Discouragement

Need Strength? Our Sure Resource!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble! Psalm 46:1

God intended Himself to be the great fountain of supply to His creatures. All are to be dependent on Him--and to look for their supplies from Him. Just so, the believer is to apply to God for all. Ample provision is made--but it is only in Jesus. Promises are given--but they are to be fulfilled by Jesus. He possesses all fullness, and as such He presents Himself to us as His needy dependent creatures--and says, "Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other!" Isaiah 45:22

This is the business of faith and prayer--to look to Jesus, and apply to Jesus for all that we need. Let us consider these words as spoken unto us every day--as calling us away from dependence on the creature, and as directing us how to act under all circumstances. It is Jesus who speaks. Jesus, as God. Jesus, as the Savior. Jesus, full of sympathy and power. Let us therefore listen to--and act upon His Word.

Getting My Eyes Off of Myself

A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NRSV

We visited a church with our kids on Sunday. The pastor, in trying to make a point about honesty, addressed the dynamic that occurs when friends meet together: "How are you?" "I'm fine." He concluded that often the "I'm fine" is actually a lie because we aren't fine.

But are we?

As Christians should we have any opportunity for griping or complaining, moaning or groaning? Or are we actually stating a truth when we say "I'm fine," a truth that perhaps we really don't embrace but which is a truth nonetheless? Paul wrote:

Should We Strive for Perfection or Effectiveness? Premium Content

As a recovering eating disorder sufferer, I'm keenly aware of the perfectionistic component to the creation, maintenance and challenging treatment of the disease. It's often an uphill battle. Perfectionism, fueled by deep anxiety and pressure, can kill. According to statistics...

  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
  • A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems
    (From South Carolina Department of Mental Health: http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics)

So, the word "perfect" is not just a word; it can be a threat.

The perfectionistic person, in recovery or not, is therefore, left to grapple with its meaning for his/her life. How important is it?

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Trusting in the Promises of GodPremium Content

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and theLORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. Genesis 21:1-2 NKJV

God is always faithful to His promises. His word is absolute truth, so we can invariably be assured that, just like we are told in Isaiah 55:10-11, God will not see His word return to Him void when He sends it out to achieve important purposes in our lives: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Have you given up hope in a promise that God has made to you because you have not yet seen its fulfillment?

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The Hamster Wheel: Are You Doing the Same Thing Over and Over?Premium Content

The famous phrase, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result" can probably best be depicted by the hamster on the hamster wheel.

Ever had a hamster as a pet? When I was eleven, I had one by the name of Mitsy. The concept of having a hamster didn't quite measure up to the actual reality. For one, I could never pick her up and cuddle her. One attempt at doing so, Mitsy whipped her head around and sunk those two long front teeth into my finger. Here's a helpful factoid: hamster bites HUR-R-R-R-T!!!

And then there was that hamster smell, emanating from her cage. I don't think I need to elaborate.

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When Things Look Bleak, Do You Still Trust God?

Genesis 50:10-20a NRSV
Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good."

The story of Joseph is always amazing to me. I keep coming back, again and again, during different experiences in my life, to this particular verse and to the reality that was Joseph’s. You see, I’ve heard many preachers extol the honors that Joseph received, how he went from a slave to becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. But that’s not quite the entire story.

Giving Faith the Victory Over our FearsPremium Content

A study on Life Controlling Fears

    8:35-37, NKJV
    Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

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Has God Abandoned You? Premium Content

Has God Abandoned You? Do you believe that He no longer loves you or cares about you? Have circumstances become so dire that there is no hope at all? I have been there too - in that dark night of the soul. The pit is so deep, so black, the walls so steep and slick that there seems to be no way out.

The times I have felt so lost, alone and totally abandoned by God were so dark I believed there was no hope. I honestly thought that God no longer cared about me. But looking back I can see that I was like a 3 year old whose mother had gone out of the room I was in. There I was all alone. It was as if I spilled milk all over myself and did not know what to do. Where was mommy?

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The Breath of Life: How Do You Feel About Yourself?Premium Content

Do you like yourself? How do you feel about yourself? How do you view yourself? In the eyes of those around you? Your peers? Your family members? Your employers and the other authority figures in your life? In the eyes of your Lord Jesus Christ?

Personally, for as long as I could remember, I had dwelt beneath a shadow of deep inner shame. Shame that whispered in my ear, tortuously accusing me with words such as, "You are dirty; you are worthless and deserving of punishment; you are unlovable and warrant no merit in this world."

Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [Amplified Bible]. Like the leper in Luke 5:12, I knew (or so I thought) that I was unclean. However, unlike the leper in Luke 5, I had no idea that Jesus could make me clean, and that He desired to do so. I was lost in a deep ocean of deceit with the waves of false belief tossing me against the sharp and slippery rocks created by the lies of the enemy - Satan - along with many falsehoods from my past without God. Furthermore, I was being dragged beneath the dark surface by the undertow of lack of knowledge:

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Avoid Burn-out by Practicing Good Self-carePremium Content

Urban mission work and recovery outreach are certainly unique. The rewards can be tremendous, as well as the discouragements. So, here are a few of my thoughts on how to avoid burn-out by practicing good self-care:

A. Keep a life for yourself -- I often struggle to find the balance between personal priorities and ministry opportunities. It's easy to get caught up in ministry and put my own needs on the "back burner." Because urban missions can be a very stressful place to work good self-care practices are essential. One of the most important of them is to cultivate a life that is separate from the mission and its staff and clients. We need to leave work stress behind and pursue our own interests and relationships. For people who live in the mission facilities, failing to develop meaningful outside relationships and activities is a sure path to "burn-out."

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