Part 3 - I am Encouraged
INTRODUCTION TO TOPIC: Encourage Yourself
Today, I want to to talk to you about encouraging yourself. In the Hebrew Bible, we do not have a word for "encourage" we have a word picture for what it looks like, feels like and results when someone is weak, bullied, harassed, burdened, attacked, oppressed and slowly, purposely they are made to feel empowered, victorious, more than a conqueror to face whatever is in front of the person.
In Hebrew we say it like this: Hitchazak "strengthen yourself." or Etchazak "I will strengthen myself." We use what is called the Hithpael stem which take a normal verb and makes the subject of the verb the "cause" of the action. In Hebrew you can say, "I went to the gym today to work out" or you can use the exact same verb in the Hithpael to say, "I made myself get up out of bed and go to the gym today." It implies that something is working against you that you had to muster up all the will-power you had left to make yourself to do the action.
INTRODUCTION TO TOPIC: Encourage Others
We all face the battle against discouragement. It is essential that we learn to encourage ourselves but you also need some other people…. It is good to have other people to encourage you. It is not just good to encourage others it is a Scriptural command:
But encourage one another day by day—as long as it is called “Today”—so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
He says as long as it is called “today” - is it “today” yes we are still in a “today” - your job on planet earth is to encourage people. During Rabbi Paul’s day the believers of Messiah were being painted as criminals, outlaws, scoundrels, betrayers of the roman government and betrayers of their own people. Rabbi Paul says don’t let your heart become hardened by this deceit people are putting out about others, no, you encourage them. You affirm your brothers and sisters in Messiah are blood bought, they are heirs and co-heirs, they have been seated in heavenly places, the story is not over for them, God is going to take them to the next level in their lives.
When you get a group of people around you encouraging you and you start to encourage yourself in the Lord the situation around you starts to look smaller. The outcome starts to look different, the light at the end of the tunnel starts to get brighter. The sickness starts to look smaller, the crises starts to become manageable, the tragedy will not last, the mourning starts to fade to joy, the hope starts to flood your soul, confidence starts to fill your mind, assurance begins to enter in for the future.
INTRODUCTION TO TOPIC: Encouraged by God
And we are going to to talk about today how encouraging others is not only God’s mandate on all believers but when you encourage others you are giving a gift from heaven.
Whether it is you or another person they will start to hear God’s voice encouraging them, they will start to come into contact with the God of all encouragement.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement.
Feedback loop of encouragement
When you get to where you can encourage yourself, you got some others encouraging you and you have the God of all encouragement encouraging you you will keep the enemy out of the situation and keep God in the center of the challenge you are facing, the discouragement coming against you.
You will start to hear the words of Isaiah 41:10 (Quote Don’t Screen)
Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
or Psalm 10:17-18 (Quote Don’t Screen)
You hear, Adonai, the desire of the meek. You encourage them and incline Your ear. You vindicate the orphan and oppressed, so that man, who is earthly, may terrify no more.
If you don’t learn to encourage yourself you will only have a temporary win and not a long term victory. God puts people in your life who will encourage you, should encourage you but you have to learn to encourage yourself to get a long term victory.
This is what David had to do.
Now it came to pass, when David and his men returned to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire; taking the women in it captive, young and old, without killing anyone, but carried them off as they went their way. So when David and his men came to the town, behold, it was burned with fire—and their wives, their sons and their daughters had been taken captives. Then David and the troops with him lifted up their voice and wept until they there was no more strength in them to weep. Even David’s two wives were taken captive—Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow.
Let me give you a little set-up here. David in 1 Samuel 27 had gotten tired of the duplicity of Saul. So he took his two wives and his loyal warriors and went into hiding in the Philistine territory of Gath. Knowing Saul would not try to invade Philistine territory to attack David. David went into hiding with 600 of his men.
David built up an unlikely trust with a Philistinian lord named Achish. Yet, David was playing a dangerous game because every time Achish would send David out to attack Israeli territories he would instead attack the enemies of Israel. This deception of David secured his status as king with his allegiant warriors and he became something of a robin hood for the people of Israel.
Trusting in David’s false reports, Achish invites David to join the Philistines in the impending battle against Israel. However, the Philistine commanders oppose the alliance and ultimately compel Achish to send David and his men back to Philistia—away from the battle.
