Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dealing with Discouragement:

I regularly read Pastor Charles Wood's thoughts.  I often find him helpful.

After nearly four decades of ministry in church that is smaller than I wish it were, and much larger than I have any right to expect, I have concluded that periodic discouragement is inevitable.  Unless it is dealt with effectively, it will lead to ineffectiveness.  Here are some thoughts on dealing with down-times that "Woodchuck" recently shared.

 1.  Luke 24:13-35.  God is there: The problem of the disciples was depression resulting from disappointment (sound familiar?).  A sense of the presence of Christ in the midst of our turmoil should bring relief, and I know of no other way to tangibly achieve that divine reality than through time spent in the Word and in prayer.
 2.  Mark 6:45-52.  God knows where you are:  Although the disciples were on the sea, Jesus saw them and was aware of their problem.  Remember: God always knows where you are and is aware of your situation.
 3.  John 11:1-45.  God’s timing is perfect:  Mary thought Christ’s arrival was too late, but He had greater purposes in mind.  As this is an area of struggle for my impatient soul, I have to keep reminding myself that God’s timing is always right in the light of His knowledge of His perfect plans and purposes.
 4.  Matthew 9:35-38.  God is genuinely concerned about you and your situation:  Life was even tougher then than it is now.  Common people were used and abused.  Jesus is always moved with compassion when His people are in trouble (particularly that caused by other people, saved or unsaved).
 5.  Mark 5:25-34.  God’s power is always unlimited:  The woman’s problem was physical.  She had found no relief in spite of spending all she had in quest for it.  Never forget that God is always able to do anything He chooses to do.  There is more help in spending time praying for His intervention than there is in wasting it in whining and complaining.
 6.  Matthew 19:16-26.  God’s wisdom is supreme:  Jesus knew this man’s real problem and dealt with it..  God always knows what we really need; we usually know what we want but seldom what we really need.
 These suggestions are neither profound or “sure fire.”  They are an attempt to drive us back to Scripture and to remind us that facts must always trump feelings.  I would also offer this suggestion contained in the chorus of an old Gospel song: 
O cling to the promises,
They never will fail;
O cling to the promises of God;
In Christ are the promises Yea and Amen!
Then cling, O cling to the promises of God.

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