William Wilberforce led a campaign against the British Parliament to abolish slavery in the late 1700's and early 1800's. During the course of his intense efforts, Wilberforce came to a desperate place of discouragement, feeling he had absolutely no more strength to continue. In this condition he was about to give up, when his elderly friend, John Wesley, lying on his deathbed, was informed of his friend William's distress.
Some time ago, I wrote a devotional about not worrying for tomorrow because tomorrow holds its own worries. But it occurred to me recently, that just about as often as we worry for tomorrow, we fret about yesterday. How many times do we find ourselves saying, "I wish things could be the way they were, I wish I was younger, I wish I could fit into those jeans again, I wish I didn't make that terrible mistake … you fill in the blank"?
The Bible speaks of a great falling away in the last days (2 Thessalonians 2) before the end of the age arrives, and it seems that we’re seeing it on a grand scale all around us. Virtually everywhere we look we're watching the decline of morality and ethics — in government, entertainment, and social culture. It seems hard to deny…
Yeshua (Jesus) knew the heart of every man and woman. As a totally pure and righteous human being, His experience of every other sin-filled person is really impossible for us to imagine. He knew that every repulsive thought, attitude and action of every person in the world would soon fall on Him, and that He would carry them…away. And so Yeshua did not come with a spirit of condemnation — but with a spirit of grace and truth.
When David was a fugitive from Saul, the men who followed him recognized his rightful place as King of Israel, and they developed a deep loyalty to him, this little band. As we read yesterday, these men were transformed from distress, debt, and discontentment [1 Sam. 22:1-2] into becoming mighty men of war. Having joined David, they quickly realized that they were joining a conflict.
"Some time ago, an advertisement appeared in which the devil was putting all his tools up for sale. On the day of public inspection, each one of his tools was marked with its selling price: Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Doubt, Lying, Pride, and so on, were each on the block. Set apart, however, from all the rest of the pile, was a harmless-looking tool, well-worn, but priced very high — it was discouragement!"
In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king." "I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you." "Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient."