In Need of Encouragement?

Is it just me, or does the world seem like a very dark place right now? The economy is in shambles. People are losing their jobs left and right. Families are losing their homes. Even illness and disease is at an all-time high. Things are looking grim.

The worst part is that we can't escape it. At a recent ladies' meeting, the "hot topic" at our table was lay-offs and salary cuts. Just the other day in the store, I heard a lady talking on her cell phone. She was saying, "Yeah, the unemployment is not much, but it's better than nothing. I'm just trying to make do." The news is shoving it down our throats. Even our pastors are proclaiming it from the pulpit. Our nation is in a mess!

I, like many other people, have found myself suffering from extreme discouragement, sometimes even to the point of depression. The noise around me seems to be shouting, "There's no hope! There's no hope!" I struggle to keep my faith strong, but it seems like each day presents me with a new problem. Frankly, I've found myself contemplating just giving up. I've caught myself saying, "Why do I even try? Everything is falling apart. I might as well fall apart with it."

But, in those times, a verse or song will come to my mind. The words ring through my conscience, reminding me that I'm not alone, and that God is doing a work in my life. No, these thoughts don't solve the problems, but they do give me a renewed strength to face and overcome the obstacles before me. They give me motivation to finish my race.

For any of you who need encouragement today, I would like to share with you a few of my favorite verses. I hope they will strengthen you in the same way they strengthen me.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. - Psalm 37:23-24

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. - Hebrews 13:5

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? - Romans 8:31

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. - Jeremiah 29:11

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. - Joshua 1:8-9

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. - Philippians 4:8-9

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. - I Peter 5:6-7

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? - Psalm 118:6

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. - Psalm 126:5-6

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. - Psalm 121 1-2

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. - Psalm 91:2

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. - Psalm 84:11

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. - Psalm 62:8

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. - Psalm 56:3