Worship Times: Main Service - 10:40 a.m. : Sunday P.M. Service - 6:30 : Wednesday P.M. Service - 6:30

Overcome Your Discouragement

     One of the emotions that we all deal with is discouragement. There is not one person here today that has not had to deal with discouragement in someway. Discouragement is an emotion that can completely overcome you if you follow it. All of us suffer through bouts of discouragement from time to time, but we must know the Word of God gives up hope over discouragement.
     Discouragement is defined as "to dishearten, to hinder, doom, depression, defeat or despair." The mind can dwell on these things when life is a low ebb.
     Hebrews 12:1 says, "Lay aside every weight, the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race set before us." Verse 3 goes on to say, "For consider Him(Jesus) who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself lest you become weary and discourage in your souls."
     We are not to lose heart or faint or grow weary. In Luke 18:1, Jesus says, "that men always ought to pray and not lose heart." We must always know there is always hope.
     We must live and breathe and abide in prayer or we will faint or grow weary or lose heart. I can tell you it takes diligent faith to live above discouragement.
     As I study the Bible, I find that no one is immune from being discouraged. However, I feel what is important is how each one of us handles it. 
     You know you can get down and just have a "pity party" all the time. And say, "God, Why me?" Just know that you have to look at the "big picture" and not just at yourself. There is always someone else who has a bigger problem that you do!
     I know my life that it would be easy to become discouraged and get mad at God and just give up serving God. But we can look at the "big picture" and the plan of God we can rejoice that God has given us the privilege of serving Him and others. 
     Let's look at a couple of instances in the Word. Go to 1 Kings 19:4 and we will pick up the story of Elijah the Prophet.
     Now Elijah had just had a mountain- top experience by calling fire down from heaven and by shutting up the heavens from rain for three and one-half years and then calling forth rain, but he was running in fear. When fear came, he became discouraged and depressed.
     He stopped looking at the "big picture" and how big his God was. He began to think about himself. Verse 4 says he "...came and sat down under a broom tree and he prayed that he might die." "It was enough now, Lord, take my life." (Verse 5-10)
     He felt he was alone, but God told him, "Arise and go. Get busy again. You are not alone." Verse 18 then says, "7,000 are with you." So Elijah "cast off" his discouragement and went forth with his ministry. Shortly thereafter God rapture him into heaven (II Kings 2:8-14).
     Another Biblical example is found in the Book of Nehemiah. After the 70 years of Babylonian captivity, Israel was being allowed to return to Jerusalem. Ezra was the priest and Nehemiah was the governor administrator.
      It was not an easy task to rebuild Jerusalem because it had been completely destroyed and just sitting there for 70 years. Also, all of the peoples around the city did not want them to return, to rebuild or to be successful. Especially, the Samaritans in the north.
      But God gave Nehemiah a vision. Yet he had to deal with the laggin, discouraged spirits of his people. Let's look at why they were discouraged. Nehemiah 4:10-
               1. They were fatigued. They were overworked. Not enough rest. When you become
                   fatigued, you get tense, irritable, and gloomy. Then the devil comes after you when
                   you are weak.
               2. Frustration. When you look at the circumstances, you can become frustrated. In verse 
                   10 they say only ruin and negative thought came: "We are not able." Yet by focused
                    on the vision, they were able to complete the task.
                    Some get "burned out." This is working too hard at the wrong things. Striving for a 
                    goal that you cannot accomplish or no one can accomplish. You must set a goal
                    that can be accomplished. Start out and build on your vision and goals- stair step
                    them- always going up. Some may lose out, wear out, or burn out.
               3. Don't allow failure to enter your mind. Fatigue and frustration can lead you to failure. 
                   Cast out those thoughts of failure. Those thoughts can become infectious. Only
                   speak and think succes. You can fail at something, but that in on necessarily failure. 
                   Don't listen to the lies of the enemy (Neh 4:11-12). Keep pressing foward!
               4. Don't allow fear to overtake you. This is opposite faith. Nehemiah 4:14-15 says, "Don't
                   listen to things that cause fear. Nothing derails the work of God's people like negative
                   words. Criticism is toxic. Don't allow the bitter words of others erode your spirit. We 
                   must be careful not to be critical of others.
 
                                                       How to Respond to Discouragement

1. Cry out to God. Nehemiah 4:4-5,9. Cry out to God in prayer when you feel discouragement coming on. Go to Him first.
2. Don't stop doing the work of the Lord. Nehemiah 4:6- They continued to build. Galatians 6:9- "for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." You can become discouraged even when doing all the right things. 2 Thessalonians 3:13- "Do not grow weary in doing good."
3. Always keep your eyes on the "big picture." Remember you are a of God. Know you belong to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus Himself said that the gates of hell will not previal against it. Matthew 16:18- This will help your faith and strengthen your hope. 
4. Always stay in the Word and get encouragement from God's promises (Psalm 46:1-3).
5. Be encourager and help carry someone else's burdens. When you get the attention off yourself and put it on others, discouragement will leave you.
      
      Remember Jesus's words: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)." 
      Come to His arms, all of you are heavy laden and feel the lightness of casting your burdens upon Him.
                                                                                  Amen!