We are facing something we’ve never faced before, that’s for sure—but we are all going through this together. I recently came across an encouraging message by Pastor and author Dr. David Jeremiah of Turning Point ministries. Here are the six points of encouragement from the scriptures Dr. Jeremiah offered that encouraged me and that I hope encourage you too.
1. Concentrate on Prayer
The first thing we should do when we face insurmountable challenges is to cry out to God. When King Jehoshaphat heard his enemies were coming to invade the kingdom of Judah, the first thing he did was “inquire of the Lord” and proclaimed a fast for all the people. We can pray the same prayer he prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:6-9; 12:
Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you... ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’…For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
2. Control Our Minds
I loved this quote from Dr. Jeremiah’s sermon: “How many of you know the human imagination is a powerful force? It can create a beautiful vision of a desirable future or it can conjure up the worst-case scenario. These dark products of the imagination can put us in the grip of fear—a place God would never have us go.”
There’s a great a principle to apply from 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
We need to learn to control our thoughts within the environment of the facts we have instead of letting our minds wander to all the terrible “what if’s” out there. This destroys our peace. What banishes fear is a sound mind—taking every thought under control. As a well-known saying goes, “Imagining the future without Christ is what it means to be anxious.”
3. Count Your Blessings
Counting our blessings may seem counterintuitive at this time, but it’s not. In the midst of uncertainty, we need to maintain a spirit of gratitude for all the blessings we have in our life. We can’t become ungrateful people. Pause for a moment and say thank you for what you have—often it’s things we took for granted during times of plenty. We can rest knowing that every blessing we have comes from God and the most important blessings are the spiritual ones. How has God worked in your life?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
- Ephesians 1:3
4. Claim Your Promises
The Bible is filled with promises from God. We look to God for the strength that we need, and when everything around us doesn’t make sense, God still makes sense. Find a promise, take a time-out, and meditate on those verses.
Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. Therefore, we may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
- Hebrews 13:5-6
5. Consider Your Responsibility
While we are distancing ourselves socially, we can still get closer to one another spiritually. When you pray for someone, you actually draw closer to them at the throne of grace. If God puts someone on your heart, just pick up the phone or send a text and pray with them. Use this time to become spiritually close. Give yourself this goal: to spend five minutes each day praying with or for someone.
6. Continue Your Work
We are all adjusting our normal routines at the moment. Perhaps you’re a schoolteacher and your school is closed. Your routine is different, but you can still do a lot. Keep doing whatever you were doing the best you can, to bless others. Just keep doing the next thing! Keep going in the peace that God provides.
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.
- John 14:27>