Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor. Exodus 6:9
Discouragement occurs when things go bad on a consistent basis and don’t ever seem to get better. People try and try to change the situation, but it does not change. If it keeps up long enough, people get discouraged and want to quit. They cannot believe in the possibility of things getting better. They begin to expect hardship and turmoil.
It is difficult to encourage someone who is discouraged. All the person can see is the mountain and trouble in front of their eyes. His eyes are blinded to the truth or any change than can occur.
The Israelites had been under slavery for 400 hundred years. All they, their parents, their grand-parents and great grand-parents have ever known is slavery. They had been crying out to God for a rescue. When God began to answer, the enemy doubled down on the fight to hold them.
Through Moses, God told them that He would release them. Yet, they would not listen to that word, because they were discouraged. Everything was going from bad to worse. How could anything get better? It appeared that God and Moses had made things worse. They were discouraged.
Many people in this world and some believers have this type of view on life. They cannot see beyond the troubles that are in front of them. They allow discouragement to overcome in their lives and keep them down, rather than allowing God to come in and strengthen them and release them from the hands of the enemy.
The enemy will not release a person quickly or easily. The world does not want to lose anyone to God. So the world will fight back. Satan will double up on holding a believer or non-believer down.
There may be times you attempt to encourage someone who is discouraged and being beaten down or you may be in that place yourself. Look up to God and trust His word to you. God has great plans for you.
No matter what the world can throw at you, God will win in the end. In the end you will be brought into the promised land–heaven for all eternity with God.
Do not allow yourself to get discouraged and stop hearing God’s word for your life. Do not let discouragement win, but let God’s word in your life win.
I pray today that you will know God’s word for your life; that God will remove discouragement from your life; that you will allow God to pull you through the troubles of this life; and that you will live in victory through Jesus and God’s Holy Spirit.
Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4
Persecutions and trials are not something most people look forward to. No one wants to be persecuted or put on trial for anything. This becomes especially true when someone is innocent of doing anything wrong.
When a person is summoned for a court hearing to be tried, he usually gets very nervous, especially if innocent. He runs out quickly to find a good lawyer to defend him. He wonders if he will be able to prove his innocence. Many will start to fight back saying that they are innocent. In the process of fighting back, some will end up committing a crime.
It is common to hear of people slandering or cursing their accusers. They run to the media to try and clear their name. Or they try to flee and never face their accuser.
Paul tells the people of the Thessalonian church that he boasts about what they are doing in the face of persecution and trials. They are staying strong and true to God’s word and holding on to their faith.
Over the years, not every believer has acted liked the Thessalonian church. The trials can be real court trials against them, but often they are just trials in life to test their faith. The little day-to-day struggles are trials that test what a person is really like. Slander and lies are the persecutions that many face.
As believers are faced with these types of persecutions or worse and the many types of trials in life, they are given a choice as to how to react to them. Many begin to curse the person or situation, or they get angry with God for allowing it to happen.
Believers are to hold on to their faith and trust God through every situation. They are to not give up on God and take the way of the world.
Persecutions and trials will come your way. Jesus promised them. You have a choice as to how you will react to those situations. They may be big and grand persecutions, but usually they will be the little things in life each day.
Will you give into the trial and act like the world?
Or will you hold on to your faith that God is in control?
Hang on to God and the trial will come to an end in His time.
I pray today that you will have faith in God’s abilities; that you will hold on to God during trials; that you will focus on God and His promises in persecutions; and that you will shine as a witness of Jesus in this world.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 1 Corinthians 4:16
Looking around the world, things do not always look very good. There is trouble and pain everywhere one looks. People are getting sick, people are dying, people are hungry, people are without clothes, people are at war, and the list goes on.
Along with what most of the world does not like and thinks is bad, are the things that God is looking at. Sin abounds and appears to be growing more rapidly than ever before. Certain sins that were never talked about are now openly being promoted and expected, not only in the world, but also in the church.
There are many believers who are working hard at reaching those in the world. They strive to spread the gospel to everyone they meet. Yet, sometimes it looks like as though they are not making any progress.
Then there are the problems that a believer faces in his own life. He repents of a sin and works to stay from it, but falls back into that sin. It appears as if he will never stop sinning. And every person, believer or not, faces the body getting old and breaking down. It is frustrating and discouraging and many lose heart.
Paul faced all of this, yet said that they do not lose heart. Regardless of what is going on in this body or this world, a believer must never lose heart. God is still in control and at work.
The believer is constantly being renewed each day on the inside. God is working daily to make the believer into someone more like Jesus. It is a slow, but steady process that will take a life time to complete.
Inside the believer is always the hope of eternity with God. The troubles of this world are only temporary and will end some day.
You, along with every believer, is someone on this path in this life. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and the eternity that He has promised you. Do not get discouraged and lose heart because of the way this world looks, or what you are going through.
Even though your body may be breaking down or sin appears to be more prevalent, God is with you. He is building you up. Don’t give up, you are being renewed!
I pray today that you will see God’s work in you; that you will focus on Jesus; that you will trust God’s work; that you will know the hope you have in Jesus; and that you will share that hope you have in Jesus with others.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
Paul had been talking about troubles in this life are light compared to what is coming up in the future. Now he talks about what he fixes his eyes on.
People are always looking at things. They focus on things that they have or that they want. A common statement for a person to be successful is to focus on a dream and what it takes to get there. Usually that dream is of some thing, making a certain dollar amount, or a position.
While have a dream for those things may be good, they are not the best things to focus ones eyes on. When a person focuses on something, he goes for it, no matter what it takes. It is the central focus of his life.
All these things, dollars, and positions are just temporary. The will only last for a short time. The thing a person wanted so badly breaks down or does not live up to one’s expectations. No matter how much money a person has, there always seems to be a need for more and that it is not enough. Positions are never guaranteed very long. Positions come and go all the time.
Paul talked about focusing on what is unseen, what is eternal. The focus is on God and His kingdom. These are things that cannot be seen, yet will last for eternity and no one can take them away.
Focusing on God and His kingdom is focusing on doing what He wants, when He wants it and how He wants it done. It is focusing on reaching as many as possible with the Gospel message.
These are the things that will last for eternity. They will also give a person fulfillment in this life and the one to come.
Take a look at your own life and see what your eyes are focused on. You will notice whatever your eyes are focused on is where you spend your time, thoughts and money. Your aim is where your eyes are focused.
Ask God to open your eyes to see what is eternal. He can help you focus on what is coming in eternity to get past all the hurt, pain and troubles of today.
I pray today that you will see what you have in Jesus; that God will reveal a piece of eternity to you; that you will know the value of following God; and that you will focus your eyes on God and building His kingdom.