Pastor's Devotional

ARE YOU DEPRESSED AND DISCOURAGED?

Shortly before Moses' passing he spoke these words to his successor, Joshua:...“Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8). Joshua faced a daunting challenge...Subdue the seven hostile nations in Canaan, divide the land according among the 12 tribes of Israel, set up the Tabernacle for worship and somehow bring order to his people. He most certainly was "stressed out." Moses needed to give his something to prevent him from slipping into discouragement and depression, because when that happens we make dangerous mistakes and we ultimately fail.

There are two key points that Moses drives home to Joshua: 1. Don't be afraid. Fear is most deadly, most destructive in times of crisis. A very good friend of mine who served four tours in Vietnam as a marine, once told me something that really made me think...He said "In a fire-fight you don't have time to be afraid, you're too busy!" However, he continued, after the fight you are afraid! Yes, fear is a normal reaction. However, if you fear at the wrong time the consequences can be disastrous. Are you afraid of something that you are facing? Do not fear. The Lord is with. He will comfort and guide you. He will sustain you in the midst of the storm.

[1] Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [2] I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.” [3] Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. [4] He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. [5] You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, [6] nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. [7] A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. (Psalm 91:1-7)

Moses also tells Joshua: Don't be discouraged. Discouragement is a gradual loss of confidence and enthusiasm. If Joshua gave up the first time something went wrong (loss of the battle of Ai) he would never have went on to subdue the land and the history of God's people would have turned out very differently. If you quit, if you give up, if you exit the battle you will never know the great victory that lies just ahead. Fight discouragement and take a stand that says, "I will not quit, I will not relent, I will fulfill all the Lord God has for me."

[5] You, Lord, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands. [6] How wonderful are your gifts to me; how good they are! [7] I praise the Lord, because he guides me, and in the night my conscience warns me. [8] I am always aware of the Lord's presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me. (Psalm 16:5-8)

Stand tall and strong and fight with all your might...in the end you win!

Pastor John



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