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September 11, 2022 6:00 am
it's time to pray
How To Deal With Discouragement
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Carter, from the historic Times Square Church in New York City. We feel like we have to do something for God and everybody feels something for God will at some point which the limitations we will hit the spiritual brick wall.
We can know for then suddenly God comes to us with tenderness and then he says now you've done a lot of things for me, but now I'm going to start doing some things through you. That's a preview of today's message from a call to the nation with Carter, today, Carter reminds us there will be a day coming in your life where you don't think you can go on anymore.
It will happen to all of us, so this leads to a very important question.
How does God respond to us in our times of discouragement.
Let's join Carter now as he takes us to first Kings chapter 19 the prophet Elijah learns in his deepest moment of discouragement. God responds, loving, tender tears going to talk about how to deal with discouragement anybody here ever been discouraged first Kings chapter 19 in verse four. Start with one verse that says but he himself.
This is about Elijah when the day's journey into the wilderness a day's journey into an empty drive place.
They came and sat down under a broom.
And he prayed that he might die and he said it is enough now, Lord, take my life. I am no better for no better than my fathers. This is Elijah.
This is the guy who can call down fire from heaven. This is the guy that could confront the spiritual darkness and its influencers of an entire generation.
This is the guy who when they send soldiers send captains the captivating was the sitting alone on top of the mountain and they said, man of God come down and is that if I am a man of God. Let our come down and devour you and your 50, so armies were burned in front of him and this is a guy who knew the power of God walked in the power of God and knew what the calling on his life was but all of a sudden now we see this same man going into the wilderness sitting under a broom trait of all trades is probably the trade is probably given that name because they use the verses of it to sweep things away in a place most likely were the devil wants to sweep them off the map and get rid of him out of the kingdom of God and the threat against the powers of darkness. And here's the same man. The new the power of God that had confronted the prophets of Vail that brought the people just a few days prior back to the worship, at least for a season of the one true in the living God. And here he is now sitting in this wilderness placing God.
It's enough take away my life. Let me die. I am no better than my fathers.
And if anybody here thinks you can't go there. You cannot walk with God for very long, the seasons and every life when discouragement comes now some of you are facing discouragement today. I know this is going to be a word that can give you strength for the future and and and for those who think you could never be discouraged something like this, happy, happy by nature, or maybe things are going right but I'm telling you, there are days coming.
I was a young pastor and pastoring a church. The church is alive or sitting people outside their the gospel were buying billings for a dollar getting others for tax receipts.
We start a food bank. We got a massive admissions program for a small church, the fame of the church is getting to be known through the country that were in at that time, and a senior pastor came to me one day and he said Carter there's a day coming in your life as it comes to everybody that you won't think you can go on anymore and you're going to say these words and Dr. to speak to you and say Carter can you go on for one more day. That's always been asked is one more that and you say yes Lord, I can do it for one more day the next day the Lord will say can you do it for one more day and you say yes Lord, and I can do it for one more day and he said that season comes in everyone's life and remember listening to his words, like that's never coming into my life. I mean, I've got the world by the tail. I God I know who God is, I feel strong in the spirit. Let me tell you, the day came more than one time in my life when I remember, and I thank God he had spoken those words to my heart because the day came when I didn't feel that I could go on for one more day and I remember his words and that became one day after another day after another day in my walk with God in everyone of us. We have visions rib dreams you have plans what our lives are going to accomplishhis followers of Christ and the things that God can and will do through us are with us or we can do for the kingdom of God.
I've never met a child and I suppose it might be one or two out there, but I never met a child.
If you say to the child what you think your last can of the I've never met a child that says him to be a failure of them the illusion of that amount to nothing.
You know that that's really reserved for adults where the ones I get to feel that way when they got everybody when we start out we have visited you have a vision when you started out with God when your life was going to be. We all do you know if if if the Lord says you're going to be is greatly immediately go to crops immediately go to great influence in society and you know we don't necessarily think that being a servant might be the greatest of all in. And that's what God has for our lives and so we have this vision inside of her own heart.
So the question is what happens when things don't work out that way.
