Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Don’t Be Discouraged

When you look back over the last ten or so years, you see a lot of things to be discouraged about. You see the mortgage and credit bubble and collapse of 2008, COVID-19, riots, looting, increases in murder and violent assault and the list goes on and on. Each night you watch television only to see more stories about all of the tragedies. More murders. More assaults. More violence. It really is enough to depress anyone. There have been times when I just had to turn the television off and stop reading online news sources. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the horrible stories.

I feel that those stories sometimes influence my own feelings. I become depressed, despondent and physically sick. It is so easy for anyone just to give up and want to live like a hermit in a cave or a tent in the forest. However, I do see glimmers of hope from time to time and my faith and peace of mind is refreshed.

Just the other night, I saw a video of a young boy who received a baseball from a player on the field. The player walked over and presented him with the ball. Instead of keeping that wonderful gift for himself, he turned around and gave it to a young girl. The young girl’s mother was so thankful and the little girl was just speechless by the generosity and big heart of the young boy. 

When I saw that story, I was filled with hope and refreshed. Just knowing that there are pockets of good people gives us a bright spot in our lives. I find myself with an added spring in my step and it is easier to smile and share with others. It is amazing just how one great story of generosity can create a warm feeling that you want to share.

Our faith is the same way. Sometimes it is so easy to have our faith almost crushed and smashed. As Christians, we live in a world that is full of evil. Remember our world is a fallen world. At one time, it was perfect and wonderful in every sense of both words. However, our desires and disobedience changed all of that. Evil slipped quietly into our paradise and whispered into our ears. The moment that Adam and Eve gave weight and thought to those evil words was the exact moment when paradise went right out the window for all of us.

Since then, we have lived in a fallen world full of violence, hatred, envy and every other sin you can think of. It is no wonder why we would be depressed, despondent and sick. It seems that we are doomed to live in fear, uncertainty and doubt every day of our lives. There have been times when I wanted to just stay in bed and pull the covers over my head like a scared child who feels the eyes of a boogeyman in the closet. We all hope that it and the feelings would just simply go away, but they never do. We cannot quell that feeling by ourselves, but we know who can give us peace and security like no other.

By turning our eyes away from the evil of this world and focusing them on our Heavenly Father, we no longer give our fears, uncertainties and doubts power over us. God is all-powerful and is in complete control. The first step in quelling our fears is to seek Him out and rely completely on His everlasting arms. He is truly our shield and fortress. 

Paul, in chapter eight of his epistle to the Romans, writes, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we are filled with the love of God and His power, there is no room for fear, uncertainty or doubt. We don’t have to worry about the evil in this world. We are children of El-Shaddai, God Almighty. There is nothing that this world can do to separate us from Him or His love love for us. Some will place their faith in the things of this world. But, they soon realize that nothing of this fallen world will give them peace, security and love. There is only One who can provide all of that. That One is “THE ONE”. He is Jehovah and He alone can provide all of those things and so much more.

But, how do we receive all of these wonderful gifts? It is very easy. It is by humbling ourselves and asking our Father to forgive us of our sins. We have all fallen short in the eyes of the Lord, but He has promised us salvation through His son, Christ Jesus. God gave us His son as our sacrifice for our sins and it is through his blood that we are washed clean of those sins. Not a single stain of sin remains when we are plunged into that glorious fountain of Jesus’ cleansing blood.

Once you admit your transgressions and ask for that gift of salvation, you are a child of the Most High and nothing can separate you from God and His love for you. He becomes your all in all. You have nothing to fear.

Isaiah, in chapter forty-one of his book, records the words and promises of God, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

That is His promise to you. God never forgets His promises and always keeps His word. He has never gone back on His word or broken a covenant. He remains constant and never waxes or wains. You can depend on Him through feast and famine. His mighty arms will shield and protect you from all harm.

When things seem at their worst, that is when the power of the Lord comes fully to light. As His children, we see that there is nothing that can stand in God’s way. God will carve a way for us to follow. We have nothing to fear at all.

Remember the words of chapter twenty of the Book of Deuteronomy. “When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!

The Lord your God will always make a way to victory for you. There is nothing that can oppose Him. He will see to your victory and raise you up. Everyone and everything that stands before you will tremble in fear because God the Father is with you. 

So, when things get you down and you feel depressed, despondent and powerless, turn to God and know that He will be there with you. No matter what the situation is, He will be there with arms to shield and protect you and hold you close like no other. Hold on to that and stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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