Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Discouragement. We all experience it one time or another. Discouragement can immobilize even the righteous people of God and hinder them or stop them in their tracks to the point that they stop working on their God given visions.

Sunday January 27th, 2008 Series: the Fight part four

Scripture: Mark 9:23

Sermon: In the face of discouragement

Speaker: Pastor Michael West, River of Life

Discouragement. We all experience it one time or another. Discouragement can immobilize even the righteous people of God and hinder them or stop them in their tracks to the point that they stop working on their God given visions.

For instance, Israel, was in a state of rebelliousness for a long period of time against God, so God had allowed them to be defeated and taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon. However, the Lord didn’t leave them without any encouragement. God had spoken in their hard years through the prophet Jeremiah that they would be free again after seventy years...Jeremiah 29:10

After that time, Israel was restored and their season of hardship was over, and as the Lord had promised, restoration was being fulfilled. In fact, initiated by the prophet Daniel, Israel entered a season of divine visitation whereby the Lord personally revealed Himself to King Cyrus, know as a gentle king, and appointed him to build a house for the Lord in Jerusalem...II Chron. 36:23

Cyrus responded by encouraging a national offering for Israel’s journey, restoring the treasures Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Israel. The display of divine grace created an atmosphere of excitement and awe among the people—the Lord Himself was causing the people to return.

It was a time of great grace and provision, but during that time something happened that the people allowed their attention to be diverted. They lost their focus. Ezra 4:4-5

Incredible as it may seem, in light of all the miracles Israel knew and witnessed, all the signs and provisions they experienced, seemed to be no match to the discouragement that was neutralizing their progress. In fact, the discouragement and complacency stalled the restoration for twenty years.

Listen, discouragement is subtle in it’s attack and it has great consequences that will paralyze you. It is powerful and we must refuse to accommodate it’s influence when it speaks to us...why bother, who cares, what good will it do…

Like Israel, you and I have a vision. There is a dream that is real. There is a mission, a blessing to be that God has for us that will grow us spiritually, something that God has for you to help you grow strong in your spiritual authority. Whatever the case, God has provisions waiting to be used by us.

The vision can be for a personal transformation.

It could be for spiritual renewal for the church. Revival. For families, for ministry, but God will provide and meet the need as it arises, but we have to rise to meet the challenge of the need.

However, before a vision or a holy passion to see this nation turn back to God can be complete, you and I will have to face some serious opportunities to be discouraged.

This is why each of us need to build a fighting spirit. Isaiah 61:3 talks about the spirit of heaviness, the NASB calls it a spirit of fainting—passivity, fainting, heaviness, whatever name it bears today, it is an evil spirit and it will do all it can to render you helpless and keep you from exercising your faith!

How do we contract a spirit of discouragement and defeat? Disappointment in loved ones. Sin repeated over and over infiltrating into our souls. Not only will discouragement try to keep you down, it runs around with a couple other friends to help out, condemnation and fear. Whatever door this spirit has entered through to gain access to your heart, you will need to repent and renounce vocally. You will need to forgive and release any area of disappointment or discouragement you have in someone else. Renounce living in fear or condemnation.

What is it that God gives us for these spirits of heaviness? None other than the garments of praise. How can you praise when you feel down? Look back to where you have been and recall the blessings and miracles, recall what God has already done in your life and through your life. Then put on the garment of praise for those things and in a short period of time of praising and giving thanks to God, whatever ailed your spirit will be gone. It only takes a few minutes to make that happen.

Praise God and thank Him for the goodness in your life and watch what happens to you. Something else...listen close...this is not a time when you are to be quiet. It’s a time to shout it loud. It’s a time to pray with your eyes open. Can’t you say? Bet you can...how many have ever prayed while driving?

This is the time to speak loudly, to be serious and put passivity away. No quiet eyes shut prayer here and if you feel phony, it just a feeling. Remember, your flesh doesn’t want to submit to the Spirit. Any sense of being artificial and fake will pass and fade away with in a couple of minutes and when it does, you will know you are accessing your true spiritual self.

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