How Should Christians face discouragement?



Discouragement is a universal human phenomenon. Christians are not excepted from this unhappy aspect of human experience. Discouragement is a very real and present danger in the life of the believer. Many different events in our life can lead us to despair- Death of a close friend or relative, prolonged sickness, multiple failed endeavors, or not being able to find stable employment. Sometimes just being a faithful witness for Christ in this sin sick world can lead us to depression. Any number of things that life throws at us can lead us to despair and allow us to slip into a lifestyle plagued by discouragement. When we get discouraged, and it is not a matter of if it is a matter of when, how should we deal with it? How should we face this age old problem in a fashion that honors Jesus Christ and is becoming of our Christian proclamation. In the following paragraphs I have listed a few things to remember if you are facing discouragement.

1st Kings 19 tells us that right after Elijah witnessed God’s power and glory on Mount Carmel (no not Mt. Caramel) that he fled to the wilderness due to the persecution wrought by the wicked Queen of Israel named Jezebel. Rather than being energized by the incredible victory, Elijah ran to the desert and fell into a deep depression. In fact, 1st Kings 19:4 tells us that Elijah begged God for death. If you are discouraged remember that you are in good company. Elijah was one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament and even he succumbed to discouragement. The fact is, sometimes doing the right thing for God will make some people very unhappy and we will face persecution for our efforts. It is difficult to remain unaffected by such harsh rejection. Now, I am not saying that we should see our plight of discouragement as a badge of honor or develop a martyr complex but nor should you go to the opposite extreme and think that you are less of a Christian for sometimes getting discouraged.

I also find it interesting that Elijah found himself discouraged immediately after he witnessed God sending down a pillar of fire in an incredible show of his might. For Elijah, this must have been and unforgettable and emotion filled experience. It is a simple fact of human psychology that after extremely joy filled moments in our life we can often experience a letdown. So when this does happen remember that this is normal. When you feel discouraged after a great spiritual victory I would recommend that you take the time to remember what God just did for you in this very special time. Do not be like the fickle children of Israel who often rejected God right after he did something kind for them. Sometimes you will have to make a conscious effort to remember God’s goodness but it will be well worth it! It is also helpful to remember that God is going to continue to do great things with you. Philippians 1:6 says this “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV). If you have been gloriously saved by Jesus Christ (And I hope that you have) and Jesus has not returned yet (Which he hasn’t) then you can be confident that God will continue to give you spiritual victories.

In 1st Kings 19:5-8 we are shown, albeit indirectly, another beautiful truth about God. While in the wilderness and still in the throes of depression God does not forsake Elijah. Rather, he feeds and cares for him by way of Angels. As Christians, we can take comfort in the fact that God does not care for us only when we are faithful and bold, but even when we are broken. God’s love toward us is not conditioned upon our performance. Roman 5:8 echoes this thought in perfect harmony when it says “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (ESV). If you are discouraged, reflect on this truth and be encouraged by the goodness and faithfulness of God.


In 1st Kings 19:14 Elijah is quoted as saying “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” Pretty much everything Elijah says in this statement was indeed true at the time with the exception of one phrase “I alone am left”. Sometimes when we are discouraged we blow things way out of proportion. Things were certainly bad in Israel in Elijah’s day but he had clearly lost perspective. For one, he was not alone because God the Father is still on his throne, Jesus is still Lord, and the Spirit is still at work. God has indeed promised us that he will “never leave us, nor forsake us.” For these reasons we should never fear being truly alone. We should also rejoice in the fact that God will always have a remnant of people on earth who will follow him. Consider the words of 1st Kings 19:18 “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” God gently reminds Elijah that he is not the only person standing up for what is right and, by the way, modern Christian, neither are you. God in his grace has given us the Church-Not the building we worship in or hear the word of God preached but the people who make up the community of the redeemed. Dear Christian, when you are discouraged this is the time when you should lean on your fellow believers all the more. You should look to them for guidance, comfort, and care. All too many people when faced with struggles exit the church. This is the last thing you should do when you are discouraged. If you think that by leaving the church your problems will fade, then you are deceived. Cling to your fellow believers all the more. That is what God would have you do.

