Out of the Pit: What to Do When You Are Discouraged

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When I am super discouraged or my hope is deferred, I am cautious of whom I talk to. I don’t want anyone speaking death over me, agreeing with what is going on, or giving me advice that contradicts the truth of the Word of God. Every time, I am very careful of whom I speak to and whom I lock arms with.

Everyone’s steadfastness in the Lord can have highs and lows—with moments of firm commitment and, other times, feelings of weakness. If I focus on my circumstances, I can easily become discouraged. When I focus on the face of Jesus, everything He paid for on the cross, and the truth of God’s Word, my hope can be revived. He has been faithful in the past and will be faithful today. He is faithful today, and He will be faithful tomorrow. My God is good, but sometimes I have to ask myself, “Do I really believe who God says He is? Do I believe it?”

What I do to get myself out of a pit—because I seem to be in one this morning—is start praying. I tell God how I really feel. I don’t hold back. I give Him all my ugly thoughts and all my ugly words. I give Him all my doubt and disappointment. I confess it all.

The next thing I do is start asking Him whom I could talk to, who could encourage me. I don’t need anybody to crawl into a pit with me because then we would both be stuck down low. I need someone who is up high and will encourage me with mercy, love, and truth. I need someone who will say, “That sucks, but God is really the only person or thing we can put our hope in.” I ask the Lord to bring someone to mind, or I simply listen and wait for peace. He will direct my steps if I ask Him. “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2 NIV). But if you seek Him, you will find Him.

Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone else. I let the Holy Spirit be my comforter. Today what came to mind was that I needed to call into a prayer line with beliefs similar to mine. I know, without a doubt, 100% of the time, they will strongly encourage me. They will agree with me in the truth and renew my hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and it is certain. It is absolutely resolved. It is believing for things that aren’t seen; it’s not visible. Man’s eye can’t see, but I am sure it is there.

I am reminded of the testimony of a man named Allen Moore. He had a stroke. He is not supposed to be able to walk or talk. His MRI to this date reveals that the part of his brain related to these abilities does not work. With man’s eye, it appears he should not be talking or walking, yet he does. I have met him personally, and he is walking and talking—living the unseen.

I start reminding myself of all the things God has done for me in my life and my family. I start reminding myself of the miracles and the power of God that have been on display in my life for years. As I do that, it encourages me. I am encouraging and sharpening myself in the Lord and in the truth. It awakens me and gives me hope. It gets rid of doubt. It doesn’t increase my faith, but it begins to smash out any doubt so my hope can be renewed. When my hope is renewed, faith is restored. Faith is present.

I can use my imagination in faith to see a part of my body completely healed and whole again. What would it look like the next time I can see it? I won’t look at it again until I have done this for a while and feel it is time.

When I fall into a pit, I do this to get out of it. How about you?

Being a Woman of God

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I had a God encounter. I spoke with a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart. We shared testimonies while we did some dishes. It was a random meet for only a moment between women a few generations apart.

She had lost her husband of thirty years. I began to weep at the thought of even starting to lose mine. All those little things I am nagging about—like his socks beside the bed and the protein powder he sprinkles but never wipes off the counter—started to grow faint. These are minor issues. They’re immaterial, really. Why does this type of thing bother me? Why does it nag me? Why do I have to open my mouth? Shut up. Shut up. I hear it repeating in my head. I would rather have those socks on the floor, and the protein powder on my counter than not have him there at all. Who cares about the house? It’s about people.

She told me her last words to him were, “Hey, you aren’t supposed to be doing that.” He was on doctor’s orders not to do certain things because his heart was fragile. She said she had to forgive him for doing things outside of what he was supposed to do because that was who he was. He didn’t want to be someone different. He didn’t want to live a different life.

I have been thinking about this nonstop. I thought that if we knew how to war in the name of Jesus Christ, then the dead would be raised up until they had long lives. When we are given a doctor’s report, we don’t have to receive it. We don’t have to receive the doctor’s report. We have to stand up in the name of Jesus Christ and receive the truth for our medicine, not a fact. I thought to myself, “If that happened to me, I would not only have to forgive my husband, but I would also have to forgive myself for not being the warrior that I was supposed to be, for not being someone so firmly established in the truth that facts don’t faze me.”

