Are you discouraged? Feeling down and out? Wondering why you
should even bother trying to live the Christian life anymore,
especially since you seem such a failure? Who hasn't felt
worthless at times? Who hasn't grown impatient with themselves
and felt sick over their lack of spiritual progress? (Lk. 8:15).
YOU'RE NOT ALONE! We all go through those valleys of the shadow
of death. But take courage: the way must lead up again soon!
"Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted
within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the
health of my countenance, and my God" (Ps. 42:11).
Who would encourage you to quit? Would Christ want you to give
up? The one who DIED for you? Would God pressure you to
surrender? Too many have never realized what a vicious beast and
enemy we must face! Even those who haven't rejected the devil as
a superstition haven't grasped how dangerous he really is to our
health and well-being. God picks up the pieces of lives that
have been savagely torn and ripped apart and left for dead by
sin (Isa. 49:24-25; Amos 3:12).
Satan's foaming at the mouth against our incredible human
potential and wants to take us out like a sniper - one at a
time. He hates all mankind with a jealous rage (because we're
created after the Godkind), but he's especially targeted the
brethren (1 Pet. 5:8-11). The Devil can take some things that
are true about you and twist them, taking them out of context,
and blow them all out of proportion to DESTROY your will to
survive! He never stops bad-mouthing us because he's a MURDEROUS
CHARACTER ASSASSIN AND LIAR! (Jn. 8:44; Rev. 12:10) But don't
let the powers of darkness overcome your will to live in the
light! Don't accept Satan's depressed mind! Don't fall prey to
his hopeless attitude of defeat! He has no right to condemn
King David would get discouraged, but he'd end his prayers on a
positive note, showing the healing effect of God's Spirit upon
our minds while we're engaged in HEARTFELT PRAYER. "I had
fainted, unless I had BELIEVED to see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD"
(Ps. 27:13-14). David believed in God's goodness, hoped in His
mercy, and waited for His sufficient grace - whether grace to
pardon or empower (2 Cor. 12:9).
God will give us grace to bear up under life's many burdens
(Heb. 4:16). His Holy Spirit enables us to be graceful - full of
grace - even in adverse circumstances. We LIVE AND LEARN through
a variety of situations to be gracious in word and deed,
attitude and action. David knew beyond any shadow of a doubt
that: "The LORD will give strength to His people: the LORD will
bless His people with strength" (Ps. 29:11). So "Be of good
courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in
the LORD"(Ps. 31:24).
Even if you've gotten carried away, your sins have taken you far
from God, and Satan holds you captive ( 2 Tim. 2:26; I Cor.
5:5), remember God and He'll remember you! Not that He's ever
forgotten you: "But Zion said, The LORD has forsaken me, and my
Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child,
that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes,
they may forget, yet will I not forget you. Behold, I've graven
you upon the palms of my hands; your walls are continually
before me" (Isa. 49:14-16). God's love for us goes far beyond
our love for Him. He proved this when Jesus' palms had stakes
driven through them (Zech. 13:6).
Some have been foolishly deceived by sin and have become
carelessly entangled again - trapped in a danger zone - but as
long as they don't give up they CAN overcome what has presently
overcome them! (Heb. 3:13; 2 Pet. 2:20). It's only those who've
completely turned their backs on God, who refuse to get back up
when knocked down in the ring, that will forfeit victory.
"And yet for all this (in spite of ourselves), when they be in
the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither
will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my
covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God" (Lev. 26:44).
God promises to release, regather and restore. He'll free us
from those sins that have cruelly held our time and attention,
regather our spiritual senses (since Satan's psychological
warfare had left us a basket-case and scatter-brained [Lk.
22:31-32; Deut. 28:66-67]), and restore us to sanity and a right
relationship with Him (where we belong), even "If any of thine
be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will
the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch
thee"(Deut. 30:3-4). No matter how far you've strayed, God
hasn't lost sight of you. "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
or whither shall I flee from thy presence?" (Ps. 139:7).
If you begin to cry out to God for help, even if it's only a
whimper because you're so weak, He'll see and hear and respond.
"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and
saves such as be of a contrite spirit... none of them that trust
in Him shall be desolate" (Ps. 34:18,22). "For I will not
contend forever, neither will I always be wroth: for the spirit
should fail before me, and the souls which I have made... I have
seen his ways and will heal him: I will lead him also, and
restore comforts unto him and to his mourners" (Isa. 57:15-18).
God sees what trouble we've gotten into and where our relapse
into sin has dangerously misled and stranded us, bringing us
almost to the point of no return, but NOTHING can separate you
from God's love unless you let it! (Rom 8:35-39). As long as
there's a spark of God's Spirit, God can renew our minds and
transform our lives! (Ps. 51:10). God will finish what He's
started in our lives (Philip. 1:6; Isa. 66:9). Never forget that
we worship a MIRACLE-WORKING GOD!