What happens when we find out that our strength is less than we became convinced it was in us what happens when everything seems to fall through our fingers and we were planning on doing so much for the kingdom of God are all being a different person than we feel that we eventually become. And this is exactly what happened Elijah. After after years of knowing the power the presence the fire that just as the judgment of God is sitting in this drive place and is this take my life are no better than my father's and so the question comes into my mind is what was he thinking about when he made that statement and not I believe in great measure is thinking about the 10 spines who, under the leadership of Moses one into the promised land, but then ran from the Giants is thinking of the that the hundreds of thousands of people it chose not to go into their inheritance not to go in and believe that God is a God of power and in the he's able to do what he says he can do and they instead they died in the wilderness of feelings parties are not going to be like them.
I'm going all the way with God. I'm not going to back up another cave-in I'm not gonna run in fear. I am would be different than what we all do you know sometimes it's a mistake in a sense to base our own sense of faithfulness or ability to accomplish something on the failure of others, you can build a ministry in the life on that the salad I will not be like somebody else that's actually what he did he have a had to have that thought in his heart that I'm going to be better than those that have gone before me. So when he fails when he when he runs in fear when the Giants arise in his particular moment of physical and spiritual burnout. He runs and he ends up in the wilderness and he says God I thought I was better than this. I thought others would run member Peter said that to Jesus is that they may abandon you but I never will all go with you to Jerusalem and I'll die with you, only to curse with the Nelsons that I don't even know this man. I don't even know who he is now first Kings chapter 19 versus 5 to 8.
It shows you how deep discouragement to get into a person's heart and life. It's as he lay and slept under a brutal three and an angel testaments that arise and eat that.
He looked, and there was by his had a cake baked on calls in the jar of water. So he ate and drank and laid down again and the angel of the Lord came back a second time in testaments that arise and eat because the journey is too great for you. So he arose and ate and drank and went in the strength of that for 40 days and 40 nights as far as four of the mountain of God. You know first season when discouragement gets a hold of a person's heart. Sometimes it's all we can do just to get up in the and go back and lay down again. Now the interesting thing is, God was not offended by that moment that season in his life and so don't think that because you might be in place for all you can do is get up and eat and go back and lay down. The God somehow is written you. Often these offended by you and he doesn't see you is viable for the future there.
There are seasons when we do need rest. There are seasons one all we can do is just get up and eat. Maybe eat a little bit of food and leave read a little bit of Scripture and then go back and lay down again. But the Bible does say God does give his beloved rest doesn't drive us like a slave driver is is is not looking at the clock wondering how many hours we have worked for him today or yesterday or are willing to work tomorrow.
There are seasons and every life were discouragement takes a hold than God himself knows that we need rest now. If it's left unchecked, because God will not leave us in a place of discouragement. It was left unchecked, it will lead to wrong conclusions. That's the danger of discouragement.
Remember when finally the Lord comes to Elijah and says what are you doing here in verse 10 he says I've been zealous for the Lord of hosts, the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life and those are both wrong conclusions.
He feels like he's the only one that is left that is was willing to stand up and be counted in and fight this fight and when the Scripture tells us there were 7000 others that God had reserved but somehow, somewhere, he was not able to see them.
You know, and when we get discouraged sometimes we can get to feel like were the only ones that are really actively pursuing God the only ones that are standing for truth.
The only ones that are genuine worshipers and then he says, and they seek to take my life. Who are they there was no they involved in this. It was just one woman called Jezebel that was after him that that issue, the threat, so there's really no that so this is to wrong conclusions and we have to be careful when we get discouraged, we come to wrong conclusions.
We are not the only ones left. There are 7000 others that are serving God as his fervently as we have been and nobody is against you, but the devil himself okay and maybe somebody's heart he gets it gets a whole of pregnancy was in a positive for the devil. This woman Jezebel, and so the question is how does God respond to us in our times of discouragement. Let me just tell you one story about a time of discouragement in my own life. Five. I was zealous for the things of God in my youth I was a workaholic before he got sick and so I brought a workaholic's sense of accomplishment into the kingdom of God, and I was going to do more for God than anybody could ever company forfeited trust and I was reading all the books on fervent prayer.
I was fasting I was establishing two churches of food bank, a Christian school, a missions program which the budgeted missions and that early church outstripped our actual operating budget in the church. One particular year were sending containers of motorcycles and bicycles, often in South America over setting teams with them were just doing everything were sitting people outside of the gospel.
I am fasting I am writing I'm exercising like a fiend. I am doing everything around the church painting the dome cutting the grass straightening tombstones. When we got our first church. We not only were given the church were also given. Our forefathers went with it.
So we had to maintain the tenant. The cemetery as well.
