The Discouragers are Always Present . . .

Vol.6, No. 01 – January 3, 2021

The Discouragers are Always Present

Ezra 4:4

Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build.  –Ezra 4:4

2020 was a difficult year for all people, including those within the church. It was amazing to me to have multiple conversations with believers who were couched in fear as they faced each day. What caused that? My first thought is that foundations were not well-settled among many identified as Christians.

However, I looked at the pattern of how many were living their lives apart from the church. They refused to go. Some feared due to some of the people not wearing masks, or not doing a good job at social distancing. So, here are these believers that put more confidence in something a government official uttered, rather than gaining their confidence from God’s Word. Just a reminder, when we read God’s Word, it is He who is speaking, and He is totally reliable. He is not a governor, president, scientist, or some other type thinking they are in control.

If you think that government and science leaders are dependable, why are there so many deviations of advice given to citizens of our world (and to humanity in the whole of the world). Where did these experts get their “facts.”

Not long ago, I read how Attorney General Ed Meese sought the advice of the previous Attorney General he was replacing. His name was William French Smith. I never heard of him, until I read the article—the author sought to make sure he was reporting accurately.

William French Smit warned Meese that there would often be days when Meese would feel like the javelin competitor who won the toss of the coin and elected to receive.”

There is an old maxim that we all know to be true but have desperately wished were not true: When the work of God starts to move upon humanity, the opposition to it will move in quickly! Just give some thought back to our introductory passage, Ezra 4:4.

The temple work was front-page news. Everyone was talking about the Jews rebuilding their Temple. However, there were a great number not rejoicing, and would do anything they could to stop it. These “enemies” of God attempted subtle infiltration. “Let us help you build!” They were rebuffed. Then, they tried passive aggression, hiring counselors to work against the Jews, to frustrate their success.

Further, they bought the loyalty of the suppliers in Lebanon, asking them to “back-order” critical materials. They sought government officials of their “party,” to pull back permissions for the construction.

The momentum of these enemies sought to drive a wedge into the rights of the Jews to worship and live in peace. Nothing that is attempted for God seems to go unchallenged. Nothing has changed, has it? We should never be surprised that at the moment God begins to move in lives, the enemy of our soul steps up his campaign to discourage and frighten. That is the nature of the spiritual battle the enemy fights. God begins to build through His people, and Satan works to tear it down.

Paul: A wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. –1 Corinthians 16:9

Life Application

Do we give up? Give in? Or do we step back to not offend, or look for a better time? Note what Paul says next: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. –1 Corinthians 16:13 How are your foundations? Have you sung the song lately? A firm foundation.

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? –Psalm 11:3

When life knocks you to your knees, and it will, get up! If it knocks you to your knees again, as it will, is that not the best position, in which to pray? –Ethel Barrymore

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January 3, 2021

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