Truth is my fact. The truth should be my reality above everything else in this world. I do live in this world. I live in a body, but the truth is that I am a spirit. I am a spirit with God living in me. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. It does no good to have that power inside of me if I can’t use it in this world, if I can’t draw on it to help people. It does no good if I just receive all the dark, sick evil in this world. It does no good whatsoever.

I want to be a woman of God. I want to be a lioness arising, according to Lisa Bevere. I want to be a woman standing at the gate with my sword and refusing to let in any stealing, killing, and destroying. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me, and I have been commissioned and called by God and given authority over darkness in the name of Jesus Christ.

I hope you have a God encounter today and a revelation that changes you forever. Stand up, ladies. Stand up, women of God. Stand firmly in the truth, knowing that this is a spiritual battle. It is not a battle in physical. It is won through the name of Jesus Christ.

Compounding Effect of God

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How do you make a big impact in the kingdom of God?

In Nehemiah, they rebuilt the wall that had been down for 150 years. They had tried to repair the wall, but they failed. Have you ever embarked on a huge project, and it turned out to be bigger than you, larger than anything you can imagine? You start working on it, and it’s too big to overcome?

The only way to overcome a massive project like that is to break it down into the smallest steps, the simplest ones that anyone can carry out. That’s what Nehemiah did. He had each person repair the wall outside their home. “So our city walls are torn down. What if we repair the walls just in our two next-door neighbors? One to the left and one to the right? What if we just worked on those?”

What they found out is the enemy doesn’t like restoration. The enemy doesn’t want us to repair broken-down people or rebuild and take away strongholds. No, the enemy wants us with our defenses down and easily attacked. He wants our neighbors to stay in bondage, and because of that, he sends obstacles, threats, and all kinds of barriers into our path.

So what Nehemiah did was say, “Hey, we gotta fight against the enemy who is trying to come in, but keep working at the same time.” Often, we’re either all out throwing down in fighting or all out working. So what we need to do is do what Nehemiah did. What he did was he said, “Hey. I need to have three hands holding a weapon and defeating and fending off the enemy so that the worker with one hand can keep busy and continue his work.” So for every four hands, four hands defended against the enemy, and one hand did the work.

If we want to see the compounding effects of God’s work in our world, we have to have three hands with a sword and one doing the work. Today, those continuously praying are holding back forces we can’t see in the spirit realm for those doing all the labor. They’re clearing the roadway. The spirit realm is like an interstate with a major traffic jam. The only way to clear it is through prayer because God’s angels will come and push back that darkness.

So when we want to see the compounding effects of God’s work in the things we’re doing, we need to assign people that are called and equipped and gifted with prayer and have them intercede on our behalf while we’re doing the work.


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Some seasons are just more challenging than others. 

I’ve been in a season where I have been towing a load that feels painful and tough. 

Yet, at every corner, I am lavished with God’s favor. I mean lavished! I can’t be easily offended because good continues to rain down. I can’t feel rejected because God continues to bring new life, encouragement, and support. One leaves. One comes. One says no. Someone says yes! People slam doors, but God opens new ones! 

Desert mirages fool your eyes into thinking there’s water and refreshment amid the drought. 
But in God’s world, the desert is a mirage. Even when it feels and appears dry, there’s living water and refreshment all around! 

What season are you in?

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
—Psalm 1:1–3 (NIV)

Seek God Finished

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So many of us run around on eggshells, wondering if God is watching every move we make, judging us, criticizing us, and making us disappointed and angry. But if you read the Word in Genesis 1, God’s first act after creating man was to bless them. He didn’t bring the law, the rules, and the hammer. He blessed them. His original objective for man was to pour out His blessings and to love us. It wasn’t to hurt us or criticize us.

What’s truly awesome is that you will see why Jesus died on the cross when you study Galatians. It says Jesus came so the blessing God gave to Abraham could be restored unto us. That is the first reason He came. He came to restore the blessing.

But many of us are still living under the old covenant. We are still living in the Old Testament times, under the law. Galatians says, “Who has bewitched you and put you under the law? Weren’t you saved by grace?” Why do we continue to live by the law when we are a new creation, created to live by grace through Christ, who gives us strength, who is our righteousness? We are the righteousness of Christ. We are no longer jars of clay. We are a new creation, and John 5 says we have crossed from death unto life. Heaven on earth is knowing God. John 17:3 says eternal life is knowing God. It is to know God. That is what eternal life is. It starts today. It starts now.

