Overcoming discouragement

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

How do you remind yourself of God’s leading in the past?

Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: …I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him to the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendents through his son Isaac.… Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people.… With your very own eyes you saw what I did.… Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land.… When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you. There were also many others who fought you. … It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. I gave you land you had not worked for, and I gave you cities you did not build—the cities in which you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.

Joshua 24:2-13

Joshua’s story of hope

Joshua reminded a discouraged people of all the times God had provided for them and demonstrated his goodness. Reviewing past blessings can encourage us to continue to serve God faithfully. Keep records—through a journal or a scrapbook—of the love God has shown for you. When you need encouragement, review what God has already done, revisiting the mementos of his work in your life. And read the Bible in order to refresh your knowledge of the many blessings God has given his people throughout history.

adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 208

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Have you seen leaders unable to overcome “drag coefficient”?

Have you seen leaders unable to overcome “drag coefficient”?

Return unto the Lord thy God

O God, have mercy on me. The enemy troops press in on me. My foes attack me all day long. My slanderers hound me constantly, and many are boldly attacking me.

Psalm 56:1-2 NLT

Without wise leadership, a nation fails; with many counselors, there is safety.

Proverbs 11:14 NLT

The drag on leadership

Leaders have grand vision, and great visions are reached overnight.… Leadership by nature pushes against a high drag coefficient. Drag is the resistance air gives to the body of airplanes or automobiles as they move through air.… The drag on leadership is so great that it threatens to bring leaders to a grinding halt unless they have an extraordinary level of God-inspired perseverance.

Leadership is more about perseverance than about speed. Psalm 132:1 says, “Lord, remember David and all that he suffered.” David was one of the greatest — and most successful — leaders in Israel’s history, yet his life was marked by continual, extreme hardship.

For example, after the prophet Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel, King Saul repeatedly attempted to kill David. David had to wander in the desert and in foreign lands for years as a fugitive with several hundred outcasts. David was the anointed leader of Israel, but he endured a lifetime of hardships as Israel’s shepherd.

So don’t be surprised by the drag coefficient of leadership. With God’s help, you can endure it and overcome.
CRAIG BRIAN LARSON

adapted from Leadership Devotions compiled by the editors of Christianity Today International, Tyndale House Publishers (2001), pp 170-71


Being a general calls for different talents from being a soldier.
TITUS LIVY

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


 

Staying pure

Staying pure

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find you — don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Psalm 119:9-11 NLT

Piling on

In the game of football it’s called “piling on”: You’re already down when suddenly you get pummeled again by your opponent. In real life it’s called spiritual warfare, and it’s often disguised. You’re suffering through a hard time when suddenly the enemy comes at you with what actually looks like relief.

Ah, how vulnerable we are in such moments! After all I’ve had to endure lately, I think I deserve a little break! How easy it is to rationalize! Would it really be so wrong for me to ________? Why not?

Of course, this is the nature of temptation. On the front end, sin looks “heavenly.” On the back side, it is always hellish and makes bad situations worse.

Our only hope is in living out the promise that God’s Word can keep us from sin. By filling our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s Word, we are able to recognize the enemy’s lies. That is how we stay pure in hard, tempting times (see Matthew 4:1-11). It is how we avoid Satan’s deceptive attempts to hit us again when we’re down.

Praying God’s Promise:
God, when I hide your Word in my heart, I can keep from sinning! Grant me the wisdom to seek you and to hide your Word in my heart. I need discernment to apply your truth to everyday situations, especially when I am going through difficult times.

from Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 170-71

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Peace in Relationships

Peace in Relationships

“Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must take allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace.”

Colossians 3:12-15 NLT

Attaining peace

[Jon Farrar addresses marriages, but his comments apply to other relationships as well.] Maintaining peace in any relationship is very difficult. Each one of us is a unique individual who interprets and views things differently. Whether in relationships in the church, among family and friends, or in our marriages, conflict is natural. When conflict comes, we need to follow Christ’s example by showing love and forgiveness in difficult situations. God loved us when we were still sinners in rebellion against him (Romans 5:9). We need to show that same type of love to others by being kind, merciful, and patient.

Do you long for peace in your marriage? Ask Jesus to point out times when you have not been forgiving, areas where you need to be patient, and ways you can express genuine love to each other. That is how we have peace in our marriages — when we look for ways to love and forgive each other.

from Praying God’s Promises for My Marriage by Jon Farrar (Tyndale) pp 42-43

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

What is the best time to pray?

Our prayers bring us into God’s presence

What is the best time to pray?

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15

I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2

Seize any time

And talking of sleepiness, I entirely agree with you that no one in his senses, if he has any power of ordering his own day, would reserve his chief prayers for bedtime—obviously the worst possible hour for any action which needs concentration. The trouble is that thousands of unfortunate people can hardly find any other. Even for us, who are the lucky ones, it is not always easy. My own plan, when hard-pressed, is to seize any time and place, however unsuitable, in preference to the last waking moment. On a day of travelling—with, perhaps, some ghastly meeting at the end of it—I’d rather pray sitting in a crowded train than put it off till midnight when one reaches a hotel bedroom with aching head and dry throat and one’s mind partly in a stupor and partly in a whirl. On other, and slightly less crowded, days a bench in a park or a back street where one can pace up and down will do.

C. S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm
Quoted in The Quotable Lewis edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Tyndale House) p 493)

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Whosoever cometh unto him

Morning

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.”
Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment–it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare;

You can’t come too filthy–come just as you are.

Evening

My Heart’s Desire

“I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go.”
Song of Solomon 3:4

Does Christ receive us when we come to him, notwithstanding all our past sinfulness? Does he never chide us for having tried all other refuges first? And is there none on earth like him? Is he the best of all the good, the fairest of all the fair? Oh, then let us praise him! Daughters of Jerusalem, extol him with timbrel and harp! Down with your idols, up with the Lord Jesus. Now let the standards of pomp and pride be trampled under foot, but let the cross of Jesus, which the world frowns and scoffs at, be lifted on high. O for a throne of ivory for our King Solomon! Let him be set on high forever, and let my soul sit at his footstool, and kiss his feet, and wash them with my tears. Oh, how precious is Christ! How can it be that I have thought so little of him? How is it I can go abroad for joy or comfort when he is so full, so rich, so satisfying. Fellow believer, make a covenant with thine heart that thou wilt never depart from him, and ask thy Lord to ratify it. Bid him set thee as a signet upon his finger, and as a bracelet upon his arm. Ask him to bind thee about him, as the bride decketh herself with ornaments, and as the bridegroom putteth on his jewels. I would live in Christ’s heart; in the clefts of that rock my soul would eternally abide. The sparrow hath made a house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God; and so too would I make my nest, my home, in thee, and never from thee may the soul of thy turtle dove go forth again, but may I nestle close to thee, O Jesus, my true and only rest.

“When my precious Lord I find,

All my ardent passions glow;

Him with cords of love I bind,

Hold and will not let him go.”

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