4 Ways to help defeat discouragement

Some things that we can do to send discouragement packing doesn’t have anything to do with getting things – it has everything to do with getting rid of things:

  • One, since misery loves company, we need to quit hanging around people who discourage us from doing or thinking right (think along the lines of Galatians 5:7 or 1 Corinthians 15:33 when it comes to the ability of others to influence us negatively) – if people can’t talk right or be anything but a downer towards you, then don’t talk to them.
  • Two, as best as possible, forget the critics and remember the encouragers of life (there will always be more critics than encouragers).
  • Three, don’t dwell on the past – if the past helps, good; if the past hinders let it go (read Philippians 3:13 or think about the 2nd stanza of the song “Higher Ground”).
  • Four, get rid of the idea that says everything is supposed to be fine all the time and that problems are signs of weakness (that type of reality isn’t the reality of this dead and dying world – Job 14:1).

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)

#discouragement, #good-advice, #help

Discouragement, Anguish, the Lord

But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?  Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness (Psalms 88:13-18, ESV)

The psalmist clearly is discouraged with the sentiments expressed. It is not unlike how we feel on occasion ourselves. Not knowing the historical context of these words, we might wonder if there was an actual experience in the life of the writer that warranted the Lord’s response along this line, or whether it was just a feeling of discouragement that generated a stronger feeling than actually was the case.

Whichever way it was, the key to this would not be the last six verses, but the appeal to the Lord, even out of perplexity, when discouragement was rampant. To who could the psalmist otherwise turn? Could he have turned to his parents? He could have, but their ability to comfort was for only a little while. Could he have turned to his wife? Assuming he was married, he could have, but that, too, would only last for a little while.

Could he have turned inward and stayed miserable in his anguish? This he did, in part, as you easily read from the Psalm. He knew, however, that was not helpful. No, he turned to the Lord because the Lord is the only answer a person has in life that is greater than life.

When life hits us with a one-two punch there is only one to whom we can turn that will actually pull us through in such dark moments of life. Whatever family can do (will do) will be less than that which the Lord has already done. RT

#discouragement, #distress, #family, #the-lord

When no one is near to refresh our spirits

Every child of God needs his spirit refreshed from time to time. We have a race to run, a battle to fight, and a life to live (Heb. 12:1-2; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:6-8; Phil. 1:21).

Along the way there are going to be setbacks and obstacles to hinder and discourage us. We may begin to think that it would be better just to quit than to faithfully pursue that Heavenly Home. Tragically some have lost the joy of their own salvation.

Whenever we begin to feel that no one is around to “refresh our spirits,” let us never forget as children of God we have the Bible to turn to and be “refreshed”.

We can always depend upon the Bible because it is Continue reading

#bible, #discouragement, #spiritual-strength

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(#175) The Proverbs of Solomon 25:25-Drink Some Cold Water For A Change

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 25:25: “As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.”

Nothing satisfies a tired, weary person, more than a drink of “cold water.” Jesus preserved this thought when He emphasized that Christians should give “one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). War is wearying, and the longer it is waged, the more desperate a country is for good news. When a propaganda press is a daily din of horrors and failures in that war, the public reacts by detesting any and all opposition to their enemies. Whether engaged in a war, or traveling overseas for business or family interests, those at home eagerly await good news about those they cannot see.

Getting good news from “a far country” may be done by:

(1) Sending “spies” (or “reporters”) to tell us what it is like, although when Israelites sent 12 men to spy out the Promised Land before the people would enter, 10 of them “discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, so that they did not go into the land which the LORD had given them” (Numbers 32:9), making God swear they would not enter that land (Numbers 32:10-12). Unfaithful reporters have misreported American interests in foreign lands for decades. Remember, looking through a camera lens limits the view of what actually happens. Learn the lesson of the Israelites in the wilderness – that God’s Word always is right no matter who or how many say otherwise. Because of the false report of the 10 spies, “they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe His word, But complained in their tents, And did not heed the voice of the LORD. Therefore He raised up His hand in an oath against them, To overthrow them in the wilderness” (Psalm 106:24-26).

