Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
March 11, 2018 at 9:45 AM
Shaking Off Discouragement

Shaking Off Discouragement
Haggai 2:4 “Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel” says the Lord;…
Life is a short sojourn between birth and death. During
that interval, each person is exposed to numerous and varied
experiences. Owing to the nature and subsequent training, each
person develops a general response to life. The range of
responses extends from pessimism to optimism; from defeatism
to mastery; and from encouragement to discouragement.
In recognizing the scope of discouragement in contemporary
society, and the varying approaches for coping with this problem,
the sermon today will address this it from a Biblical perspective
approach to it. Accordingly, the sermon has been entitled,
Shaking Off Disappointment. While acknowledging the existence of
several difference modalities for this problem, the sermon will
submit the view that the Bible contains the most desirable mode
for  Shaking Off Disappointment.
The sermon will briefly explore the following dimensions of
discouragement, namely: the distressful aspect of
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discouragement; the empowering effect of discouragement; and
what will be our response to discouragement?
Prior to addressing these aspects of discouragement,
attention will be focused on a nationwide feeling of
discouragement that occurred in early Biblical history. It
was around the year 520 B.C. when the people of Jerusalem
experienced the ascension of a new king whose name was
Haggai. He arrived on the scene at a critical time; it was
approximately 70 years after the city had been destroyed by
the nation of Babylon. That horrible experience has passed
and the Persian King, Cyrus, had allowed the captive Jews
to return to Jerusalem. Nehemiah had earlier rebuilt the walls
while Ezra, the Priest, had sought to console the people. Yet
the efforts of those two persons had failed to energize the
returning Jewish people. Based upon a knowledge of human
nature, it is herein submitted that the Jews were overwhelmed
by factors that included: regrets about the captivity; worries
about their family members who died in Babylonian Captivity;
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grief from the knowledge of how Jerusalem had been destroyed;
and pondered as to why God allowed such a disaster to befall
them. The cumulative effect of these concerns led to a state
of discouragement. In the text, however, the Lord calls upon
the Jews to shake off disappointment.
Although many Centuries separate the Jews of that day
and contemporary times, especially within the political arena
known as American Democracy. However, it is reasonable
to hope that committed Christians know of and depend upon Divine
intervention as they travel from time to eternity. Admittedly, even
Christians will encounter baffling situations that can so easily lead
to discouragement. It is highly probable that within this flock
herein assembled, at some time or another, at some time or
another have had to cope with discouragement. Hence, the
sermon was written to offer so comfort and guidelines for
all who are here gathered. Against this somber intent,
let us now turn attention to the first aspect of discouragement –
the distressful component of discouragement. The key question
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becomes – What happens to people when discouragement sets
in? Some answers include: they become debilitated, their energy
goes, and they begin to settle for considerably less than what
than the capabilities with which that can achieve. Another,
problem is the tendency to reflect on things the way they use
to be, or even to day dream about earlier glorious days. While
this preoccupation with the past may provide some consolation,
it is a block to facing reality. Thus, it is necessary for the
dreamer to focus on the future instead to remaining tied to the
past. From this vantage, it is possible for the discouraged
person – in the words of Paul – to forget about those things
which are behind and press on the upward way toward the
high calling of our Lord Jesus Christ. This biblical assertion
leads to the second aspect of discouragement which is – the
empowering effect of discouragement. This word, empowering,
refers to act of equipping one for self actualization. It moves
one from a complainer to a conqueror. In the text today, we are
reminded of how God equips us to cope with discouragement.
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Notice God’s message was to be strong (3 ), to work, and the
promise of his presence . With these Divine messages, Haggai
and his people commenced the task of restoring Jerusalem,
not as it was in the past, but to newer and wider dimensions.
They were successful in shaking off discouragement and so
can be do likewise. This reality leads to the final consideration –
What will be our response to discouragement? Beloved, the
searching questions today become: What do you believe about
the Lord’s plan for your life? About his power? About his
presence? About his promises? About the divine strength
for you to face the problems of life? Please think about these
questions, Beloved!  Finally, I call upon you to boldly confront
discouragements by embracing Scriptural teachings that include:
“… I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee…” (Joshua 1:5 ); “…“…for
in due season we shall reap, if we fain not.” ( Gal. 6:9 ) and “I can
do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. ( Phil. 4:13).
Anchored by these, and many related Scriptures, a steadfast faith,
and a positive outlook on life, you – as a believer can truthfully
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assert- amidst discouraging experiences – “…persecuted, but not
forsaken; cast now, but not destroyed”. (2nd Cor.4:9 ). Hence, you
will be able to encounter discouragement, maintain psychological
stability, and continue to have faith in God. Amen.


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