Every step you take

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Reflection of Joshua 1:8-9
“And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind.  Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it.  Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.  Haven’t I commanded you?  Strength!  Courage!  Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged.  God, your God, is with you every step of the way.” (The Message)

I’ve never been known to be timid.

If someone needs to go first or volunteer for something, I’ll do it.
If someone needs to be on the front row, I’m there.
There are times when I just like to lay low and soak things up, and I LOVE to people watch and just shrink back and observe the human race.  I’m really very good and being able to read people just by their facial expressions and their body language.  No, I’ve never been called timid.  In fact, I border on being obnoxious and inappropriate with my humor, usually saying…ahem, blurting…what everyone else in the room is thinking, but no one has the guts to say.  Most times, my filter takes a back seat to common sense and decency…one of my many flaws.

But discouragement?  Oh yeah.  I got that one.
Discouraged in myself, my desire to change things about me, my family, our finances, my kids, my thought life, my body, my…my…my.

*sigh*

I like to think that God thinks good thoughts on me, despite my shortcomings.  It’s good to know that He sings over me, even at the times that I can’t put my lips together to even whisper something nice about myself.  Is God ever disappointed in me?  Maybe.  Maybe not disappointment in me, but sadness.   He has so much more for me and because I don’t do what His word commands, “ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it.”  But instead of speaking of His goodness and mercy to someone, I’m saying something off color just for a laugh…

Oh, this prayer.  It gets me in the gut.  And to think it was written hundreds of years ago, shows the depth of desire in the hearts of people to know more of God.  The desire I long for even now.

Holy Lord,

I have sinned times without number,

  and been guilty of pride and unbelief,

             of failure to find thy mind in thy Word,

             of neglect to seek thee in my daily life.

My transgressions and short-comings

    present me with a list of accusations,

But I bless thee that they will not stand against me,

    for all have been laid on Christ;

Go on to subdue my corruptions,

    and grant me grace to live above them.

Let not the passions of the flesh nor the lustings of the mind

    bring my spirit into subjection,

    but do thou rule over me in liberty and power.

I thank thee that many of my prayers have been refused –

    I have asked amiss and do not have,

    I have prayed from lusts and have been rejected,

    I have longed for Egypt and have been given a wilderness.

Go on with thy patient work,

    answering ‘no’ to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it.

Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration,

    everything contrary to thy rule.

I thank thee for thy wisdom and thy love,

    for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject,

    for sometimes putting me into the furnace

      to refine my gold and remove my dross.

No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin.

If thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins,

    or to have them burnt away with trial,

    give me sanctified affliction.

Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins,

    everything that dims the brightness of thy grace in me,

    everything that prevents me taking delight in thee.

Then I shall bless thee, God of Jeshurun, for helping me to be upright.

from The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions, ©2001, The Banner of Truth Trust, p.77.

Imagine what God is doing with and for us.  If we’d actually take His counsel and promises, and DO IT!

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