Jentezen Franklin - That Time, This Time, And Every Time
I wanna go to Numbers 21. "Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom". Listen. "And the soul of the people became very discouraged", because of the way: "Along the way". One translation says, "Because of the way God led them". "And the people spoke against God and against Moses: 'Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food, no water, our soul loathes this worthless bread'".
"So the Lord sent fiery serpents among them, and they bit the people. And many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, 'We have sinned'", they got a revelation, "'We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.' So Moses prayed for the people". "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole. And it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent, put it on a pole". Raised it up. "And so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived".
I wanna talk to you for a few moments, I'll give you my title in just a minute, but I'm focusing on the theme of the danger, the great, great, great, great danger, of discouragement. And I'm gonna give you the remedy, I'm gonna give you the answer to it. In the Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life", and if you've not seen "It's a Wonderful Life", you will probably not go up in the Rapture. Amen.
How many of you have ever seen that movie, "It's a Wonderful Life"? Well, in that movie, the main character is a guy by the name of George Bailey. And George Bailey's a good guy, but he gets extremely in hard times and discouraged and even contemplates suicide. But thank God for the power of friendship. He had some friends who got together and prayed for him. And when they prayed, in the movie, it touches heaven, and there is an angel who is in charge of all the angels in heaven, and he turns to one of the lesser angels, and he says, "It's time for you to earn your wings, and your assignment, if you wanna earn your wings, you'll get your wings if you succeed in this. Your assignment is to go down and help George Bailey".
And the inferior angel said to the superior angel, "Well, before I go, tell me, what's wrong with George Bailey? Is he sick? Does he got some horrible disease"? And the superior angel's answer is a classic. He said, "Worse than that, he is discouraged". Worse than some horrible disease, he is discouraged. The devil knows that the greatest thing he can use against the believer is discouragement. Because you're never really defeated until you're defeated on the inside.
I believe that we need to understand that the people of God were discouraged. The people of God, not the devil's crowd. It's possible for the people of God to get low, and get discouraged. And I just wanna say that probably nobody walked in here today, when we get discouraged, we almost feel ashamed, we almost feel embarrassed, we almost feel guilty. We don't anybody to know that we're discouraged. I doubt when you turned to your neighbor, and said, "Hello", or whatever, they spoke up and said, "I'm really discouraged today. I feel like quitting. I'm thinking about just... I'll tell you, I've had it. It's been", nobody does that, and yet, it's almost like we ignore the dangers of prolonged discouragement.
When you understand that, what really causes discouragement is given in this text, the Bible said they were discouraged because of the way. They were discouraged because of the way of God. They were discouraged because of the why of God. They were saying, "Why are we in this desert? Why are we going through this? Why are we in this wilderness? Why"? The way of God, the why of God, and then the wait, the waiting on God. It's been too long. Something should've happened by now.
And usually, when people get discouraged, it's because of the way that God is leading them. You thought it would be an easy way, and it's a hard, wilderness way, and on top of that, the why of God. When you don't have answers for your questions, no explanations as to why it seems everything's going wrong, and then on top of that, you're waiting and waiting and waiting. This breeds discouragement. Discouragement is born when we compare ourselves with somebody else. When we begin to compare ourselves with somebody else, but let me tell you what ought to cause great joy to come to your life. Is if you'd stop comparing yourself to other people, and you would just remember where you came from. And remember where you started. And remember how much God has blessed you. You're doing more. You're seeing more. You're achieving more.
But if you start comparing yourself with someone else, you can get discouraged, because they're doing more, maybe, than you're doing. But the greatest way to get on your feet and praise the Lord is just think about where I came from. Just think about what God started me out as, and where I am today, and it's encouraging to not compare yourself with others, but to remember how far you've come, and where you started. So everybody give Him the praise for that.
Think about that for just a moment. Let a little firecracker go off in your soul right there. I mean, look at you. Look at the life you've got. Look at the house you've got. Look at the car you've got. Look at how good God's blessed you, and you're discouraged, 'cause you're comparing yourself to somebody else. Another area that causes discouragement, and this is so important, is trying to force fruit out of season. The Bible said as long as the earth exists, there's seed, time, and harvest. There's seed, there's the promise, and then there's the promise, but there's time between seed time, notice, seed, time, promise. You can't ignore the time.
When a woman is pregnant, the doctor gives her a due date. And that's why the scripture said, "Do not be weary in well-doing, for there is a season called due season". And in due season, you will reap if you don't faint. So hear the Word of the Lord today. Many people are trying to get fruit in the season before it's due. And the point is, you cannot force something to happen out of season, and you have to learn to wait. But many people get discouraged. Another symptom of discouragement is the loss of vision. Discouragement will make your vision become blurry and unclear. And when your vision in life becomes blurry and unclear, and you don't know where you're going, and you had some kind of setback, and you feel, maybe, you broke up with somebody, and you saw yourself with them for the rest of your life, and now, everything's blurry and unclear.