While they were traveling back to Gath to meet back with the families the Amalekites had attacked and taken all their material possession, their wives and children probably intending to make them sex slaves and labor slaves.
I’ve been through some hard times in my life but I have never been in this kind of a hard time, this kind of a tragedy. We understand David’s grieving, his heart is crushed. Then it says 1 Sam 30:6
So David was in a serious bind, for the troops were calling for his stoning, for all the troops were bitter of soul, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in Adonai his God.
His family kidnapped, his city destroyed, his friends, his bravest warriors were all ready to put him down.
Sometimes when you need people the most, the people who you really need to cheer you up will not be there. These are hard times.
Your friends may not want to stone you. They are busy, they are having a bad time. Maybe they are managing a crises themselves. There are just some people they are conflict avoiders and so the minute the going gets tough, the tough get going.
It is in these times, you have to know how to encourage yourself in the Lord. You have to draw from deep pockets. I think David began to draw out some deep waters.
I think David started to reminded himself of former acts of God on his behalf: the lion, the bear, the giant, the worship of Adonai that drove demons away. I think he started to encourage himself, that if God had called him to be king he would be king. I think he started to say things like:
I am anointed of Adonai, Saul slew his thousands, David his tens of thousands.
I am the head and not the tail.
I am more than a conquerer.
I know the Lord of Hosts and he will fight my battles.
I think he dug down deep, started to stir up the deep waters of God’s acts in his life. While eyes were looking up on him to stone him, he was putting his eyes on God to deliver him.
And I think some of you are in this room and right now you are in this moment. You are in this season where something has gone wrong, life has not worked out, you made a mistake at work, you messed up at school, something you said or did in your marriage and the people who once would have given their lives for you are now turning on you.
Start replaying like David those moments. Recall those strengths. Also, replay the memories of others and start claiming the God who rescued Him is the same God who will rescue me.
Some of you would be a lot more positive, would get your joy back if you would learn how to encourage yourself.
Once David began to encourage himself in the Lord something swtiched, something changed with the men that were surrounding him. Rather than trying to stone him, they decided to take up sword with him. It says that David took 600 men, then 200 dropped of because of fatigue and some more dropped off. Seems like David was moving at a lightning pace and he was not waiting for the back of the pack to stay up with him. He gave chase with those who would run with him and it says in 1 Sam 30:18-19
So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. There was nothing of theirs missing, whether young or old, sons or daughters, spoils or anything else that had been carried off—David recovered everything.
Feedback loop of encouragement
After David encouraged himself, he could then encourage the men with him. Then they went and fought the battle and won.
What can you encourage yourself over?
We have a tendency to paint the picture all bad and not the good. My mom, who outside of my wife, is my greatest supporter posted a video for me a few weeks because I was down in the dumps about something. The video talked about a school teacher that wrote the 9’s multiplication table but the only problem was that the first problem was wrong. The students laughed and made fun of him, Pointed out his error and murmured things like “how could he be a teacher.”
He said, “I did not miss this problem I wanted to teach you about a problem.” He said, “you have done nothing but laugh, heckle and give me a hard time about the one I missed” but none of you praise, commend or value the other problems that I got right.
He said I wanted to teach a lesson, in the real world people are like this. At your job, they will always focus on the one mistake, the one problem,
The world will not appreciate all the good you do, but it will pull you down for the one mistake you made.
Don’t paint your life history in light of one mistake or two mistakes. Turn back and look at all the amazing things that you have done. Look at all the good you have accomplished. Look at all that the Lord has accomplished through you.
You have to encourage yourself in the Lord (Image)
My mind should be messed up but God…
My family should be messed up but encourage yourself
My finances should be messed up but encourage yourself
How do you encourage yourself in the Lord? You start acting like if it was true for them, it is true for me. That is what Hezekiah did. The King of Assyria was laying siege to Jerusalem. And Hezekiah went pack to the words of a great prophet of Israel named Elisha in 2 Chronicles 32:7
“Chazak! Be courageous! Do not be afraid or dismayed by the king of Assyria and the whole horde that is with him—for we have more with us than he has with him!
Hezekiah is saying, “chazak” be encouraged and then he directly quotes 2 Kings 6:16 and says, “if it was true for Elisha when he was surrounded, it is true for me when I am surrounded.”
I have my prayer journal and inside of it I have a growing list of what the Word of God says I am!
