Dealing With Discouragement

How

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In this message, we learn that discouragement will come, but with Jesus we will overcome.

Oh, come on, if that do not make you excited I do not know what will, that was like a wimpy Golf Club like yeah, people are loving Jesus. Hey, in two weeks we are going to have our baptism celebration service and there is a whole bunch of people that are already signed up to do that. If you are here and you are a follower of Jesus and you have not yet been baptized, that is your next step on your journey with Jesus, and I so want to encourage you to do it. I have never met anybody who has regretted it because when you go through those waters, your past is washed away, you rise to a new life in Jesus, and you watch as God takes you to a whole new place on your journey with him, and so, if that is you take the class. Let us help you take this next step, it is going to be amazing and there is so much to celebrate. Okay. All right, if you got a Bible First Kings 19. First Kings 19, welcome to Valley Creek church, I am really glad you are here with us today. We have been in a series called how. And, for the last few weeks we have gotten really practical and we are talking about how do we practically do some of these things on our journey with Jesus.

And, I have told you every week that we use a lack of understanding as an excuse for a lack of obedience. And, so, we have been getting some understanding and some basic areas and I think this has been a really good series for our church because here is what I think is doing, I think it is giving you individual momentum. A lot of times we talk about momentum and we talk about it as a church as a whole, but this series is doing is it is giving you as an individual momentum because things in motion, stay in motion and things that rest, stay at rest. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just get started and get going, but once you get in motion it is easy to stay in motion with Jesus, but things at rest will stay at rest and so God’s kind of helping us grow, helping us get going here, get some momentum in our lives. And, I read these verses this week and I just think this so captures this series. Deuteronomy 30, it says now, what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.

It is not up in heaven, so, that you have to ask who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so that we may obey it. Nor is it beyond the sea, so, that you have to ask who across the sea to get it and proclaim it to us that we may obey it. No. The word is very near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart, so, that you may obey it. In other words, you now know how. This day I call heaven and earth is witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses now choose life, so, that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God and listen to His voice and hold fast to him for the Lord is your life and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Okay, you know what that means. That means you can do it. That means you can do it. He says it is not so far beyond your reach, it is not up in the heavens, it is not beyond the seas, it is not beyond your ability or your understanding.

He says you can do it, you know how it is worth it and those verses means God believes in you. He believes you can do all of these things that we have been talking about they are right there in front of you now it is up to you to just choose life, and take a step forward with him. Are you with me with that. You can do it. You can do it. And, it is worth it. He is giving you the heart and he is giving you the spirit within you to make it happen. Okay. And, so, everything we have talked about I believe that is true and we are going to continue to go on the series today. Today, we are going to talk about how do we deal with discouragement. How do you practically deal with discouragement because I do not know if you know this or not but if you live on planet Earth at some point in time you are going to be discouraged. Like, there is three people sitting in this room, three types of people. One, those of you who are discouraged today, two those of you who will be discouraged in the very near future, and three those of you who are about to be discouraged. All of us face discouragement in some way.

John 16:33 Jesus says, in this world you will have trouble, you will face discouragement. But, take heart for I have overcome the world. I do not know what you may be facing today with discouragement maybe it is in your marriage, maybe it is your finances, your kids, your health, situation or a circumstance maybe it is just your life in general. We are all going to face discouragement and you say, where does discouragement comes from. It comes from a lot of areas, but I think the primary place we have talked about this before is unmet expectations. If here is your expectation of what your marriage is going to be like and this is reality, the gap in between that is your level of discouragement. Or here is your expectation of how situation or circumstance is going to go, but here is reality this is the level of discouragement you will face or if this is your expectation of what life was going to be like and here is reality, this is the discouragement that you will face. We all will face discouragement the question is how do we handle it.

