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Many people are experiencing distressing times these days with the pandemic going on around us literally around the world. But, we know that a pandemic doesn't have to strike for people to contract distressing times.

We constantly face health problems and physical disabilities. Some face overwhelming problems with children and other family members. Others have lost loved ones recently.

Some may be having difficulties at work, while still others are having a difficult time finding work to provide for their families.

Maybe someone has wronged you in some way. Or, perhaps someone thinks you have wronged them.

No matter the situation, we have to continue to fight against these kinds of problems. Discouragement and depression are common outcomes of those situations which come our way and invade our lives.

It has been learned that depression is the number 1 health problem in the United States. Over 200 million prescriptions for depression symptoms have been written over the past few years.

All of this, so far, is, well, pretty depressing wouldn't you say? Sure, but let me shine some light on all of that and find some reasons for hope and deliverance from all the depression and discouragement. These reasons come from the Word of God.

We can BE ENCOURAGED even when people don't do what you think they should. John Mark is an example of this. Acts 13:13 says, "...John left them (Paul and his companions) to return to Jerusalem."

John Mark walked away from the ministry. Perhaps the work was harder than he expected. Maybe he didn't feel adequate to make the impact that was expected of him. In any case, his leaving and going back to Jerusalem disappointed and frustrated Paul. However, his leaving did not deter Paul and the others to continue their preaching Christ wherever they were led.

We can also BE ENCOURAGED because God is in control. We find this encouragement from when God speaks in Isaiah 46:9-11 - Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.

Also, we should BE ENCOURAGED because God provides. Imagine, if you will, the stress, or distress and anxiety Abraham must have felt when God gave him the command to take his son, the one he had waited for and received in his old age, up to the mountain and slay him. But Abraham obeyed and God was faithful to bless Abraham because he was faithful in carrying out the command of God. God provides when we are faithful to obey even those commands of God which might seem harmful to our loved ones or to ourselves.

And, of course, we must BE ENCOURAGED because Jesus died for our sins. Romans 6:23 tells us clearly, "For the wages of sin is death, (we deserve death for our sins), but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." His death is a gift to us. Everybody has sin in their lives. Sin (defined as rebellion and disobedience) separates us from God. It has been said, "I owed a debt I could not pay. He paid a debt He did not owe. Christ died in my place, in your place, taking the punishment for us.

I think the greatest encouragement we have available to us is this. We can BE ENCOURAGED because Jesus not only died for us, but because He rose from the grave, alive for eternity. And because He lives, we have hope, we are encouraged, we can live victorious lives. His resurrection is the most important event in the history of the world.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ shows us that nothing or no one is stronger or more powerful than God. Sin and death are no match for the power of the resurrection.

And, it is because of that truth that we can not only know the facts, but we can have a relationship with Him that will never end.

Here is a great truth which can get you through your trials and hard times.

 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." --- Romans 8:38-39


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