What Do You Do When Hope Fades?

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing!

 

What Do You Do When Hope Fades?

psalm-23-he-makes-me-lie-down-in-green-pastures

 

 

Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.

Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold to stand on.

I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me.

I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched and dry.

My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me…

But I keep right on praying to you, Lord, hoping this is the time you will show me favor.

Psalm 69:1-3, 13
NLT

Praying when hope seems dim

David’s prayer recorded in this psalm essentially amounts to a simple, “Save me, I’m sinking.” It’s the cry of a desperate man who can’t even think of helping himself. But at least David knew whom he needed to ask for help. Although he was exhausted from crying to the Lord in prayer, he kept on shouting to his God, the only one who could save him.

When waves of adversity threaten to drown you in despair, pray to God. Remember David’s persistence, and keep on asking God for help.

Prayer for today:

Dear Lord, I am exhausted from crying for help, but I will keep on praying to you.

From The One Year® Book of Bible Prayers edited by Bruce Barton, Tyndale House Publishers (2000), entry for February 9


I never allow myself to become discouraged under any circumstances.… The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense. Thomas A. Edison

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

HIS STRIPES HEALS HIS RESURRECTION SEALED

Morning

 

“With his stripes we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted every here and there among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Saviour was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of his flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over his poor stricken body.

Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon him without tears, as he stands before you the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once fair as the lily for innocence, and red as the rose with the crimson of his own blood. As we feel the sure and blessed healing which his stripes have wrought in us, does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus, surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.

“See how the patient Jesus stands,

Insulted in his lowest case!

Sinners have bound the Almighty’s hands,

And spit in their Creator’s face.

With thorns his temples gor’d and gash’d

Send streams of blood from every part;

His back’s with knotted scourges lash’d.

But sharper scourges tear his heart.”

We would fain go to our chambers and weep; but since our business calls us away, we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of his bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day, and at nightfall we will return to commune with him, and sorrow that our sin should have cost him so dear.

 

Evening

James Tissot, Rizpah's Kindness Toward the Dead

‘Rizpah’s Kindness Toward the Dead’

James Tissot, 1900 (est.), France.  (This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional         work of art. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.)

“And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.”

2 Samuel 21:10

If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we weary of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied? Away, ye birds of evil wing! Leave ye the sacrifice alone! She bore the heats of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber. Behold how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah thus endure, and shall we start at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts, with courage unusual in her sex, and will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus’ sake? These her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched: what ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord? Our obligations are boundless, our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect his honour our occupation, to abide by his cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross-foot we are sitting, there is nothing revolting, but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Saviour. Jesus, we will watch with thee yet awhile, and do thou graciously unveil thyself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth, but in a royal pavilion.

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GOD’S VINE

Morning

Walk-In-Holiness2

“Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?”

Ezekiel 15:2

These words are for the humbling of God’s people; they are called God’s vine, but what are they by nature more than others? They, by God’s goodness, have become fruitful, having been planted in a good soil; the Lord hath trained them upon the walls of the sanctuary, and they bring forth fruit to his glory; but what are they without their God? What are they without the continual influence of the Spirit, begetting fruitfulness in them? O believer, learn to reject pride, seeing that thou hast no ground for it. Whatever thou art, thou hast nothing to make thee proud. The more thou hast, the more thou art in debt to God; and thou shouldst not be proud of that which renders thee a debtor. Consider thine origin; look back to what thou wast. Consider what thou wouldst have been but for divine grace. Look upon thyself as thou art now. Doth not thy conscience reproach thee? Do not thy thousand wanderings stand before thee, and tell thee that thou art unworthy to be called his son? And if he hath made thee anything, art thou not taught thereby that it is grace which hath made thee to differ? Great believer, thou wouldst have been a great sinner if God had not made thee to differ. O thou who art valiant for truth, thou wouldst have been as valiant for error if grace had not laid hold upon thee. Therefore, be not proud, though thou hast a large estate–a wide domain of grace, thou hadst not once a single thing to call thine own except thy sin and misery. Oh! strange infatuation, that thou, who hast borrowed everything, shouldst think of exalting thyself; a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of thy Saviour, one who hath a life which dies without fresh streams of life from Jesus, and yet proud! Fie on thee, O silly heart!

 

Evening

Revelation 13:8   And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

“Doth Job fear God for nought?”

Job 1:9

This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, but there are many in the present day concerning whom it might be asked with justice, for they love God after a fashion because he prospers them; but if things went ill with them, they would give up all their boasted faith in God. If they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion the world has gone prosperously with them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house. As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity. Remember Christ’s words–“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit”–What? “He purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit.” If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. “Alas!” you say, “that is a terrible prospect.” But this affliction works out such precious results, that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations, because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus. Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod. Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Fear not, but rather rejoice that such fruitful times are in store for you, for in them you will be weaned from earth and made meet for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present, and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you. When you feel that as regards the present you do serve God for nought, you will then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future.

All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

WE SEE PANARAMA, GOD SEES ETERNAL

1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

 

Are you a “big picture” person?

