Encouragement Despite Discouragement

Out of Control

Don’t Let Yourself Spin Out of Control

PERSONAL PRAYER: My heart lies open before you.  You see my insecurities, faults, weaknesses, rebellion, offenses, sins, loneliness, and a multitude of others I am not aware of.  Yet, you in you grace and mercy and love, call me unto yourself and blanket me in your arms.  This world I do not want.  Your Kingdom and sitting at the Precious feet of Jesus is what my hearts desire.  I do not profess to understand why my family and I are going through financial woes again.  My heart thinks: family knows our needs, friends know and yet no one steps up for bigger money issues we face.  The lesson I see is God is bigger than all problems of this life and they don’t even  compare to Sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for this world and ALL people in it.  I am believing with all my heart you will provide the rent and all finances for bills on the first of February, 2013.  I can not believe you would allow us to be homeless-we have come to close to this to many times and you have ALWAYS made a way.  Keep my heart from failing Lord I pray: breath your strength into my lungs-Lord you know my take on current job front-I seriously need direction- What do you want me to do?  My tears are dried up like a desert-I feel weak in strength physically and spiritually:  Deliver us Lord in the name of Jesus-I can’t go on like this: I am sorry Father, I just can’t: I’m at the end of my rope and looking for the way out YOU promised to always provide when we can’t bare anymore.  I am at end of myself-I know I can’t proceed without you.  The spinning chair above represents how my life seems.  I cry out Father, HELP, hear my plea!   In Jesus name, Amen.

Today’s promise: Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

Do you fall into discouragement after spiritual highs?

Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.… Then he went alone into the desert.… He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die.

1 Kings 19:3-4 NLT

About this week’s promise

Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two great spiritual victories: the defeat of the prophets of Baal and the answered prayer for rain. To lead him out of depression, God first let Elijah rest and eat. Then God confronted him with the need to return to his mission in life — to be God’s prophet.

Elijah’s battles were not over; there was still work for him to do. Often discouragement sets in after great spiritual experiences, especially those that produce a high level of emotional excitement or that require a lot from us physically. When you feel let down after a spiritual “high,” do what is necessary to restore your inner resources. And remember that God still has a purpose and plan for you.

Adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 311.

Digging Deeper

For more on facing discouragement, see The One Year® Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie, Tyndale House Publishers (2005).

Through a year’s worth of thoughtful entries, the reader will learn how much God longs to lift us up, carry us through in times of difficulty and uncertainty, and give us true, lasting joy. Each daily step draws you closer to a God who truly cares and the hopeful life he wants you to enjoy.


If the devil cannot make you puffed up by pride, he will try to dampen your spirit by discouragement. It’s his best tool!
AUTHOR UNKNOWN

The upper part of The Transfiguration (1520) b...

The upper part of The Transfiguration (1520) by Raphael, depicting Christ miraculously discoursing with Moses and Elijah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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A Christmas question

 

 

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.   Isaiah 9:6

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 2:8-20

Why are we sad? I am looking upon faces just now that appear the very reverse of gloomy, but maybe the smile covers an aching heart. Brother and sister, why are we sad this morning, if unto us a child is born, if unto us a Son is given? Listen to the cry! It is “Harvest home! Harvest home!” See the maidens as they dance, and the young men as they make merry. And why is this mirth? Because they are storing the precious fruits of the earth, they are gathering together into their barns wheat which will soon be consumed. And what, brothers and sisters, have we the bread which endureth to eternal life and are we unhappy? Does the worldling rejoice when his corn is increased, and do we not rejoice when,  Unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given?” Listen yonder! What means the firing of the Tower guns? Why all this ringing of bells in the church steeples, as if all London were mad with joy? There is a prince born; therefore there is this salute, and therefore are the bells ringing. Ah, Christians, ring the bells of your hearts, fire the salute of your most joyous songs, For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given  Dance, O my heart, and ring out peals of gladness! Ye drops of blood within my veins, dance every one of you! Oh! All my nerves become harp strings, and let gratitude touch you with angelic fingers! And thou, my tongue, shout—shout to his praise, who hath said to you:  Unto you a child is born, unto you a Son is given.  Wipe that tear away! Come, stop that sighing! Hush your murmuring. What matters your poverty?  Unto you a child is born.  What matters your sickness?   Unto you a Son is given.  What matters your sin? For this child shall take the sin away, and this Son shall wash and make you fit for heaven.

