It is horrible when you
wake up and find that you feel as lively as fireworks in a monsoon, with
little or no energy and your enthusiasm has fled and discouragement has set
in. I wondered as I started to write this how many of you were also
discouraged, possibly because you hadn't managed to keep your New Year
resolutions. After all it has been less than a fortnight since the turn of the
I did not make any as I have learned from my past failings. For me it is as
difficult to keep resolutions as trying to keep the tide from coming in. I
have to say with Paul that "when I would do good, evil is present with me and
the good that I would, I do not."
That just about sums it up for me. Of myself, I can do nothing, and as far as
I can make out resolutions and promises rely on 'me' - and 'me' always fails!!
I am not sure why I am feeling as low as I am, perhaps it is just the time of
year, or perhaps it has been the lack of proper sleep and rest. Whatever it
is, I do not like being like this. I want to be alive in my soul and I want a
closer walk with my God.
They say that 'feelings' don't matter because the Christian walks by faith! It
is true that we walk by faith but what sort of people would we be if we
disregarded our feelings? We would be no better than robots. No, sorry mate, I
need my 'feelings' and I never go anywhere without them! I don't always have
to 'feel' good as long as I 'feel' near my Lord.
I hate the thought of walking at a distance from my Saviour. I know that if
and when I do then I am at my most vulnerable, and I cannot afford to be in
such a condition.
I need His presence and strength and His help every second of every day, for
otherwise I will fall, backslide, or call it what you will, but I do not want
to go there!!
This morning however I felt 'flat! Just as if I were lying flat on my face on
the ground without the ability or the zeal to raise my head. I even had to
'force' myself to pick up my Bible.
I'm glad that I did, though, as I found someone else in that same position -
Joshua!! It never ceases to amaze me the number of times that I pick up His
Word and my life is written on the pages before my very eyes.
I read about the Israelites being chased and embarrassed by their enemies at
Ai. Then I read of Joshua's questioning the Lord. Something had gone wrong,
but what! Something was wrong in my life, too, but what?
'The accursed thing' was in the midst of the camp. Achan had been tempted to
take some of the spoils from the victory at Jericho - against the orders given
by Joshua - and had hidden the goods under the earth in his tent. This simple
act had left the Israelites defeated and shamed.
But God said, 'Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?' 'There
isn't anything to be gained by lying down and feeling sorry for yourself,
Joshua! Get up and do something about it! Time to sort this mess out and time
to get back on the rails once more.'
I can repeat the paragraph that I have just written and replace Joshua's name
with my own. Something is wrong, something has been hiding away in my heart
that is causing a disturbance! Something that is covered in dirt has caused
offense to God, leaving me to walk at a distance from Him.
Actually, there may be many such 'things' that I could name this morning that
are not right in my life, but without doubt the one that springs to my mind is
PRIDE!! Pride seems to invade my soul unheeded and unseen! It is like a
computer virus, it infects and does the damage before I can spot it! With
computer viruses I can point the finger of blame at someone else for infecting
my machine, but not pride. No, that is all down to me!
So how does it happen?
Perhaps after a victory like Jericho! More often than not, it is after I have
done something in God's name, have felt good about it and may even have been
praised for it by others.
It happens to me when my guard is down. It may be only for a day or two when
things seem to be going well. My study is not as it should be, my prayers are
not as fervent, and I take the Lord and His goodness for granted. This sounds
ugly (and believe me it is), but it is also the truth.
Why then should I write
about such a thing? The one great reason lies in the prayerful hope that the
reader would not fall into the same trap. Satan would have us all 'feeling
flat' and 'feeling sorry for ourselves,' but God would have us rise and do
Confession is made, and Achan is put to death. I have confessed my sin unto
the Lord, and my pride must be put to death. I would love to be able to say
that it shall never rear it's ugly head in me again, but that would be
presumption and folly on my part. I will deal with today, since it is all I
can deal with.
I rise at the bidding of my Lord, and my spirits are revived. Forgiveness is
accepted with great joy, and zeal returns. I review what I have learned and
make preparation for protective cover. I do not wish to be infected with the
likes of that pride again.
Only the Lord can change the 'valley of trouble' (Achor, where Achan was
stoned) into the 'valley of hope.' He has done so for me this morning and I am
now ready to follow Him and face my enemies. He provides the victory today.
Now I'm ready to say,
'O why art thou cast down my soul?
Why in me so dismayed?
Trust God, for I shall praise him yet,
His countenance is mine aid.'
Iain Mackenzie Edited by: Pastor Al Moak