(2) Seeing for ourselves: “Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions” (1 Kings 10:1). When “the queen of Sheba” made her first-hand report, she said, “I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard” (1 Kings 10:7).

Jesus Christ repeatedly said, “I am going away and coming back to you” (John 14:28), and when He had gone into the “far country” of death, He came back with the good news that we could be with Him (John 14:1-3) by obeying Him (Mark 16:15-16). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “good news” from “a far country,” and is refreshing to every soul who drinks the water of life (Revelation 22:17).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #cold-water, #discouragement, #far-country, #news, #proverbs, #reporters, #spies

ON BEING TOLD THAT I AM TOO OLD

A flood of tears obscures my vision;
My heart feels pierced by an incision
That has cut through my defenses,
Rampaged through rugged fences
I had constructed to protect self-concept.
Defeat has proven me not so adept
At fending off these verbal slights;
I’ve never fared well in such fights.
Experience added scars but left me wise;
One would me think me able to advise
Those beginning their walk without a map
How they might navigate through each lap.
If younger, their response might incite rage;
They denigrate, call wisdom excessive age.
May God give me courage and persistence
To survive this ill-conceived resistance.

#discouragement, #faith, #job-search, #napowrimo, #prayer, #wisdom

When our hearts are broken, what can we do?

Are you bearing a burden today that makes you feel discouraged and worthless? Is it hard for you to sleep peacefully and enjoy a mind that is under God’s control? Today there are multitudes of people who are hurting so very much and may even feel that God is not aware and listening to their prayers and answering them.

Let me urge you to read Psalm 40. Of course there are many other passages of scripture in the word of God that will help us, but in this section of scripture we find a man who feels exactly as we do when our hearts are broken and life is so very, very, difficult.

He says in v. 12, “For innumerable evils have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head, therefore my heart fails me.”

Have you felt that your life is just like this? What can we do in such a condition as this? Continue reading

#discouragement, #patience, #trust

Illustration: A Discourager

Who doesn’t enjoy a good illustration?  Jesus used them masterfully, & the right illustration seems to drive home a point so perfectly & bring it to life.  I hope to post a few illustrations in the coming days/weeks/months that will perhaps be useful to us preachers, but also helpful to all who read them for the simple fact that they will illustrate Bible principles.  I will, of course, give credit when I know to whom it should go; if no credit is given, & you know to whom it belongs, please let me know, so I can give proper credit.

Here is a good first one:

A Discourager

It happened at the siege of Ladysmith. A man was arrested, court martialed, and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment. He was a discourager. He would go along the lines and say discouraging words to the men on duty. He struck no blow for the enemy—not one. He was not disloyal to his country. He was just a discourager—and that in a critical time. The fortunes of the garrison and of the town hung in the balance. The court-martial adjudged it a crime to speak disheartening words in an hour like that. And so it is. And that same thing is happening every day in the history of some poor fellow’s life. What this old world needs more than all is the man who can cheer.—Texas Christian Advocate.

Concluding Thought:  May God help us all to be encouragers this year; the world certainly has more than enough discouragers!

“But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see” (Deut. 3:28).

#discouragement, #encouragement, #illustrations

Losing Heart

It is so easy to become discouraged. We are discouraged by people and the words they speak. We are discouraged by people and the lives they live. We are discouraged by events occurring in the work environment. We are discouraged by our family relationships. It is also easy to be discouraged in preaching the gospel.

We are discouraged by quite a number of things. How can we prevent such discouragement? Well, each person must determine his or her own course of action, but a good place to start is Scripture. For instance, Paul said to the Philippians that they were to think on things that were productive to godly living (Philippians 4:8), and he knew well what he was talking about. In his letter to the Corinthians, he experienced something in his life that discouraged him to the point of thinking that he had no more strength to continue on (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). Paul learned from this, and that which he learned was a stronger trust in the Lord. When he got to another point in his letter to the church, he stated it forthrightly that “we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:1).

Losing heart is an attitude of mind, and if we refuse to allow our attitude of mind to be overcome by discouragement, do you think we will have some success?

#discouragement, #encouragement