Where do you go to find comfort when you are discouraged. The Bible says that Isa when his brother Jacob stole his birthright from him, it says Isa comforted himself with the thought of killing his brother, bro we know the best way to do it, you know. Peter, when the resurrected Jesus was gone and he thought it was over before he saw Jesus rise from the grave. He went fishing, he went back to his fishing boat to find comfort for himself. Noah, after he wins the great victory of saving the world with the ark this incredible mountaintop finds himself in a valley and he goes to the bottle for comfort, where do you go and find comfort when you are discouraged. Maybe it is the TV or internet, maybe you go to work. Maybe it is a substance, maybe you go deep in your mind, maybe you become critical, maybe you have a relationship you got, I do not know where do you go to find comfort when you are discouraged. The problem with all of those things is everything you pursue apart from Jesus makes you weaker than you already were. Like, have you ever sat there and thought I am so discouraged I just need to watch TV for a couple hours and you sit down you watch TV for a couple hours and when it is done.

You are even more discouraged than before you started Netflix, I mean like, it does not bring you the comfort you are hoping for. If the Holy Spirit is the great comforter, then comfort can only be found in him. That is why Jesus says come to me all you who are weary and burdened and not go to it. He does not say go to that thing, He says come to me, and I am convinced that some of the worst decisions we make in our lives is when we try to find quick comfort for deep pain. When you have deep discouragement or pain in your life and you just want quick comfort for it. That does not work out all that well. So, how do we deal with discouragement, First Kings 19, is a familiar passage, familiar story and I think it is a great picture. It is going to teach us how to do that. I mean this is the story of Elijah and he is probably having the worst day of his life. Do you know there is a lot of worst days in the Bible, it should give you a whole lot of encouragement and comfort to your heart. There is a whole lot of worst days in the Bible because everybody has a bad day.

Everybody faces discouragement even the giants of the faith. And, so, here you have Elijah he is just won this incredible victory, he is killed 450 prophets of Baal, called down fire from heaven, it is a mountaintop experience, and yet here we find him discouraged with a ministry hangover he is defeated, he is exhausted, and he is running from a crazy woman name Jezebel, who is trying to kill him. I am just saying, when you run in from a crazy woman that makes you discouraged. Okay. Some of you are like, I came for the right week, yep, you did here we go. Verse one, now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword the 450 prophets of Baal. So, Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that if one of them. Elijah was afraid and ran for his life, when he came to Beersheba and Judah, he left his servant there.

While he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. I have had enough Lord he said take my life, I am no better than my ancestors. Okay, can we all agree that is a pretty bad day. When you are asking the Lord to take your life, is a bad day he is a discouraged dude. And, so, how do we deal with discouragement six points I got for you today. Okay. Enjoy the points while they last there is only one more week of this baby and then it is gone for a while longtime. Six points on how do you deal with discouragement, first thing is this focus on your health. Focus on your health, verses five and six, then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep, all at once an angel touched him and said get up and eat. He looked around there by his head was a cake of bread over hot coals and the jar of water he ate and drank and then lay down again. Elijah is exhausted, he is hungry, he is famished, and he is just flat wore out.

And, so, God comes to him and he says Elijah here is what you need to do you need to have something to eat and you just need to rest. Can I give you some super spiritual advice here, sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do in life is have a snack and take a nap.

Literally, sometimes the most spiritual thing you do is just have a snack and take a nap. If you have been around here, you know four years ago I preached this, have a snack and take a nap and out of all the things I have preached over the last five years, that is the number one most quoted thing backed to me of what I have said. You have no idea how many people come to me be like man you remember that one time you said have a snack, take nap that was so good I remember it changed my life. Do you understand how discouraging that is for a preacher, of all the deep mysteries of God, we have discovered together, of the profound revelation of the kingdom of God we have on Earth, of the discoveries of your identity that we have walked through together what you remember is have a snack and take a nap, man.

