ONE DAY MY best friend, Lanell, called me because she was having a terrible day. She was feeling down. When I answered the phone, she blurted out, “Do you like me?”
“What planet is she coming from?” I thought. But I said, “Of course, I like you. Why?”
“I’m having some problems today. I feel like nobody likes me, and I had to talk to somebody who likes me.”
I assured Lanell that I liked her and began telling her one funny story after another until she burst out laughing.
After a few minutes, Lanell said, “I really needed to laugh today!”
Sometimes we need a good laugh to cheer us up and get us out of the depressing moods that try to come against us. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (NKJV).
All my life I was extremely close to my father. I was definitely “daddy’s girl.” One of the most devastating times I have been through was when my precious daddy passed away. Even though he was almost 90, I wasn’t ready for him to go home to be with the Lord. It was like cutting my earthly umbilical cord, and it hurt.
I’ll never forget the Sunday after Dad’s memorial service. My husband and I had visited a church in Dallas that morning, but somehow I hadn’t received the touch I needed from the Lord. When we got back to the hotel, a horrible feeling of depression started to close in on me.
I recognized what it was and knew I had to do something. I turned on the television, hoping to find something uplifting to watch. But I couldn’t find any Christian stations. As I flipped through the channels, I kept thinking, “Lord, I need to hear something that lifts my spirits.”
Art Linkletter’s face flashed across the screen, and I remembered how I always enjoyed watching his programs. He was celebrating his 90th birthday and looked wonderful. He began describing what helped him to be successful through the years. He said, “I’ve never stopped learning. I’m always looking for something new to learn. And I’ve always kept laughter in my heart.”
By the time I finished listening to Art Linkletter, I was laughing and my spirits were lifted.
That program wasn’t the encouragement I expected to receive from the Lord. But it proves that God is not limited in what He can use to cheer us up and encourage our hearts.
It shows why it’s important to look for the tiniest things God may send our way to encourage us. We need to reach out and receive every bit of encouragement we can from the Lord.
It is important that we reach our divine destination in life. But it is just as important to reach our destination with joy!
The Praise Cure
I remember a situation in our ministry one time when one of our departments had somehow gotten off track. The entire department seemed to be in chaos. As I worked to get things back in order, I felt a cloud of depression trying to come over me.
I told my staff members, “Please get me some music tapes! I need to listen to joyful, upbeat music. I don’t want to hear any slow songs. I need lively praise music to help get my spirits back up again.”
We started bringing music tapes to work and played uplifting praise music all day long. I said, “We’re not going to get depressed. We’re going to get ourselves back on the right course with joy!” And we did!
It is important that we reach our divine destination in life. But it is just as important to reach our destination with joy! The Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:24, “None of these things move me . . . so that I might finish my course with joy.” If it was important for Paul to finish his course with joy, it should be important for us too.
Isaiah 61:3 tells us God has given us a “praise cure” to help us overcome the depression and discouragement that try to come against us in this life. He’s given us “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” The Lord is saying to us, “Praise Me during those dark and troubled times, and I will set you free.”
If you want to rise above the dark clouds of depression and discouragement, surround yourself with uplifting music that ministers to you. There’s nothing like praise music that speaks directly to your heart.
When Satan attacks you with discouragement and depression, begin praising God. Tell the Lord how much you appreciate Him. And remember, the Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3).
We respond to the praises of our children, don’t we? When a little girl crawls into her daddy’s lap and says, “I love you so much, Daddy. You’re such a great daddy!” his heart just melts. When she asks him for something, the answer usually is, “Honey, whatever you want.” And he gives her even more than she asks for.
When we praise our Heavenly Father, He opens His arms and says, “Child, you can have whatever you want. Is that all you want? I have more for you!” Then He surrounds us with His presence. And that’s when the cloud lifts, because fullness of joy is in His presence (Ps. 16:11). Those dark clouds of depression and discouragement can’t stay in the presence of our God!
Don’t Camp in the Valley
Have you ever experienced depression? If you have, you know how dark clouds can roll in on you. Everything around you starts getting darker and darker. If you allow yourself to be engulfed in that darkness, it will surround you. But thank God, the Lord has made a way for you to climb out from under those dark clouds.
If you’re feeling down and discouraged, call on the Lord, and He will give you the encouragement you need. Start praising Him and listening to praise music, and you will feel your spirit lifted. And always make room for laughter in your life.
YES, YOU MAY WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY, BUT YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO CAMP THERE. You’re supposed to cross over to the other side.
On the other side is joy, peace, and an assignment from the Lord. Ask Him to let that assignment burn so brightly in your heart that it lights your path all the way to victory!
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