Discouragement is a common problem. As we saw yesterday, it may start with a divided mind but can easily turn into blaming others and wallowing in anger. Sadly, its effects don’t stop there.
For one thing, if you regard the one who disappointed you as the cause of all your troubles, you might distance yourself or even end the relationship. On top of that, when disappointments are allowed to build up without resolution, your sense of self-worth could be damaged. This could deliver a blow to your ministry and interactions with others, since no one likes being around critical, negative individuals.
A dangerous drift in your spiritual walk is the ultimate consequence of discouragement. God will seem distant, uncaring, or perhaps even absent because you’ve built such high walls around yourself. Things that were once cornerstones in your life—like worship, Bible study, and prayer—easily fall by the wayside. Before long, you will be surrounded only by your disappointments and negativity, unable to see anything of positive value at all.
Discouragement can eat away at a believer’s relationships and productivity. Don’t allow disappointments to build up and take such a toll on your life. Psalm 40:2 is a wonderful reminder that the heavenly Father can lift you out of the “miry clay” and “set [your] feet upon a rock making [your] footsteps firm.” Let your discouragement motivate you to turn to the Lord, the one who can “put a new song in [your] mouth”—a song of praise to Him (v. 3).
Bible in One Year: Proverbs 22-25
Read: Exodus 33:7–14
Bible in a Year: Psalms 10–12; Acts 19:1–20
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.—Exodus 33:11
Although the world is connected electronically like never before, nothing beats time together in person. As we share and laugh together, we can often sense—almost unconsciously—the other person’s emotions by watching their facial movements. Those who love each other, whether family or friends, like to share with each other face to face.
We see this face-to-face relationship between the Lord and Moses, the man God chose to lead His people. Moses grew in confidence over the years of following God, and he continued to follow Him despite the people’s rebelliousness and idolatry. After the people worshiped a golden calf instead of the Lord (see Ex. 32), Moses set up a tent outside of the camp in which to meet God, while they had to watch from a distance (33:7-11). As the pillar of cloud signifying God’s presence descended to the tent, Moses spoke on their behalf. The Lord promised that His Presence would go with them (v. 14).
Because of Jesus’s death on the cross and His resurrection, we no longer need someone like Moses to speak with God for us. Instead, just as Jesus offered to His disciples, we can have friendship with God through Christ (John 15:15). We too can meet with Him, with the Lord speaking to us as one speaks to a friend. —Amy Boucher Pye
Face to face! O blissful moment! Face to face—to see and know; face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so! Carrie E. Breck
We can speak to the Lord as a friend.
INSIGHT: Moses was described as privileged because he spoke with God “face to face” (Ex. 33:11). God affirmed this unique relationship a second time when he reminded Aaron and Miriam that “with [Moses] I speak face to face” (Num. 12:8). Four hundred years earlier, Abraham was called God’s friend (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23). Validating His sacrificial love, Jesus says we are His friends (John 15:12-13).
Reflect on what it means to you that we have the privilege of speaking to God through prayer and sharing with Him as we share with a friend—our burdens, cares, and joys. Sim Kay Tee
My wife, Ono, is someone who has been through quite a bit of physical distress and lives with some measure of disability. In one of her old Bibles is a fading scrawl that she made during one of her bouts of illness. It is a quote by Joni Eareckson Tada: “When we learn to lean back in God’s sovereignty, fixing and settling our thoughts on that unshakable, unmovable reality, we can experience inner peace. Our trouble may not change, our pain may not diminish, our loss may not be restored, our problems may not fade with the new dawn. But, the power of those things to harm us is broken as we rest in the fact that God is in control.”(1)
As is well known, Joni Eareckson has lived with unimaginable handicap for the most part of her remarkable life. In the book Indelible Ink, where 22 prominent Christian leaders discuss the one book (apart from the Bible) that has most influenced each of their lives, Joni Eareckson’s pick was Loraine Boettner’s The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.(2)
The epigraph that Joni Eareckson used for her chapter in Indelible Ink is also from Boettner’s book: “History,” Boettner says, “in all its details, even the most minute, is but the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God. His decrees are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan, and we should never think of Him suddenly evolving a plan or doing something which He had not thought of before.”(3)
Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. —Ephesians 5:1
We are taught in this Scripture to be imitators of God. So however God is, that is the way we should desire to be. God sees the desires of our hearts and will help us become more and more like Him in our behaviors.