So, I am preaching to myself today on how to deal with discouragement. The reason that is the number one thing we quote from our messages here, because it reveals how exhausted we really are. The reason that resonates so strongly, we are just exhausted. We forget how interdependent our spiritual health and our physical health is. I mean, Mark 12:30 Jesus says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. You are a body, a soul, and a spirit they all work together. And, the reason we are discouraged is because we are physically depleted. We run ourselves so far down we wear ourselves out we become weak, we become susceptible, we become exhausted. I am just telling you if your body is always stressed, you never get your heart rate up and all you do is eat fast food, you will always be discouraged.

It is almost impossible to nourish your soul if you completely ignore nourishing your body. I mean, Isaiah 30 here is what the scriptures say, this is what the Sovereign Lord the Holy One of Israel says in repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength. But, you would have none of it. You said now we will flee on horses, therefore you will flee. You said we will ride off on swift forces therefore your pursuers will be swift. God says, hey, it is in rest and quietness where you will find salvation and strength. In other words, God says turn off the phone shut it down and take a break. But, you say no, we will keep going. We will ride off on swift horses therefore your pursuers will be swift. In other words, the faster you run in this life, the faster the things of this world chase you down. And, the reason we have such a hard time actually resting and physically taking care of ourselves, is because we believe our significance is found in what we do instead of who we are.

If you believe your significance is found in what you do in life with your hands you will never rest because when you are resting you are losing significance. But when you understand your significance is found in Jesus, you can step back and rest. Is Mary and Martha, Martha’s in the kitchen making a meal Jesus never ordered. She is stressed out, she is anxious, she is exhausted, she is frustrated, she is getting resentful, so, she kicks the door now yells at Jesus never a good idea, yells at Jesus to make Mary come help her and all the while you know what Mary’s doing, Mary’s having a snack and taking the nap. She is sitting at the feet of Jesus, feasting on the bread of life. Having a snack and resting with He who says come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Have a snack take a nap. You got to find what works for you.

For me when I am discouraged, I go for walks. I have three loops around my house that I will go. A short loop, a medium loop, and a long loop, based on how discouraged I am is the loop that I choose to work. And, just so you know this week I had to take a nice long loop in my own life. On this nice long walk because I was discouraged about something, you just sometimes have to go, you have to find what works for you. And, what you need to understand is that you did not get unhealthy overnight, so, you would not get healthy overnight. Like, you did not get to where you are at overnight, so, do not think if this week you have one salad and a bunch of McDonald’s cheeseburgers the rest of the week, come man, gluten free one-day I did it, I’m doing it, no not so much. Okay, you got to make some choices and do some things different. Which means you might have to turn off the TV, take a day off of work, come home early, go to bed early, go for a walk, get your heart pumping, go outside some of you just go outside and breathe some fresh air, play with the kids, I do not know, but I know this, if your physical health is struggling, everything else in your life will suffer.

You need to focus on your health, okay. Have a snack take a nap, write it down there you go, make all of you happy. Second thing is this, be aware of God’s presence. Be aware of God’s presence Verse 11, The Lord said go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord for the Lord is about to pass by. He says Elijah, I am coming to meet with you. And, if you remember how the rest of the story goes, God comes, but it looks different than what Elijah was expecting. It says a big wind comes and blows down the mountain and breaks open rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind. And, then says a big earthquake came and shook the very foundation of the mountain that Elijah was on, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then came a fire that burned up the entire mountainside, but the Lord was not in the fire. Then came a gentle whisper and the Lord was in the whisper.

So, Elijah pulled the cloak over his face went out on the presence or outside of the mountain in the presence of God, leaned in and found strength and courage to get up and keep going. Joshua 1:9 says, Have I not commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. What that verses teaching us, is that the presence of God is the antidote for your discouragement. Do not be terrified and do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. The presence of God is your antidote for discouragement. And, he says in Hebrews 13:5, I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am always with you. He said well presence of God, what does that mean, it simply means that you are aware that he is with you and that he is revealing Himself to you. It is all the presence of God is. And, we have talked about it before there is four main types of the presence of God that we can experience like one is Colossians 1:17 says in him all things hold together, which means in this very moment the presence of God is holding the very molecules of your body together.