For meditation: God sent his only begotten Son to be born as a child, so that sinners could be born again and become the children of God. The deepest sadness belongs to all who still refuse to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour (John 1:12-13).

Sermon no. 291 25 December (1859)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon

Miraculous Conception

Morning

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Let us today go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in him, and can sing, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance his miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, “The seed of the woman,” not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to his human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that he may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note his humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as “a virgin,” not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!

Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.

Evening

PILLARS OF CREATION closeup-nebula-02

“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” Job 1:5

What the patriarch did early in the morning, after the family festivities, it will be well for the believer to do for himself ere he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful levities, and to forget our avowed character as Christians. It ought not to be so, but so it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days of sanctified enjoyment, but too frequently degenerate into unhallowed mirth. There is a way of joy as pure and sanctifying as though one bathed in the rivers of Eden: holy gratitude should be quite as purifying an element as grief. Alas! for our poor hearts, that facts prove that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. Come, believer, in what have you sinned today? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been even as others in idle words and loose speeches? Then confess the sin, and fly to the sacrifice. The sacrifice sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb slain removes the guilt, and purges away the defilement of our sins of ignorance and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas-day–to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice continually; if it be so good tonight, it is good every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood; to them sin, great as it is, is nevertheless no cause for despair, since they draw near yet again to the sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead works.

Gladly I close this festive day,

Grasping the altar’s hallow’d horn;

My slips and faults are washed away,

The Lamb has all my trespass borne.

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

Agates

Translucent Wonder:  Agate

Translucent Wonder: Agate (Photo credit: cobalt123)

Morning

“Salt without prescribing how much.” Ezra 7:22

Salt was used in every offering made by fire unto the Lord, and from its preserving and purifying properties it was the grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our attentive regard that, when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among his royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by him. Often are we straitened in ourselves, but never in the Lord. He who chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much as he desires. There is no such famine in Jerusalem that the citizens should eat their bread by weight and drink their water by measure. Some things in the economy of grace are measured; for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such exactness that we never have a single drop too much, but of the salt of grace no stint is made, “Ask what thou wilt and it shall be given unto thee.” Parents need to lock up the fruit cupboard, and the sweet jars, but there is no need to keep the salt-box under lock and key, for few children will eat too greedily from that. A man may have too much money, or too much honour, but he cannot have too much grace. When Jeshurun waxed fat in the flesh, he kicked against God, but there is no fear of a man’s becoming too full of grace: a plethora of grace is impossible. More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy. Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but abundance of the Spirit is fulness of joy. Believer, go to the throne for a large supply of heavenly salt. It will season thine afflictions, which are unsavoury without salt; it will preserve thy heart which corrupts if salt be absent, and it will kill thy sins even as salt kills reptiles. Thou needest much; seek much, and have much.

Evening

English: Chalcedony (Var.: Agate) :: Locality:...

English: Chalcedony (Var.: Agate) :: Locality: Chihuahua, Mexico (Locality at mindat.org) :: Size: 5.2 x 2.4 x 1.4 cm. :: Some agate varieties are prized by collectors, as are these Mexican agates. This is a fine specimen showing excellent color and banding. Deutsch: Chalcedon (Var.: Achat) :: Fundort: Chihuahua , Mexiko (Fundort bei mindat.org) :: Größe: 5.2 x 2.4 x 1.4 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

EVENING

“I will make thy windows of agates.” Isaiah 54:12

The church is most instructively symbolized by a building erected by heavenly power, and designed by divine skill. Such a spiritual house must not be dark, for the Israelites had light in their dwellings; there must therefore be windows to let the light in and to allow the inhabitants to gaze abroad. These windows are precious as agates: the ways in which the church beholds her Lord and heaven, and spiritual truth in general, are to be had in the highest esteem. Agates are not the most transparent of gems, they are but semi-pellucid at the best:

“Our knowledge of that life is small,

Our eye of faith is dim.”

