Tag Archives: victory

2 Samuel 21-23; Psalm 18; Romans 3

I’m reading The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare with my youngest child. There is a scripture quoted in it repeatedly:

35 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. (2 Samuel 22:35, NLT)

I paused in my 66 Books reading today, because that scripture appeared in 2 Samuel and Psalm 18. I took a longer look at David’s men, described in 2 Samuel. Of his elite three, I noticed qualities of strength, loyalty, perseverance, and courage.

Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!

11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. (2 Samuel 23:9-12, NLT, emphasis added)

I consider the army I thought would have been with me in my greatest battles. I remember the names of the elite who stayed.

He trains my hands for battle. He readies me for difficult tasks.

The Lord does bring about great victories. He’s looking for someone to stay (when they’re tired, to hold the ground when the army flees). Oh, times of testing reveal so much (I cast my cares upon him.).

True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him,

“You will be proved right in what you say,
    and you will win your case in court.” (Romans 3:3-4, NLT)

Lord, I fix my eyes on you. You are the source of my strength. You are my hope. You are true.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 20; Psalm 107; Isaiah 47; Revelation 17

Over the years, the enemy has looked different. Whether it has been wounding by many people or by one, a wandering or a circumstance–hardships come. I don’t say any of this lightly. Dreams are shattered. Hearts broken. Lives fractured. Lives lost. In all of it, I’ve learned to look for God as my savior, my hope, my strength. He has taken me from wounded to warrior.

“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ Deuteronomy 20:1-4, NLT

Sometimes the warrior in me throws off the things that entangle with a fury force and roar. Sometimes the warrior in me just shows up and takes the next staggering step forward in faith. Sometimes the warrior in me calls out, “Lord, help!”

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.
Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
    Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. Psalm 107:1-2, NLT

Desert wanderers, dry and parched. Prisoners of darkness and gloom. Fools in rebellion, starving when a feast is spread out before them. When life tosses and plunges to wit’s end–the Lord is near. Cry out.

He satisfies the thirsty. He breaks down prison gates. He sends out his word to heal. He calms the storm with a whisper and stills the waves.

33 He changes rivers into deserts,
    and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.
34 He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands,
    because of the wickedness of those who live there.
35 But he also turns deserts into pools of water,
    the dry land into springs of water.
36 He brings the hungry to settle there
    and to build their cities.
37 They sow their fields, plant their vineyards,
    and harvest their bumper crops.
38 How he blesses them! Psalm 107:33-38a, NLT

His faithful love endures forever.

42 The godly will see these things and be glad,
    while the wicked are struck silent.
43 Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
    they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord. Psalm 107:42-43, NLT

Thank you, God, that you love this broken world so much that you sent your son to die for our sins, that we would not perish, but have everlasting life. Thank you for your faithfulness and nearness, for your unending love and power. Thank you for thinking of even me, to not leave me wounded or forsaken, but to hold me up in your righteousness. You call me daughter, and I can call you Father. In deep gratitude, I praise your name.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Judges 4-6; Luke 21

Deborah was a prophet judging Israel. She called out Barak and told him he would lead an army. (He said he would if she’d go with him.)

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” So Barak led his 10,000 warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle. 15 When Barak attacked, the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and warriors into a panic. Sisera leaped down from his chariot and escaped on foot. 16 Then Barak chased the chariots and the enemy army all the way to Harosheth-haggoyim, killing all of Sisera’s warriors. Not a single one was left alive. Judges 4:14-16, NLT.

***

The sun rose the same as any other day. Gideon was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. He was doing what he needed to do to survive. Around him–oppression.

11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”

13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Judges 6:11-13, NLT.

The Lord is with us. He is in the daily, in the midst of conflict, hardship, oppression.

***

Jesus speaks of the future–wars, insurrections, earthquakes, famines, plague and persecution.

16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls. Luke 21:16-19, NLT.

***

Where are the miracles? In the New Testament widow’s faith of giving all she has–alone, invisible, and poor. In the Old Testament fleece set out in anticipation and for assurance.

Gideon, who had yet to see the bigger picture of it all, didn’t even know he was part of the miracle.

When we ask for a sign, will we see it?

29 Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. 30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. 31 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. 32 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:29-36, NLT.

Every day.

37 Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. 38 The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him. Luke 21:37-38, NLT.

The Lord is with us.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Genesis 12-15; Psalm 148; Mark 5

Things I learned about Abram today:

  • He was obedient. At 75 years old, when the Lord told him to move on, he did. Packed it all up and set out.
  • He acknowledged God. When he set up camp near the Canaanites, he put up memorial altars to God. (He set up another altar when he moved his camp to Hebron. He also gave a tenth of the goods he recovered to Melchizedek.)
  • He sinned. When Abram got to Egypt with Sarai, he was worried he’d be killed and devised a plan of his own to keep himself safe. It was a lie.
  • He valued peace and relationships. When he and Lot realize their families and animals are getting too big to stay together: “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.” Genesis 13:8b-9, NLT.
  • He is brave. When Lot is taken by warring kingdoms. Abram mobilizes his 318 men born to his household and pursues them. That’s 318 versus an army. Genesis 14:14-15. (And he is victorious!)
  • He was faithful and righteous. And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:6, NLT.
  • He needed reassurance sometimes, just a mere 2 verses after being called faithful and righteous. But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” Genesis 15:8, NLT.

