by Pastor Tim Burt
If discouragement was a football, then I would like to be the greatest punter of all times so I could drop kick it right out of my life. The enemy tries to work discouragement in our lives so we’ll focus on negative circumstances and miss seeing the blessings that God has happening all around us. There have always been two strategies I have focused on to drop kick discouragement out of my life. One is to have a heart of thanksgiving for even the tiniest blessing in my life. The other is to talk about the goodness of God and His promises with my friends. Being in a discipleship group consistently for 29 years has given me one of many places to walk this out.
Even when you walk closely with God, times of discouragement manage to find ways to creep into your life. It’s amazing at times like this that thoughts of ‘throwing in the towel’ surface in your mind. Because we don’t always see things turn out in the way we envision, it is possible to face an outcome that at least for a season seems like a disappointment. Yet at times like this, you have to remind yourself that even though man fails you, God will never fail you. Hebrews 13:5 says, “…God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” God is worthy of all our trust despite what at the time looks like a disappointment.
When we read the story of Joseph, we read about a young man who at the age of seventeen had a vision from God about being a ruler that even his own family would bow down to. That dream eventually proved true and yet not long after he dreamed it, he was thrown in a pit left to die by his own jealous brothers. He was then later sold as a slave, promoted as a manager of a pagan household because of faithfulness to God and then falsely and undeservedly accused of coveting his master’s wife. It felt like a barrage of disappointments. He was thrown in jail for years. He faced injustice from the age of seventeen to thirty years old – thirteen years of injustice. How did Joseph protect himself from disappointment and blaming God? Why didn’t he throw in the towel? Joseph would not cave to disappointment because He believed God to be a God of promise. He clung to that truth. He would not give up on God. The result? He was finally promoted as ruler over all of Egypt under Pharaoh.
In the book of Malachi we see disappointment take root. The Lord is warning His people of their rebellious and slothful attitude. They had given up trusting in God’s ways and instead resorted to depending on themselves to get things done. They had stopped tithing and God exposed the deception that had permeated their hearts. In Mal 3:13-15 we read His Words to them. “You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask,’ what have we said against you?’ “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.'”
These people lost their love and joy of God and began to see living for Him as drudgery and obligation. They ‘threw in the towel’ and moved to living outside of God’s instruction. They blinded their eyes to His goodness leaving them only to experience the disappointment of their own ways. Man seldom accepts responsibility for his own lack of success. Blame is the game and God (or your Pastor and church) most often becomes the scapegoat.
Joseph represented the heart of those that don’t quit and trust God knowing that He is bigger than a momentary circumstance appearing to be a setback. We read of great blessing to those who like Joseph, keep on trusting God knowing of His love and precious promises. Mal 3:16-18 reveals those blessings. “Then those who reverence the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored His name. “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
God says that when we trust Him and focus on His promises and talk about them with others, it draws His presence. He is so honored that He lists our names in a book of remembrance. He says that deliverance will come to those that trust. Thanksgiving of who and what He is to us keeps our eyes open to His involvement in our lives and protects us from the deception that can come from disappointment and discouragement. So, begin to mediate on everything you are thankful to Him about and praise Him for it. It will lift you up!
Mal 3:16-17 “Then those who feared and loved the Lord spoke often of him to each other…. “in that day when I make up my jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares an obedient and dutiful son.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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