What is different between the old and new covenants, before Christ and after Christ? It is that Christ sent His Holy Spirit—the all-powerful, all-mighty God who created heaven and earth—to live inside His people. That didn’t happen before. We couldn’t be a house of the Holy Spirit. We couldn’t be a house of God. We couldn’t be His temple because Christ had not come and made us clean to house the Holy Spirit. We weren’t worthy of it. He made us worthy. We never go back. We can’t say, “Without Him, I am weak,” because we are never without Him. If you say that, then you don’t understand you are truly never without Him once you’re in Him. It’s impossible ever to be without Him again. You are with Him.

It takes a while to renew your mind and truly understand what transpired that made you who you are. You are no longer that old person barely saved. You are the righteousness of Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father with Jesus. You have a constant defender, an intercessor, who is Jesus. You constantly have God on your side whenever you are weak in your tent or your flesh. You are strong in Him because He is in you. It is up to you to renew your mind and have faith in who He says you are in order for His power to work in you.He says, “I can do more than you can even imagine according to my power at work in you.”

What kind of vessel are you? Are you one in whom His power is working?

Are You in a Battle?

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Are you in a battle for your health, your life, your encouragement, or your positivity today? Don’t sit around and wait until you have no doubts. You have to choose to believe God’s word. It’s a daily choice. You are never going to live this life without any doubts at all until you are in heaven.

We battle. We battle our minds. We battle our flesh. That is why the Lord tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Him. That’s why we are supposed to be a living sacrifice. Sacrifice that is living continually wants to walk, get up, and move up to the altar and take up its own agenda.

We have a battle. There is a raging battle between the flesh and the spirit all the time. To assume you are not going to have any doubts is just deceiving yourself. It’s okay. Just choose to believe God’s word. Put the doubts down. Take the thought captive. Refuse to dwell on them; think about them, but focus more on God’s promises than on your doubts.

You are not being a hypocrite when you choose to believe God’s word when you are in the middle of a struggle. You are actually deciding who you really are. “Am I really this person in the flesh who is in the middle of a battle between my doubts and my faith, or am I who God says I am?” Do you think the real you is your natural mind—your carnal mind? Or do you believe your spirit man is your true self? You must decide who your true self is and begin to live it.

I know the flesh is powerful. It feels like the real you. The doubts are the real you. But the Bible says you become a new creation. You are born again. You’re now a child of God, an alien in this world. You have crossed over out of death and into life. Who is the real you? You have to decide: “This is the real me.”

“The new you on the inside is perfect and has the mind of Christ,” says 1 Corinthians 2:16. Colossians 3:10 says we have been renewed in the knowledge and the image that created us. 1 John 2:1 says we know all things. It’s not talking about what’s in our mind. It’s talking about what’s in your spirit. We are just too carnal. Instead of tapping into God’s power and unlimited knowledge, we believe we are limited by what we know and our knowledge.We limit God’s ability to work in our lives and our ability to agree with Him when we agree with our thoughts, our own understanding.

The new you on the inside is righteous, holy, and pure. If you believe the real you has been truly born again, is a new creation, and you are who God says you are, then you are a hypocrite for agreeing with your fleshly doubts. If you consider being a hypocrite as speaking the word of God and believing you are the righteousness of Christ, then you think the real you is the emotional, physical you and not the spiritual one that has been born again.

It’s time to find out who you are in Christ and change your identity—to have that identity of who you are in Him. Be more true than what you look like, what you feel like, what your emotions say, what has happened to you, and the circumstances around you, so you would truly know who God says you are and agree with that more than anything else. It would be greater and larger than anything that comes against you. You would not be faithless in challenges if you would simply believe God.

Is God in Control?

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I hear Christians say, “God is in control,” all the time. Generally, when I hear people say that, it is when they are freaking out. “God is in control. God is in control. I trust Him. He is in control.” I wonder if they truly believe this or if they are just saying it, trying to convince themselves of it.

I have been thinking about this line, “God is in control.” If God is in complete control, then how can we limit Him? Matthew Henry’s commentary regarding Psalm 78:41, about how God’s people limited God, explains, “They limited him by their ways and their timing.” They limited God because they had forgotten how powerful, miraculous, kind, and awesome He is. Have you forgotten? Do you focus on the negativity and the things you lack rather than on the God who provides plentifully? Maybe you are limiting God. If you are limiting Him, He is not in control of you.

