Do not be discouraged. Do not allow yourself to despair.

Psalm 27:14 simply states, “Wait for the Lord. Be Strong, Take Courage. Trust in the Lord.” Over the last year, I am guessing, like me, many of you have struggled with trusting God given all that is going on in the world. Every time it looks like things are settling down giving us a glimmer of hope, we hear that the virus is mutating, virus cases continue to spike, and despite the promises, the vaccine continues to be out of most of our reach. Whether it is being lonely, out of work, knowing people who are sick; These things are creating angst in all of us. I would like to write that these challenges will be soon be over. Instead, I want to share what I have learned during this self-isolation season of my life.
As I try to embrace the uncertainty of these days, one thing has become quite clear. The Bible’s call to trust God and serve others is what lifts me out of the feelings of despair or discouragement. Writing this blog post is a great example of this thought process. There was lots going on this weekend and I just didn’t feel like writing. I asked, “what do I have to say about remaining thankful in all things?” What I have to say is finding ways to serve others can make the difference as it lifts you out of your own pity party when you see what you do for others can make a difference. Here are a few messages I received over the last couple days that what we do for others can have a positive impact while also lifting our own spirits.
“A little reflection on Christian love…..You are a precious friend. I will always remember you and Dottie’s love and support.”

“Michael. Thanks for your steadfast communication with me.” “The Lord used you right on time this AM. One day I will explain how this meant more today than you can know”

“My mother truly appreciates your thinking of her and the support”

The scripture says in John 15:10,11 “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” The commands Jesus is talking about are found in the Gospel of Matthew 22:37-39. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

I have found that encouragement comes from knowing God loves me. I then try to focus on sharing that love by serving others as He has commands. It has worked for me. I pray and believe it will work for you too!

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