Things I learned about the Lord today:

  • He always has a plan.I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3, NLT.
  • He loves (still) even when (Abram) sinned. God protected Abram (and Sarai!), despite Abram’s effort to take the situation by his own means. There’s no record of what else happened, but this: 17 But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” Genesis 12:17, NLT.
  • He reminds of his love and promise. 1After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17, NLT. (And later: Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” Genesis 15:1, NLT.) The Lord is trustworthy and faithful.
  • Even when He seems silent, He is there. There’s no mention of God instructing Abram how to defeat an army. But from this, even in the quiet of the Genesis 14 verses, we know He is there:

19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And blessed be God Most High,
    who has defeated your enemies for you.” Genesis 14: 19-20, NLT

  • Psalm 148 is a beautiful song of praise for all that the Lord has done.
  • And in Mark–He is merciful. Jesus approaches the tormented and scary demon-possessed man and heals him. 19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” Mark 5:19, NLT. And to the fearful woman who reached out to touch the Lord’s robe for healing: 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:34, NLT.

Wow, Lord. Just sitting here with Your Word today is a comfort. You remind me of who You are and what You can do. My heart is full of praise for You, and comforted by knowing You love me, no matter what. Thank You for Your protection, mercy, love, patience and plan. Thank You, that even against big odds, You can do bigger things. You are the peace that carries me.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Isaiah 23-25; 1 Corinthians 3

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen The Matrix, you’ve had fifteen years to do so. But then, if you’ve waited this long to see it, you likely won’t–and so my brief mention of a scene shouldn’t really affect you.

One of my favorite parts about the movie The Matrix is when Neo dodges the bullets near the end. He sees them coming and moves his body to avoid them, or just plain stops them. He figures it out–he knows it for what it is, and the bullets can no longer hurt him.

Paul writes to a group in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, NLT:

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?

He calls them infants. He says they are still controlled by their sinful nature. He asks, “Aren’t you acting just like people of the world?”

Sometimes I have to take a hard look at myself: when anger, however justified, starts flowing through my veins and following me from room to room and place to place, I have to stop and assess my reality. This weekend, I reminded myself, “I am not angry at my family.” So why was this anger clinging to me when I should have been enjoying time with my people? I said, “I am not angry at my church.” So why was this anger penetrating my heart just before I walked into church to serve? My anger had nothing to do with my family or my church, but it was trying to control me and wreck places of peace.

I can’t know what form an attack will take or who will wield words against me or my family. But how will I respond? Will I be controlled by my sinful nature? Will it hit and hurt and lead to infection? Will it take time to heal? Or will I see it for what it is and dodge or deflect the bullet? I want to stand strong in Christ for things that matter to him.

Lord, please help me to see things for what they are. Help me to honor you with my response and thoughts.

Courtney (66books365)

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Psalm 17&18; Acts 19:1-20

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. Show your marvelous loving kindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You From those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, From the wicked who oppress me, From my deadly enemies who surround me.”Psalm 17:6-8 NKJV

Journaling has always been a vital part of my walk with the Lord. When I put my pen to the paper I speak to Him &  He speaks to me. I am thankful to look back and see His faithfulness in the midst of my struggles and triumphs. I am glad that He never tires of hearing my many repeated prayers. It reminds me that He is working ALL things for good. He also speaks to me when my head hits the pillow at night. In the past couple of months, I have had two dreams that represent Victory in my life. In the first dream my house was being attacked by an enemy who came to my door and fled. I also had a dream that there were waters surrounding me. I stood in the midst of them and was not overtaken.  After my dreams I read this…

He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy. From those who hated me, For they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19 NKJV

…and it hits me fresh and new that,“God delivered me because He delights in me..In me.” I let it sink in. I am in awe of how He speaks to me through His word.

So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” Acts 19:20 NKJV

Dear Father, Thank You for Your word. That through it, You show me Who You are. And who I am in You. I love You. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Samuel 4-6; Luke 18:18-43

In Beth Moore’s devotional “Breaking Free Day by Day” she says that, “Every stronghold is related to something we have exalted to a higher position than God in our lives.” David went to the stronghold to defeat the Philistines. He answered Rechab,“The Lord has redeemed my life out of every adversity.” 2 Sam 4:9 ESV. “David took the stronghold of Zion…David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David.”2 Sam 5:7 &9 ESV.

Where do I retreat to? Sometimes inside myself, into my own walls.

David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him…for then the Lord has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines. And David did as the Lord commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.” 2 Sam 5:10,24&25 ESV

David went to his place of protection, his stronghold. He wasn’t afraid because he knew that the Lord was with him. I have a feeling that he knew that his place of safety was wherever the Lord was.

And David danced before the Lord with all his might. David said, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord-and I will celebrate before the Lord.” 2 Sam 6:14 &21 ESV

The Lord is my stronghold, my victory. I pray that I would have eyes to see, just like the blind man.

What do you want me to do for you? “Lord, let me recover my sight. And Jesus said to him- “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well,” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.” Luke 18:41-43 ESV

Thank you Jesus that,“What is impossible with man, is possible with You.” Luke 8:27 ESV. That Your ways are higher than mine. That when I run to other things and other places of “safety” I am trying to do things on my own. Thank you for your presence. And that You promise to never leave me or forsake me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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