Happy Belated New Year to you all. I truly do hope that as 2018 has gotten underway that you are happy. The holidays can be a time of great joy and happiness, as it should be, but it also can be filled with sadness, loneliness and discouragement for others too.

If you're like me, I've been reading and listening to many words from well respected ministry leaders regarding 2018. These words are important and they do play a part in our lives, churches, ministries, regions and country but they all come with a question too. The question is, does that word pertain to me and if so what is the Lord requiring of me to be active in His plans.

Here is the flip side to that, what if you're so discouraged because of all of the disappointments and promises you believed were from God and yet nothing has happened. In fact, God seems to be so silent and distant you're not even sure about His promises for you anymore. Trust me; there are many going through this right now.

In fact, I'm going to be transparent here and tell you that 2017 was probably the hardest and most discouraging year I've had in ministry – and this was my 10 year anniversary. I had less ministry engagements than the previous few years. There have been several times when I wasn't given a proper honorarium which makes it hard to take care of my family and there has been very little monthly support to barely carry the ministry each month. There is some other things ministry and personally wise that has been extremely tough so trust me when I say discouragement has been attacking me relentlessly this past year.

Don't get the wrong idea though, there have been some amazing things God has done this past year. I released a new worship CD last January and every service I ministered in there was such an increase of the presence and power of God like never before. I ministered even more in words of knowledge with people getting healed and touched by the Lord because He showed up big time. God even had me release more corporate prophetic words at every church, place or region as well this past year. Praise the Lord for He deserves all the glory!

So, with all of the good things God did in every service and with so many prophetic words I've received about how God was going to take this ministry to higher levels and places, why was 2017 so tough over all? First, we do have an enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy but second God does allow things to take place too. How do I know that? You just have to look at the life of David and realize that before he was king, he went through some extremely tough times too.

 

1 Samuel 30:1-6 reads like this: Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

 

After reading this passage we see that everything went really bad for David and his men. They lost everything and so they naturally began to cry but notice they cried until they had no more power to do so. That's some serious despair.

But after they cried they wanted to blame someone so they blamed David. They even wanted to stone him but he's also in distress because his family had been taken. However, David chose not to stay discouraged, he had to encourage himself by remembering the promises of God. Because of his intimate relationship with the Lord he could say, but I know a God!

So, to strengthen ourselves in God means we have to remind ourselves of what Scripture says about God and his promises and then we must apply those truths to our current situation or circumstances. Strengthening yourself in the Lord is an intentional act; it is not something that just magically happens. When the passage says that David "strengthened himself" the Hebrew verb implies persistence and with a continuous effort.

We do love a pity party and I've been guilty of throwing a few of those too but here's the thing – no one else is going to show up with you. You can choose to wallow in despair or be like David and get back up and decree those promises once again.

How do we do that? Just get back to the basics by being real with God in prayer. It's even okay to complain to Him but when it's all said and done just begin to ask Him for help. Tell Him you need His insight, His wisdom, His guidance etc…Then start to thank Him for the things He has done including those personal promise and words He has fulfilled in your past. And lastly, just tell Him that your life is in His hands and that you will trust Him despite what your flesh or situation still wants to say. He truly is a good, good Father!

2018 is underway now so we can either choose to stay where we are or we can encourage ourselves in the Lord and see Him do incredible things. I want you to read the rest of 1 Samuel 30 because the Lord not only returned David's family back to him; he was also given all the spoils (riches) of the enemy. God will always do more than what you ask, think or imagine if you put your trust in Him!

I pray and decree that this year will be a year of God's promises coming to pass for you. A year in which you will see all of those despairing circumstance become your victories. That this will be a year in which new doors of opportunity, promotion and the acceleration of promises will come to pass in your life, career or ministry. I pray that your year will not see any lack in any areas but you will see the spoils of the enemy come into all of your accounts as you declare His promises and His goodness. In Jesus name!  

 

Blessings,

Damon Stuart

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