If God is in control, why is He working things out for your good? If He is in control, why does He have to work everything that happens out for good? Working it out means He is fixing something you messed up or that went the wrong way or got redirected or delayed. Maybe something was delayed because you were limiting God, and He was working it out for your good. Is God in control of that? Or is He in charge of that? If God is in control, why does His power only work in accordance “with his power at work in me,” as Ephesians 3:20 says?

Have you met people in whom the power of God is more powerful than in someone else? It may be because of their faith or because of the Word in them. Maybe they have experienced God so far that His power operates more fully in them than in others. Have you seen this before? It’s not because they have more faith. It’s because they lean in, so their faith is more effective. They trust God. They have kept the Word before their eyes.

Faith is made more effective by hearing the Word of God. If I hear the Word of God more than you do, then I have the opportunity to make a difference in how much God’s power works in me. My decision to spend time in His Word—is God in control of that? Or am I in control of that? Is God in charge of me? If God is in control, why must I choose life? Why does Deuteronomy 30:19 say, “Today you have before you life and death, blessings and curses. Today choose life.”? If God is in control, why is God not choosing life for me? Why do I have a choice?

I want to pose that question to you. Is God in control, or is God in charge? Maybe our terminology, somewhere along the way, became a little bit skewed based on something someone taught us or something they heard that didn’t actually come from the Word of God.

God is in control when we surrender and pray every moment of the day. Are you in constant communion with God? I know I’m not. If God is in control, are we puppets tied to a string, doing what He says to do at every move because He is our master? Or is He in control only when we surrender our ways, our timing, our thinking, and our plans to His? Have you ever fully surrendered all of that to Him, or do you hold on to your own understanding and lean in on what you know and understand? Are we mere robots in this world, or do we have free will? Is God forceful, or does He allow us to make the decision to surrender to Him or not?

Why doesn’t God force His love on us? Why doesn’t He force us to accept Him? Have you ever had someone reject the gift you gave them or return it to the store? You’d think, “I worked hard to pick it out, and they don’t even like it.” Imagine how God feels. He has given you the greatest gift! Have you fully accepted it? Do you have a choice? Does He force you to? If God were in complete control, then every man would come to repentance because such is His heart. But does every man come to repentance? God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, so if He is in control, then why is there so much evil in this world?

I propose to you that God is in charge. He is in control when we surrender, give it up, and stay in communion with Him—when He is the one guiding us and we allow Him to direct every move of every day. I don’t know a single person like that. Maybe you are. I am not. I have my agenda. I have my plan. I stay in communion with God, but I definitely lean on my own understanding and my own way sometimes.

I know many of you are struggling right now, and you desperately want to cling to the Father and trust Him. You want to cling to His promises, and you are saying, “God is in control. He has got this. God is in control.” You are trying so hard to believe and trust Him. I want you to know it’s easier than you think. It is not hard work because the answer to all of God’s promises is yes and amen. His yes does not mean maybe. His yes does not mean no. His yes does not mean later. His yes means yes. Amen means “the end.” The final answer is yes.

Yes is the answer to His promises. You can cling to the truth of this. You don’t have to say, “God is in control.” You can say, “God is faithful to keep His promise, and I am standing on the Word of God, and this will come to pass.” I can say this with full assurance because God’s Word never changes. He never changes His mind. What He does for one man, He will do for another, because He is no respecter of persons.

I speak this over your life today in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.


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Lord, help me in my anger not to sin.

Help me to think on things that are pure, lovely, and of a good report.
God, I know that a man who controls his anger is mightier than one who takes a city.
God, my frustrations are many and my fuse short.
Give me patience and wisdom, Lord.
Wisdom is worth more to me than anything else.
God, I will search for it as gold and seek it like rubies.
Lord, let me not be an angry man or partake in his ways.
Give me wisdom!
Give me love!
Take my anger far from me and give me
A pure heart!

Give me a new mind.
Help me renew my heart and mind.
Let me think on You.
Help me meditate on Your Word day and night.
Hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.
Bless me, Lord, with a pure heart,
One of flesh and not stone.
Give me compassion for frustration, grace for violence, humility for pride.
Lord, remove my anger far from me and fill its place with Your love.

• Authored by Josh Pugh •

Better a Neighbor Nearby

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I’m a mom of three. I enjoy watching my children participate in their activities.I frequent dance and vocal recitals, as well as music and worship nights. I do have a sense of pride and joy in my heart when I see them express their love for God through their gifts. When I watch Jaden Stanley lead worship, I feel the same way. When I see a friend’s kid dance and lead across the stage with joy in her heart—and I know her heart—I feel the same way. Yet I know so many mothers who do not have the same kind of love for anyone else’s kids or grandkids that they have for their own. I don’t understand it.

