Saturday, June 13, 2015

June 13, 2015 … Dealing With Discouragement

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2015 - Day 164

Devotional Song: … GO TO THIS LINK … Please take the time to take in a video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing his very personal song of pain His Strength Is Perfect … lamenting the loss of a child in the context of seeking strength from our Lord. — It seems like I post this song a lot on my blogs. Perhaps I need to hear it over and over again. Maybe you do too!!

Highlight Passage John 21: 18-19 [NKJV] … 
18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” 
 … Jesus lifts the countenance of Peter, the inner Disciple upon whom the primary leadership of The Church would follow as Christ’s Bride grew in those early days of the Church.
Highlight Context - John, Chapter 21NKJV]USE THIS LINK
… God begins the restoration process with His disciples, especially Peter, who had been so despondent over denying Christ thrice just before He went to the cross.

Reference Passage #1 - Ephesians 2:8-10; 3:20-21; 4:1-3; 5:15-17 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK
… God’s grace will strengthen all who follow Him to be His workmanship until He comes again.

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Corinthians 12: 9-10 [NKJV] … 
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
… As was Paul when he wrote this journal entry, there are times when we’re going to be down, and even in pain; but when we’re at our weakest, that’s what God’s Spirit can lift us up.

Reference Passage #3 - Philippians 4: 11-13 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… Our contentment will come only when we recognize and receive His strength to cover our weakness.

Reference Passage #34- 2nd Peter 1: 2-4 [NKJV] USE THIS LINK ...
… And Peter exhorts the Church (i.e., you and me) with the truth that - IN CHRIST - we have all we need to partake of God’s divine nature and to become an ultimate overcomer, as was Jesus.

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread author, Julie Ackerman Link, wrote about how easy it is to get down or discouraged when messing around in social media, like Facebook, these days. She wrote: Social media is useful for many things, but contentment is not one of them. At least not for me. Even when my goals are good, I can become discouraged by continual reminders that others are accomplishing them first or with greater results. I am prone to this kind of discouragement, so I frequently remind myself that God has not short-changed me. He has already given me everything I need to accomplish the work He wants me to do. 

 Personally, I think that one has to guard against being lured into using Facebook and other social media too extensively, especially if one is trying to find more contentment or joy from life. These new forms of social “connectors” can be used constructively; but they tend to drive people to emotional discouragement and even covetousness. How many times does one feel jealous or inadequate when reading online of the exploits of other Facebook “FRIENDS?” And it seems to me that Satan has found another tool to pervert a form or communication and use it to drive mankind inward and to become more discouraged.

 The Apostle Peter, and later Paul, both personally experienced the anecdote for such inwardness, selfishness, and spiritual weakness; and they wrote it in the reference passages linked/copied above. But the main scenario which illustrated how Christ set them up for future Church leadership, came in His return to His remaining inner Disciples just after the resurrection. Don’t you just love this interaction, which the Apostle John wrote about in the last Chapter of His gospel journals (see John, Chapter 21), and especially in Verses 15-19 where Jesus restores a very despondent and discouraged Peter.

 Remember Peter had denied Christ three times. Note, as Jesus comes, very personally and intimately to Peter, how The Lord gives Peter three opportunities to express his love for His Lord; and three times, Jesus charges (actually “commissions”) Peter to “… go and feed” His sheep.

 We must remember that Jesus desires that we all “GO” and be His witness and agents of transformation (see Acts 1: 8 and Matthew 28: 19-20). And He provides the power and the “where-with-all” to do just that [see 2nd Peter 1: 2-4]. So, let’s crawl out of our selfish holes today, being guarded as we use tools like social media; and let’s take up Jesus’ charge to follow Him and be His witnesses. He will provide THE power; and all we need to provide is the commitment and the decision to “GO!”

My Prayer Today: Oh Lord, … I go in Your Name today and prayerfully for Your glory. Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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