Faith is one of these precious agate windows, but alas! it is often so misty and beclouded, that we see but darkly, and mistake much that we do see. Yet if we cannot gaze through windows of diamonds and know even as we are known, it is a glorious thing to behold the altogether lovely One, even though the glass be hazy as the agate. Experience is another of these dim but precious windows, yielding to us a subdued religious light, in which we see the sufferings of the Man of Sorrows, through our own afflictions. Our weak eyes could not endure windows of transparent glass to let in the Master’s glory, but when they are dimmed with weeping, the beams of the Sun of Righteousness are tempered, and shine through the windows of agate with a soft radiance inexpressibly soothing to tempted souls. Sanctification, as it conforms us to our Lord, is another agate window. Only as we become heavenly can we comprehend heavenly things. The pure in heart see a pure God. Those who are like Jesus see him as he is. Because we are so little like him, the window is but agate; because we are somewhat like him, it is agate. We thank God for what we have, and long for more. When shall we see God and Jesus, and heaven and truth, face to face?

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

 

Man’s ways are variable, but God’s ways are everlasting!

Morning

LAKE TAHOL CA

“His ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk 3:6

What he hath done at one time, he will do yet again. Man’s ways are variable, but God‘s ways are everlasting. There are many reasons for this most comforting truth: among them are the following–the Lord’s ways are the result of wise deliberation; he ordereth all things according to the counsel of his own will. Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion, or fear, and is followed by regret and alteration; but nothing can take the Almighty by surprise, or happen otherwise than he has foreseen. His ways are the outgrowth of an immutable character, and in them the fixed and settled attributes of God are clearly to be seen. Unless the Eternal One himself can undergo change, his ways, which are himself in action, must remain forever the same. Is he eternally just, gracious, faithful, wise, tender?–then his ways must ever be distinguished for the same excellences. Beings act according to their nature: when those natures change, their conduct varies also; but since God cannot know the shadow of a turning, his ways will abide everlastingly the same. Moreover there is no reason from without which could reverse the divine ways, since they are the embodiment of irresistible might. The earth is said, by the prophet, to be cleft with rivers, mountains tremble, the deep lifts up its hands, and sun and moon stand still, when Jehovah marches forth for the salvation of his people. Who can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? But it is not might alone which gives stability; God’s ways are the manifestation of the eternal principles of right, and therefore can never pass away. Wrong breeds decay and involves ruin, but the true and the good have about them a vitality which ages cannot diminish.

This morning let us go to our heavenly Father with confidence, remembering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him the Lord is ever gracious to his people.

 

Evening

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“They have dealt treacherously against the Lord.” Hosea 5:7

Believer, here is a sorrowful truth! Thou art the beloved of the Lord, redeemed by blood, called by grace, preserved in Christ Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, on thy way to heaven, and yet, “thou hast dealt treacherously” with God, thy best friend; treacherously with Jesus, whose thou art; treacherously with the Holy Spirit, by whom thou hast been quickened unto life eternal! How treacherous you have been in the matter of vows and promises. Do you remember the love of your espousals, that happy time–the springtime of your spiritual life? Oh, how closely did you cling to your Master then! saying, “He shall never charge me with indifference; my feet shall never grow slow in the way of his service; I will not suffer my heart to wander after other loves; in him is every store of sweetness ineffable. I give all up for my Lord Jesus’ sake.” Has it been so? Alas! if conscience speak, it will say, “He who promised so well has performed most ill. Prayer has oftentimes been slurred–it has been short, but not sweet; brief, but not fervent. Communion with Christ has been forgotten. Instead of a heavenly mind, there have been carnal cares, worldly vanities and thoughts of evil. Instead of service, there has been disobedience; instead of fervency, lukewarmness; instead of patience, petulance; instead of faith, confidence in an arm of flesh; and as a soldier of the cross there has been cowardice, disobedience, and desertion, to a very shameful degree.” “Thou hast dealt treacherously.” Treachery to Jesus! what words shall be used in denouncing it? Words little avail: let our penitent thoughts execrate the sin which is so surely in us. Treacherous to thy wounds, O Jesus! Forgive us, and let us not sin again! How shameful to be treacherous to him who never forgets us, but who this day stands with our names engraven on his breastplate before the eternal throne.

