Category Archives: Lose heart

What can you learn from it?

Hebrews 12:3

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  NIV

This is the third verse that opens chapter 12 of the book of Hebrews.  It was this verse that I found a couple of days ago when I was searching for references to “lose heart,” a synonym for worry.

This verse reminds us to remember the suffering endured by Christ as we face the obstacles and worries that are sure to be in our path.  He has walked the path that we are walking.

Christ became human not only to save us, but also, I believe to better relate to us.  He has seen the world through human eyes, and has experienced the pain that humans are capable of inflicting on one another.  What a comfort that is.  Christ understands our hurts and our worries and is there to comfort us.  We must only remember to consistently take our worries to Him in prayer.

The chapter goes on to discuss the encouragement of discipline.  At first glance, that seems to be an oxymoron.  But, as I thought more about the chapter, I can see that it is completely on point.

This summer, I’m growing roses.  I’ve never grown them before, and, in the part of the country where I grew up, they weren’t terribly common.  I ordered them on line.  Nine little miniature rosebushes.  They came in nine tall boxes, and, as I planted them in my garden this past Spring, I remember not having much hope for them.  They seemed spindly and awkward and not at all likely to produce the lush foliage and gorgeous flowers that I’d seen on the Internet.

I followed the instructions, and planted them in full sun.  For the first month or so, nothing much happened. I watered them faithfully, and then, a few blooms began to appear.  Not all nine plants had flowers, I think I got about four little roses.  I took pictures of them and sent them to my family, and I figured, that was  it.  Nine plants, four blooms … that was honestly a better ratio than I had expected.  I let the blooms fade and turn brown, and then I had just nine little green plants, but, they were at least growing new leaves.  I kept watering.

Then, someone told me that I had to cut the blooms off.  My mom sent me a book on growing roses, and it said the same thing.

So, I cut off all the dead blooms.  Several days later, to my surprise, a few more blooms showed up.  As those faded, I cut them off, just as the book instructed.  And, an amazing thing began to happen.  The more I hacked off fading foliage, the more new blooms I got!

In the face of opposition — or, perhaps in response to discipline — those determined little plants have become more and more beautiful.  They don’t yet look like the picture on the Internet, but, I consistently have 15 or 20 beautiful rose blossoms to admire out my window.

That’s the kind of Christian I want to be.  I will not wilt or worry or lose heart in the face of opposition.  Instead, I will see it as a blessing, as discipline that I can learn from, and I will flourish in it.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Hebrews, Lose heart, New Testament, Worry

Don’t be so focused on it

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. NIV

I know that this is a reminder not to worry.  But, I find that my perspective is so far from Paul’s at the moment that I’m having trouble relating to it.  I know that he is right.  What is seen is temporary, what we are experiencing is temporary, but, often, it is hard to get your mind around that.

I broke a toe yesterday.  My foot has turned a lovely shade of blue, and it hurts to walk and, just as I’m sitting here, it is throbbing.  Toes are such a small part of your body … how can one small part command so much attention!?!

It strikes me that my toe is similar to the worries of this world … they are small and insignificant in comparison to the whole of eternity, and yet sometimes I get bogged down in them such that I lose sight of the whole.

I know that is the opposite of what Paul is expressing.  I need to adjust my perspective.

I’ll think about that, and also go and find a bag of ice now.


Filed under II Corinthians, Lose heart, New Testament, Strength, Trouble

Get busy!

2 Corinthians 4:1

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. NIV

For the last several days, I’ve been working through the listings under the word “lose” in my concordance.  I’ve been specifically focusing on the phrase, “lose heart,” which, in most cases, is a synonym for worry.  While the “lose” listing is not of an insignificant size, I’ve abruptly found myself deep in the New Testament.  The verses in my concordance are organized from Old to New Testament, so, it takes a while in any word search to get out of the Old Testament.

This morning, I was struck by the difference in Paul’s perspective from the Old Testament writers that I’ve spent so much time with on this project.  It looks like only 31 of the verses that I’ve found so far have been New Testament ones, so, it seems that the second half of my project will be, perhaps, even more encouraging than the first has been.

Paul begins this chapter, “Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing …” MSG

I love that!

Paul appropriately gives the credit to God, not to himself.  Paul is being beaten up and thrown in jail and maligned for doing God’s work, and yet, his perspective is, “Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job because we run into occasional hard times.” MSG

I am in awe of his perspective.

Had I been Paul, I’m pretty certain my attitude would have been, “Hey, give me a break!  I changed my entire life for you, I completely reversed direction in my career, all my former associates think I’m crazy, I have this physical problem that won’t go away, people keep putting me in jail, and this is unpleasant!”  But no, Paul says, “Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing …”

He counts it a privilege to be in service, to have this ministry, this ability to serve.

Sometimes, I think that God uses our darkest times not only to test our faith, but also to more effectively equip us to serve.  Like new recruits into the armed services, we must be broken down and then rebuilt to be effective.

