Summary: Many are going through difficult times and struggling with major issues: health, or finances, besetting sins, family matters, or a myriad of other battles. There’s hope - don’t lose heart.

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2 Corinthians 4:7-9 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 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…"

Introduction: Many are going through difficult times and struggling with major issues. For some it is health, or finances, besetting sins, family matters, or a myriad of other battles. Last week we talked about the necessity of guarding your heart. Today I want to encourage you to "Not Lose Heart".

I. Life’s Onslaught

A. Hard Pressed on every side…

1. Thlibo – to press (as grapes), to compress, contract, crush

2. Matthew 7:14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

3. All he could see which ever way he turned was trouble, temptations, trials, and pain. There was nothing good that surrounded him.

4. 2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

5. Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length,

Pressed so intently, it seems beyond strength,

Pressed in the body, and pressed in the soul,

Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll,

Pressure by foes, and a pressure by friends,

Pressure on pressure till life nearly ends.

B. Perplexed

1. To be without resources, to be in straits, not to know which way to turn, to be completely at a loss with one’s self, be in doubt, not to know how to decide or what to do

2. In spite of all his efforts to escape from trouble, Paul couldn’t find a way out. He was trapped.

3. 2 Corinthians 4:8 (NLB) …We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do...

4. When you look in every direction and all you see is trouble you don’t know which way to go.

5. i.e. The children of Israel – the sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army behind - Exodus 14:10 - 12 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

6. A minister asked his staff to tell him what people wrestle and struggle with. They came up with the following: • relationships with families, loved ones, in-laws • economics • finances • gas prices • medical care• too much information, too fast • time balance • sex • secularization • searching for something and not knowing what it is • loss, loss of relationships • change • world issues• job satisfaction • poverty • crime level • aging self and aging parents. The point is that there is always something to struggle with. (Adapted from Dr. Tom Pace, Destined to Struggle.”)

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