Don’t Be Discouraged

I thought I’d start bringing you along on my personal bible study, and share some of the gems that I find in God’s Word. I am not as consistent as I’d like to be, but am feeling especially convicted these days to be diligent and more disciplined in spending time with God. . When I am distracted and neglecting that time with Him is when I find myself most anxious and stressed. Neither of those things is good! I know that there are numerous bible reading plans out there, and many many many prepared Bible studies. I have done some great ones. But right now I am not following anyone else’s plan, and just decided to start with reading through Psalms, plus a book from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

There are many methods for studying the bible, and I find that the method taught by Ann Graham Lotz works great for me. Choose a short passage and read through it at least twice. Then ask “What does God’s Word say?”, and write a list of the facts from that passage. Then ask “What does this mean?” and look for the lesson in the list of facts. Is there a command, a promise, a warning, an example or principle to follow in this passage? When you find the lesson, apply it to your own life. “What does God’s Word here mean to me in my life?” And finally, “What is my takeaway?”. I keep a notebook and I write down the date, the Bible reference, the list of facts, and my takeaway.

So today, I started reading through the book of Psalms again, and this time I am starting at the end with Psalm 150, which is a song of praise!

For no really good reason, I decided to start reading through the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, and James in the New Testament. And was in for a surprise.

Joshua 1:1-9

  • Moses has died and now the Lord is speaking to Joshua, Moses’s aide
  • God tells him to get the people ready to cross the Jordan River and enter the land which God is giving to them
  • God says he will give them every place where they set their foot
  • Their land will be vast, from the desert in the south all the way up to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Great Sea in the west
  • No one will be able to stand against him as long as he lives, and God will always be with him and never leave him
  • God commands Joshua to be strong & courageous because he will lead his people into the promised land
  • Again, he is to be very strong & courageous, and careful to follow the law given by Moses, so that he will be successful
  • He is to always keep the law in his mind so that he will follow it and be successful
  • Again God commands Joshua to be strong & courageous, and not to be afraid or discouraged. for God will always be with him.

*Commands: Be strong & courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged! Know and obey God’s word!

*Promise: God is always with me and will never leave me

James 1:1-8

  • Consider it joy when you face trials (when, not if)
  • because trials are a testing of face, and that develops perseverance and leads to maturity
  • Ask God for wisdom and he will give it generously
  • When you ask, believe and do not doubt – doubts are like waves in the sea that toss you about
  • Doubters are not stable or secure in their faith, and won’t expect answers to their prayers

*Exhortation: Count it all joy!

*Warning : guard my mind against doubt (lack of faith). which leads to discouragement and bitterness (Be strong & courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for God is with you!)

*Principle: embrace trials as a chance to grow stronger and more mature in my faith

So if I am to guard my mind against lack of faith, where do I find faith?

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the world of God.

So our faith is built in us by GOD as we hear, understand, and trust in his word.

We are exhorted to look at trials as a positive thing – count it all joy – NOT because we are supposed to always be happy, but because those trials reveal our need for God. We can use the opportunity to grow and mature IF we receive trials with an attitude of humility and trust instead of grumbling or fear.

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