Tag Archives: discouragement

Only Be Strong And Very Courageous…

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:7-9 – Scripture Of The Day (January 9, 2014)

If Dwight Eisenhower stood in Joshua’s shoes, he would have much reason to be afraid.  Cross a body of water that separates you from the enemy’s terrain by…asking men carrying a box of gold to start to walk into it so that it will turn into dry land?? (Josh. 3:1ff)  Attack a walled, fortified city and cause its walls to fall down by…marching around it while playing music and shouting?? (Josh. 6:1ff)  I wonder how long it would have taken FDR to show Eisenhower the door if he had proposed similar battle plans for D-Day.  No wonder the Bible says Joshua and Israel did these things “by faith” (Heb. 11:30).

Here’s the thing, friends.  God has not asked us to perform miracles today like he did back then…but he HAS told us to abide by his Word and not turn from it just as he did with Joshua (Matt. 7:21-27; John 8:31-32; 14:15, 21, 23-24; 15:10, 14; Rom. 6:17-18; Heb. 5:9; 1 John 3:24; 5:2-3).  Of themselves, his commandments are not hard (1 John 5:3).  It is not inherently hard to submit to immersion for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), to treat others as you would want to be treated (Matt. 7:12), to continually add to your faith the Christian attributes God would have you to possess (2 Pet. 1:5-11; Eph. 4:20-5:21), to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24), and to bring the gospel to a lost world (Mark 16:15).  However, what often makes them hard for us to accomplish as we should is fear and discouragement, the very things God told Joshua to avoid.  Even though what he has told us to do is in itself much easier than marching around a walled city expecting it to fall with a shout, how often do we find it hard to share the gospel because of the fear of persecution?  How often do we find it difficult let our light shine in the way in which God wants because of dismay and discouragement (assuming prideful, stubborn, selfishness is not also a factor)?

What we must remember is that the same God who promised to be with Joshua and give him success in his endeavors to obey his will is also with us and has given us that same promise (Matt. 6:25-34; 28:18-20; Heb. 13:5b-6; 1 John 4:4).  Not only that, but he has promised us continual forgiveness if we become Christians through penitent baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16) and then humbly confess and repent of our sins afterwards (1 John 1:7-9; Acts 8:22; 2 Cor. 7:9-11).  That means that we have an inheritance in eternal Heaven no matter what happens to us in this life!  (1 Pet. 1:3-7)  If we make our top priority being faithful citizens of his kingdom and being righteous in his sight (Matt. 6:33), he will supply for us what we truly need both in this life and in the next!  So let’s be strong and courageous…for God is with us as we stand for him!

Discouragement: Satan’s Greatest Weapon

Discouragement: It’s what keeps you sitting down instead of moving forward

I read a story once that says Satan once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay the price.  They were spread out on the table and each one was labeled – hatred, malice, envy, gossip, lust – all the weapons that everyone knows so well.  However, off to one side lay a harmless looking instrument labeled DISCOURAGEMENT.  It was old and worn looking but was priced far above the rest.  When Satan was asked why this was, he replied, “Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others.  No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are bolted tightly against the others.  Once I get inside, I can use any tool that suits me best.”

A few hours earlier when he was on a spiritual high, Peter thought he’d do anything for Jesus. But later when he was at his lowest point due to discouragement and fear, he wouldn’t do anything for Jesus.

I wonder what heroic and inspiring accounts were never written because Satan effectively used his tool of discouragement?  The Bible records many sad stories of people who lost heart and gave up.  When Moses sent the spies into the Promised Land, all but Caleb and Joshua came back with discouraging news.  The fearful saw the size and strength of their opponents rather than remembering the signs and strength of their God (Num. 13-14).  Elijah did great things for God which resulted in the conversion of thousands of Israelites (1 Kings 18:1-40; 19:18); yet, he had become so discouraged when Jezebel threatened his life that he deceived himself into thinking that he was the only servant of God left (1 Kings 19:1-18).  After Peter promised that he’d never leave Jesus’ side, he ran with the rest when the Lord was arrested, and a few minutes later become so afraid that he denied even knowing Christ (Matt. 26:31-75).  He did so because he was discouraged after seeing the apparent lost cause his Lord’s ways had become upon his arrest.

We become discouraged when we make the same mistake that these guys made and start paying more attention to the obstacles than the opportunities.  We become discouraged when we start believing Satan, “the father of lies” (John 8:44), instead of the Father “who cannot lie” (Tit. 1:2).  And what has the God who cannot lie promised us?  He has promised us that our work is not meaningless, so be steadfast and immovable (1 Cor. 15:58).  He has promised us that our trials and hardships make us stronger if we allow them (James 1:2-4; Rom. 5:3-5).  He has promised us that the hardships we endure seem painful right now, but they cause us to become more righteous later if we allow ourselves to be trained by them (Heb. 12:1-11).  Do we believe his promises?  Do we?  Our actions always prove how strong our faith really is (James 2:14-26).

Do you think Peter would have pictured himself doing this just fifty days ago when he was so discouraged and afraid that he wouldn’t even admit to anyone that he knew Jesus?

God can do great things with a heart that is his and a mind that believes it.  Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who refused to be discouraged, went on to do great things for God and his people for years afterward.  Elijah recovered from his discouragement and went on serving God, and as a result God brought him directly into heaven rather than allowing him to die.  Fifty days after a discouraged Peter denied Christ, he converted thousands of people through courageous, strong preaching.  All of these men faced what they thought were impossible situations.  They had seen no light at the end of the tunnel, no hope whatsoever…but it turns out that they were wrong.  Why?  Because they forgot that God was with them (Phil. 4:13).  Once they remembered that, look at the heights to which they climbed!

What heights can you reach with the help of God?  What can God do with you?  Does he have your heart and mind?  Or is the devil having his way with you?

“Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  Don’t allow Satan to discourage you, friends.  “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed” (Heb. 12:12-13).