As you can see, the word of God has not left us without an answer as to what we should do when we are discouraged. In the previous paragraphs we have only considered one chapter of the Bible and It speaks directly to our present struggles. If I could leave you with one final encouragement I would simply say that if you are discouraged you should take even more time out of your day to search the scriptures for wisdom and encouragement. God has given us the Bible so that we might be taught, encouraged, and reproved. Sometimes the words of the scriptures challenge and sting but they are always instructive-And they will always draw us closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has promised us that all who follow him will indeed find rest.





Jesus Is Our Lord, and Jesus is our Message

Hello everyone, here is a video of me preaching at Silverhill United Methodist Church. I hope you are blessed by the message.

Joy In The Journey by Michael Card

I was inspired to post a link to this song by a message I heard this morning by the Reverend Richard Collins at Bloomingdale Alliance Church. He spoke of living a faith and spirit filled life. He specifically mentioned this song in an illustration and it has been on my mind all day. This song has a lot to say to the weary Christian. Our ultimate joy lies in seeing Christ face to face but there is much to appreciate about the pilgrimage. Peace and Blessings, Julian Pace.

Jesus of Nazareth: Our Ever Merciful Savior

All of us, at some time or another, have been in the same position as the woman whom Jesus forgives in this account. Sure, none of us have been dragged before Jesus by a mob of religious legalists, but when the scripture says “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” it includes even the most moral and disciplined people the world has ever known.


Lazarus And The Rich Man


Luke 16:19-31 (NASB)

19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. 20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And [a]besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”


To understand the parable of “Lazarus and the Rich Man” as told in Luke 16:19-31 we need to ask a couple of important questions. For one, we need to ask who the parable was originally taught to and why was it given to them?  To find the answer of who was the original audience we need to look back at the first verse of chapter sixteen as well as verse fourteen. The first verse in the chapter tells us that Christ’s disciples were in the audience and the fourteenth verse tells us that the Pharisees were also present and “scoffing” at the teaching of Jesus. While the parable is certainly for all people, as it has been preserved in scripture, I think the primary audience of this parable are the Pharisees. I say this for this reason. In verse fourteen the Pharisees are not described by their status nor function. Nor are they described by their physical appearance (people in the Gospels rarely are). Rather, they are described as “Lovers of money”. It is not a coincidence that the parable the Lord is about to share has to do with a very rich man, which is what the Pharisees were or at least greatly desired to be, and a poor man, which they greatly desired not to be!

This parable is also chock full of references that any Jew would understand. Which leads us to the second question that we need to ask. What cultural details are contained in the parable? For one, it is certainly interesting that Jesus calls heaven “Abraham’s bosom” in verses twenty-two and twenty-three. Every Jew would have understood this because in their culture there was no question as to whether Abraham upon death was ushered into God’s presence and the text states emphatically that the poor man named Lazarus was ushered into the intimate embrace and presence of Father Abraham and God himself. The very meaning of Lazarus deserves discussion as well. William Barclay notes that “The name is the Latinized version of Eleazer which means God is my help[i] Barclay also notes that it is very interesting that Jesus names this character at all because in no other parable is any character given a personal name like this. I do not think it is a stretch to argue that this name has significance. By giving the poor man the name of Lazarus Jesus is making a point about his character. This man enjoyed God’s help and was totally reliant on it while the Rich Man was not even interested in the things of God. Finally, it should be noted that Jesus’ reference to Moses and the Prophets is none other than a direct reference to the Holy Scriptures contained in the Old Testament.

I think the point of this parable is twofold. The love of money and luxury will warp your sense of morality and make you insensitive to the needs of others. Lazarus dwelt at the door of the Rich Man but was never noticed by him. The text makes it abundantly clear that Lazarus was desperately and obviously in need of medical care and food and yet the Rich Man did nothing. By having the opportunity to help Lazarus and yet failing to do anything about it was a sin on the Rich Man’s part. Also, the point is that riches cannot save or even necessarily extend your life as it seems that Lazarus and this rich man died at about the same time. Laurence Porter makes these points particularly well in his commentary on Luke in the New International Bible Commentary.[ii] This parable must have stung the Pharisees right in the heart as the text makes it clear that these men were obsessed with material gain. Finally, Jesus closes the parable by saying that those who find themselves in hell due to their sin (which is all of us unless we are redeemed by God’s grace) are there justly because they have the scriptures.

