Gospel song: Better by Kirk Franklin
Persecuted, pushed away, didn't think I'd live to see another day
Cried some tears and couldn't pray and when I'd try at times
I couldn't find the words to say, but now
I'm stronger, because of you without you Jesus I never could've made it through
Thank you for watching me loving me and telling me...
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” John 16:33a
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26
“So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials.” 2 Peter 2:9a
Discouragement is something we all experience...life happens, and it doesn't always leave us with a warm, fuzzy feeling. When events in our lives go awry, people who we thought we could count on turn their backs on us, bad news hits us, etc., our first reaction sometimes is to give in to the negative feelings that result...discouragement, bitterness, anger, etc. Our prayers, quiet time with God, attending church, and Christian fellowship may become the furthest things from our minds.
The enemy loves when we isolate and separate ourselves from God, that's when we are the most vulnerable and susceptible to believing his lies..."things will never get better", "I'm no good", "God hates me".
The truth is...we are precious to God (Isaiah 43:4), He will guide us through our situations if we trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6), and nothing can ever stop God from loving us (Romans 8:39).
God wants us to turn to Him during our trials, so that He can rescue us (2 Peter 2:9a)...not necessarily from our circumstances, but from the enemy whose main goal is to turn us away from our Heavenly Father. When we focus on God, we will find joy and strength (Nehemiah 8:10) through His word, prayer, encouragement from friends, wise counsel, etc., but we have to seek it...God's peace is always within our reach (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7, Acts 17:27).
Please describe a time when you allowed the enemy's lies to get the better of you. What was the result?
Also, describe a time when you fought against the enemy's lies with the truths in God's word. Describe your victory.
(If someone in your group is facing a challenge right now, please pray for and encourage them during your group time.)