In Joshua 1:9, we are commanded to be courageous because God is always with us.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Yet it is the easiest thing in the world to fall into discouragement when we are facing what seem to be overwhelming obstacles.  It is so easy to do just what Peter did, in Matthew 14, taking His eyes off Jesus and looking at the waves he was walking on, thus causing him to sink into the waves.   Peter forgot that his faith and trust in Jesus was giving him the power to do the impossible and instead diverted his attention from Jesus to the waves, the impossible situation that he was in.  For us, when we take our eyes off Jesus and allow ourselves to dwell on and worry about the problems that confront us and forget that we serve a powerful God that has promised to be with us, we can so easily sink into the waves of despair and discouragement, allowing the storm to have the power rather than looking to God for our power, courage, and strength and not worrying about the size of the problems or worrying about their outcome.

This is not to say that we should not confront our problems.  We do still have to confront the storms or walk on the waves, but we should remember in all circumstances that it is not all up to us.  We are not conquering all these things under our own power.  The world is not resting on our shoulders like atlas.  We should work as if it is all up to us, giving our very best effort in all things, but we should remind ourselves that God is with us, and God is in control, and that the results are up to Him.  We should remember that all things rest on Him rather than us, and that He is in control of all the difficulties in front of us, simply allowing enough of them through to develop our courage, strength, wisdom, and our faith.  And He also allows these things through in order to keep us coming back to Him on a regular basis, daily, in prayer and meditation on His word, because He knows that, if he did not allow problems through, we would tend toward laziness, pride, and many of the worst of our character flaws from the pull of our flesh, the earthen vessel in which we remain until we go to meet him.  And we would forget about God. 

It would be nice if we had lives without difficulty, but we know from the stories of the Israelites in the Bible, that every time things were going great, they forgot God.  This is what too much success without troubles yields as the natural human tendency is to start assuming that, because you are blessed, that your blessings must have come from your own hand without anyone’s help.  The human tendency is to assume that, because we are successful, we must be great people and that we deserve all these things.   We forget that we are sinful people and that God’s blessings come in spite of our flaws.  And, unfortunately, in those moments when you stop believing that all good things come from Him, your heart starts lifting up in pride until you are so full of pride that you forget God completely.  I believe that is where our country is right now.  Just like the Israelites of ancient times, we have been blessed in this country with phenomenal wealth and success, but as the years of our successes mounted up, so also did our pride, and we have forgotten God just like the Israelites did.

I pray that God would open your eyes to all the blessings that are around you and that you would return gratitude to Him for all those things.  And I pray that you would have the courage and strength to look to Him for all things and not let your fears or worries or the deception of Satan make you focus on your problems, making you sink into the waves.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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