Responding to yesterday’s devotional, a devoted reader wrote:
I do get extremely discouraged when so many of our churches have jumped on the feel good, good life now, social justice 40 days bandwagon. Many of our Theological Universities as well have students coming in who don’t know the authors of the gospels, and the core message they learn has very little to do with sin, redemption or any of the meat of Jesus’ purpose. How can we ever hope to change our country?
Yesterday I wrote that I was advocating that the Bible be taught in self-described American Christian homes. One of the reasons is that as time goes on the days will get darker and so we have a choice. We can curse the darkness, rail against the machine, mock the mockers, scoff the scoffers, and generally chase the latest issue and/or conspiracy all the while ignoring the spiritual health of our families and failing to witness to our lost friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors (aka FRANgelism).
Or, we can read our Bibles, attend Bible study during Sunday school at our churches, have family devotional times, and maybe even a neighborhood Bible study on a certain issue. Why not dissect the state of immorality through a biblical lens instead of the television or newspaper?
I need positive reinforcement when I look out on the national landscape. Pessimism can overtake my soul, discouraging my spirit if I am only looking with human eyes. I need Jesus’ eyes to understand all that is going on in this world. The Psalmist wrote:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)
Praising God because He is still on His throne is how I overcome despair. Understanding that King Jesus is in charge of the universe allows me to not look upon this time as hopeless, but as an opportunity to share the truths of the Bible and the need for Jesus. Will I do that?
And will I trust Jesus in my times of discouragement? Is He or is He not the rock of my salvation?
“Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.” (Psalm 71:4-5)
Beloved trust me when I say that I can be easily discouraged if my soul is fed only by the Drudge Report, FOXNews, and World Net Daily and that is because the rats are winning the rat race. But those things are all temporal and my eyes need to be focused on the eternal.
“But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:2-3)
See if these words from Matthew Henry, written over 400 years ago, do not ring true in your spirit today:
“The psalmist was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked; a common temptation, which has tried the graces of many saints. But he lays down the great principle by which he resolved to abide. It is the goodness of God. This is a truth which cannot be shaken. Good thoughts of God will fortify against Satan’s temptations. The faith even of strong believers may be sorely shaken, and ready to fail. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors. Foolish and wicked people have sometimes a great share of outward prosperity. They seem to have the least share of the troubles of this life; and they seem to have the greatest share of its comforts. They live without the fear of God, yet they prosper, and get on in the world. Wicked men often spend their lives without much sickness, and end them without great pain, while many godly persons scarcely know what health is, and die with great sufferings…It is not vain to serve God and keep His ordinances.”
It is vital that I keep seeking the Scriptures for wisdom, guidance, and comfort in the days in which we live. John Adams was a great man because he not only was a godly man, but also he had a godly wife. Abigail Adams too got discouraged at times, times we have absolutely no idea what it is like to endure. And yet, although Abigail shared her heart and fears with John, she always relied on God. I leave you with her words to her beloved husband in a letter written September 16, 1775. Notice how it starts out looking at the temporal (the specifics I left out) and ends with eyes to the eternal:
“I set myself down to write with a heart depressed with the melancholy scenes around me…And unto Him who mounts the whirlwind and directs the storm, I will cheerfully leave the ordering of my lot and whether adverse or prosperous days should be my future portion, I will trust in His right Hand to lead me safely through, and after a short rotation of events, fix me in a state immutable and happy…Adieu! I need not say how sincerely I am your affectionate.”
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers
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