These last two years have been among my hardest.  I haven’t always taken Paul’s approach, but, I’m often reminded of a story my mom shared with me last year.  She found it in a Bible Study or in a quiet time guide.  I wish I knew who wrote the story, so I could give him credit.  The image is one that I carry with me.

A person was watching a silversmith work with silver.   There was a flame involved, and the craftsman was explaining that he needed to heat the metal to just the right point, and then no hotter to achieve his objective.  The observer asked, “how do you know when it’s ready?”  To which the silversmith replied, “That’s easy, when I can see my reflection.”

The first time I heard that story, I wept.  God allows trials in our lives not to break us, but to make us more dependent on him.  Our purpose here is to glorify Him, to commune with Him, to reflect Him to our world and to do His work.

If we’re focused on those things, we, like Paul, cannot lose heart or worry … there is too much to accomplish!  God has generously let us in on what he is doing … let’s get to it!

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under II Corinthians, Lose heart, New Testament

They’re just rumors

Jeremiah 51:46

Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler.  NIV

Several people I know have just stopped watching the news on TV.  It seems to them, and I can certainly see their point, that the media have tremendous power, and that much of what is contained in these shows is designed to preserve that power through gaining ratings.

It is not clear to me that simple, just the facts ma’am, reporting exists anymore.  Perhaps it is not exciting enough for us.

In any case, the current situation absolutely contributes to us experiencing what is described in these verses in Jeremiah.  The news and the rumors are upsetting, and they can cause us to lose heart.

This chapter is speaking about the fall of Babylon.  I am certain that this is prophecy, but, I don’t know enough about it to know if Babylon already has fallen, or, if this is telling of things that still are to come.

Either way, I find these verses helpful.  Perhaps, instead of flipping on the news this morning while I have my breakfast, I’ll just eat in peaceful quiet and listen to the birds singing in my garden.

That will be a good way to start today.

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Filed under Jeremiah, Lose heart, Old Testament

No-one can make you

Deuteronomy 1: 28-29

“Where can we go?  Our brothers have made us lose heart.  They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky.  We even saw the Anakites there.'”  Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes,” NIV

So, this morning I went to the word “lose” in my NIV concordance and began searching for the phrase “lose heart” in the NIV.  Here I am back in Deuteronomy with Moses and the people.  Again, the story is being told of their fateful decision not to enter the promised land.

The most interesting phrase to me in these two verses is, “our brothers made us lose heart.”  The Message says, “our brothers took all the wind out of our sails.”

Now, I’ve certainly felt like that.  I’ve had more than a few parades rained on by folks who did not share my enthusiasm, but, can someone else actually MAKE us lose heart or worry?  I don’t think so.  I think that worry is a decision that we make when we are faced with evidence, any evidence, or maybe, as I think of it, perhaps no evidence at all … Worry is what happens when, among other things, we convince ourselves that the goal is beyond our grasp.  Other people can contribute to our predisposition to worry.  I worked for a woman once who delighted in saying and doing things that would cause me to react with worry … it was a game to her, and I was not mature enough to see it.

Look at what happened when the Israelites allowed someone else’s thoughts, perceptions and opinions to affect their courage and their actions.  They had to spend 40 years wandering in the desert, and, only those who had remained faithful (just one, I think or maybe two) were permitted to enter the promised land.

I don’t want to be someone who allows someone else to “make” me worry.  I want to think and act out of the assurance that the one true God, who goes before me, and beside me, and under me and over me and behind me will fight for me.

That’s what I’ll think about today.


Filed under Deuteronomy, Lose heart, Old Testament, Worry

Approach your worries as challenges to be conquered

1 Samuel 17:32

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine, your servant will go and fight him.” NIV

This morning, I went back to Bible  This time,  I searched the New Living Translation for the word, “worry,” and verses appeared that did not show up on the first page of the same search in The Message.  This is all very interesting to me.  This morning’s exercise led me to the phrase, “lose heart,” in the NIV, and I can see that this combination of words appears several times in the NIV translation.  I will add “lose heart,” to my list of word searches.

I love this verse.

I love this whole story.  David is a young boy, and feels invincible.  He boasts of the ability to complete what everyone else believes is an impossible task, and, his faith in God and in his own abilities is so strong, that it never occurs to him that he will fail.  When he is victorious later in the story, I always find myself thinking, “Good for David!”

A little boy who is very dear to me has this kind of confidence.  The last time I spent time with him, he was still young enough not to have been buffeted by the world, which he still saw as his to conquer.  His father is a hunter, and the little boy has hunted for as long as he can remember.  Like David, he has great confidence in his skills and in himself, and he believes that Jesus loves him dearly (which He does) and that he can accomplish anything.

Were we all like that at one point?  When does that change?  And, how much of a tie is there between the invincibility of our youth and the verses that call us to be like children?

Both Mark and Luke record Christ saying about children, “for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

For children of a certain age, and who are blessed to live in stable situations, each day can be a new adventure.  They don’t seem to see the worry, instead they see the rush of conquering a challenge.

I’ll think more about that today.

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