Did anyone pick up the Portsmouth Daily Times this morning hoping to be discouraged? Did anyone look for an article just hoping that someone would be negative; that someone would help them start their day off on a downward spiral? No; today we examined the newspaper looking for encouragement, seeking hope, desiring to be motivated to do greater things; seeking to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. As we examined the newspaper we wanted to know how to make it in a messed up world. When we watch the nightly news we can get all the discouragement that we would ever want in thirty second sound bites. From bombings to murder and mayhem; it is all there for the watching.
I don’t know about you but I am sick of hearing about the election. I am sick of Hollywood “elites” lecturing everyone on how the rest of the world is to react to today’s headlines as if they are somehow the “super informed” and are the “epitome of all knowledge”. I am sick of hearing of college students that need Play Dough, coloring books, therapy dogs, classes dismissed, and “safe zones” in order for them to make in today’s world. Brothers and sisters this is the same soft life that overthrew Rome. They seek to take little responsibility for their actions and parade around with an attitude that demands, “Give me everything for free”. If they can’t handle the election results how in the world can they ever think that they will be able to handle a thing called life! It is time for people to grow up! In fact brothers and sisters they need to get a life.
I am glad that the greatest generation didn’t sit in a corner and beg for Play Dough and a safe zone when the world was falling apart in the forties. They stood fast; they made a difference and that is why we have the freedom we have today. What caused those saints of old to have the moral fiber to take a stand? They stood because God was a part of their very fabric. When they were young they received the solid foundation that they were able to build on. They read the Bible in school, had teachers that prayed with them, said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem. As we begin 2017 in many places in our country we have lost what made America great. Some have asked me, “What is it that made America great?” The answer is simple; God made America great and He can make it great again! But He will only make America again when He is first in America again!
Now brothers and sisters don’t lose heart. In a world that is so filled with hopelessness, discouragement, and defeat there is HOPE!!! The Apostle Paul knew the secret to “not losing heart”. In Second Corinthians 4:16 he writes, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Paul is telling us that regardless of what comes our way don’t give up, give in, give out or “lose heart”. Some of you are saying right now, “Sometimes it is easy to lose heart.” Yes, it is easy to come to a place where you are ready to throw in the towel, lay down your burdens, and just quit. But friends as you examine the life of Paul you will see that it would have been easy for him to quit. All one has to do is read Second Corinthians 11:23-29 to find numerous reasons for Paul to wave the white flag of surrender. In that passage it says, “Of the Jews five times he received thirty nine lashes from a whip. Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked.” Paul was beaten numerous times, he spent a night and a day in the ocean and yet he says, “We faint not”. In the Greek text that phrase means “I never lose heart”! Paul isn’t bragging he is simply making a statement of fact. Paul had discovered a spiritual secret that enabled him to be encouraged even in the midst of circumstances that would have discouraged anyone else. Yet, in spite of all those trials, tribulations, and burdens, Paul is able to say: “I never lose heart”!
Is there anyone of us who can say, “I never get discouraged; I never want to give up; I am always encouraged, excited, and energized about my life and in my walk with the Lord?” While every day brings with it its unique problems, every day also comes with its own measure of grace from the hands of our Father in Heaven.
Today you don’t have to be defeated. You don’t have to be one of those people who used to sing in the choir or say “I used to go to church.” You don’t have to be one of those who used to be faithful. It is time to “catch” the attitude of the Apostle Paul when he wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus that strengthens me!” The problems of this life that seem so heavy are really just “for a moment” compared with the “eternal weight of glory” that we will experience when we arrive home in Heaven.
Today; put on a happy face and meet the world head on because you know the “secret” that Paul knew. He knew about the life that is everlasting. Do you remember what you worried about two years ago? I didn’t think so! Tomorrow climb out of bed with energy in your step and if you climbed out on the “wrong side of the bed” climb back in and get out the other side and make a difference!