by David Sisler

There is a television phenomenon which may be uniquely American. Companies or individuals buy 30 minute blocks of time and present a commercial as though it were a news broadcast, a game show, or other legitimate program. One such popular commercial offers to the buying public the secrets of acquiring great wealth.

Writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Joe Browne said, “I get an odd feeling watching those men and women telling me I can make a fortune in real estate even if I don’t have a dime. Why would anyone making big money want to let me in on the secret? Why would experts who know how to get rich need to sell me the information?”

When Mr. Browne watches those commercials, do you suppose he is encouraged or discouraged?

Dr. Wallace Ellerbroek is a physician with an unusual practice. He is both a general surgeon and a psychiatrist. He has done research on the incidence of cancer among cancer specialists and has made some interesting discoveries concerning encouragement and discouragement.

Dr. Ellerbroek concludes that anger, unhappiness and depression directly contribute to malignancy in the human body.

“Cancer is not contagious,” he says, “but the specialists who work among cancer victims become so emotionally involved that they tend to get cancer themselves.”

It is an amazing thing to consider that the depression we so often feel, the simple lack of courage, can be a contributing factor to malignancy.

The man was a policeman with more than a decade of service on the force. “When I became a cop I knew I could make a difference in society,” he said. “Then slowly I became discouraged. I am so tired of child molestation calls, wife beating calls, calls where a respectable person has had one too many drinks, thinks he can drive home and then kills an innocent bystander.

“Last night I pulled into a parking lot and there were several 13-year-old boys smoking marijuana. I am considering resigning from the force because I have decided nothing I do makes any difference.”

Contrast that with the pastor of a small church in Pennsylvania. The congregation of 60 members had been meeting in rented facilities and decided they wanted a building of their own. They saved $10,000 and borrowed another $50,000 for the project.

One year after the building was finished, it was destroyed by a tornado. They raised $2500 for plywood and it was stolen. They collected $10,000 from insurance, reconstructed the walls and the walls buckled. At that point there was nothing left in the treasury.

The pastor said, “We started out to build a building. We ended up building a church. We have been more blessed by what has happened to our walls and to our faith than anything we could possibly imagine.”

Just before Israel entered Canaan, Moses reminded them of God’s covenant. Through Moses, God said, “I will bless your obedience. I will give you victory. I will bless your children. I will bless everything you undertake, if you obey me.”

Then God spelled out the consequences of disobedience: “If you promise to obey me and then break your promise I will curse you on every hand. I will scatter you to the ends of the earth. Nothing you undertake will prosper.”

Courage is the blessing of obedience to his Word and discouragement is the curse of disobeying him. If you are at this moment discouraged, examine your obedience to God. If circumstances are determining your courage, you are not living as God meant for you to live. Courage was never meant to be dependant upon you. It was always meant to be dependant upon Jesus.

Are you encouraged or discouraged?

If your answer is not as you wish it, then by God’s grace you can change.


Copyright 2003 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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