I think that having the same love for other people that you have for your own natural-born children is the spirit of adoption. How can you not celebrate every life? God does. I think sometimes we elevate the bloodline family so much that we miss the bloodline of Jesus’ family. We don’t step into the roles we need to because there might be a missing link. We don’t step into the roles where we truly love each other.

John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). The world will know we belong to Christ by the way we love each other in the body of Christ—not by the way we love our own family, strangers, or lost people. It’s not by the way we serve the homeless. They will know us by the way we take care of the body of Christ.

My kids have been without a grandma for many years. One year, a friend’s mom stepped in and blessed them with the voice of a grandma in their life. She met once a week with a little group of girls just to pour the Word into them. It was so precious. I loved her so much for doing that. I have also had an aunt step in who never forgets a birthday. She always remembers them. They feel dearly loved by her. Sometimes I have so many friends who could step in, and I ask the Lord why someone hasn’t. Why hasn’t someone nearby stepped in?

“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away,” says Proverbs 27:10 (NIV). I believe our family is supposed to be nearby, but it’s the family of God that fills those shoes while our family is away. When our family is together, we can take on the roles we were naturally born into. When we are far apart, it seems we should fill those places with spiritual roles. I should be a spiritual mother to somebody when his or her natural mother is not present. Someone should be a spiritual grandmother to my children because their natural grandmother is not present.

I think life is too busy. We’re too busy. It’s too easy to travel and fill those roles on a periodic basis rather than filling them where you are. I went through a season where I really grieved that loss for my family. It has made me realize that if something ever happened to me, I would pray to God that someone would fill that spiritual role of mother in my kids’ lives.

I wonder today if you have in your heart that love—that spirit of adoption—you need to give away to someone. Do you need to step into a spiritual family role and be a love bug to someone in your life?

When I was a little girl, I had a home with a mom and a stepdad, but I went to church all by myself for years. I went alone from the time I was ten until I was seventeen. I wonder why no one ever really adopted me and had the spirit of adoption to bring me into her family. Why didn’t anyone ever pick me up and take me to dinner or get me off of the church bus and start inviting me over for lunch? Why didn’t anyone start investing in me and teaching me the Word of God? The only conclusion I can draw is that the people there didn’t have the love in their hearts to give away.

That is why we don’t step into a role where we may be needed. We don’t have the love in our hearts, or we don’t have the time. The enemy will do anything to keep us too busy to demonstrate the love Christ put in us and show the world, “Hey, look how the people in the family of God take care of one another. Isn’t it awesome how this family cares for these children?”

As long as the enemy can keep us busy—too busy to love—the love of God will not be on display. It’s easy to love your own family, but it’s hard to find time to love others. I encourage you to look around in your life and see how you can truly love others today.

Sing Your Way into Truth

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Some people think that because you, as a Christ follower, refuse to live out of your trials or base your identity on your trials, you may not believe you will face trials and suffering—but this is just not true.

It’s simply a different view that, while in the middle of trials and suffering, your mind and heart continue to focus on God. You don’t surrender to the desire to drop your head and pity yourself. Sure, sometimes you feel like it, but you choose to rise above your feelings because you know your God is so worthy of you. You choose to believe His truth more than you believe what your heart feels.

God is unmoved by our circumstances. They are merely shifting winds to Him. He is steady and able in all things, not just some things. He is our Rock, our Provider, our All in all. There is nothing we lack in Him, even when we feel lacking. We lack no good thing in Jesus!

The reason I love “You Satisfy My Soul” by Laura Hackett so much is because of this line:

“Sometimes, you gotta sing your way into the truth!”

Powerful words!

It’s easy to receive and embrace your trials and suffering, but when you really think about it, you are making it about you—you are still glorifying yourself. But when you glorify God, He gets it all. He is magnified. He is the One who is worthy of everything—our attention, our songs, our joy, our everything.

Sometimes—though it’s so, so difficult—we have to choose to sing our way into the truth!

Reach for truth. Make it your mantle. Make your afflictions last on your list of concerns compared to the awesomeness and glory of our God. “Let God be true but every man a liar”—including yourself (Romans 3:4 NKJV).

So sing your way into the truth. Sing it!