Are you discouraged?

Written by David Ben-Ariel

Are you discouraged? Feeling down and out? Wondering why you should even bother trying to liverepparttar Christian life anymore, especially since you seem such a failure? Who hasn't felt worthless at times? Who hasn't grown impatient with themselves and felt sick over their lack of spiritual progress? (Lk. 8:15). YOU'RE NOT ALONE! We all go through those valleys ofrepparttar 148645 shadow of death. But take courage:repparttar 148646 way must lead up again soon! "Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who isrepparttar 148647 health of my countenance, and my God" (Ps. 42:11).

Who would encourage you to quit? Would Christ want you to give up? The one who DIED for you? Would God pressure you to surrender? Too many have never realized what a vicious beast and enemy we must face! Even those who haven't rejectedrepparttar 148648 devil as a superstition haven't grasped how dangerous he really is to our health and well-being. God picks uprepparttar 148649 pieces of lives that have been savagely torn and ripped apart and left for dead by sin (Isa. 49:24-25; Amos 3:12).

Satan's foaming atrepparttar 148650 mouth against our incredible human potential and wants to take us out like a sniper - one at a time. He hates all mankind with a jealous rage (because we're created afterrepparttar 148651 Godkind), but he's especially targetedrepparttar 148652 brethren (1 Pet. 5:8-11). The Devil can take some things that are true about you and twist them, taking them out of context, and blow them all out of proportion to DESTROY your will to survive! He never stops bad-mouthing us because he's a MURDEROUS CHARACTER ASSASSIN AND LIAR! (Jn. 8:44; Rev. 12:10) But don't letrepparttar 148653 powers of darkness overcome your will to live inrepparttar 148654 light! Don't accept Satan's depressed mind! Don't fall prey to his hopeless attitude of defeat! He has no right to condemn (Rom. 8:1,33).

King David would get discouraged, but he'd end his prayers on a positive note, showingrepparttar 148655 healing effect of God's Spirit upon our minds while we're engaged in HEARTFELT PRAYER. "I had fainted, unless I had BELIEVED to seerepparttar 148656 goodness ofrepparttar 148657 LORD inrepparttar 148658 land ofrepparttar 148659 living. Wait onrepparttar 148660 LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, onrepparttar 148661 LORD" (Ps. 27:13-14). David believed in God's goodness, hoped in His mercy, and waited for His sufficient grace - whether grace to pardon or empower (2 Cor. 12:9).

God will give us grace to bear up under life's many burdens (Heb. 4:16). His Holy Spirit enables us to be graceful - full of grace - even in adverse circumstances. We LIVE AND LEARN through a variety of situations to be gracious in word and deed, attitude and action. David knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that: "The LORD will give strength to His people:repparttar 148662 LORD will bless His people with strength" (Ps. 29:11). So "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope inrepparttar 148663 LORD"(Ps. 31:24).

Even if you've gotten carried away, your sins have taken you far from God, and Satan holds you captive ( 2 Tim. 2:26; I Cor. 5:5), remember God and He'll remember you! Not that He's ever forgotten you: "But Zion said, The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion onrepparttar 148664 son of her womb? yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. Behold, I've graven you uponrepparttar 148665 palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me" (Isa. 49:14-16). God's love for us goes far beyond our love for Him. He proved this when Jesus' palms had stakes driven through them (Zech. 13:6).

Some have been foolishly deceived by sin and have become carelessly entangled again - trapped in a danger zone - but as long as they don't give up they CAN overcome what has presently overcome them! (Heb. 3:13; 2 Pet. 2:20). It's only those who've completely turned their backs on God, who refuse to get back up when knocked down inrepparttar 148666 ring, that will forfeit victory.

"And yet for all this (in spite of ourselves), when they be inrepparttar 148667 land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I amrepparttar 148668 LORD their God" (Lev. 26:44). God promises to release, regather and restore. He'll free us from those sins that have cruelly held our time and attention, regather our spiritual senses (since Satan's psychological warfare had left us a basket-case and scatter-brained [Lk. 22:31-32; Deut. 28:66-67]), and restore us to sanity and a right relationship with Him (where we belong), even "If any of thine be driven out untorepparttar 148669 outmost parts of heaven, from thence willrepparttar 148670 LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee"(Deut. 30:3-4). No matter how far you've strayed, God hasn't lost sight of you. "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?" (Ps. 139:7).

If you begin to cry out to God for help, even if it's only a whimper because you're so weak, He'll see and hear and respond. "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit... none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate" (Ps. 34:18,22). "For I will not contend forever, neither will I always be wroth: forrepparttar 148671 spirit should fail before me, andrepparttar 148672 souls which I have made... I have seen his ways and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners" (Isa. 57:15-18).

God sees what trouble we've gotten into and where our relapse into sin has dangerously misled and stranded us, bringing us almost torepparttar 148673 point of no return, but NOTHING can separate you from God's love unless you let it! (Rom 8:35-39). As long as there's a spark of God's Spirit, God can renew our minds and transform our lives! (Ps. 51:10). God will finish what He's started in our lives (Philip. 1:6; Isa. 66:9). Never forget that we worship a MIRACLE-WORKING GOD!

Onward Christian Soldiers!

Written by David Ben-Ariel

Why did ancient Israel have an army? Was it because they didn't have faith? Did they believe in themselves instead of trusting God? Did they insist on fighting their own battles, rather than let God wage war for them?

