Discouragement

I’m not sure if a preacher should be admitting this, but sometimes I don’t feel like worshiping. We might as well be honest, sooner or later we will suffer spiritual dejection.

Did you know that no less a person than the apostle Paul got discouraged? I wonder if many of his brethren were aware of this?

One dark night while he lay in bed and contemplated the tumultuous events of the day, God spoke to him:

“Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people,” (Acts 18:9,10).

It seems Paul found himself in discouragement more than once, for in Jerusalem he received another call for courage:

“Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you also must testify about me in Rome” (Acts 23:11).

What we learn from this is that discouragement is normal. Paul because discouraged, Jeremiah did, and I suspect many of God’s people in Bible times did.

I don’t think the Lord is in the habit of telling his people things they did not need to hear. If I understand the Lord’s comments correctly, the Lord was telling Paul to “take courage” because his courage was failing at that particular moment.

It would be nice, you might be saying at those moments, if the Lord made a personal appearance to me, giving me a message of hope and courage!

But he does!

You’re just not listening!

His message of comfort is as near as your closet (Matthew 6:6), and your brethren, and most especially your Bible. Stoke the fires of faith by praying again, being with other Christians, and by reading your Bible.

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, they are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63).

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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