Jesus’ teachings always beg for a decisive response. Jesus never taught something to simply be novel or clever. Rather, his words are packed with truth and we all have a responsibility to examine our lives in light of what the Lord says. To know how Jesus’ wants us to respond to this parable is not incredibly easy as the parable ends with little explanation and the text moves in another direction in chapter seventeen. To properly understand what our response to this parable should be I think it is helpful to look at other passages which showcase God’s attitude towards sinners. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that it is not God’s will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Jesus does not take any delight in consigning anyone to hell but he will do it if our hearts are so hardened that we reject his help and grace. Essentially, this parable is a grave warning to those who trust in their own merits to gain eternal life and an encouragement to those who find their help in God.



[i] Barclay, William. “The Punishment of the Man Who Never Noticed.” InThe Gospel of Luke, 213. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Press, 1956.


[ii] “Luke.” In New International Bible Commentary, edited by F.F. Bruce, by Laurence Porter, 1216. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan



An Exposition Of Hebrews 2:9-13


The book of Hebrews is one of the New Testament’s greatest theological legacies. Only Romans rivals this magnificent book in terms of its’ theological value. Even secular critics have called this book an absolute masterpiece. However, this book has much to say to the average Christian as well. Specifically, I want to focus on a particular passage in this grand book. This particular passage is Hebrews 2:9-13. In this passage we are given five important reasons why Jesus came to our world a little over two thousand years ago. At some point or another every reasonable person must ask themselves what they think of Jesus and his life’s work.  Hebrews 2:9-13 answers these important questions so that we may know why our Savior came.

Hebrews 2:9a states “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death”. This verse is simply packed with truth. We are told that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels. From this verse we can see why many theologians have called Jesus’ sojourn on this earth his “humiliation”. To understand the gravity of this truth we must remember that Jesus Christ is truly divine and Lord of all! For him to be made lower than the angels is remarkable. However, even more remarkable is the reason given in this passage for his coming. This verse makes it quite clear that Jesus came to suffer and die. We see this truth fulfilled in the accounts of the Gospels when Jesus was crucified under orders of Pontius Pilate. While some liberal theologians have balked at such a grim reason for Jesus to come we must never forget that Jesus’ death was necessary for the remission of sins. Sin is destructive and pervasive and only by the shedding of Jesus perfect blood could it possibly be defeated. Only through Christ suffering can we find any hope. And what suffering it must have been to face crucifixion and separation from the Father! Truly, we serve a Savior beyond compare!

Hebrews 2:9 goes on to say this “crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” In this part of the verse we are given the second reason for Christ’s coming. Christ came because of God’s love and grace. Jesus Christ did not come because God saw great potential in humanity. Jesus Christ did not come because humanity had somehow earned his approval. In fact, Jesus Christ came into the world during a remarkably barbaric an unloving period. However, God still gave his beloved son to the world out of his spirit of grace and pure love. God’s love and grace are taught throughout the Old and New testaments. Who can forget the simple beauty of John 3:16 when it says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We should be thankful for God’s grace as it is the very essence of our salvation. That is why the word says “By grace ye have been saved”. Here we see the character of God strongly contrasted with the Islamic and Pagan understanding  of the divine. In other religions God, or the gods, only intervene for the benefit of man when they are somehow pleased by someone or a group of people. The God of the Bible is unique in that he seeks to save man despite man’s rejection of him. What a wonderful God of grace we serve!

The verse we just reviewed also states that Jesus Christ came to suffer and die for every man. This is the third reason listed in this passage for Christ’s first coming. While the first half of the verse mentions that Jesus came to suffer and die, this verse expands on this thought and says that Christ came to suffer death for every man. Here we see the love God has for every person. Despite man’s sinfulness, evil, and outright rejection of the things of God, God still cares deeply for every person. I also think there is another truth we can draw from this. Some theologians have argued that Jesus Christ only came to save certain people and some people are simply doomed to judgment. Jesus death is necessary for anyone to be saved because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Also, this verse makes it clear that Jesus came to die for every single person. We can also see from other verses that it is God’s desire that no one perish therefore God sent his son in the hope that all people would respond to the Gospel. We should be ever grateful that we serve a God who deeply loves each and every person and desperately desires that all come to repentance.