God’s presence is in the chair that you are sitting on, he is holding the very cells and the fiber and the fabric of that thing together, in him all things hold together. And, there is a second type of presence that if you are a follower of Jesus, the Bible says the Holy Spirit dwells inside of you. He feels you from the inside out of the same God that raised Jesus from the grave is alive and living inside of you today and then a third type says that were two or three are gathered. When you are in your serving teams or small groups you are talking with someone else that is a follower of Jesus, Jesus says he himself comes and is in the presence of their midst. And, then there is a fourth type that says, the praises of his God as enthroned in the praises of his people. He inhabits the worship of Israel which literally means this, when we worship like we just did your worship and the spiritual realm is building a throne, right here in the middle of this room, your praise is building a throne.

This is by faith not by sight. And, Jesus Himself comes and he sits on that throne, and he takes lordship and rule and reign over the situation, circumstances, pain, brokenness, and issues whatever you may face in your life, which means he is here. So, can you do this for a moment, can I just ask everybody can you just close your eyes. You just close your eyes for a moment. And, can you be aware of the presence of God. Can you just be aware for a moment, that if you are a follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is in you. He is not just in this room, he is in you. And, wherever the Holy Spirit is, all of the compassion, love, wisdom, and power of Heaven is also there.

Sometimes you just have to be still and know that he is God. And, let his love be greater than your circumstance. Be aware of his presence. For some of you, that is the first time you have ever done that. This week as you go throughout your week if you get discouraged stop and be aware of that, you are driving your car wait till you get to the red light, and then close your eyes and be aware he is in you. You cannot stand your boss, you are frustrated with your marriage, your kid did this, you cannot stand this class that you are in at school stop. Be aware he is with you. Be aware of his presence. Third thing is this talk to God.

Talk to God, Verse nine, in the word of the Lord came to him. What are you doing here Elijah, he replied, I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty the Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your alters, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too. He talks to God and he pours his heart out. But, he is pretty honest with God, he is like God, I have done everything right. I have given you my whole life on everything you have asked me to do and this is the reality, this is the result. I am not happy with this God, this is not okay with me, I am discouraged. Can I just tell you something, when you talk to God, be honest. Do not be religious when you talk to God. The only conversation God does not engage well with is religious conversation. Read Jesus in the Pharisees, it was the only conversations that did not go well. He loves when you are honest.

Read the Psalms, the Psalms will teach you how to pray. And, if you read them you think they are written by schizophrenia crazy people. In the same verses is like god you are amazing, I love you. God where are you, why have you forsaken me. I love my life it is so amazing, God I am a worm I want to die take my life, you are like what is going on. Honesty is what is going on. And, in honesty God can do great things. We think of David Psalm 42:5, why are you downcast Oh my soul, why so disturbed within me, put your hope in God for I will yet praise him my savior in my God. Three times in 10 verses that exact verses use, three times in 10 verses that means that day, that guy was discouraged, but he was honest. The last place we go is the first place we should run. God is not afraid of your emotions, your questions, or your feelings he asks you to bring them to him.

I mean even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he is sitting there and he prays father if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. He talks to God, honestly pours his heart out and then finds the strength and the courage to keep going. And, we think of Paul you know the story, second Corinthians 12 verse 7, he says to keep me from becoming conceited. Because of the surpassingly great revelations there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. But most Bible scholars believe the thorn in the flesh that Paul’s talking about there something to do with his eyesight, that somehow he is going blind, he is losing his ability to see. Okay, you want to talk about discouragement, this is Paul. This is guy who raises people from the dead, who casts out demons, who heal sick people Paul, who could touch a handkerchief and that handkerchief could travel hundreds of miles, and if people would touch the handkerchief they would be healed and demons would be cast out. This is a guy who gives sight to everyone else but he cannot heal his own eyes. That is the discouragement.

