Monday, August 8, 2011

Down But Not Out

Did you hear that even the devil has felt the reality of our economic crisis and decided to have a garage sale? They say that Demons came from the deepest pits to bid on the tools of hell. At one table anger was selling cheap – so common, so plain, and so effective. Greed brought a big price and pride drove bids to unheard of levels. Multiple copies of the jealousy tool were hot items. Lust, as always, was bargain basement. The shrewdest demon in hell took Satan aside and said, “Tell me, your lowness, what is your best tool?” Satan nodded to a steel box in the corner, “it’s over there, but it’s not for sale.” The demon tried every crafty dodge in hell to get Satan to sell, but he wouldn’t budge. The shrewd demon wandered over to the box that held Satan’s prime weapon. Carefully, he slipped the latches and raised to top… not a very impressive tool; small really, but the demon did not doubt its potency. He turned the cold little instrument over to read the label, and then he understood. The label simply read: Discouragement. (originally authored by William R. Rathvon)

Quite possibly you’ve been feeling discouraged lately. That’s no surprise to the devil. His tool of discouragement works wonders in our fallen world. We try our hardest to walk by faith, only to find ourselves clinging to our sight. We face disappointments and suddenly darkness closes in on us without warning or explanation. It doesn’t take long before we’re smothered by fear and overcome with despair. The darkness of discouragement does that, and as a result, hope quickly fades.

The enemy wants us to think that life is only what we find on the surface, but Truth tells us there’s much more going on beneath it all and infinitely more at stake.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, 
but against the rulers, against the powers, 
against the world forces of this darkness, 
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places
Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)

When disappointment happens . . . and it will, you’ll need to have your faith on a firm foundation, so that you’re not defeated by discouragement. (“in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11) Realize that there are parts of your life you’re not privy to. (God sees your life from beginning to end: Isaiah 46:10)Be open minded to believe there may be a “slight” chance that God knows more than you do, and He may just have a better viewpoint from where He is.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:9 (NLT)

When we’re faced with circumstances beyond our control, it’s our opportunity to learn to trust that God is fully in control, even when life isn’t. It’s only when we come to His throne of grace that we’ll find much more than we ever hoped for: peace, strength, mercy, and hope to continue the journey of faith. Disappointments happen, but discouragement becomes a choice. The enemy will use discouragement to cast doubt on your faith, but it gives you the opportunity to flex your spiritual muscles and show your faith in God.

Even through the pain, suffering, and emptiness, you can choose to trust God. You don’t have to understand it all. You don’t even have to “feel” like trusting God. You just have to do it. And you have to keep walking forward with your eyes upon God instead of your circumstances. Whatever you’re going through . . . know that God has allowed it. He sees SOMETHING good that can come from it. (Romans 8:28) If you were never allowed to face overwhelming circumstances, you’d never know you needed God. If you were never cast into situations of desperation, you’d never know your faith was genuine. This life is a test. You’re being prepared to live with a Holy God. Sometimes God gets the glory by how He delivers us, more often He gets the glory by how we persevere through seemingly insurmountable circumstances.

Faith isn’t easy. There will be many, many, many times when you will want to throw in the towel. But the Cross calls you forward. When you don’t know what to do, keep your eyes upon Jesus and keep walking forward in faith. (2 Chronicles 20:12) When you’re trusting in God, and your flesh grows weak, know that the spirit within you is willing. (Matthew 26:41) It’s by faith that you will see hope rise when you trust in God and stand strong against the enemy. And it’s the spirit within you that will cry out in the midst of the battle, “I’m down, but not out!”

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
(Psalm 43:5 NLT)       


Angela said...

sigh...oh how I needed this...thank You Lord for leading me today and loving me so graciously..amen amen amen...Thank you sweet sister...this has comforted me greatly.

Just Be Real said...

Thank you Cherie for a timely post. Blessings.

Cherie Hill said...

Angela and JBR, I think MANY people need to be reminded that we have an enemy that goes far beyond the stock market falling or job loss. We're in a fight for our faith. In the end it's the only thing that matters. Praying that you both find strength in the Lord and that your joy comes from Him as you trust Him at all times in every way.
Blessings and hugs,

Heaven said...

What a beautiful post needed by people. Discouragement steals our joy and peace! Thank you for this post!

Blessings:) Heaven

BeautifulDees said...

Thank you for your kind comment's on my blog and thank you for sharing your wonderful blog.

a joyful noise said...

As Christians we can encourage others with our words and actions. This is a wonderful way to fight discouragement. Thank you for pointing out that we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and he will lift us up out of the mire and ugly pit of self-pity.

Michelle said...

Beautiful post and so well said! Thank you so much for sharing your insight, Cherie.

God bless you!

Cynthia A. Patterson said...

God bless you Cherie for your words of encouragement...Good for the soul!

Just Be Real said...

Blessings to you this day Cherie.

Cherie Hill said...

Sisters, you bless me tremendously. Praying over each of your lives . . . that God will do abundantly far more than you can dare to ask for or imagine!
In Him,

Angela said...

Back again..I think this post goes along with 2 Corinthians 10:3-5!!! Love ya girl!

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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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