“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Someone has well said that discouragement is a darkroom where the negatives of fear and failure are developed.
Some people are encouragers and others are discouragers. Have you ever met a discourager? They’re like a drink of water to a drowning man. They can brighten up a room by leaving it. They leave you drained and depressed.
But an encourager leaves you full and refreshed. God has cornered the market on encouragement. All encouragement comes from God. You’re never more like God than when you’re encouraging people and never more like the devil than when you are discouraging people.
Find a needy person and enrich him; a lonely person and include him; a misunderstood person and affirm him; an undiscovered person and develop him; a failing person and restore him.
Today's reading: Psalm 43:1-5
The appeal of the psalmist to "Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!" (vs. 3) is a good and wise request to put before God whether we're experiencing good times or going through a difficult season like we see here in Psalm 43. These words reflect an attitude of surrender to an all-powerful, all-knowing God who loves us greatly and has us in the palm of His hand whatever our current situation.
Will you join me in putting this request before God today?
The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.
Conscious of their own natural defenselessness, the conies resort to burrows in the rocks, and are secure from their enemies. My heart, be willing to gather a lesson from these feeble folk. Thou art as weak and as exposed to peril as the timid cony, be as wise to seek a shelter. My best security is within the munitions of an immutable Jehovah, where His unalterable promises stand like giant walls of rock. It will be well with thee, my heart, if thou canst always hide thyself in the bulwarks of His glorious attributes, all of which are guarantees of safety for those who put their trust in Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord, I have so done, and have found myself like David in Adullam, safe from the cruelty of my enemy; I have not now to find out the blessedness of the man who puts his trust in the Lord, for long ago, when Satan and my sins pursued me, I fled to the cleft of the rock Christ Jesus, and in His riven side I found a delightful resting-place. My heart, run to Him anew to-night, whatever thy present grief may be; Jesus feels for thee; Jesus consoles thee; Jesus will help thee. No monarch in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the cony in his rocky burrow. The master of ten thousand chariots is not one whit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain's cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong, and the defenceless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants, or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. More they cannot need, and need not wish. The conies cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already: I cannot make myself a refuge, but Jesus has provided it, His Father has given it, His Spirit has revealed it, and lo, again to-night I enter it, and am safe from every foe.
Grieve not the Holy Spirit.
All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Moreover, as all blessings thus flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act, apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit. Even if the good seed be sown in you, yet it lies dormant except He worketh in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Do you desire to speak for Jesus-how can you unless the Holy Ghost touch your tongue? Do you desire to pray? Alas! what dull work it is unless the Spirit maketh intercession for you! Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you wanting to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and ardour for the Master's cause? You cannot without the Spirit-"Without me ye can do nothing." O branch of the vine, thou canst have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, thou hast no life within thee apart from the life which God gives thee through His Spirit! Then let us not grieve Him or provoke Him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench Him in one of His faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion, and be ready to obey every prompting. If the Holy Spirit be indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without Him; let us begin no project, and carry on no enterprise, and conclude no transaction, without imploring His blessing. Let us do Him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from Him, and then depending alone upon Him, having this for our prayer, "Open Thou my heart and my whole being to Thine incoming, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts."
Today's reading: 2 Kings 2:15-25
Elisha moves from being a student into the role of leader and teacher with the departure of Elijah. And what we see is a godly man who is ready and prepared to serve God fully, in large part because of the guidance, direction and teaching he received from his friend and mentor, Elijah.
The relationship between Elijah and Elisha reinforces the importance of aligning ourselves with mature Christians for support and teaching to help us grow spiritually. As I look back over my life, I've had a number of people I consider mentors, but the most impactful spiritual mentor I've had was Dr. Woodrow Kroll. I was privileged to sit under his Bible teaching as the co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over eight years. I didn't fully realize it at the time, but this wise and godly man was teaching me so much about God and His Word. That teaching prepared me to do many of the things that I am doing today, and I am grateful for his mentoring and his friendship. Thank you, Wood!!
Do you have someone you consider a spiritual mentor (or perhaps several people)? Are you mentoring, or open to mentoring, others spiritually? Why is mentoring so important?