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

 

“Come up hither”

The voice from heaven

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˜And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither.  Revelation 11:12

Suggested Further Reading: John 13:36-14:3

˜Come up hither.  The Father seems to say this to every adopted child. We say, ˜Our Father which art in heaven.  The Father ‘s heart desires to have his children round his knee, and his love each day beckons us with a tender Come up hither.  Nor will your Father and my Father ever be content till every one of his children shall be in the many mansions above. And Jesus whispers this in your ear too. Hearken! Do you not hear him say, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; the glory which I had with thee before the world was.  Jesus beckons you to the skies, believer. Lay not fast hold upon the things of earth. He who is but a lodger in an inn must not live as though he were at home. Keep your tent ready for striking. Be ever prepared to draw up your anchor, and to sail across the sea and find the better port, for while Jesus beckons, here we have no continuing city. No true wife has rest save in the house of her husband. Where her consort is, there is her home, a home which draws her soul towards it every day. Jesus, I say, invites us to the skies. He cannot be completely content until he brings his body, the church, into the glory of its Head, and conducts his elect spouse to the marriage feast of her Lord. Besides the desires of the Father and the Son, all those who have gone before, seem to be leaning over the battlements of heaven, and calling, Courage, brothers! Eternal glory awaits you. Fight your way, stem the current, breast the wave, and come up hither. We without you cannot be made perfect: there is no perfect church in heaven till all the chosen saints be there; therefore come up hither.

For meditation: God calls us to himself on earth first (Matthew 11:28) and to heaven afterwards. Others have added their voices to that call (Revelation 22:17). Having come to Christ on earth, we should be calling him to come again from heaven (Revelation 22:20) to receive us, as his people, to himself (John 14:3).

Sermon no. 488 27 November (Preached 23 November 1862

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

English: Jesus ascending to heaven

English: Jesus ascending to heaven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

GOD IS JUST

Morning

my hood ore

“To preach deliverance to the captives.” Luke 4:18

None but Jesus can give deliverance to captives. Real liberty cometh from him only. It is a liberty righteously bestowed; for the Son, who is Heir of all things, has a right to make men free. The saints honour the justice of God, which now secures their salvation. It is a liberty which has been dearly purchased. Christ speaks it by his power, but he bought it by his blood. He makes thee free, but it is by his own bonds. Thou goest clear, because he bare thy burden for thee: thou art set at liberty, because he has suffered in thy stead. But, though dearly purchased, he freely gives it. Jesus asks nothing of us as a preparation for this liberty. He finds us sitting in sackcloth and ashes, and bids us put on the beautiful array of freedom; he saves us just as we are, and all without our help or merit. When Jesus sets free, the liberty is perpetually entailed; no chains can bind again. Let the Master say to me, “Captive, I have delivered thee,” and it is done forever. Satan may plot to enslave us, but if the Lord be on our side, whom shall we fear? The world, with its temptations, may seek to ensnare us, but mightier is he who is for us than all they who be against us. The machinations of our own deceitful hearts may harass and annoy us, but he who hath begun the good work in us will carry it on and perfect it to the end. The foes of God and the enemies of man may gather their hosts together, and come with concentrated fury against us, but if God acquitteth, who is he that condemneth? Not more free is the eagle which mounts to his rocky eyrie, and afterwards outsoars the clouds, than the soul which Christ hath delivered. If we are no more under the law, but free from its curse, let our liberty be practically exhibited in our serving God with gratitude and delight. “I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.” “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”

Evening

LAKE TAHOL CA

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Romans 9:15

In these words the Lord in the plainest manner claims the right to give or to withhold his mercy according to his own sovereign will. As the prerogative of life and death is vested in the monarch, so the Judge of all the earth has a right to spare or condemn the guilty, as may seem best in his sight. Men by their sins have forfeited all claim upon God; they deserve to perish for their sins–and if they all do so, they have no ground for complaint. If the Lord steps in to save any, he may do so if the ends of justice are not thwarted; but if he judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may arraign him at their bar. Foolish and impudent are all those discourses about the rights of men to be all placed on the same footing; ignorant, if not worse, are those contentions against discriminating grace, which are but the rebellions of proud human nature against the crown and sceptre of Jehovah. When we are brought to see our own utter ruin and ill desert, and the justice of the divine verdict against sin, we no longer cavil at the truth that the Lord is not bound to save us; we do not murmur if he chooses to save others, as though he were doing us an injury, but feel that if he deigns to look upon us, it will be his own free act of undeserved goodness, for which we shall forever bless his name.

How shall those who are the subjects of divine election sufficiently adore the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectually excludes it. The Lord’s will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more promotive of gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon