GETTING CONTROL OF DISCOURAGEMENT!

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There was something wrong about the contents of the small drawer that I pulled out from the buffet in the dining room. Any mystery writer will show their PI’s, detectives, or Fed agents always pay attention to a women’s “sixth sense!” Carefully I removed the things in the drawer, and saw, hidden at the back, a small, valuable Depression Glass bowl, broken into pieces. The thought of my young daughter was instantly rejected, but her slightly older brother definitely fit the role of a Person of Interest!

Bringing him into the room and showing him the open drawer confirmed my suspicions. It wasn’t so much the broken bowl that disturbed me as it was the fact that he had hidden the evidence, thinking, I’m certain, that he would be buying himself time, or possibly I would never see it! Wrong. Mom’s are about 80% Superwoman and 20% normal, functioning women.

Discipline had to be meted out, but the cover-up of the accident (I knew it had to be) was my main concern, and the issue that would have to be addressed. Afterward, I’m sure the discipline yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness, and he was sorry he had tried to get by with not telling me (I would have understood that accidents are a part of growing up). I was sorry, as the bowl was a family heirloom, and the consequence of his action was that it could not be replaced.

Now, many years later–too many to count–I’m in the same position again, with the children of either the daughter or that same little boy, now a dad! I found (to my discouragement) a beautiful Delft lamp stuffed into a waste bag in the den. It was in tons of pieces. I figured my husband was a little old to hide the evidence, but 7 grandchildren who are often down there certainly became POI’s!! I now have to take them one by one, addressing the issue, not of the breakage, but of hiding the evidence. Doubly so since someone younger may have been cut badly had they stepped on one of the smaller pieces overlooked on the floor. Again, a consequence that means my lovely lamp cannot be replaced.

Now is a good time to get your notebook, a hot drink, cookies, and maybe a friend (or several!) and watch the sermon from Thomas Road Baptist Church, preached Sunday, February 5, 2017. Click on the link http://www.trbc.org/sermon-archive and select the right date. This sermon on actions, consequences and how to rise above them will really hit home if you have things in your past that scream “Unworthy!” at you as you try to live the Christian life. Invite others who may benefit from the wisdom in the message, and let God do a work in your life as you continue with the sermon study below. If you have time, watch the entire program, as LU Praise presents a song of worship!

Overflow: The Biggest Connection to the Right Direction                                                     Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Open:

Inevitably, as a human being, we will sin. That sin may eventually result in consequences that can cause us to be discouraged because of the pain it caused. Can you think of something you can share? If you are doing this on your own, write your answers in a notebook.

Today we look at Hebrews 12, focusing on laying “aside the sin that so easily trips us.” We want to examine the first of two types of discouragement: one that results when our own sinful choice or action causes consequences that may result in our becoming depressed. (The second—caused by others—will be looked at next week). The discouragement can be a tool Satan uses to rob us of our joy as a believer, crowding out our effectiveness.

Focal Passage: Hebrews 12:1, 5-13

Think About or Discuss:

All sin has consequences

  1. Read Rom. 3:23. What sin is specified here? How does God view sin?
  2. What about the consequences of sin—can they differ? How?
  3. Read Heb. 12:5 If sin is continued, or left unconfessed, as a loving Father, what must God do?

Those consequences can leave us discouraged if we don’t see their value

  1. Does confession to God eliminate the consequences? Think of examples.
  2. Read verse 6. Why is it important to examine the consequences to see their value?

God’s discipline is a clear picture of His love for us

  1. Read verses 7-8. Why must you be disciplined because of sin?
  2. Read Prov. 3:11-12 and 14:34. Why should these verses bring you comfort?
  3. If God does NOT discipline you for sin, what may this mean?

This discipline will ALWAYS make us better

  1. Read verses 10-11. What is the purpose of God’s discipline? In verse 11, what should be the result?
  2. Don’t allow these moments to get you down; let them raise you up
  1. Read verses 12-13. What is the picture this passage paints of the effect of discouragement on the physical body?
  2. How can Satan use discouragement to rob you of your usefulness to Christ, and your joy as a Christian? Read Phil. 3:13-14. How can you apply this verse to yourself?

ACTION  APPLICATIONS:

1) Make a list of consequences you are facing, or have faced, as a result of bad decisions or sin;                                                                                                                                                           2) Evaluate each one from the viewpoint of what you learned from those consequences; 3) If you can’t find something you’ve learned, take some time to determine what you should learn;                                                                                                                                             4) If there is unconfessed sin that is part of this, confess it and ask forgiveness;               5) If you need to seek forgiveness for something you’ve done to others, do so.                                                                                                                                                                 6) Is there an action you need to take to move past it?                                                                 7) Move on!

Close:

Discipline! Not a word we really like, as it indicates a certain action has been done and is going to have a “reaction.” If someone has a child who begins doing something that can have dire consequences if continued, the parent will want to stop it before it becomes a habit, and institute a punishment to change or correct the behavior. God also has standards for us, and when we violate those standards with our living, He must discipline us. The comfort found in God’s discipline is that He only does this to those whom He calls His children. (To be sinful but see no discipline should cause you to closely examine your life to make sure you are saved.) And often our actions have consequences that may go on for the rest of our lives. If we are not careful and intentional, we may find the discouragement of long-standing consequences can ruin our joy, rob us of being useful Christians, and affect our health. Don’t let Satan “devour” you by telling you that you are worthless, but pray constantly that your life lines up with the biblical standards God has given. “Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares you,” and run your race with strength!

Memory Verse: Hebrews 12:11: “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Thought: Sometimes, when we are in sin and discipline does not come immediately, we may feel we have “gotten away with it.” This is addressed in Romans 2:4 when Paul writes, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” God may extend His patience and mercy, allowing us time to realize how badly we are hurting Him, but not at all ignoring the sin. To continue without discipline should bring us to our knees even more quickly, as His goodness should lead us to an even greater repentance! If not, we may be despising the “riches of His goodness” and incur even greater wrath.

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