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Summary: Dealing with discouragement

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Luke 18:1-8

I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up!

Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church

March 5, 2006

Introduction

You may not remember what Life Alert sold or who little old Mrs. Fletcher was, but you’ll never be able to forget her famous line, “Help! I’ve fallen and I…” All the late night guys used the line. It showed up in just about every great sitcom during the ‘90s and was even used by Scooby Doo and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Some of you today feel like you’ve fallen and can’t get up. In fact, you’ve probably been feeling that way for some time. Our subject today is very real to me and to many of you. For too many it is an unwelcome, but familiar friend. Others of you share your lives with this guest on a daily basis. This is no new message: in fact, I have preached it before, but I believe it is time I preach it again and remind you of some things the Bible has to say about discouragement, desperation and perhaps even depression.

Did you know that you don’t just wake up one day in desperation and depression? They have a very subtle beginning, and we call it discouragement. When I am discouraged my old friends drop by. They come along and say all the words they think I need to hear: “I don’t care…” “I don’t feel like it…” “What difference does it make?” and one of my personal favorites, “whatever!” These are the kinds of friends that don’t call before they drop by; they stay too long, and talk way too much. There are some other things that might bring about those old friends, but I believe the most common instigator of them both is discouragement.

Has anyone seen these old friends of mine lately? Have they been staying at your home too? I don’t know how old they are, but I know they’re old. In fact, they visited a man in the Bible by the name of Elijah. He was a spiritual giant of a man to us, but he was just a man. He experienced the highest of spiritual highs on the top of Mt. Carmel and left that mountain for the wilderness of Beersheba. The Bible says,

“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”

Henry David Thoreau said that the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation. Elijah got discouraged. He was desperate, scared, tired, down and out and wanted to give up. The apostle Paul himself said in Romans 9:2 “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.” Moses could teach us a thing or two about it. Other men like Jonah, David, Noah, Abraham, Peter and John knew what it was to experience discouragement.


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