Deuteronomy 31:8 - "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."

These are the words of Moses to Joshua as he transferred the leadership of the Nation of Israelites from himself to Joshua. Moses knew that fear and discouragement were feelings that Joshua would have, so Moses stated a fundamental truth of following God - "The LORD himself goes before you and will be wit you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." It was a statement that basically said you are going to have feelings that contradict truth but here is the truth that you must never forget.

I was brought to this verse when a close friend who is battling some severe health issues was discouraged and feeling like God was not hearing all the prayers that were being prayed for healing, strength, and contentment in the midst of physical pain. Unfortunately I didn't have any words that would bring physical healing and relief, but I did state the truth of this verse and emphasize that the FEELING of God's absence is often different than the FACT that He is always present. And when we begin to FEEL like He is not present, we get discouraged and afraid that things aren't going to work out. We must focus on the FACT of His presence not the FEELING we might be having.

As I was thinking about this verse and how it was so real to my friend's situation, it dawned on me that it is also so real in my journey of pursuing a healthier life and I need to apply the words I spoke to my friend to my own life. You see, pursuing a healthier life for me brings days and times of discouragement and fear that it's not working and just won't work for me. It works for others, but not me - or so I feel at times. I lose two pounds but gain them back. Or lose two and gain one or even lose two and gain three. Or I eat something that I know I shouldn't be eating (but it tastes SO good!) - and as I'm eating or after I've eaten, I get discouraged feeling like I will never conquer the steps leading to a healthier life.

I have to remember that God is always with me - even in my discouragement and THAT defeats discouragement. I mean, can a person be FEELING discouragement while focusing on the FACT that God is always present? Hmmm...I'm thinking no. As I journey and pursue a healthier life, I have to anchor that journey on the FACT that God will never leave me rather than the FEELINGS of discouragement which will pop up. And one of the key ways to do that is to daily be reading God's Word - to put more of His words and thoughts into my brain and life than the words and thoughts of myself or others.

"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."

God IS with me and I CAN do this!

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