He says three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but he said to me. My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness, therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest in me. That is why, for Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships and persecutions, in difficulties for when I am weak, then I am strong. Paul talks to God in an honest way, and his entire perspective changes. He goes from pleading to delighting. I asked, he said, therefore I will. It is the foundation of your walk with God. I asked, I came to him to talk to him about something. He said, he spoke and told me this, therefore I will, it will change my trajectory. Paul realized that it is weakness he was actually made strong that God was his courage and strength in the midst of his discouragement and the same is true for you.

This week I was thinking about I remember is like a year ago my 5-year-old little girl Emma was in the other room and she was playing and all sudden from the other room I just kept here. I mean, she just kept saying it over and over. This is so bad. Imagine a 5-year-old girl over and over this is so bad, rolling around and like ooh, this is so bad, and finally I have had enough and like Emma, what dad, I said come here so what is going, she says dad this is so bad, and she has got a broken toy in her hand and she goes like this. And, I grabbed it from her look at it, put it back together hand it to her. She goes, oh, thanks daddy, and turns around and ran back out of the room. And, I remember sitting there and thinking how much of my life do I sit there and say this is so bad. How much of your life do you waste, saying this is so bad, instead of he is so good, because maybe if you would just come and talk to him instead of rolling around on the ground.

Maybe he could just go and put that thing back together. Or at least change your perspective about what is happening, talk to him. Fourth thing is this, you got to be grateful. Be grateful. Verse 4, he came to a broom tree, sat down under it and pray that he might die. I have had enough Lord He said, take my life, I am no better than my ancestors. Okay, he is complaining, it is okay he is being honest. But, what if he had a little bit of gratitude with just a little bit, like, hey, God thanks that we defeated 450 prophets, how about this one, hey, God thanks that my prayer called down fire from heaven, I think I have a lot to be thankful for with that one. I mean, not a lot of people that have done that, so, I might have something to be thankful for, no gratitude. Listen to me, gratitude does not change your circumstances gratitude changes you. Gratitude builds your faith that God is good.

Gratitude is the reset button on life. Every time you are thankful to God it is worship. And, the reality is, is you can be a worshiper or a worrier, but you cannot be both. It is impossible to worship and worry at the exact same time. So, you can be a worshiper or worrier, but you cannot be both. So, if you do not want to be a worrier become worshiper. Because when you give thanks to God and you start worshiping him he becomes bigger. Not that he becomes bigger in and of himself he becomes bigger to you and starts to overshadow the problems and the discouragement in your life. I mean catch it, God is not an egomaniac that he needs your worship you realize that right, like when we invite you and encourage you to worship, it is not because God is an egomaniac up there like come on man, you need to work. He knows that if you worship Him, it sets you free. If he is love everything he asked you to do is loving, he asks you to worship him even though you do not feel like it because he knows it is good for you. And, listen to me, gratitude is the pathway to strength.

Piece these verses together. Psalm 100 verse 4, enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart, enter His courts with praise. We become aware of the presence of God through gratitude. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, when you start to worship and give thanks to God, you enter his presence, you become aware of him. Well Psalm 16:11 says, in his presence is fullness of joy. So, gratitude brings me into the presence of God and when I am in the presence of God, that is where the fullness of joy is, all the joy I need in my life is found in his presence. Well Nehemiah 8:10 says, the joy of the Lord is your strength. So, when I am in his presence and being filled up with his joy, the joy of the Lord becomes my strength, so, gratitude is the pathway to strength. I enter His gates with thanksgiving, become aware of his presence. When I am in his presence, there is the fullness of joy, and when I have joy, the joy of the Lord becomes my strength and ungrateful heart will always live a defeated life.

You will never be encouraged until you first learn to be grateful. For Thessalonians 5:16 through 18, be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God’s will for you. Maybe right now, why not let us go ahead and like actually walk out God’s will. What can you just give them thanks for, like right now can you just stop again for a second. Can you just tell God thanks for one thing and if you have nothing else to be grateful for, you can say thanks god that I am alive today, that I am breathing air, and that I am sitting in an environment that believes in the goodness of Jesus, even though I may not personally believe it today. Be grateful, okay. Fifth thing is this, do not give up, do not give up, go ahead and throw that verse up for me, I think it is Verse 15. The Lord said to him go back the way you came. He looks at Elijah and he says Elijah do not give up.