That was part of the part of the deal of getting this particular church, 100, doing everything on top of this traveling all over the country preaching the gospel to Eskimo people missed call them back then. First Nations now believe up in the Arctic to Indian people on the reserves on going east and going West and myself on going north going to win the absolute whole country to God and I'm just full of zeal, full of excitement full of visit and seeing great results and I saw some services where the whole church came forward and knelt before God and I remember thinking God surely this must be the revivalist coming that you once spoke to my heart about. I was in Saskatchewan and in Saskatchewan.
I was preaching and I was running every day I was fasting.
I was preaching like a house on fire at night and I remember I went to bed one night and II felt strange. It is felt strange. It was like a follicle awarding flash when I close my eyes I see these white flashes and I knew it was in the Holy Spirit because it felt strange.
I got back on the plane as I flew home and at this time, I played on the church community hockey team and so I remember going out to one or two days later and and and getting into hockey game and I when I stated my first shift and came back to the bench and I couldn't catch my breath. I couldn't breathe like and then I thought well that's on so I got up at night when out for second shift and came back onto the bench and I still couldn't catch my breath. It never dawned on me that I could physically burn out was needed in my thinking and when I would preach on Sunday if I would raise my voice. I would get such a headache because the trees remembers that it have to go home to get a fistful of Tylenol just to get rid of the headache and lay down and this lasted for six months.
My life and I became very discouraged and very angry with God and one day I just was so fed up with what I saw as God's failure towards me that I went out on a country road and I literally screamed in God and I said is this how you deal with your friends. Is there some kind of a crooked side dear nature that I have. These are my words that I have failed to see I've given you my job. I gave you my career which I had to give you my house which is burned down I gave you my family.
I gave you my future.
I put everything into your hands. You gave me a vision that one day I would live to see a great turning to you, I set out to be partaker in the sense of this vision and to have and to help make it happen then put it that way you respond to my dedication to you by taking away my strength and I yelled out and got as it is there some kind of a crooked side to you that I've not seen. Is this how you deal with your friends. I was so angry with God at this point in my life that if he had said to me I'm going to turn you to dust right now, I would've said go ahead and turn me to dust. I was upset and so I said I got my whole rent outů I can understand Elijah what is this thing my life not better than my fathers. If this is the way it's going to be then take me home now not interested in staying here any longer and suddenly after I got it all out and I expected a response in kind. I respected, I expected God to speak to me the way I had just spoken to him and instead are tenderly or softly is that I love you Foley said just that I love you was no there was no Asterix on the end of it. There was no term. There were no concerns there were no conditions and I knew it was the voice of God because I wasn't expecting that to come my way. I was expecting a response in kind, and yet I heard this tender voice say to me I love you.
And when I heard it.
It melted my heart. And that's when the tears begin to come and I said what do you want me to do and he said to me, Carter. You've done many things in my name that I've asked you that I never asked you to do and is that I have to tell you, there will be no reward for any of them. When you stand before my throne.
One day, all I'm asking you to do is what I've asked you to do no more, no less. He said I gave you 150 was 158 a member and members of that particular church on the membership roll at the church are pastoring right now that is all you will answer for the day you stand before me, you will not answer for the Crusades of North you will not answer for the Eskimo people of the Indian people or the South the Northeast the West, but I will there be a list of names presented and I will ask you for their whereabouts. What happened to these people. I want you to dedicate their babies. I want you to marry their young. I want you to bury their old, I want you to counsel in my wanting to get a word from me for them on Sunday. That's all I want you to do and when the Lord spoke to my heart is like a burden was lifted off of me and my strength began to return from that day forward, and I began to enter into something of God that I had never really understood or known before, and this is of course what happened to Elijah. I'll talk to this but have me in just a moment, but in first Kings 19 beginning in verse 11, you know, our just before verse 11, he says, go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, and behold, the Lord testified in a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind and after the wind an earthquake of the Lord was not in the earthquake and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire and after the fire small still voice you see, God responds to the moment of despair or discouragement in Elijah's life by giving him a new revelation of his character is an amazing like Elijah had only ever known God as as a God who splits the rocks that God is shakes the earth. The goddess sends down fire. He just actually come from an experience like that on the top amount, that's the only way he'd ever known God. God is a God of thunder God is a God of power God is a God of fire. God is a God of action God is a God of challenging the false God is a God of integrity. He's known all these things about God so when he's in the wilderness.
