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How to beat discouragement...
May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020 Issue #170

Rising above discouragement is an essential skill

Singles know a lot about discouragement, but unfortunately, we don't always know how to climb out of it. That's what this issue of Inspire-O-Gram is about.

Discouragement is closely linked to disappointment, frustration, and depression. All involve the inability to fulfill our desires, and all carry a sense of sadness. When you're discouraged, you're running low on enthusiasm. Your fighting spirit is weakened. With each successive blow, whether they're big or small, you find yourself less able to pick yourself up and make a new start. For some people, prolonged discouragement leads into depression, a "What's the use?" attitude.

I don't want to make this about coronavirus because we've all read and heard so much about it that the news itself has become discouraging. Instead, this month's feature deals with recurring dejection, no matter what the cause.

Eventually all bad times end, though most go on much longer than we want. Even two days is too long. We all need coping strategies, and I hope this helps a little.

Let me again say I'm not an expert on this subject, but as a writer who has accumulated many, many rejections, a single who has seen relationships crash and burn, and as someone who has experienced prolonged ill health, I have 50 years of experience with discouragement to draw on.

With that caution, here are some thoughts on rising above discouragement.

God is on my side

I felt like a human punching bag,
pounded this way and that.
As soon as I struggled up to my feet,
Something would knock me flat.

I was a hurting and miserable soul.
I failed at whatever I tried.
Until one day my friend said to me,
"Take heart, God is on your side."

I stared at her for a long, long time.
I asked, "Can that really be true?"
She nodded and said, "It really is.
God is in love with you."

I took time to look back on my life,
all the sadness, struggle and pain.
But God gave me strength to get through it all.
And for every loss there was gain.

I used to think life's ups and downs
reflected God's love for me.
But now I know his love never changed
whatever my trouble might be.

It's a breathtaking feeling to go through life
and not be terrified.
To be able to say and know it is true,

 "God is on my side."

~ Jack Zavada,, 2020 ~

The answer to: 'What's the use?'

The single life is a struggle that can drain all the optimism out of you. After so many disappointments, you may find yourself asking, "What's the use?"

Hope for Hurting Singles answers the question of why you should keep trying, why you should jump out of bed every morning, and why you can find brand new hope to live on.

Nope. Not another self-help book. Hope for Hurting Singles is a God-help book, and it shows you step-by-step how to enlist the Almighty in all your battles. In fact, it will turn your ideas of victories and losses right on their heads.

In a way, it took 45 years to write this book, because that's how long author Jack Zavada fought before he understood these biblical principles and how to apply them to the single life. Do you have 45 years to spend doing that? Didn't think so. Then get Hope for Hurting Singles and take the most important shortcut of your life.

Here's a gigantic sample of what you'll get: the entire first chapter on loneliness, to read FR'EE, right here.

Here are just a few of the lessons that will spare you firsthand pain:

  • The 3 best ways to beat loneliness. (p. 6-27)
  • Whose approval matters most. (p. 33)
  • The hardest part of the Christian life. (p.51)
  • The real truth about your past. (p. 93)
  • The key to a great retirement. (p. 141)
  • The biggest myth about faith. (p. 155)
  • The true goal of every Christian. (p.186)

The paperback edition is $10.99 and the Kindle version is $3.99.

A shocking QOTM from Billy Graham

Discouragement hits every Christian, and the late evangelist Billy Graham was no exception. Even this man of powerful faith had his down moments, as May's Quote of the Month shows:

The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'

~ Billy Graham (1918 - 2018) ~

We may think, "If somebody as close to God as Billy Graham could get discouraged, what hope is there for me?" These low times have two benefits. First, they remind us that we're all sinners and that we live in a fallen, sin-stained world, and second, they teach us that we can persevere only by depending on God.

Our culture values independence. It's blasted at us all the time, yet the blasters are the secular media. The Bible, on the other hand, says the safest, most secure place is under God's protection.

I don't have enough strength to go it alone. Neither did Billy Graham. Neither do you. Lean on God. Lean heavily on him now. He is the Source of your courage, your wisdom, your salvation. Depending on God is the right thing to do.

Don't make this common mistake by singles

As you shelter in place at your home, you may feel, like many singles, that you're all alone, but if you're a believer, you're not:

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."(Matthew 28:20, NIV)

Jesus is with you now, even if you can't feel it. You can't always trust your feelings, but you can trust the Word of God.

An advantage of being single is that you can talk to Jesus out loud in your home. That helps make his invisible presence more real to you. Get into the habit of telling him about your day, your disappointments, your struggles.

Your prayers don't have to be eloquent. Jesus values honesty more than anything else. He knows the truth anyway and is pleased when you acknowledge it.

Don't be fooled. The sensation that nobody cares about you is from Satan, who likes nothing more than for believers to feel abandoned. But Jesus promised we're anything but:

"If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you." (John 14:16, NLT)

You have to love that word "Comforter." A comforter is a someone who brings help to a person who is suffering. In this case, the Holy Spirit is your Comforter, an unseen companion who lives inside every believer to bestow the love of Father, Son, and Himself, the Holy Spirit. That's a lot of love, single friend!

Make this truth unforgettable in your life by repeating this little prayer, "Jesus, thank you for taking care of me."

Highs and lows of life are normal

A couple weeks ago I turned 69 years old. Now you would think at that age, I'd know myself pretty well, but I'm always discovering something new. Recently I found out that my daily Bible reading is more important to my overall well-being than watching the news.

My church puts a heavy emphasis on Bible reading, as all churches should. Since I don't have to make sparkling conversation with a spouse at the breakfast table, I read from my propped up study Bible while I'm eating. Feeding my soul is as important as feeding my body. I hope it is for you too.

The TV news is depressing. The New Testament is always good news—literally. Politicians lie and deceive. Jesus always tells the truth. The news can have little lasting value. The Bible has eternal worth.

I like to keep up on current events, but for the past several weeks I've been taking a vacation from the nightly network news, and I feel much better for it. I take all the precautions I'm supposed to and only go out to get groceries and other necessities.

Another thing about being old is that I've gone through plenty of ups and downs in my life. This is the first time for something like this, of course, but the truth is that highs and lows are natural. After all, we're not in heaven yet.

Hard times help you say, "Well, I made it through that. I can make it through the next one."

Remember, single friend. Earth is not our home. God has something so much better ready for us that even the Bible cannot put it in human words. We'll understand it only when we get there.

That's it for the May issue. I always invite you to comment by using our bank-vault-secure contact form.

It's a privilege to come to you through this newsletter each month. Thank you. I pray that you and your family will be safe and well during this difficult time.

Until June, be well and stay in The Word!

Jack Zavada

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