 

Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?
who hath gathered the wind in his fists?
who hath bound the waters in a garment?
who hath established all the ends of the earth?
what is his name, and what is his son’s name,
if thou canst tell?                            Proverbs 30:4

 

Impressive panorama

 

timthumb

 

When people understand events clearly, we often say that they “see the big picture.” This passage in Proverbs makes the point that the clearest view of the “big picture” will always include God. The sequence of rhetorical questions helps us consider the awesome identity and capacity of God. Much like the litany of questions that God showered on Job (Job 38:1-41:34), these push us toward humble and silent worship.

Agur was feeling overwhelmed (30:1), insignificant (30:2), and limited (30:3). But when he turned away from his smallness to contemplate God’s greatness, an atmosphere of confidence filled the rest of the chapter. He began with a little picture, no bigger than himself, but he soon looked at the big picture and forgot that he was weary and worn out. God gave him a new and refreshing point of view.

WISE WAYS  One of the best remedies for a weary and tired spirit is to contemplate the majesty and greatness of God. How have you found that to be true?

Dear Lord, when I look at all you have made, I know it makes me feel smaller, but it also fills me with wonder over how great you are! I worship you.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Proverbs by Neil S. Wilson, Tyndale House Publishers (2002), entry for January 30.


Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

 

 

The beatific vision

The beatific vision

71

We shall see him as he is.

 1 John 3:2

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Not think about him, and dream about him; but we shall positively “see him as he is.” How different that sight of him will be from that which we have here. For here we see him by reflection. Now, I have told you before, we see Christ “through a glass darkly;” then we shall see him face to face. Good Doctor John Owen, in one of his books, explains this passage, “Here we see through a glass darkly;” and he says that means, “Here we look through a telescope, and we see Christ only darkly through it.” But the good man had forgotten that telescopes were not invented till hundreds of years after Paul wrote; so that Paul could not have intended telescopes. Others have tried to give other meanings to the word. The fact is, glass was never used to see through at that time. They used glass to see by, but not to see through. The only glass they had for seeing was a glass mirror. They had some glass which was no brighter than our black common bottle-glass. “Here we see through a glass darkly.” That means, by means of a mirror. As I have told you, Jesus is represented in the Bible; there is his portrait; we look on the Bible, and we see it. We see him “through a glass darkly.” Just as sometimes, when you are looking in your looking glass, you see somebody going along in the street. You do not see the person; you only see him reflected. Now, we see Christ reflected; but then we shall not see him in the looking-glass; we shall positively see his person. Not the reflected Christ, not Christ in the sanctuary, not the mere Christ shining out of the Bible, not Christ reflected from the sacred pulpit; but “we shall see him as he is.”

For meditation: The sight of Jesus will distress many (Revelation 1:7); are you positively looking forward to seeing him (John 12:21)?

Sermon nos. 61-62 19 January (Preached 20 January 1856)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

THE PRICE HE PAID

The queen of the south, or the earnest enquirer

 

Psalm46-10[7]

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.                        Matthew 12:42

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Kings 10:1-13

The Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.  And so souls that know the beauty of Christ give him all they have. Nothing gives Christ greater delight than the love of his people. We think our love to be a very poor and common thing, but he does not think so he has set such a store by us that he gave his heart’s blood to redeem us, and now he looks upon us as being worth the price he paid. He never will think that he had a bad bargain of it, and so he looks upon every grain of our love as being even choicer spices than archangels before the throne can render to him in their songs. What are we doing for Christ? Are we bringing him our talents of gold? Perhaps you have not one hundred and twenty, but if you have one bring that; you have not very much spices, but bring what you have your silent, earnest prayers, your holy consistent life, the words you sometimes speak for Christ, the training up of your children, the feeding of his poor, the clothing of the naked, the visitation of the sick, the comforting of his mourners, the winning of his wanderers, the restoring of his backsliders, the saving of his blood-bought soul all these shall be like camels laden with spices, an acceptable gift to the Most High. When the Queen of Sheba had done this, Solomon made her a present of his royal bounty. She lost nothing; she gave all she had, and then Solomon gave her quite as much again, for I will be bound to say King Solomon would not be outdone in generosity, such a noble-hearted prince as he, and so rich. I tell you Jesus Christ will never be in your debt. Oh, it is a great gain to give to Christ.

For meditation: Giving begins with God; we can never repay him, but we can give back to him what he has given to us (1 Chronicles 29:14). Even then God is no man’s debtor (Malachi 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:7–8; Philippians 4:18–19).

Sermon no. 533 4 October (1863)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

ARE WE OBEDIENT TO GOD?

Obeying God brings great joy!

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Is your obedience complete?

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. Which of the two was obeying his father?”
They replied, “The first of course.”
Then Jesus explained the meaning “I assure you, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the way to life, and you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to turn from your sins and believe him.”

Matthew 21:28-32

Real obedience

Someone has said that the road to destruction is paved with good intentions. In this parable, Jesus is showing us that our actions prove our obedience or disobedience. Even though the one son had no intention of obeying, the fact that he obeyed in the end made him the obedient son. The other son said the right thing but didn’t follow through, and he was therefore disobedient. We are reminded that our professions of faith are only as valid as the actions that follow them. Which brother in this story illustrates your walk with Christ?

Adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 846


Obedience is the key to all doors; feelings come (or don’t come) and go as God pleases. We can’t produce them at will, and mustn’t try. C S LEWIS

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House