Do not give up Elijah, go back the way you came, we are not done with this thing, breakthrough is on the horizon. Listen to me, some of you need to hear this today, do not give up. Do not give up, do not cash out your chips, do not lay it down, do not be done, do not be like a little kid in the mall having a temper tantrum laying on the ground, do not give up. The valley is not your home. You are going through the valley on your way to the mountaintop, the valley is not your home though. You have to go through the valley to get to the mountaintop, but it is not your home. Do not let it define you. Do not become comfortable there and do not make major decisions when you are in the valley. I see people do this all the time, they are in the valley and they make major decisions and they throw away their marriage, their ministry, their opportunities, and their careers. Listen to me, when you are in the valley, you cannot make good decisions. Your heart is hurting, your judgment is clouded, and your vision is limited.

Just logically think about it, if you are in the valley you can only see like two steps in front of you. When you are on the mountaintop, you have vision to see and that is when you make decisions is when you are on the mountaintop, not in the valley. In the valley you just keep going. You just do not give up. On Psalm 23:4, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Why, I would not be discouraged because you are with me, your rod and your staph that come from me. He is leading you through the valley. And, what you have to remember is life is always found in the valley. On the mountaintop there is no shelter, there is no air, there is no water, and there is no food. We want to live on the mountaintop you understand you will die if all you do is stand on the mountain. Life is found in the valley. That is where the food and the water and the shelter and the air and the protection is. Elijah learns more about God in the valley than he does on a mountaintop.

There is some revelation that God wants to give you that can only come in the valley. So, he will lead you to places you would never go. So, you can see things you would never see. He, he, like it is Satan. He will lead you to places you would never go. So, you can see things you would never see. And, when you are in the valley, do not agree with your circumstances, do not agree with cancer, do not agree with the storm, do not agree with the setback say, yeah, I am in the valley, but I am on my way to the mountaintop. Remember truth is always superior to fact. Truth is superior to facts, you say what does that mean. Here is what it means, fact might be you just got a really bad doctor’s report. Truth is, by his stripes you have been healed. Truth is superior to fact. Fact might be right now you say it is fact, you cannot pay your bills this month, that is fact.

Truth is, my God will meet all my needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Truth is superior to fact. Fact might be your life is chaos right now. It is literally, you feel like the whole thing is flying apart, that is fact. Truth is, in him all things hold together. Truth is superior to fact, greater is He that is in you than He that is in this world. Do not empower your circumstances by agreeing with them, empower your heart by agreeing with Jesus. You might be one step away from breakthrough. You might be one-day, one-week, one month away from a totally different life. Some of you just got to hear that do not give up. Okay. And, the last thing is this, you got to find a friend, find a friend Verse 14, He says, I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me to.

Verse 18, God says, but I have reserved 7000 in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and his mouths have not kissed him. So, Elijah went from there and found Elisha. He is discouraged and he thinks he is the only one. Because discouragement always isolates us, makes us feel like we are alone. Some of you are here today and you are discouraged and you think you are the only one. You are the only one who has a marriage issue like that. You are the only one who has a job problem. You are the only one who thinks those thoughts. You are the only one that has this circumstance or has to deal with this problem or this issue or this thing in school. Okay. You are not the only one. He says hey Elijah, there is a whole bunch of other people that are just like you. There is a whole bunch of other people that are just like you. You need to find a friend, a good friend, a healthy friend, a godly friend. I mean, listen to this Ecclesiastes four, you read it on the screen I am going to use my own words. Okay, ready you ready.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work, if one gets discouraged his friend can encourage him. But, pity the man who is discouraged and has no one to encourage him. Also, if two lie down together they will stay encouraged, but how can one encourage himself. The one may be discouraged, two will be encouraged a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. You cannot encourage yourself. You need a friend. Elijah needed Elisha. Elijah with a J needed Elisha with an S. And, so, God sends him to go and find Elisha. Elijah did not get to sit down and just say oh, Elisha is going to come and rescue me. No, no, no, God says you get up, you go and find him. I have handpicked him, I have already called him out, he is ready for you, you need to go and get him, which means you need to go and find your friend in this church.

