MOVING THE CHAINS TOWARD GRATITUDE: PUNT DISCOURAGEMENT
We continue our quest of Moving the Chains toward Gratitude. We hope that you are finding a greater sense of grace and thankfulness as we move toward the week of Thanksgiving. None of us have to look far to see discouragement. One of the impacts of fear, anxiety, and turmoil is a pervasive discouragement. Doubt, disappointment, despair, and depression are all markers found on the path of discouragement. Gratitude is a powerful antidote, but how do we find it? All the negative events, the mounting sense of our personal problems, or the frantic pace of our life prevents us from finding a deepening sense of thankfulness. It seems like we always deserve more! Yet, it is never enough. Our sermon this week is Punt Discouragement and it is based on 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. The Apostle Paul had been through a difficult experience in which he and his team were overwhelmed with discouragement and despair. They doubted if they were going to live through it! The pressure was intense but God gave them grace and delivered them. Most of us would be ready to quit after such an experience but that is not the case for Paul. He begins Chapter 4 with the phrase, “we do not lose heart,” not just once but twice. We have to wonder how this was possible! Did Paul have some special power that is not given to every believer? Not at all! In these words, he gives every believer a path to moving deeper into this strong grace and thankfulness so that we do not lose heart! We pray that you will experience the encouraging power of God’s Spirit, even if you are surrounded by doubt, disappointment, despair, and depression because we know that God is able to strengthen you fully and completely.
2 Corinthians 4:7-18: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we 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. (NIV)