Why did God fight for Israel in Egypt? Did they exercise faith then? Did they somehow lose their confidence inrepparttar wilderness, after having seen God's mighty miracles? Does that make sense? They'd heard what God was going to do to Egypt fromrepparttar 148644 onset, and they saw with their own eyes what God did through 10 consecutive plagues. After defeatingrepparttar 148645 world's only superpower, had God spent His energy?

God took onrepparttar 148646 gods of Egypt single-handedly. He didn't want Israel's participation lest their deliverance be misconstrued as a successful slave revolt. He took a slave people to become His Servant-Nation. Israel had only changed masters.

When God led Israel out of Egypt by Moses, He purposely told Moses to bypassrepparttar 148647 hot spots where Israel would encounter hostile forces, lest they opt forrepparttar 148648 "security" of Egypt (Ex. 13:17). They went out of their way to avoid war! It doesn't sound like they were eager to do battle when you readrepparttar 148649 accounts of their griping and complaining to Moses (Ex. 14:10-12).

Moses, full of faith, encouragedrepparttar 148650 congregation to believe God. The first time Israel engaged in battle was at Moses' command! He instructed Joshua (also faithful) to assemble a fighting force and defeatrepparttar 148651 pesky Amalekites (Ex. 17:8-16).

God had foughtrepparttar 148652 first few rounds against Israel's enemies, showing Israel He would destroy their foes. Now God would fight in and through and for Israel! Moses' uplifted hands of blessing and authority insured Israel's military success. It was evident to all where their true strength came from (Ps. 33:16). Israel was only a fighting instrument in God's Hands (Isa. 41:15, Micah 4:13).

Many people understandrepparttar 148653 commandment against killing should be translated "murder." God commands His ministers of state to execute judgment and utilize capital punishment for various offenses (Rom. 13:4). We're told to remember Moses' law and obey it (Malachi 4:4). God has authorizedrepparttar 148654 State to act withinrepparttar 148655 guidelines of His Law Book.

Israel wasn't anxious to enter Canaan - they were afraid! Moses admitted they were outnumbered and outgunned byrepparttar 148656 Canaanites, but reassured Israel that GOD would be with them and grant them supernatural victory (Deut. 7:1-2, 16-24). Whenrepparttar 148657 spies brought their report to Moses about Canaan's men and might, they wanted to run with their tails tucked between their legs (Numbers 13:31). Only Joshua and Caleb put things in perspective and encouragedrepparttar 148658 people to trust in God (Numbers 14:9). Israel didn't have any faith in their own ability or God's!

What many have failed to realize is ancient Israel wasn't going to enterrepparttar 148659 Promised Land by faith alone; it was going to require faith and works! God wasn't going to do allrepparttar 148660 work for them. Israel had to actively claim their inheritance. Don't we also?

Israel lacked faith that GOD could work miracles through them! They knew God could take on their enemies, but they doubted He could work through them. They concentrated on their weakness rather than on God's strength. God expected Israel to fight His battles and He would guarantee their success. Israel took one city at a time, slowly but surely making progress, subduingrepparttar 148661 land and defeating their foes, and yet giving God allrepparttar 148662 credit - like our process of conversion (Ps. 44:1-8).

Even David, a man after God's own heart, fought numerous battles for God and His people, but considered Godrepparttar 148663 Victor. David would ask God whether he should attack at this time or place, and what to do, when and how, and God answered him (1 Chron. 14:10).

Did Abraham,repparttar 148664 father ofrepparttar 148665 faithful, sin by waging war against those who had kidnapped his relatives (Gen. 14)? Melchizedek blessed him, He didn't rebuke him! Levi and sons, following Moses' call to arms (at God's command), went through Israel's camp and slaughtered those who'd sinned withrepparttar 148666 golden calf (Ex. 32:28). Did they lack faith? No! They were acting faithfully! They put God before family and friends. Couldn't God have just sent a plague? Yes. But He worked through men.

Since God works through men, why didn't Jesus let Peter defend Him? 1) Because prophecy had to be fulfilled and 2) because God's Kingdom wasn't established yet - otherwise Jesus said His servants should fight! This example teaches us that loyal citizens ought to be willing to fight and defend their king and country!

Presently we have a "dual citizenship." Paul didn't deny that he was a Roman citizen or hesitate to exercise his civil rights (Acts 16:37, 22:25, 25:11). He didn't just turnrepparttar 148667 other cheek when he was about to be scourged! There's a time and a place to wage war or declare peace (Ecc. 3:8); to suffer persecution and death, or to run for your life ( Mat. 24:16, John 8:59)!

Spiritually speaking, we should all understand we're only mortal, taking up temporary residence on earth, and therefore be mindful of eternity and live accordingly, waiting for our eternal inheritance in God's Kingdom (2 Cor. 5:1, Ps. 39:12, 2 Pet. 3:11).

But what about "spiritual fornication?" If we exercise our right to vote and get involved in politics, isn't that defiling ourselves with this world's system? Only if and when it contradictsrepparttar 148668 commandments of God. We should never disobey God to follow men (Acts 5:29). We're in this world and do take an active part in its system of government and education everytime we go to work and pay taxes or send our kids to school or college! We're only to avoid those aspects of this world's system that are Biblically wrong (1 Jn. 2:16).

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