By Kenneth Jackson

By Kenneth Jackson

Monday, May 4, 2015

"Ever Been Discouraged?"

Asking the question "Have you ever been discouraged?" is sort of like asking the question "Have you ever been hungry?"  Of course we have been both!!!  Now the question is "What do we do?"  If we are hungry, we get something to eat---we don't wither away and die of extreme hunger--we feed ourselves.  When we are discouraged, we must begin to feed ourselves on something other than more discouragement---which is one of the things that happened to me yesterday.   Being discouraged is one of those tactics of the enemy---to get us so down about something or someone that we are rendered "helpless" to ourselves or others.  I remember reading "a discouraged soul is helpless.  He can neither resist the attacks of the enemy for himself, while in this state, nor can he prevail in prayer for others." I know discouragement is not from our Father who is our constant source of love, hope, and encouragement.  I believe He wants you and I to be a source of encouragement to others.  After being impressed to share a story with you, I sat down to write this post.  Yesterday in my church was senior recognition Sunday where we honor and celebrate the five high school seniors, one of which was my oldest granddaughter.  I so wanted everyone to be there for this special occasion and sent out e-mails and posted on Facebook to encourage everyone to come.  I expected a full house---all the pews full for this joyous occasion that I was so excited about !!  I prayed and prayed for lots of people to come.  When I got to church early, it was not a packed house like I thought, but I just knew they would be coming.  I looked around and began to think "Oh Lord, where is everyone?"   I began to be discouraged in looking around at the empty pews because it was not a full house like I wanted.  I had no idea at the time that I was stepping right into a trap!!  The service started and it was a wonderful time of celebrating these amazing five seniors that we have all had the joy of watching grow up--praying for them and loving all of them.  My pastor, Leah, gave a wonderful message on Jonah and how God told him to go to preach to the people at Ninevah, but Jonah ran away from God in the opposite direction, got on a boat, thrown overboard, swallowed by a great fish, prayed for three days in the belly of the fish, vomited out of the fish, and finally Jonah did what God told him to do in the first place---we all know the story---but Leah's message was for these five seniors.  She told them that no matter what Jonah did---obeying God or disobeying Him that God was still with Jonah in everything he did and everywhere he went-- just like no matter what we do or where we go, God is there---whenever we are doing what God wants us to do or running away from God---He is still with us!!!  He never leaves us---ever---just like He never left Jonah!!  She spoke words of encouragement to the seniors and to all of us.  God's presence with us at all times is a promise we can all count on and believe.  Later in the afternoon, I began to see what happened that morning----I was looking around at the empty pews instead of looking at the people who were there and BEING THANKFUL for each and every person!!!  There were LOTS of people in church to thank God for---but I had allowed myself to be discouraged.  It is sort of like the glass of water filled up half way---is it half full or half empty?  Or we can look at the glass and BE THANKFUL for the glass and that it has water in it!!  I know that when I walked into my church yesterday morning, I was to look around--then look up and BE THANKFUL to God for each and every person and not fall into the trap of looking around and being discouraged!!  This is one of our spiritual weapons----seeds of discouragement from the enemy cannot be sown in a HEART of GRATITUDE!!!  I encourage you today to make a habit of looking for the silver lining of every cloud of discouragement that tries to darken your day and keep looking at that silver lining instead of the gray in the middle of the cloud.  Maybe sometimes we don't get what "we" want so we will be THANKFUL for what we do get!!  Hope your heart is full of gratitude today and that you dispell any clouds of discouragement that might come your way by looking up, up, up to the Lord and thanking Him!!

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