What is the difference between people who thrive and people who decline over a long period of time? 

It is not that they do not get knocked down; it is that they bounce back up. Every successful person I can think of has had to come back from discouraging circumstances. That is true of people I know personally and those I read about in the Bible. As a matter of fact, many Bible characters are comeback stories.

Joseph endured mistreatment from a dysfunctional family. There is probably not anyone who does not have some relative the others try not to sit next to at Christmas dinner.

David bounced back from several devastating failures in his morals, leadership, and career.

Elijah suffered personal criticism.

Nehemiah was discouraged by harsh political, legal, and social circumstances. 

John Mark was rejected by a respected Christian leader. Some people today feel marked for life with one negative comment from an authority figure.

Peter was disappointed with his inability to withstand pressure. My number one source of discouragement is, unfortunately, myself.

Jesus was let down by friends, relatives, and religious leaders. At His hour of greatest need, He took three guys and said, “I need your support.” When He came back, they were asleep.

—Adapted from Ray Johnston

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. – Romans 12:12
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