Summary: This sermon offers resources for coping with discouragement and help in overcoming despair.

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Last week we began a series entitled “Do Not Lose Heart.” We established the point that many people lose heart as they travel the path of life. I mentioned Jim Ryun, who was a long distance runner. At one point in his life he lost heart with running and walked off of the track. He quit. He was discouraged. I mentioned my grand-father. He lost heart when my grand-mother died. He wasted away for three years before his own death occurred. I mentioned a teenager, in my home town, which lost heart because she was having trouble with her parents and she broke up with her boy friend. I mentioned Marilyn Monroe who lost heart because she was viewed as a sex object and not a person of value. She committed suicide. In addition, many people in our society have lost heart. The economy has caused many to lose heart. Many businesses have failed. Many people have lost jobs. Many have lost their retirement savings.

People sometimes approach the Lord for strength with the mind-set of the old song on the Hee-Haw TV show--"gloom, despair, agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery."

(Contributed to Sermon Central by Clarence Clough)

Joke: A number of movie stars are in despair because their homes have lost value. Eddie Murphy’s 32-room mansion in Englewood, New Jersey, which he calls Bubble Hill, has been on the market for $30 million for five years without a sale, so last month Murphy slashed the price of the property in half. The homes has a bowling alley, indoor pool, elevator, full-size racquetball court, theater, and recording studio Eddie is now asking only $15 million for it.

If you’re in the market for something a little more reasonable, Whitney Houston has cut the price of her NJ estate in half. This is the estate where she married Bobby Brown. Her price is down from $5.6 million to $2.5 million. The home is a 12,561-square-foot gated property (Yahoo web site)

Tough times take their toll on us. A passenger on an ocean liner was enduring a rough Atlantic crossing. He was standing by the rail on the ship and leaned over the rail in his sickness. His face a shade of green. A steward came along and tried to encourage him: "Don’t be discouraged, sir! No one’s ever died of seasickness yet!" The nauseous passenger looked up at the steward with horror and said, "Don’t say that! It’s the hope of dying that’s kept me alive this long!"

(From a sermon by Jimmy Chapman, "WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THE MIDST OF A STORM" 2/12/2009) (Contributed by SermonCentral Staff)

Last week we began a series entitled “Do Not Lose Heart.” This series is based on II Cor. 4. We are looking at a man who faced difficult circumstances. If anybody had a reason to give up, he did. However, he did not lose heart. Look at II Cor. 4:8-9. “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” Twice in this chapter Paul testifies that he did not lose heart (vs. 1 and vs. 16).We want to sit at Paul’s feet and learn from him. He displays some secrets that we need to know. We can discover these secrets as we examine the context of II Cor. 4. Last week we looked at one principle. The first principle was to rely on the goodness of God. Paul refers to the “mercy” of God in verse 1. God’s goodness will sustain us during difficult times. I shared a verse from the Psalms. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” Ps. 27:13

In the Bible, Biblical characters often suffered trials but they continued to affirm God’s mercy, grace and love. One of the best known characters who experienced pain and suffering was Job. Job experienced five major catastrophes. One day a group of his enemies, the Sabaens raided and took away Job’s oxen, donkeys, and the servants who guarded them. On another occasion a disaster struck and killed all of his sheep and the servants who guarded them. Next, another group of his enemies, the Chaldeans, raided and took his camels and the servants who guarded them. Then a tornado struck a tent in which Job’s sons were partying and killed all of his sons. Finally, Job himself was struck with boils. In the midst of this crisis Job’s wife discouraged Job. She said "Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!’’ Job replied by saying “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’’ Job affirmed the goodness of God.

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