Spiritual Director · October 4, 2016

Affirm #9

October 3rd Affirm 2016

A number of people have asked me why I write these morning devotions every day and I always have a simple answer for them – to encourage myself from God’s Word and hopefully someone else who might need it.

Discouragement is part of life. Discouragement comes most often when you do what you think is the right thing but experience poor results. You work hard, but you don’t make any progress. You show up to practice every day, giving it your all, but you lose every game. You spend time with your child – going out of your way to parent the best you know how – but they rebel.

Discouragement eats a hole in our hearts. It makes us want to quit, saying things we shouldn’t say, shaking our fists at God. I’m pretty sure that’s how Jeremiah felt. God called him to speak a harsh message to a rebellious people. He obeyed. Yet on one occasion Jeremiah so angered the senior priest in the temple, that the man arrested Jeremiah, beat him, threw him in jail, locking him in stocks. Here was a man in deep distress. He endured physical, emotional, spiritual, and professional anguish. He walked into deep despair, all for doing God’s will.

But here are four things you and I can learn from Jeremiah and be encouraged…

1.Be honest – tell God how you feel. This is what Jeremiah said…
“You pushed me into doing this, God, and I let you do it.” Jeremiah 20:7 MSG
Jeremiah wasn’t happy with what was going on in his life, and he was honest.

2. Be obedient – keep doing what you’re called to do.
“But if I say, ‘Forget it! No more God-Messages from me!’ The words are fire in my belly, a burning in my bones. I’m worn out trying to hold it in. I can’t do it any longer.” Jeremiah 20:9 MSG
Just obey!

3. Be watchful – know that the Lord is always with you.
“But God, a most fierce warrior, is at my side.” Jeremiah 20:11 MSG

4. Be worshipful – praise God with your whole heart.
“Sing to God! All praise to God!” Jeremiah 20:13 MSG

Let me close with a legend that reveals the source of discouragement. Supposedly, the devil put his tools up for sale, marking each for public inspection with its appropriate sale price. Included were hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit, lying, and pride. Laid apart from these was a rather harmless looking but very well-worn tool – discouragement – marked at an extremely high price. Why the costly price? The devil answered: “Because it is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open a person’s heart with that when I can’t get near them with the other tools. Once inside, I can make them do whatever I choose. It’s badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since few people know it belongs to me.”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: God is on your side! He not only loves you… He likes you… and He’s proud of you!

Thank You for being my encouragement! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

 | Website

Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.