He had to have the feeling like God on your your shaking is going to come upon me, your fire is going to touch my life. The Indian in the sense of judgment, but suddenly when all of this happens. A small still voice comes in. He'd never know this side of the character of God, the tenderness of God the mercy of God, the carrying of God.
The compassion of God for him in his weakness because he had not been overly compassion for compassion for others in their times of weakness in his lifetime, and when he heard it. It says in verse 13 he wrapped his face in the mantle.
He was so unfamiliar that he felt like almost like he had to hide himself from this voice, and then God sister of what you doing here, Elijah, and again this is I've been very zealous for the Lord of hosts because the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars killed your prophets with the sword.
I alone am left, and they seek to take my life and the Lord said to him, go in verse 15 God responds to his discouragement by giving him a new vision of what God was about to do through him, not what he could do for God in the future, and my brother, my sister here appear in this discouragement can be a good thing.
In this sense, because up to a point we feel like we have to do something for God and everybody who feels they have to do something for God will at some point reads the limitation of our patients are endurance are our love, our zeal we we will hit literally, spiritually speaking, that the spiritual brick wall will hit it.
We can't go forward. Then suddenly God comes to us with tenderness and then he says now you've done a lot of things for me, but now I'm going to start doing some things through you and I said this for years and is come from experience is that the end of ourselves is the beginning of God.
God had to bring the early charts to the upper room. He had to bring them to the garden. He had to bring them to the cross in the brain into places where all them posting in their natural zeal had to come to an end and when they went into the upper room.
They all knew I can't do this without the power of God. I can't be virtuous.
I can't care about the laws I can go forth.
They all knew that without him.
They were not going to amount to anything. So there is a transference point in every life and quite often it only comes the discouragement it came to Peter after he walked away and wept bitterly when we just say God I can't do this anymore, and then he says that I can and I'm willing to be tender with you and the beauty of this whole story. As I finish it up is that he gave him a friend and I think of in the garden of Eden when God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and gave him a wife, but he saw that Elijah had been alone all his life. You look at Elijah all the way up to this point and is always the man alone on the mountain. The man alone walking through town. The man alone confronting the prophets of bail and God knew that there was a need in his life that was going to need to be fulfilled, so he gives him a revelation of the tenderness of his nature in a small still voice gives him a vision of what is going to do through his life in the future and I love the practicality of God gives him a friend told Elisha to walk with a don't try to walk this walk alone nobody you don't try to do it alone.
You can't do it alone. You need a friend. You need somebody that can encourage along the way. You need somebody that you can pour into encourage them and they can pour back and encourage you. This is a mistake to try to walk this walk in your own strength and the end of the whole story here. Because of this particular chapter. Elijah goes to Elisha and he says he throws his mantle upon him. He throws this is in the sense he throws a cloak upon them indicating you're going to be my successor. Now he had been up to this point and intolerant men in the sense you know there was not a lot I given this guy.
And Elisha says the young man says. Can we just wait till I have a chance to gather my family and say goodbye that I'll go but can you just wait. Now you can see, you can see Elijah like five years or six years before saying no matter puts his end of the plow and turns back is fit the kingdom of God and on just carrying on down the road with the business realize health okay and Elijah is not a social man is far from an this whole deal had to take probably five days or more than the gather family that the killer down burn the plow as it is offer up a sacrifice gather the family have a feast and and Elijah is not a social man and so you can just see him sitting there on the tree stump or what exactly does this disease learn something in his discouragement of the tenderness of God that was not in him before and see.
So there's certain things about God. We don't learn until we've had to learn and I just love I love the picture of of the lies of the young men going through all this rigmarole. Saying goodbye the license is sitting at ease in the lives and is not given the small talk is not is not given the people is not a people person in the lease is been alone all his life and all of a sudden he finds out that may maybe resist maybe is a sitting there watching this gathering may be thinking maybe family is not so bad after all may be needing other people's is not a bad thing in my life. Maybe, just maybe, I can't do this all by myself. Maybe I need the body of Christ may be. I'm not the only one doing this there's others that I need to pour into and for the rest of his days is got a friend. Don't be afraid if you're discouraged is not the end of anything.
It's the beginning of something new. The beginning of something that God himself is going to do. Thank you for joining us this week for a call to the nation with Carter come from Times Square Church in New York City. For more information log onto TSC done NYC that's TSC.NYC you can count on a powerful message of each week on a call to the nation with Carter, and