Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 24, 2011

"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”   Psalms 77:11-12

This week I have been studying the 77th Psalm which deals with the very practical issue of discouragement and how to deal with it.

So far I have shared three of five concepts I find in this Psalm to help overcome or prevent discouragement. For sake of review those concepts are:

Concept One - Devotion Not Emotion

Concept Two - Perspective Not Panic

Concept Three - Certainty Not Speculation

This morning I will share the fourth concept for your consideration:


Aseph was faced with the very same decision as you and I face when we are discouraged, “Why not just give up?”

Discouragement can cause you to lose hope and when you lose hope you can begin to wonder, "It this worth it? Why should I keep trying? Why not just quit?"

Quitting smoking is good! Quitting drugs is good! Giving up any harmful practice, attitude, habit or relationship is good. Quitting on God is never good. If you quit on faith what are you going to believe that is better? Oprah? Dr. Phil? And if you quit on God, where can you go?

"A majority of the great historic accomplishments of the past have been the final result of a persistent struggle against discouragement and failure. A man is never beaten until he thinks he is. Without perseverance, the chances of his succeeding are small indeed."

Harold Sherman, wrote a book “How to Turn Failure Into Success”. In it he gives a “Code of Persistence”

a. I will never give up so long as I know I am right.

b. I will believe that all things will work out for me if I hang on until the end.

c. I will be courageous and undismayed in the face of odds.

d. I will not permit anyone to intimidate me or deter me from my goals.

e. I will fight to overcome all physical handicaps and setbacks

f. I will try again and again and yet again to accomplish what I desire.

g. I will take new faith and resolution from the knowledge that all successful men and women have had to fight defeat and adversity.

h. I will never surrender to discouragement or despair no matter what seeming obstacles may confront me.

Winners never quit and quitters never win! Aseph was a winner. It was his job to lead God's people, including King David, in worship. He served at the pleasure of the King, it wasn't his to decide to quit. He had made a commitment to the King and to the Lord. A commitment means he had promised not to quit. That is the nature of commitment, it eliminates every other option including the option to quit. Commitment demands that when you feel like it is time to quit you recommit!

Perhaps you have been battling discouragement and you have come to the point of wondering if it is worth it to keep trying. Maybe you are about to quit on your faith or your marriage or your job. Let me encourage you that if you have made a commitment and sealed it with a promise, you don't need to quit you need to recommit!

June 23, 2011


“Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” Psalm 77:13-14

Like Aseph, when I am struggling with bouts of discouragement it is very easy and, maybe even natural, to project the current troubles forward. Pain and problems have a way of eroding my attitude and causing me to think negatively. And the longer the trouble lasts the easier it is to begin assuming that it will continue. That feeds the discouragement.
I don’t know that the trouble will continue. There really is no way to know. But the pain and the panic and the problems can cause me to feel like they will never end or even get worse. That  negative speculation regarding the future serves to deepen the anxiety and prompts negative or even fatalistic thoughts about tomorrow. Losing hope about tomorrow makes me more susceptible to adding to my discouragement.

So what do I do when I am already discouraged and my prognosis looks bleak? How should I respond when God seems deaf to my pleas for some relief and the heavens seem like brass?

I can continue to speculate about how bad it could be going forward OR I could go back and begin remembering the good things God has done for me in the past. That is what Aseph did. He did not give in to speculation but remembered that God is good even when times are bad and life is painful. I like that idea! That seems like a very good plan for battling discouragement.

So, I won’t speculate, rather retreat mentally to some of your favorite times with God when His goodness was obvious and His power was on display. When I don’t understand what God is up to I choose to focus on what I DO know about Him and what He has done and what He is still able to do! I choose certainty over speculation.

Will you?

I am certain that God is holy and that He is love and that He is powerful and He is righteous and He is good. I am certain that He loves me and has good plans for my future. I am certain that He is able to make all things work together for my good – even the painful things.

To work your way through a bout of discouragement, don’t speculate about what MIGHT happen. Rather choose to meditate on what you know for sure about God! When you are not sure what might happen focus on what you know - HE is in control.