That's discouragement. You need to recognize it. It's a dangerous thing to not recognize when you're really discouraged. Discouragement will cause a loss of enthusiasm about life, about God, about purpose, about life in general, about everything. A discouraged person is a person who has lost passion and enthusiasm. Isolation is a glaring symptom of discouragement. The devil wants you to isolate yourself, pull away from people, pull away from family, pull away from church, get discouraged, get depressed, cave in, emotionally, and separate, isolate yourself, so any time the enemy isolates you, it's to devastate you. When you feel least like coming, that's the sign you need to get here the most.
Another symptom of discouragement is paralysis. Discouragement will freeze your actions. The paralysis of analysis. You're discouraged, and you're afraid to do anything and take any chance and any risk. That's why when Elijah got discouraged and ran from Jezebel and went in a cave of discouragement, God came and said, "How long will you halt between two opinions"? In other words, you know, if you're not careful, discouragement will halt your advancement. It'll cause you to just not trust your own judgment, and have the courage to make the right decision.
Discouragement, notice this in the Bible, will affect your speech. When they got discouraged, they started murmuring and complaining, and discouragement always shows up in your talk. Your words will be slurred with negativism. Your words will be slurred with whining and self-pity. Another symptom and sign of discouragement is a loss of inspiration. A loss of motivation. A loss of aggression about life, and get up and when your get up and go has got up and went, you're discouraged. Discouragement is the despair of wounded self-love. Discouragement produces cowards. The very word discouragement means to basically just suck the courage out, drawl and drain the courage out of a person.
To be discouraged is to lose all courage. You will not step out, you will not risk, you will not try. Discouragement will make you a coward if you let it stay. And I just wanna pause right in the middle of this sermon, 'cause I know I'm preaching to people by television, all over the world, who are discouraged. I wrote this down, and I want you to let it get in your spirit. I pause in the name of Jesus to come against negativism, despair, hopelessness, fear, despondency, depression, disgust, frustrations, feelings of failure, thoughts of quitting, thoughts of giving up, thoughts of suicide. I'm here today to tell you that God is greater than your discouragement, and I call for the power of the name of Jesus to release new faith, new vision, new hope, new confidence, new determination, new zeal, new enthusiasm. Baptize us, saturate us, marinate us, with courage. Be encouraged.
Now, everybody, shout like you believe "This Book is true". Come on, praise Him a minute. Somebody up in the balcony, praise Him a minute. All right, now listen, 'cause God is greater. He's greater than gossip. He's greater than haters. He's greater than people tearing you up on Facebook. We have minimized the danger of discouragement. Don't play with it. Get help. There's nothing wrong with telling somebody, "I'm discouraged, I'm depressed, and I can't get out. I can't get up". There's no shame in it. There's nothing wrong with going to a good Christian counselor and saying, "Help. I'm in something and I can't, I just feel like giving up". Reach out for help. Reach out for help, there's help here. We've been there. We've been there, I may need your help next week, but this week, I feel pretty good. I could help you. Somebody could help you.
Don't be ashamed to say, "I'm discouraged". "How you feeling"? "I don't feel nothing. I don't feel good, and I don't feel like the favor of God is shining brightly on my spirit". I don't feel that. I feel like quitting. I feel like giving up. You ever felt that way? Did God see you through? Measure your problem against God, not yourself. We see the devastation of discouragement in John 1, when it talks about John the Baptist, and when he was first introduced to Jesus, he said, "I saw the Spirit descend like a dove, and it abode upon Him, and I knew Him". I knew him. And then, John announced, "Behold, the Lamb of God. He's it. I've got a personal revelation. I know who He is. He's the Lamb of God".
And there's rejoicing, but a few months later, he's arrested, John is, and he's in a filthy prison, Herod's cell, prison, and he sends his disciples to where Jesus is, because he feels abandoned. He's discouraged. And he says, "Ask Him, 'Are You the One?'" What do you mean, am I the one? You're the one that said I was the one. But see the danger of discouragement. Discouragement will cause you to question what you previously affirmed about your faith in God. Discouragement will begin to get you to ask questions about, did I really see that bird descend? Did that really happen? Did I really hear that voice? Did God really confirm to me? Is Jesus who He really... it'll cause you to question your spirit visitation, question your divine demonstration, and question your personal revelation.
There are things that can come in life, listen to this, Preacher, that will make you wonder about that bird. Was it real? Wonder about that experience that you had in an altar, was that voice real? Make you second-guess what you said Jesus was to you. Make you question the will of God. Things will come in life that will make you question the love of God. How can a loving God let this happen? I just proclaim, in the middle of my seasons of discouragement, there is no God like Jehovah. I may not see the bird anymore, I may not hear the voice anymore, I may not feel the flutter and the joy of the Lord in this particular season that I may be walking through, but I declare boldly, there is no God like Jehovah. He's still God.