Hebrews 2:10 says “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Here we are taught the important doctrine that God is the creator and sustainer of all things. Here we are also told that God sent Jesus to this world to glorify him and show that he is truly the second Adam and the only perfect man. Here we are given the fourth reason for Christ’s coming as well as an unusual name for Jesus. Here he is called the “Captain of our Salvation”. This title reflects the fact that without Jesus we are totally and utterly lost. Just like every ship needs a captain. Salvation is only accomplished with the person of Jesus Christ. This verse also states that glory is brought to Jesus when people become believers. In this verse it says specifically Jesus is gloried by “bringing many sons to glory”. Here we hear of a theme that is reminiscent of Romans 9 in which God promises whoever he saves he will bring to glory in heaven.

Hebrews 2:11-13 says “For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren; in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. “And again, “I will put my trust in Him.” And again, “Behold I and the children whom God hath given me.” .Finally, we are told in multiple ways in this passage that the fifth reason for Jesus Christ’s first coming is to bring us into the family of God. This is important as man’s relationship to God is essentially broken. Sure, man can know there is a God by simply viewing nature or studying philosophy but without Jesus Christ man cannot know God intimately. Here we are told that Jesus Christ and those who believe in him are one. In this passage, Jesus also calls the saved the children of God and is proud to be associated with them. As members of the family of God we enjoy many, many blessings. For one, we have a sweet fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit. We also enjoy the Fatherhood of God and his protection and love. Eternal life is also part of our blessed reward. Being a part of the family of God is truly and wonderful and beautiful thing.

In Hebrews 2:9-13 we are shown five important reasons for Christ’s first coming to our world. One reason Christ came was because he had to die. Specifically, he came to defeat sin. He also came for the sake of sinful man. This passage also makes it clear that Jesus Christ came because God deeply loves every human being.  In this passage, we are also introduced to the “Captain of our Salvation”, Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ our salvation is meaningless. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is the very center of our salvation. Finally, we are told that Christ came to bring people into the family of God with all of its’ benefits. There are other important reasons that we could mention why Jesus came. However, I think Hebrews two gives us some interesting reasons as to why Jesus came. By understanding why Jesus came we can more greatly appreciate the salvation we enjoy. We can also rejoice and thank Jesus Christ for the great things he hath done!

The Word: The Gospel of John 1:1-4


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.

In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

In his characteristic flourish John reveals to us the very essence of who Jesus is to us. John unequivocally states that Jesus is uniquely divine. For when he says that Jesus, whom he calls “The Word”, was there from the beginning, has always been with God, and is in fact of the same substance of God he is arguing that Jesus of Nazareth, the poor country preacher from Galilee, is worthy of worship and honor and praise. Some have argued that this verse poses great problems for the Christian faith because what John is teaching us flies in the face of strict monotheism. However, a proper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity should dispel with such questions. In fact, a Trinitarian understanding of God who is of one substance and yet three distinct persons magnifies God’s greatness in some incredible ways. Interestingly, it enhances the truth of God being all loving. If God existed as one person alone then God could have the capacity to love but would not be all loving in a strict sense. For before anything else existed  God existed and if he existed alone to himself then there would simply be no one else to love. However, because of what John chapter one has to teach us we can learn that God has always existed as a Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have always enjoyed a relationship of perfect love while remaining of one substance. What a deep and powerful truth.

John goes on to elaborate that in Jesus all people can have eternal life. That all people can enjoy the blessed light and truth that God has given us. Jesus has come to bring us love and let us experience it in ways we never thought imaginable. For who better to learn the essence of what love truly is than from one who has experienced perfect love longer than any of us can even begin to fathom. Jesus is God’s greatest gift to mankind. Through Jesus, God has given us himself so that we might reconnect with the maker of heaven and earth! God has given us hope that can sustain us in our darkest and most trying moments. He has given us himself, the Light of the world our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.