Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

discouragedReminders of Valentine’s Day are everywhere. When you are not in love and would like to be, this can be a discouraging week.

Whatever it is that is discouraging you, note the cure the psalmist David employed in Psalm 103:1-5. David talks to himself in a way that uplifts his soul. He tells his soul to bless the Lord and to remember the benefits of serving God.

David wrote this psalm to encourage himself in the Lord, something we need to do regularly. Instead of focusing on all of his problems, David decided to engage his will and rehearsed the goodness of God. He begins the psalm by blessing the Lord.

Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:1-2

Then, he speaks to his soul and reminds himself of all that God does for those who are faithful to Him. So if you feel discouraged, encourage yourself in the Lord. Use Psalm 103 and apply it to your life.

Psalm 103 says, the Lord:

1) Forgives all my sins. There is no need to live in condemnation or guilt. The past is forgiven and gone.

2) Heals all my diseases.  A bad report is subject to the healing power of Christ.

3) Redeems my life from the pit. And in that process, crowns me with love and compassion.

4) Satisfies my desires with good things. He renews my youth like the eagle’s.

This is only a partial list of all the benefits that come with serving God. Yes, bad news comes, life gets crazy and stressful, but we must remember who we serve and the blessings that come from being one of God’s children.

To fight discouragement, do what David did and encourage yourself in the Lord.

 

family 2aThis season of love, take a look at your family relationships. Forgive and love generously. Remember, as you choose to forgive, bless and do good, this does not mean you condone negative behavior, are minimizing hurt or denying problems. It means you have decided to follow the words of Christ and do what does not come naturally to most of us. Our model is Christ. He was despised, rejected, and abused. Yet, he had compassion and loved the unlovely. What a challenge!

As you encounter family members who are not always so loving, try these suggestions:

  1. Make attempts to resolve issues that have built up and caused resentment. Avoidance just leads to anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness.
  2. Remember the good moments in your relationship. Do not deny problems, but balance negatives with positives.
  3. Do something enjoyable together in order to build positive memories.
  4. Control your tongue. It has the power of life and death according to the Book of James.
  5. Pray for those who irritate you. Ask God to give you His heart when it comes to them.
  6. Love people as yourself.
  7. Consider the biblical principle—what you sow, you reap (Galatians 6:7).
  8. Forgive often and do not hold on to offense.
  9. God’s grace is a gift; offer it to others as well.
  10. Read I Corinthians 13 as a true reminder of love. Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, keeps no records of wrong, hopes and never fails. (v. 4-7)

 

Letting Go of WorryBODY:

Check for physical tension.

Do you have any of the physical signs of anxiety such as a racing or pounding heart, sweaty palms, difficulty breathing, stomach upset, frequent urination or diarrhea, muscle tension, headaches, fatigue or insomnia?

Be aware of your body and the physical sensations that creep in with stress, anxiety, fear and worry.

SOUL:

List your concerns—those things that bother you and could potentially become areas of worry. Ask yourself:

Is this a concern or has it turned in to a worry?

Is this concern something that is in or out of my control?

If in my control, what am I doing about this concern?

If not in my control, can I allow it to be without worrying?

Your goal is to empty this list.

 

SPIRIT:

Take your concerns to God. Meditate on Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Are you able to lay worry down at the foot of the cross? Or do you carry it with you?

Worry is released when we trust God and do not doubt.

 

NOTE: If you feel you have excessive worry to the point that it interferes with your every day living, consider seeing a mental health therapist trained in treating anxiety disorders. An evaluation can help determine if your worry has  moved to anxiety. God wants us to live a worry free life, despite our circumstances. For more help, check out my book, Letting Go of Worry for strategies to be worry free.

betrayal 1Betrayal cuts deep. A husband cheats, a daughter lies, a friend goes behind your back…Your heart is broken!

Jesus knew the heartbreak of betrayal when he watched his beloved disciples turn against him. Judas gave Him over to his enemies for money. Peter denied Him for fear of retaliation. Those who loved Jesus also betrayed Him. Yet, Jesus in his mercy and grace chose to forgive. The betrayers didn’t deserve it, but that was the point. Grace gives what isn’t deserved. It’s not about being right. It’s about doing right!

Jesus could fight back. He could prove He was right. At his disposal were 10,000 angels ready to rescue Him from a death he did not deserve. He could call down an army, wipe out those who came against Him, and win an immediate victory. He could show them how right He was. He could get angry, call foul play, retaliate and seek revenge.

What did He ever do to deserve such treatment? Who could blame Him if he reacted this way? He could prove his point. Retaliation and vengeance were tempting. Jesus could flex those powerful spiritual muscles and take down the oppressors. He could rightly put people in their places and show them who was in charge. He could win the argument and be right.

No angels or armies were called from heaven. The decision to do right ended in dying alone. There He was, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, meaning the punishment that brought us peace was on Him. Because of his response, our reconciliation to God is now possible.

Jesus’ decision to forgo being right was made out of sacrificial love. Jesus gave up his right to be right.

Instead, He chose to do right.

What an incredible challenge. Do we choose to do right or do what we do because we are right?