This devotional from Joni Eackson Tada is very relevant for me today.
You will also by blessed .
The Shiny, Sharp Tool
But Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered,
'You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it
for the Lord, the God of Israel...' Then the peoples around them set out to discourage
the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. They hired counselors
to work against them and frustrate their plans... --Ezra 4:3-5
Dorothy Williams was a British missionary who served in West Africa during the 1930's
She was a nurse from Wales and spent her time on the mission field training African
nurses. This amazed her mission board back home - Dorothy was very frail; they didn't
expect her to last but a year or two working in Africa! But with God's help, she
refused to be discouraged by her limitations. This inspired the young African nurses
under her charge who were often disheartened by their own poverty and lack of resources.
One day a young nurse was carrying a tray of surgical instruments, and Dorothy noticed
a sad look in her student's eyes. "Oh, Mum, I am feeling much afraid today," to
which Dorothy replied, "Dearie, look at these shiny instruments on your tray." The
British missionary picked up the pointiest one, then added, "The devil has a tray
of instruments, too, and the shiniest and sharpest is his tool of discouragement
- it's sharp because he uses it so often." The student nurse smiled, blushed, and
then went on her way with fresh resolve.
Ezra 4:4 describes the devil's strategy against God's people. It is "to discourage
the people... and make them afraid... to work against them and frustrate their plans."
Do not be fearful, for the Bible repeats 112 times, "Do not be afraid." And Dorothy
would add, "Don't be discouraged." You have your own shiny, sharp tool: the Word
of God (Hebrews 4:12). Keep it sharp and use it often against your adversary!
God of all encouragement, thank you that I never have a reason to be afraid!