You need to go to I-Serve or the Pathway classes, or go to a group or show up early and stay late, have a conversation with people, invite people out for coffee, we step back and sit down and say I am just waiting for someone, I need that friend you were talking about they need, no, no, no, no. Elijah went and found Elisha. You need a friend. And, you need to go find them in this church. And, we give you all the pathways we possibly can. You actually have to do something with it though. This is not it is so far up there in the heavens, it is so far beyond the seas, no, no it is right there you just have to choose life. And, listen to me, no one connects over your strengths. Like, no one cares what kind of car you drive and how great it is. No one cares what your job title is how much money you have what awards you have what team you have made do not show up and be like hey man I drive is really cool car you want to be friends.

No, because my car is broken, so, I do not want to be friends with you. Come on, we live in a city that thinks we are cool by the stuff we have, no one connects over strengths we connect over weakness. Friendship is born the moment you share discouragement with someone else and they look at you and say, you too, because I thought I was the only one, we just became friends. But, if you tell me how great your job is and how awesome your life is, how perfect your marriage is, how your kids behave you all the time, and they all have won the first place trophy and everything they have ever done and somehow you are not stressed out and have peace at home and have parties on Friday night, we are probably not going to be friends.

Because my life, do not look like that. Yeah, you just made me feel worse about myself and I know you are a liar, so, I do not want to be friends with a liar.

That is what I am saying. You got to find a friend, at least I am making myself laugh today. Here is what happens, I will close with this, here is what happens Elijah gets up and he keeps going. He anointed king, destroys the work of the devil, and he rides a chariot of fire to heaven, okay. I am not promising that is what is going to happen for you. But, there is always a chance. He keeps going. Listen to me, God is not surprised by what you are struggling with. It did not catch him off guard. He has not left you, he has not abandoned you, He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. In this world you will have trouble, you will be discouraged. But, take heart, praise overcome the world. Sometimes you just need somebody to look at you and say, this too shall pass.

That is what Jesus says in this world you will be discouraged. But, this too shall pass for I have overcome the world. So, you close your eyes with me and let me just ask you, what does God want to say to you. What is the Holy Spirit want to whisper into your heart today. If we are honest, most of us probably are facing some type of discouragement today. And, now that we have taken a moment to be aware of the presence of God in this place, what does you want to say to him. He knows your marriage is hurting. He knows your heart is lonely.

He knows your body is broken. He knows that relationship has imploded. He knows all the thoughts you think no one else has ever thought before. And, he says, I will not leave you nor forsake you. He is your courage and your strength. And, what he just did was he just gave you a toolbox of tools. Of tools that this week when those discouraging moments come you have tools on how to deal with it and he is asking you to choose life, which means he is just asking you to choose him.

And, so, Lord Jesus I just pray that you would comfort every hurting heart in this room. He would strengthen and give courage to every discouraged person that you would fill us fresh with the Spirit of the Living God. Because, we by faith believe that Jesus came and died on the cross and rose again and we might be saved. Jesus came to be discouraged, so, we could be encouraged on the cross. And, so, Lord would you come, strengthen our arms, strengthen our hands, strengthen our minds and our hearts and our eyes and our ears, and may we get up and go back the way we came because breakthrough is on the horizon.

Some of you are inches away from quitting. You might be one step away from stepping into a new mountaintop. So, thank you Lord. Thank you for church, thank you for hope, thank you for life, thank you for relationship. I just pray that every person in this room would find a friend, would you show use our Elisha and given us the courage and the strength to start that relationship to over our weakness. We love you Lord, thanks for what you did today. In your name we pray. Amen.

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