I want you to see the doorway to discouragement. In Psalms 73, David found himself so discouraged, he wanted to quit. He said, "Truly, God is good to Israel, even to as many as who have a clean heart", but catch these next words: "But as for me, my feet almost slipped, and I became envious", he says in Psalm 73:13, "Envious of the wicked". He's saying something. He's saying, "Oh, I know God will bless Israel, but I'm the exception, and I'm the rule". I'm the exception to the rule. I'm someone that He can bless Israel and He can bless Pastor and He can bless this one and that one, but not me. That's discouragement talking. He won't favor me and help me. He won't bless me. And he was envious of wicked people.
In other words, he was saying, "I'm living clean, I'm living right, and this is not working for me". This faith in God is not working. They're doing better and they worship idols. This is not working for me. This is a discouraged man. The question is, how did he get there? You have to back up one verse into the previous chapter. Psalm 72:20, the last verse, right before you go into all that discouragement, catch this. "The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended".
Please hear me. The door to discouragement is prayerlessness. When he said, "I'm done praying. I prayed all I'm gonna pray". But guess what? That opened the door, and he steps into that next chapter, and is full of sliding and sliding back, and discouragement, and I'm the exception, and God's not with me, and I'm going under, and I'm not gonna make it. What I'm saying to you is that's how you get discouraged, when you stop praying, when you stop asking, when you stop praising, when you stop coming to church. Isolating yourself. You go deeper and deeper into discouragement. I'm so glad you came to church today. Because I don't believe that we have to leave like we came, in Jesus' name.
Elijah got in a cave of discouragement, and God told him to do something. He said, "All right. I want you to come out of this cave of discouragement. Jezebel ran you in here, Elijah, and you've been discouraged, and you said, 'Kill me,' and, 'I feel like quitting.'" But He said, "Here's what I want you to do. If you wanna come out of your cave of discouragement, go anoint three people". And He told him to go, in other words, start sharing your anointing if you wanna be encouraged.
Now, you gotta get this. If you wanna be encouraged, you've got to go encourage somebody. As long as you're focused on me, and self, and pity, you're not going to get encouraged. But He said, "I want you to start sharing your anointing". You know what? I'm anointed to preach. I'm anointed to sing and play. I know that. And you know what I've learned? That when I'm discouraged, if I'll share my anointing, if I'll preach in those seasons when I'm discouraged, that's when some of my best sermons come, when I sing and worship when I'm a little discouraged, seems like that really touches people's hearts. They don't know what I'm going through, but there's something about when you are in your own cave of discouragement, you begin to share the anointing.
He said, "Elijah, go anoint some people". And too many times, we get so centered, why don't you call somebody if you're discouraged, and encourage them? Why don't you check up on somebody? Why don't you hug somebody? Why don't you take somebody out to lunch? Why don't you encourage somebody? And when you share your anointing, God will bring you out. I wanna end with this. Pray, praise, lift Him up, look up, keep looking up, because the devil doesn't mind you celebrating and remembering that time in your past that you made it through. And he really doesn't mind you believing that some time, way out there, God's gonna turn your battle. I'm going to see a victory way out there.
That time, some time, but the thing that makes hell nervous, and the thing the enemy wants to do that will keep you in discouragement is convince you that this time, you're not gonna make it. This time, you're not gonna get out. This time, there's no way you're going to bounce back. But I've got a message for the devil. And I almost wrote it on my shoes. That time: here's the title of my sermon, "That Time, This Time, and Every Time", God will not fail me. Everybody say, "That time, this time, and every time, God will not forget me. God will not forsake me. God will not fail me".
Now, wait a minute. That time, how many of you've got a that time that you can look back on? This time, and every time. God will not fail me. God will not fail me. God's healing you. If you need help, get help. But God brought you to this service this morning to heal you, of chronic discouragement. David encouraged himself in the Lord. And when you get that down in your soul like I got it, I got me a little new thing I'm gonna tell the devil from now on. If you don't get nothing else out of this sermon, take home this piece. That time, this time, and every time, God will not fail me. God will not forget me. God will not forsake me.
One more time, say it bold. That time, and I need somebody to shout over that time. You know that time, when the enemy whispered, "Take your life". The enemy whispered, "There's no recovery". The enemy whispered, "You'll never get through this". That divorce, that whatever, that disaster, but God said, "I'm gonna see you through". That time, this time, somebody shout over in your very circumstance right now, "He's big and in control". And here's a big one, somebody shout, "Over every time". Get up on your feet and give God a great, great praise, because He encourages His people. Hallelujah, hallelujah. We need to take just a minute and lift Him up. Look up and lift Him up. Stay in your discouragement if you want to, or look up, and lift Him up, and begin to pray, and God will begin to restore encouragement into you.