Quote some of those
You have to encourage each other in the Lord
Strengthen the limp hands, make firm the wobbly knees. Say to those with anxious heart, “Be strong, have no fear!” Behold, your God! Vengeance is coming! God’s recompense—it is coming! Then He will save you.
Some time ago a good friend of mine finished serving in the IDF and he returned back to the United States. He was having a hard time transitioning back into civilian life from military life and an even harder time transitioning back in to US life and an even harder time transitioning back to the Messianic movement.
He stumbling and and struggling and a lot people were pushing him down rather than trying to bring him up. I had walked with this guy for years and I refused, just refused to let a temporary set back become a permanent defeat.
I called him, spoke words of life into him, found every little thing he was doing right and pointed to it and said there is proof of God working in your life. I cheered on every success he made. When he couldn’t make rent because times got tough, we offered to pay his rent for him.
He was doubting God, he was doubting all his friends but he was not doubting me. I knew my job was not to prove and point out all his “wrongs.”
If you want to be part of the encourager ministry of Isaiah 35:3-4 you are going to have to learn this principle:
Being in relationship is more important than being right.
I did not need to prove to my friend he was wrong and I was right. Forget that. It was okay for him to not be okay.
His hurts, his pains, his struggles, his battles, his PTSD was real. He was not okay. And it was not going away quickly, but he knew I was in his corner and I did not let up. I kept on encouraging him and sticking with him.
I would take the fangs, the bite of out his mistakes. Rather than blow up and magnify the one problem, I would say to him, “Bro, it is alright no one ever walks up to the plate and hits a home run the first time. You got to strike out a few times. You got swing and miss the ball to feel your way into the sweet spot.”
I would tell him, “Listen no one gets right the first few times. Come on! My first 250 or so sermons I ever preached. I set a match to them. No good.”
I would take the bit out of the mistakes. I was doing what Isa 35:3
Strengthen the limp hands, make firm the wobbly knees.
I remember one time I was out running a half-marathon for funsies. My body was in much pain. Aches, pains and you name it. My body was telling me to quit but my heart was telling me to push on. I could not find the fortitude to go much further. I called my friend Joe Hollar, a former marathon runner, and told him about my pains and my aches.
He started to say to me, “Michael, the pain will not go away. Feel it under your feet. In your knees, in your legs. Now, Michael, rise above that pain. You are stronger than that pain. That pain will not stop you, it is going to motivate you. Push through the pain. Just like you pushed through the pains of addiction when you came to Messiah, and just like you pushed through other pains in your life. Push, Push...” He was right, I had to push through.
Little did I know it but a year later when I was facing some spiritual heartache and pain. I called Joe because he is my friend and Shamesh here He said, “Michael, remember that day when I told you had to push through pain running, you are going to have to push through again!”
You need to a person who can help others push through some pain and you need some people to help you push through some pain in your life.
Rabbi Paul said it this way: Romans 1:11-12
For I long to see you, so I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you. That is to say, we would be encouraged together by one another’s faithfulness—both yours and mine.
Every time I see what God is doing here: the new families, the new staff, the new movement of God. I start thanking God and something stirs up on the inside of me. I just know God can do anything.
I am so encouraged by what I see God doing here every week. I am encouraged how men and women are strengthening each other in our Chavurot, in our Master Life, in our prayer ministry, the Moedim, the Sisterhood, the Greeters and the Ushers. The conversations that are taking place week in and week out.
I hope that everyone has that person that can speak that word of encouragement to you that will strengthen you.
When I was at the Messiah Conference, Lauren and I were hanging out with two of my heroes in the faith: Michael and Eva Rydelnik. We were sharing testimonies and stories of all that God was doing here at CBM and what God has been doing through them at Moody Bible Inst. up in Chicago. WE were having a great talk when all of the sudden this guy came up and started hounding Dr. Rydelnik about some trivial Hebrew roots matter or something. Dr. R said, “You know. This is more of a question for a Rabbi. This is Rabbi Michael Vowell one of the best messianic rabbis, in my opinion, in the US. Let’s ask him.”
Michael R. has been my mentor for almost 14 years. He has authored books and has a radio broadcast with millions of listeners. I wasn’t made arrogant by it, I was humbled and in a pool of tears. He strengthened in my walk with his words of encouragement and from time to time when I am down in myself I can remember those words and be strengthened in the Lord.
when you encourage others you are giving a gift from heaven.
Encouragement of the Messiah.