Remember the prodigal son was still distant from his father,
their relationship estranged, but when he "came to himself" and
headed home - even when he he was yet a GREAT way off - "his
father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his
neck, and kissed him"(Lk. 15:17, 20). God knows where you're at
and what direction you're headed in your heart and mind even if
your actions haven't caught up yet with your attitude! God knows
they will, with time. "For He remembers our frame [make-up]; He
remembers we are but dust" (Ps.103:14). God wants to encourage
us to change, not discourage us from even trying (2 Cor. 2:7).
Constructive criticism, not destructive. Judgment with mercy.
God helps but Satan hinders progress, but we CONQUER BY
CONTINUING, one step at a time (I Thes. 2:18; 2 Pet. 3:18). God
gave David the Kingdom, but he had to fight for it! So do we!
(Matt. 11:12; I Tim. 6:12). Otherwise we'd take it for granted.
Keep up the struggle (Lk. 13:24). All the things you believe in
are worth fighting for. Growth comes in stages. We must
patiently let our trials run their course and create God's
character within us (Heb. 12:11; Jas. 1:4).
Satan wants to extinguish your light (I Tim. 4:16). He hates the
sacred embers of God's Spirit, Light and Truth we maintain and
represent, as a royal priesthood (I Pet. 2:9; Jn. 17:17; Ex.
27:20). God doesn't kick us when we're down and out, but
encourages us to GET UP AND GET OVER IT and get on with His
Work! (Ps. 37:24; Philip. 3:13). When your faith falters and
your confidence is shakey, Christ won't snuff you out but will
ADD MORE OIL so we can rise and shine! (Isa. 42:3). "For God has
not appointed us to wrath, but to OBTAIN SALVATION... Wherefore
comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as you
also do" (I Thes. 5:9-11).
"For God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us...For if, when we were enemies, we
were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being
reconciled, we shall be saved by His life...by whom we have
received the atonement" (Rom. 8-11). If God can express such
love for us when we weren't even trying to lead a Christian life
pleasing to Him, how much more now that we're trying - however
imperfectly? Don't we suffer because we hunger and thirst for
Brethren appreciate your HOLY SUFFERING! It's working out a
PURPOSE in your life that will last throughout eternity! Growing
We ought to love God all the more when we glimpse His mercy and
patience towards us. His goodness ought to stir us to want to
get closer to Him and do what we can to show how much we
appreciate His tender love (Rom. 2:4; Lk. 7:47). Nothing should
get between our relationship with our Creator God! If God would
rescue our forefathers time and again, when they cried out to
Him, HOW MUCH MORE will He save us from the Lake of Fire? (Jude
23, 24). God can save us out of sinful situations and restore
His Priesthood Promise to us (Zech. 3). We can be "a brand
plucked out of the fire," saved from "the furnace of affliction"
(Isa. 48:10). God can forcibly remind us the hard way that He's
what we really want, His fulfilling Kingdom and righteousness,
not the shallow things that couldn't possibly fill the void in
life (Ps. 106:15; 107:9).
We must keep UPPERMOST in mind the meaning and purpose of life:
to develop God's holy, righteous character in joyful
anticipation of God's Kingdom. This will help us to confront
every challenge that life affords us in this process of
purification that we call conversion. We must remember: "There
has no temptation taken you but such as is common [not unusual]
to man: but GOD IS FAITHFUL, who will not permit you to be
tempted above your tolerance level; but will provide with every
temptation a way out, so that you can handle it" (I Cor. 10:13
And realize "...that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the GLORY which shall be revealed in
us" (Rom. 8:18) because Christ will soon return and every
practicing Christian will be made perfect! Then we'll assist our
Savior in preparing the way for our Father's awesome arrival
with NEW JERUSALEM! (Rev. 21:3).
God's Kingdom is closer with each day, so we should hold our
heads up and not stay discouraged, but permit ourselves to BE
ENCOURAGED to carry on (Isa. 35:3; Lk. 21:28). All stumble, but
don't wallow (Ps. 37:24). Let your attitude be; "I shall NOT
die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. The LORD has
chastened me sore: but He has not given me over to death"(Ps.
God's forgiveness and Christ's cleansing power remain in effect
(Isa. 18). God knows what we've been through and has gone
through it with us, in the thick of it, bearing His Crown of
Thorns (Isa. 63:9; Gen. 22:13; Ex. 3:2). God couldn't get much
closer (Jer. 23:23). The bottom line is: have HOPE and not
despair; FAITH and not fear! After all, "...it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" (Lk. 12:32).