Overcoming Discouragements

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July 28, 2017

OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENTS

Suffering brings discouragements, because of our impatience. `Alas!’, we lament, `I shall never get through such a trial.’ But if God brings us into the trial he will be with us in the trial, and at length bring us out, more refined. We shall lose nothing but dross (Zech. 13:9). From our own strength we cannot bear the least trouble, but by the Spirit’s assistance we can bear the greatest. The Spirit will add his shoulders to help us to bear our infirmities. The Lord will give his hand to heave us up (Psa. 37:24). ‘Ye have heard of the patience of job,’ says James (James 5:11). We have heard of his impatience too, but it pleased God mercifully to overlook that. It yields us comfort also in desolate conditions, such as contagious sicknesses and the like, in which we are more immediately under God’s hand, that then Christ has a throne of mercy at our bedside and numbers our tears and our groans. And, to come to the matter we are now about, the Sacrament’, it was ordained not for angels, but for men; and not for perfect men, but for weak men; and not for Christ, who is truth itself, to bind him, but because we are ready, by reason of our guilty and unbelieving hearts, to call truth itself into question. Therefore it was not enough for his goodness to leave us many precious promises, but he gives us confirming tokens to strengthen us. And even if we are not so prepared as we should be, yet let us pray as Hezekiah did: `The good LORD pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary’ (2 Chron. 30:18,19). Then we come comfortably to this holy sacrament, and with much fruit. This should carry us through all duties with much cheerfulness, that, if we hate our corruptions and strive against them, they shall not be counted ours. `It is no more I that do it,’ says Paul, `but sin that dwelleth in me’ (Rom. 7:17). For what displeases us shall never hurt us, and we shall be esteemed by God to be what we love and desire and labour to be. What we desire to be we shall be, and what we desire truly to conquer we shall conquer, for God will fulfill the desire of them that fear him (Psa. 145:19). The desire is an earnest of the thing desired. How little encouragement will carry us to the affairs of this life! And yet all the helps God offers will hardly prevail with our backward natures.

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

Let Us Not Delay

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July 28, 2017

Procrastination is “the act of willfully delaying the doing of something that should be done,” and in some people it is a habitual way of handling any task. While the word itself is not found in the Bible, we can find some principles to help guide us.

Sometimes, procrastination is the result of laziness, and the Bible has plenty to say about that. The Bible commends hard work and industry (Proverbs 12:24; 13:4) and warns against sloth and slackness (Proverbs 15:19; 18:9). One cure for procrastination is more diligence, regardless of the task. The Christian should be supremely motivated to be diligent in his work, since he is ultimately serving the Lord. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). If we put our hearts into our work, as this verse says to do, we will probably find it difficult to procrastinate too much.

The Bible says that when it comes to some things, we should never delay. Jesus taught that reconciling with an offended brother should be done immediately upon our remembrance of the situation (Matthew 5:23-24). He also said to “settle matters quickly” with our adversaries (verse 25). However distasteful it may be to pursue peace with an enemy, we must avoid stalling. Similarly, we are instructed, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). Dealing appropriately with our anger is a matter of great importance, and we must not put it off until tomorrow, which will give the devil “a foothold” (verse 27).

Christians must not procrastinate when it comes to sharing the gospel with the lost. There is no time to waste. Jesus likened evangelistic efforts to a man inviting people to a great banquet. As he sent out his servants with the invitations, he said, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke 14:21). The most striking qualities of the invitation are its openness (anyone and everyone was invited) and its urgency (the call to the feast must go out “quickly”).

Some people, upon hearing the gospel and knowing their spiritual need, delay in making a response. This is the most dangerous type of procrastination. Life is short, and we do not know what will happen tomorrow (James 4:13-14). The Bible urges us to get right with God today. “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion’” (Heb 3:12-13, 15). To procrastinate and put off getting right with God is to harden one’s own heart.

Jesus could return at any time; we do not know when (Luke 12:40). Our Lord illustrated the importance of being prepared for His coming in Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable, ten virgins await the arrival of the bridegroom and the commencement of the wedding feast. Five of the virgins were prepared for his arrival; five did not attempt to prepare until it was too late, and they were left behind. Jesus calls the unprepared virgins “foolish”; one reason they were unprepared may have been that they procrastinated.

So in the matter of our spiritual life, we dare not procrastinate. It is also unwise to delay healing a broken relationship or dealing with anger. And since our service to God motivates all we do, we have no reason to procrastinate. In short, procrastination is a bad habit that can have eternal effects.

@wearywithsorrow

The Tempest

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July 28, 2017

The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and storm (Nahum 1:3).

I recollect, when I was younger and sitting on an elevation of a mountain, and watching a storm as it came up the valley. The heavens were filled with blackness, and the earth was shaken by the voice of thunder. It seemed as though that fair landscape was utterly changed, and its beauty gone never to return.

But the storm swept on, and passed out of the valley; and if I had sat in the same place on the following day, and said, “Where is that terrible storm, with all its terrible blackness?” the grass would have said, “Part of it is in me,” and the daisy would have said, “Part of it is in me,” and the fruits and flowers and everything that grows out of the ground would have said, “Part of the storm is incandescent in me.”

Have you asked to be made like your Lord? Have you longed for the fruit of the Spirit, and have you prayed for sweetness and gentleness and love? I know I have everyday. Then fear not the stormy tempest that is at this moment sweeping through your life. A blessing is in the storm, and there will be the rich fruitage in the “afterward.”

 

The flowers live by the tears that fall
From the sad face of the skies;
And life would have no joys at all,
Were there no watery eyes.
Love thou thy sorrow: grief shall bring
Its own excuse in after years;
The rainbow!–see how fair a thing
God hath built up from tears.
–Henry S. Sutton

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn