Echoes From the Campfire

Every morning starts a new day…  You do wrong, and you’re thrown down hard.  If you are what you called yourself, a quitter, you don’t get up again; but if you are a man you make a new beginning.”
              –William MacLeod Raine  (Sons of the Saddle)

    “Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.”
              –2 Corinthians 4:16 (AMPC)
How do you see the world around you?  Do you see from the eyes of despair and disillusionment?  Do you look at it with pessimism and discontentment?  Or do look at your circumstances through the lens of Scripture?  I came across the following diary from Mary Bethell, dated January 1, 1862.  The horrendous Civil War was just beginning to show the tremendous loss of life that was to follow with the first major deadly battle at the First Bull Run.  Moving into 1862 things looked bleak.

         “A New Year and a New Covenant January 1, 1862 New Year’s day.  And I will live to see another year, I have had some trials last year, my two sons George and Willie left me for the war.  They joined the army for twelve months, but the Lord has been with them, and gave them excellent health and every comfort, while many poor soldiers have sickened and died, my sons have been spared to enjoy good health. . .the Lord has been very good to me the past year, I have had good health, and all my children and servants have had good health, and I have enjoyed myself at times, had some refreshing seasons for the Lord.  I will praise the Lord for his goodness to me and my family, I will now, on this new years day renew my covenant with God my Saviour.  I give myself to him, and pray that I may spend this year to his honor and glory, and that I may live to be useful and happy!”

    Do things rob you of your joy?  If so, then perhaps you are trying to gather strength from yourself or some other source.  Look at the words of Paul.

         “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
                   –Philippians 4:11-12(NIV)

Paul recognized that joy does not come from circumstances but from the Lord.  In fact, it is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  It is within; it just needs to be cultivated.  “True Christian joy does not come from outward circumstances, but from the peace and contentment we have in him.” (Tuley)  Our strength comes from Him.  From what side of life are you looking at your situations and circumstances?