OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENT Next Week: Dealing with Depression TEXT- II Corinthians 1:3-12 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our

Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (2 Cor 1:4 KJV) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Cor 1:5 KJV) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (2 Cor 1:6 KJV) And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (2 Cor 1:7 KJV) And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. (2 Cor 1:8 KJV) For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: (2 Cor 1:9 KJV) But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: (2 Cor 1:10 KJV) Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; (2 Cor 1:11 KJV) Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. (2 Cor 1:12 KJV) For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward." THE LIVING BIBLE: II Corinthians 1:3-12. "3 What a wonderful God we have-- he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. 5 You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement. 6 We are in deep trouble for bringing you God's comfort and salvation. But in our trouble God has comforted us-- and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure. 8 I think you ought to know, dear brothers, about the hard time we went through in Asia. We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it. 9 We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for

then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us, for he can even raise the dead. 10 And he did help us and saved us from a terrible death; yes, and we expect him to do it again and again. 11 But you must help us too by praying for us. For much thanks and praise will go to God from you who see his wonderful answers to your prayers for our safety! 12 We are so glad that we can say with utter honesty that in all our dealings we have been pure and sincere, quietly depending upon the Lord for his help and not on our own skills. And that is even more true, if possible, about the way we have acted toward you." (TLB) INTRODUCTION: As we now enter the new Millennium, there are many deep global concerns... nuclear proliferation... one world government... a cashless society. Fear, anxiety and discouragement are rampant... even among Christians. But, personal problems, not global concerns, are by far the major cause of discouragement among the saints. John 16:33 "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." You do not determine a person’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him. Dwight L. Moody said "I have never known God to use a discouraged person." 1) Most Christians have a wrong view of trouble. An average view of the Christian life is that knowing Christ means deliverance from trouble. Wrong! It means deliverance in trouble, which is very different. Romans 14:23 calls discouragement sin; "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." 2) Trouble is a basic need for spiritual growth. God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. The moment you face the strain, you will get the strength. 3) God's grace is not available for tomorrow. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength. God never gives strength for tomorrow, or even for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment. 4) God ultimate "high" is not available until you know God's ultimate crisis. The saint is at his "maximum potential" when he is crushed with difficulties so severe and hopeless that deliverance is ludicrously impossible to anyone but God. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES I. You will never get out of trouble.

Job 14:1 "Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble." We go from one tragedy to another. Life is not fair, but God is. Winston Churchill said "Success in life is often nothing more than going from one failure to the next with undiminished enthusiasm." II. You are not the only sufferer. I Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it." III.Trouble is not always judgment. Hebrews 12:6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." IV. Your trouble comes from God...either directly or indirectly. Job learned this and refused to quit. Spurgeon said that God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken, and when you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart. V. You must, with God's help, attempt to bear your burdens and solve your own problems. Take personal responsibility. No one can solve your problems for you. Ultimately, you must deal with them yourself, Be willing to take responsible steps of action to change what you can, and to accept what you cannot change. When you need help and encouragement, God may send someone to be supportive, but ultimately you need to learn to bear your own burdens with His help alone. A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out. "A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17 NIV. When trouble comes, you always remember who stood by and who walked out of your life. VI. Wishful thinking and false optimism are detrimental to you. You have cancer? God can heal you. But, He may not. Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." The bottom line is: Don't quit- in your life, ministry, schooling, goals. Satan uses many things to discourage us: Prayerlessness Physical Fatigue Unconfessed Sin Failure and Embarrassment Routineness and Boredom Constant Pressure

Betrayal and Disappointment Bitterness Selfishness and Stagnation HOW TO OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT: A powerful personal prayer life. I urge every serious Christian to read Jim Cymbala’s book Fresh Wind... Fresh Fire. Feed and build a life-long vision. Early, find out what God wants you to do, and never turn back. "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). Discipline - It is good for a young man to bear his burdens when he is young. It is good to learn the discipline of your business. This means disciplining your time, disciplining your money, and disciplining your management of people. It means to discipline your temper, your lust, and your laziness. "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:1,2). Continual learning - The third way to go a little farther is to continually learn right up to the very end. I read earlier, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3). This meant to Paul, "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection" (Philippians 3:10). Revival - The one thing we must constantly do throughout life is to keep our spirits revived day by day. a. Worshipping God in church. b. Daily devotions of Bible reading and prayer. c. In those special epics or times when we go to the altar, take our car to the top of Liberty Mountain, or other times when we meet God personally . . . alone . . . privately . . . meaningfully.

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