The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Prayers To Pray. Words To Say.
Sacrifices To Make"
When feeling down and discouraged, God blesses us with opportunities that would not exist apart from the challenge.
"As ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (I Thessalonians 4:1).
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
First, temptation to discouragement provides a pathway wherein we can please God by trusting Him when emotional and physical sensations cause us to feel displeased. Indeed, how we must bless our Heavenly Father when we affirm our confidence in Him during such times. Consider Job, who in the midst of his trial wondered where God was, and why He did not deliver him from suffering and sorrow:
"Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me, when His candle shined upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness, as I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle, when the Almighty was yet with me" (Job 29:2-5).
In the midst of such grief and feeling forsaken, Job nevertheless voiced one of the great affirmations of faith recorded in Scripture, "Thou He slay me, yet will I trust in Him!" (Job 13:15). One can only imagine how such an affirmation must have blessed the heart of God as His servant trusted Him from a dark valley. As it will when our challenges to doubt and despair become an altar whereupon we sacrifice temptations to despondency with "Yet will I trust in Him!"
From this altar, we arise in the realization that our challenge can also become comfort to others. To whom can I serve as the Lord's encouragement, and how? Might my feelings of discouragement have been allowed by God to awaken me to the needs of others who feel the same? Are there prayers I can pray? Are there words I can say? Are there sacrifices I can make for the benefit of the sad and the hurting? Doubtless there are. Our very faith began this way as the sufferings, sorrow, and death of the Lord Jesus Christ became the basis for our salvation and the gift of "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8). The same Christ now dwells in us, as do His sufferings through which God applies the Savior's working in the hearts of others as we see our losses as potential for providing balm to the hurting. "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation aboundeth by Christ" (II Corinthians 1:5).
The life of the risen Lord Jesus administers grace to others from the crosses God privileges us to bear. The possibility of pleasing our Father and ministering to others lie close at hand and close in heart whenever temptations to discouragement challenge us. Such realization will help wrench the focus upon ourselves and how we feel. Prayers to pray. Words to say. Sacrifices to make. Our Lord moves within us to lead and empower His ministry to others when our enemies challenge us to discouragement and despair.
"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends."
Weekly Memory Verse
The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.