Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 26, 2011

"I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time. Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. 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.”  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. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.  The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron."   Psalm 77
It seems that a young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. "What’s the point, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water. "Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

One reason I have chosen to spend this Summer in the Psalms is because the Psalms deal with the gamut of emotions that you and I face in everyday life! This Psalm, for instance tackles discouragement in a very true and transparent manner.

In the dangerous and difficult world where we live, you can easily become discouraged. You may be discouraged by someone else, you may be discouraged by yourself or you could be discouraged by God - or even all three!

So, how can you deal with discouragement in a way that changes the water?

I have given you five ways of dealing with discouragement when it shows up uninvited at your door. Let me remind you of those:

1) Devotion Not Emotion, vv, 1-7

2) Perspective Not Panic, vv. 7-13

3) Certainty Not Speculation, vv. 13-14

4) Recommit Don't Quit, vv. 11-12

5) Declare Don't Despair, 14-20

Discouragement is a big tool in the enemy's arsenal and he will attack you with it early and often. He intends to use it to cause you to feel like giving up. If you don't handle it it can lead to depression. But, if you learned to handle discouragement and learn to use it to draw closer to God, the enemy will be less likely use it against you! So, if he tries to use that one weapon against you I have given you five to defend yourself with!