Do you think God is sitting in the heavens today angry and crying and depressed? No, that is not God’s nature. God is joyful, and He is strong; therefore, we should imitate Him.
God is also merciful and slow to anger (see Psalm 103:8). If you become angry at people over an injustice, one way to get over it is to imitate God and choose to give them mercy—forgive them even if you don’t think they deserve it.
You and I can become more and more like God because His power and character are in us (see 2 Peter 1:3–4). Begin to imitate God in your life, doing what you believe He would do in situations, instead of what you feel like doing.
Power Thought: By God’s grace and through His power, I imitate Him. He is my example for how to live my life.
From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.
“Stop being afraid of what you are about to suffer – for the devil will soon throw some of you into prison to test you. You will be persecuted for ‘ten days.’ Remain faithful even when facing death and I will give you the crown of life – an unending, glorious future” (Revelation 2:10).
I find this a very timely word of caution, for we live in a day when it appears that the enemy is making his last fling. I would not attempt to set dates, for it may be years, decades or even centuries before the culmination of all things.
But the fact remains that committed believers are facing persecution and testing as perhaps seldom before. You and I may be called upon to suffer for the cause of Christ. By faith, we are not to fear, knowing that an “unending, glorious future” awaits us.
This promise might apply equally to the physical suffering we encounter from time to time as a part of the natural order of things. If we can accept such suffering as part of God’s plan for us – one of the “all things” of Romans 8:28 that is working together for our good – we will be among those victors who are able to “count it all joy.”
As we consider these possibilities, we may be optimistic, even cheerful, knowing that we are already on the winning side – more than conquerors. And we need not be afraid, for “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Bible Reading: Revelation 2:8-11
TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will count on God’s promise of Romans 8:28 to do only that which is good for me, regardless of the circumstances. He will enable me to live supernaturally.
Life turns every person upside down. No one escapes unscathed. Not the woman who discovers her husband is having an affair. Not the businessman whose investments are embezzled by a crooked colleague. Not the pastor who feels his faith shaken by questions of suffering and fear. We would be foolish to think we’re invulnerable.
But we would be just as foolish to think that evil wins the day. The Bible vibrates with the steady drumbeat of faith. God recycles evil into righteousness. Joseph, saddled with family rejection, slavery, and imprisonment emerged triumphant— a hero of his generation. Among his final words to his brothers are these: “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). It is the repeated pattern in Scripture. Evil–God–Good. Trust God. No…really trust Him! God will make good out of this mess.
From You’ll Get Through This
For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.
Who is Kid Rock, and why should you care that he plans to run for the US Senate?
The musician, whose birth name is Robert James Ritchie, is a rapper and singer whose albums have sold more than thirty-five million copies worldwide. An outspoken conservative, he endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2012. Now he has announced that he will run for the US Senate from Michigan.
Why am I writing about yet another musician/actor/celebrity who wants to enter politics? Consider his positions on moral issues: “I am definitely a Republican on fiscal issues and the military, but I lean to the middle on social issues. I am no fan of abortion, but it’s not up to a man to tell a woman what to do. As an ordained minister I don’t look forward to marrying gay people, but I’m not opposed to it.”
I could find nothing online about his claim to be an “ordained minister,” but that’s not my point. I’m writing today to predict that we will see more “Kid Rock” theology in the future. His positions capture the essence of our postmodern relativistic culture: he’s personally opposed to abortion but believes it’s the woman’s right to choose, and he’s uncomfortable with gay marriage but not opposed to it. He seems conservative and tolerant at the same time, which is the best of both worlds.
Except that it’s not.