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Posts Tagged ‘discouraged’

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“You can’t read a book by it’s cover”

“Still waters run deep”

“He’s a gentle giant”

Those quotes are reminders that what we see is not always an accurate indicator of the person within.

So many times my first impressions of a person, or upcoming event, were completely inaccurate, because my impression originated in what I could see.

The Bible reminds us t0 “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

As this school year is coming to an end, as our eyes tend to look at the struggles in front of our faces (and those in this school year). For students it might be the perceived impossibility of exams, for parents it might be what is viewed as a tough school year with our child (in or out of school), for school staff it might be a sense that we did not do enough to assist the students in our realm of responsibility.

Are we focusing only on what we can see?

Are we seeing the difficulties of our present situation magnified by end of school year fatigue? Are we looking at this year as loss? Failure?

What we can see and imagine as the ‘fall out’ from this school year is such a small view of what has actually been accomplished, being accomplished.

At this time of the school year I am often tired, discouraged, beaten up and guilty for my failings. It is usually about now that I see out an intense focus on 2 Corinthians 4:

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.

If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

May our eyes be focused, not on what we see and is temporary, but on what is unseen, and eternal.

 

 

 

 

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Ever feel beaten up? misunderstood? constantly corrected? wrong? wronged?

Haven’t we all?

There are times … years, seasons, days when we understand the Psalmist who wrote, Psalm 42. A Psalm most familiar for:

“as the deer pants for water, so my soul longs for you.” (v.1)

It is such a lovely verse … a hopeful verse, a verse stitched on pillows on printed on mugs, and displayed creatively on Pinterest.

But, Psalm 42 is not simply a beautiful and peaceful Psalm. It is also a heart-cry from the Psalmist, to the living God who brought blessing, in the past. It is a cry for ‘the good ‘ol days’ that have been replaced by sorrow, loneliness, mourning, oppression … a downcast spirit.

It is the pouring out of the sorrows of the Psalmist’s soul, and his reminders to his soul, to “put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

What a good example that, not matter what is going on around us, or in us, our soul can be satisfied by the hope of God … and even in those not so great days, we can praise him, our Savior and our God!

“I have lost my appetite
And a flood is welling up behind my eyes
So I eat the tears I cry
And if that were not enough
They know just the words to cut and tear and prod
When they ask me “Whereʼs your God?”

Why are you downcast, oh my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
I can remember when you showed your face to me

As a deer pants for water, so my soul thirsts for you
And when I survey Your splendor, You so faithfully renew
Like a bed of rest for my fainting flesh

When Iʼm looking at the ground
Itʼs an inbred feedback loop that drags me down
So itʼs time to lift my brow
And remember better days
When I loved to worship you and learn your ways
Singing sweetest songs of praise

Let my sighs give way to songs that sing about your faithfulness
Let my pain reveal your glory as my only real rest
Let my losses show me all I truly have is you

So when Iʼm drowning out at sea
And all your breakers and your waves crash down on me
Iʼll recall your safety scheme
Youʼre the one who made the waves
And your Son went out to suffer in my place
And to show me that Iʼm safe

Why am I down?
Why so disturbed?
I am satisfied in you”


Brian Eichelberger
The Sing Team

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Most of the time I like to think of myself as a progressive thinker (although my kids would probably not agree), but when it comes to one area I tend to be rather old fashioned, even archaic.

For those who are older like me, the song in the video below takes us back to watching the original movie, Footloose,  w a y  back in the 198o’s (for those not so old only back as far as a Shrek movie). It is the chorus that has been playing in my head lately.

The area that shows my age concerns young men.

As a mom of two daughters, one who is twenty and the other fifteen, I have started to observe young men from the point of view of ‘would I want my daughter to date him?’ It is not that either one (especially the fifteen year old) is looking to settle down, but more that I am always thinking ahead to the next step, trying to plan and prepare.

As I have observed young men, I have to say that I am starting to get really discouraged by what I see.

Now I know that I am a mom of daughters, and I am protective of them, and want only the best for them, and really there can never be a young man who is good enough for my daughters (imagine how much more so for their father). I also know that I am observing young men through the aging eyes of a thirty-nine (with three years experience) year old woman, and I do not fully understand the generation that I am observing. Fair enough! Yet, I feel so very discouraged in this!

Let me tell you what I have been observing:

Schooling and Jobs
There seems to be a lack of future goals. Post secondary schooling seems more to be just another phase rather than a vehicle to pursuing and attaining a future career. And many, upon graduation from university/college do not even pursue work in their area of study.

Mom and Dad Dependency
I have heard of far too many mid-twenty-something guys who are still living with, and off of, mom and day (and yes, I mean off of, as in no ‘rent’ is being charged to their working son OR ma and pop are still handing over cash to sonny boy who can’t find work). Certainly the financial circumstances of today require more young adults to still live at home, but parents who are allowing their adult children to completely live off of them are harming the next generation not helping them.

Undefinable Christianity
This one is just about Christian guys. I am all about Christian living within our world, and not segregating ourselves to only churchy activities, but seriously, there just has to be a difference in how we live our lives, if we say that we are ‘Christ-like’. Maybe this is where my ‘old fashioned’ side is most visible, but I really do believe that when a Christian guy is partying he should be able to remember what he did afterward, and that what he does with a girl(s) should be God-honoring.

I do believe that there are good men out there, and have even met some of them, but they really seem to be in the minority, and as a mom of a son as well, I really hope that we are raising him to be part of that vital minority. I hope too that our our daughters will hold out for a hero.

“In a desperate attempt to stay young forever
we have achieved eternal childishness,
rather than eternal youth.”

― Daniel Prokop, Leaving Neverland: Why Little Boys Shouldn’t Run Big Corporations

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