Stepping Stones to Victory
Words from Jesus
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For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.—Philippians 2:131
A work in progress
Everyone is a work in progress. Some of the nicest highways that in the end make your paths easy create some of the biggest messes, inconveniences, detours, and frustrations, often for years, while under construction or repair. But when it’s done, you realize it was worth it. What nearly drove you crazy for a while became an avenue to get you places more quickly and efficiently than before. So have patience with My human works in progress.
If you’re tempted to fume over the flaws in others that hurt and frustrate you, think what a failure you’d look like standing next to them if they were perfect. Faults and failings in others aren’t the sad things in life. What is truly sad is to have such myopic vision as to see only faults, when I have placed before you opportunities for growth and learning through patience, forgiveness, faith, and love.
Without grains of gritty, irritating sand, there would be no pearls of great price. The next time you feel those gritty faults and failings of others rubbing you the wrong way, rejoice for the pearls they will eventually become in your own life, as you coat those irritations with truth, love, forgiveness, and faith.
Dealing with failure
It’s not the failing that counts, but what you do with it. No one has ever made a discovery, won a victory, or had a breakthrough without first experiencing some failures, yet refusing to let those failures defeat them.
Failure does not equal defeat; they are two separate things. Failure is a part of every life; everyone fails at times. Defeat is when you don’t rebound, but instead allow failure to turn what could be a successful life into a wasted one through self-pity and fear of the opinions of men.
Failing is often My way of helping you to zero in on My highest and best. As your own programs crumble into dust, I’m right there with a new blueprint for something much better.
You can fail many times—in different things—and you will. But you’re not a failure as long as you keep getting up and trying again. One good thing about failure is that you appreciate the victory all the more.
Often the paths to progress and great accomplishment have many small falls and errors and trials and tests, but those who persevere and don’t give up no matter what will see the fruit of their labor. And even though it seems at times that your path is made up mostly of failing and missing the mark, it will always be a step forward to the victory, if you keep going by faith.
Look at the many inventors of past and modern times; they often had to struggle for years with what seemed like defeat and lack of success. But because they persevered and didn’t give up, even when the going was tough, they made their discovery or designed their invention and changed the world.
I know that at times what I ask of you looks difficult. All around you it seems like darkness, and you can barely see where to place your foot for the next step ahead. But, My dear one, do not fear or despair. Even if all around you seems dark, just reach out for My hand and let Me guide you and walk with you through this time, and soon you and I will be out of the tunnel and back in the light of a new world. You may not see, but I see very well, and I will guide you slowly and surely along the path ahead if you trust Me and let Me direct you.
Are you going through tough times? Know that I will use each and every obstacle and “setback” as a stepping stone for good, and you will grow closer to Me if you do not give up.
Precious gems shine more vividly when placed against a black background. The jewels of wisdom, faithfulness, unshakable faith, and the ability to stay positive in difficult times shine more brightly as a result of troubles and problems, and become a witness to many.
Sometimes you can’t immediately see the good that comes as a result of difficulty or suffering. It takes time before the good appears, because it is like a seed under the ground. You have to wait and watch before you see shoots appear aboveground—the fruit of the seed. A tree takes longer to sprout than a blade of grass, but it’s worth the wait.
Are you feeling a little down and discouraged? Let Me put a song in your heart, a spring in your step‚ and joy in all that you do. My joy is your reward.
When you start feeling a little down and discouraged, look up to Me. I am always there to encourage and to lift you up. Just ask, and I will bring freshness and joy to your soul. Any time you want to chat and talk to Me, I’ll be right there. I am a very present help in times of trouble.2
“As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”3 That’s a promise. When times are busy in your life and it seems that the heat of battle that you face is nonstop, you just have to keep holding on to My promises, even if you can only hold on.
Sometimes you have to break the day down into hours or moments, and just look at that moment or hour to get through it. Don’t look at the rest of the day. Just give it your all, moment by moment, and pretty soon you will see that the day is over and you’ve made it through. You had the strength to endure.
I will continue to lead and guide you step by step and moment by moment. Any obstacle you may encounter will be overcome with My help and My solutions. As I said, “Call upon Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”4
Originally published November 2006. Adapted and republished April 2017. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky. Music by John Listen.