Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"A Word to Encourage You: From Valley To Victory"

I don’t know about you, but every now and then I get discouraged. Sometimes it’s because there appears to be little evidence of growth from the spiritual soil I’ve been plowing in the church. Sometimes it’s because finances are so strained. Sometimes it’s because of temporary feelings of isolation. Whatever the reason, discouragement is an unwelcomed visitor that appears from time to time.

Today, Shepastor shares some words to encourage your spirit and help you to regain focus when discouragement knocks on your door…

“From Valley to Victory” Sermon Excerpts from I Samuel 30: 6-8

I Samuel Chapter 30: 6-8(KJV)

6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 8 And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, ‘Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.’

This passage of scripture speaks of a time in David’s life when he was very discouraged, and for good reason! His mentor and best friend's father, King Saul was extremely jealous of him and was trying to kill him. Saul’s life choices caused him to lose the throne of Israel. David had been chosen instead. David did not ask to be chosen. The Lord through the prophet Samuel sought him out, anointed him and declared that he would become Israel’s next king.

David’s elevation came with a price. Just as God’s special anointing and prophetic declarations were pronounced over his life, the enemy got busy. The group of men who were traveling with David, only about 600 men were up against Saul’s 3,000 men. Additionally, there was an enemy raid upon the camp where David’s family and the families of his army men were staying while they were away. All of the women, children, livestock and goods were taken. The camp was burned down. They did not know whether or not their loved ones were dead or alive. Fear, confusion, and anxiety set in. David’s once loyal army men began to speak of stoning him for all of the tragedy that befell them.

David was going through a valley experience. What is a valley experience? A valley, according to Webster’s Dictionary is “a stretch of low land lying between hills or mountains and usually having a river or stream flowing through it.” So then, a “valley experience” may be interpreted as a low point between two high points.

A valley experience - just when you thought things were finally turning around you get hit with some unexpected bad news – a valley experience, just when you thought you had a strong support system – so called family and friends start to turn their backs on you. A valley experience, you thought the boss was calling you in the office to commend you for all the hard work you were doing and instead he hands you a pink slip! A valley experience! You prayed and fasted and your loved one still died – a valley experience – “God, I’ve been serving you, praising you, doing all that I believed you said I should do and things seem to be getting worse, not better – a valley experience!”

The valley can be a very dangerous place because the valley can greatly discourage you. The valley can drive you to do things that you would not ordinarily do. The valley can cause you to give up. The valley can devastate you – but it does not have to be so. David’s example teaches us how to make it through the valley and experience victory.

Here are some things to remember as you experience the valley:

- Learn to encourage yourself in the Lord

6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

We don’t know what David said to himself. We don’t know exactly how he encouraged himself. All we know is that he, “encouraged himself in the Lord.” We must remain in the will of the Lord even when we meet with discouragement. We must remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord, the faithfulness of the Lord, the awesome power of the Lord. We must call upon the Word of God and speak victory over our situation and circumstances in the name of the Lord. We must remember how God brought us over and through difficulties before and know that He did not bring us this far to leave us. When no one else is willing to do so, we must learn to encourage our own hearts through relying upon God’s Word and His promises.

- You are simply passing through, you are not there to stay

We must remember that we are only passing through the valley. We did not come there to stay. David could have given up. He could have allowed himself to drown in self-pity. He could have begun to blame himself for everything that had happened. David did none of that. Instead, he counseled with the priests and “inquired of the Lord” what he should do.

David sought the Lord to discover what he should do next. Often we waste precious time sitting in the valley rather than passing through the valley. While you are in the midst of the struggle continue to ask the Lord for guidance and direction. Ask the Lord to guide your feet and order your steps. Remember that you are passing through and that you will not remain in this valley forever. God has more for you.

- Don’t just accept the devil’s plunder – seek the Lord for restoration

Although discouraged, David did not accept that the enemy should keep all that he stole away from him. David did not just give up. David asked the Lord if he should go after what satan stole from him. David asked the Lord, “Should I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?” In other words, David asked the Lord, “Should I just accept this or should I go after what’s mine?” The Lord responded to David, “Pursue; for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” (I Samuel 30: 7-9)

David only had four hundred (400) men with him – men who recently spoke of stoning him! But David trusted the guidance of the Lord. He encouraged himself in the Lord, asked the Lord what to do and then moved out expecting victory – trusting God’s promises! What an example! Even when it looks like it’s all over – even when the people we’ve trusted to stand with us begin to question and maybe even speak of destroying us – we’ve got to seek the Lord’s guidance and move as God directs.

What has the devil plundered in your life? Your children? Your finances? Your health? Your hopes? Your prayers? Your faith? Your joy? Your peace? God speaks to us and says – “Pursue!” Don’t just accept the devil’s robbery! Ask the Lord to show you how to push back and participate in the restoration process. If God be for you, who can be against you?

- Finally, Focus on the greatness of God rather than
the size of your army

David only had 600 men fighting alongside him. That is in comparison to the thousands of men in both Saul’s and the Amalekite armies. Only 400 of the 600 accompanied him into the battle. David, however, never makes mention of his small numbers. He continually focused upon the power of his God. He continually sought the Lord for his guidance and strength. He relied upon the power of God to give him victory – not the might of men.

So often we remain discouraged because we focus upon our weaknesses, our minimal resources, our inabilities etc. We must learn like David to focus rather upon the power of God. We must learn to continually seek His guidance, wisdom, power and strength. No matter how formidable our enemy when God goes before us – victory is assured.

Dear Sister, are you discouraged today? Are there struggles or issues that you feel are pressing the breath out of you? God can and will give you victory over every situation and circumstance if you will yield to Him. No situation is too difficult for the Lord to overcome. Post a comment or send me an email at I will personally pray with you and for you. Let us continually lift each other in prayer – The Lord will see us through!

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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