRUTH.” (I John 1:6)

Now brother, you cannot just lump everyone into the same category straight across the board. Well, it depends on your view of the default system of this world and the perfect will of His divine reality. I realize we are flesh and spirit at the same time but I also know that God’s Word is true and cannot be blended with man’s psychology or philosophies. Humanism is convinced there is a carnal explanation and answer for everything – but (hello) the world cannot “see” because – they are blind. The world does not have the answer for discouragement because they do not teach God’s Word! Yes, we might feel these negative attacks every now and then but the good news of the GOSPEL reminds us that no one needs to live in agony. God’s Word is the only “prescription” that can heal ANYTHING! It is the cure for our spiritual condition, our mental problems and our physical infirmities – Praise God! “The Lord is my ROCK, and my FORTRESS, and my DELIVERER; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. It is God that supports (maintains, sustains) me with STRENGTH and makes my way perfect.” (Psalm 18: 2, 29, 32)

The pride of humans can boast of their power to heal but they are deceived in believing their own carnal fantasy. God can heal “through” people but miracles can only come from Him. There is a great need for healing in this world. Think about how many lost souls are out there. Then think about how many need healing in their bodies and many more need a miracle in their mind. For example, it is estimated that between 24 and 28 million Americans are dependent on anti-depressants. People are sad for many different reasons with everything from spiritual warfare to hormone imbalances and I am not taking any of these reasons lightly. I do know that Jesus has come to restore the dominion and authority that Adam lost in the garden and that now through His blood covenant we can live in His miracle power and walk as overcomers in His Name! “He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29) I confess that I have taken anti-depressants in my life and I might add that I found them not helpful at all. If you have ever been on them or are currently taking them, I am not criticizing you but rather sympathizing with you. The reasons we take them are simple: there are times in our life when we know something is wrong and we feel as with any sickness or pain that we need some medicine. We desire to be healed and it is normal to proceed and follow the advice of those we trust with our health. There is nothing wrong with taking prescriptions if that is where we are in our faith. We all take medicine, but I personally believe it would be better to be delivered from these mind altering drugs and with God’s help and our determination we can be set free! It is not that the drugs are really helping our problems; they are just altering our perception of life so that we can deal with them differently. Some pharmaceuticals produce an artificial state of euphoria that is not much different from alcohol or marijuana. We go to the doctors and talk to counselors and do whatever it takes to ease the misery but their advice is not always God’s “perfect” will for us. Why? Because He desires that all of His children NOT lean on anything except HIM! Jesus is the great physician, our healer, our comforter and miracle maker. “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge IS IN GOD.” (Psalm 62: 2, 7)

Why do I allow sadness to drive me down the road of discouragement? Because sometimes I am NOT determined to get serious with God and find refuge under the shadow of His wings! Sometimes I let my fire die down and allow my circumstances to bring fear and worry upon me. When I’ve been too busy to pray, study or worship Him, I find myself not standing in faith that He will take care of my problems and needs. I have also felt discouragement in my life from mistakes and sins that I have committed. The enemy will sniff out our failures and bring guilt and condemnation to remind us of WHAT WE COULD AND SHOULD HAVE DONE INSTEAD. Satan tries to make us sad at what we have wasted and the missed opportunities we have blown and wrong decisions we have made. I know there are many faithful workers in the Kingdom of God that are tired and sometimes they do not feel appreciated in their calling, but the Lord sees your labor and His definition of success is not the same as the world. The name “Barnabas” means son of prophecy; son of consolation.” “Consolation” means a person or thing that is a source of comfort in a time of suffering, grief, disappointment, etc. (Collins Dictionary). The Bible describes him as: “And they sent out Barnabas to go as far as to Antioch. Who when he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and exhorted (suggested, urged, encouraged) them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: And a great many people were added to the Lord” (Acts 11:22-24). Barnabas was an encourager. He saw the good and the potential in others and encouraged them accordingly. The ministry of encouragement is one that every Christian has been called to. Everywhere one looks today people need encouraging. You need encouraging – and I need encouraging! The word “encourage” means: To inspire (someone) with the courage or confidence (to do something). Stimulate, motivate, support, advise or urge by approval or help. When was the last time you and I encouraged someone? Tragically it seems that few Christians consciously go out of their way to encourage others. Why not? Is it because we are so focused on seeking it for ourselves that we forget to give it to others? What a difference it makes when someone comes alongside and tells you they believe in you, in your calling, that you are anointed and that God is pleased with you? There is power in your words when you obey Jesus and speak out positive encouragement to others, and there is a blessing that will come back to us according to the spiritual principals, laws and divine order of God’s Word. “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the SAME MEASURE that you mete (use to measure anything) it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)

In the 30 years that I have been involved with ministry I
have seen people rise up with a great call of God on their lives and they were sincerely excited and God was using them. But after a time they “disappear” and are never heard of again. What
happened? Discouragement attacked them and caused them to doubt their divine purpose. The emotional decisions made in those times of discouragement opened negative doors that “robbed” them of their destiny and anointed ministry. If only there were those who could have discerned what was happening and could have strengthened them with bold words of encouragement, then God’s called men and women would not have “fallen by the wayside”, back into the mediocre, normal, unfulfilling life of despair. I say this because there is nothing more wonderful than to know the call and will of God – and to be walking in it! Let me say, if there is ANYTHING that can deter you from following Jesus as a sold-out disciple for Him – IT WILL! Selah. “For the Lord God can help me; therefore shall I not be confounded (confused): therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I KNOW that I shall not be ashamed”. (Isaiah 50:7) Setting our face like flint is conveying the message of complete dedication. Flint is a very hard substance and in the time of “standing strong” there is no room for doubt or fear. Father is waiting to give us the stability and perseverance we need to accomplish the great task he has planned. May we all make a conscious effort to be more aware of the importance of the ministry of encouragement. As the world continues to reject the risen Christ Jesus and spirals on it downwards path, Christians everywhere will need to be more and more encouraged to “stand firm in the faith” and not to be side-tracked by the temptations of the world. Make no mistake about it: we are in a war, and the battle is raging! That means the ministry of encouragement is urgently needed to be spoken out to others. It needs an audible voice. It needs more than a silent prayer! It needs you and me to be aware of situations that people are in, and to come alongside and speak sincerely the words of edification they need to hear! We can do that! We need to do that! Be sensitive for opportunities and divine appointments. Your encouragement may be a matter of life or death for someone! Why would we hold back what could help others grow closer to God? Selah. We do not know if our next word of encouragement for someone might make the difference that will change the rest of their lives!
God’s river of JOY is available anytime we want to submerge our heart and mind into His presence. We can swim in His Spirit all we want and get as close to Him as we desire. The problem is that many of God’s warriors are relaxing in their lounge chairs at “poolside” and only stick their toes in the water occasionally when the stress and pressures of life become uncomfortable. Then they wonder how a religious person can be discouraged. Religion and being Spirit filled is not exactly the same thing! He is saying it is time to arise in confidence and faith! It is time to be FILLED with His Spirit which will saturate us with His THOUGHTS, NATURE and CHARACTER. Is God discouraged? Has He ever been depressed? No! AND – He is the vine and we are the branches, which reveal that who He is – flows within us. “And the Lord shall deliver me from EVERY EVIL WORK, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.” (II Timothy 4:18)

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