Shout Now! Victory Is At Hand.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing you are about to score. The football may not have breached the goal line; the basketball may still be in the hands of your best 3-point shooter, yet, that overwhelming feeling of victorious euphoria is welling up inside of you. Go ahead… start shouting!

This morning, I read my devotion from one of my favorites, Vance Havner’s Day By Day: A Book of Bible Devotions.  Today’s verse was Joshua 6:16, “And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.'” I pray you know the story, if not, read it HERE. Joshua and the children of Israel were embarking on the conquest of the land promised to them by God. Coming to Jericho, God presented a unique plan of attack: marching around the heavily fortified walls of the city for six days with some trumpet playing for good measure. They were not to let their voices be heard until God told them to shout.

Sounds like a winning battle plan if I’ve ever heard one, huh???

As crazy as that may sound, the key point to the story is the first thing out of the Lord’s mouth when He shares this plan with Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hands…(Joshua 6:2).” It was a done deal! The rest of the plan was just faith. Havner says, “Faith is the land deed for our inheritance with God’s signature.”

Dear child, what has the Lord been telling you? What audacious victory has He already promised you? Is he merely waiting for you to demonstrate your abiding faith in Him? Maybe it requires you to do something different from strolling around a walled city and tooting your trumpet or stepping out of a perfectly good boat, but rest assured, whatever He has promised on your faith journey, He will do.

So go ahead and SHOUT! The victory is already won.

The Voice of Truth

As I previously posted, six weeks ago I started a training program to run a 5K. My schedule over the past three days, however, prevented me from getting my “Day 3 of Week 6” run done. This morning I was determined to get with it. Today’s training regimen called for a five-minute warm-up walk followed by [GULP] a 25-minute run! Just last week I was able to successfully run 20 minutes without dying. But that was last week and today came on the heels of a LONG weekend of student ministry activity (including student ministry food like pizza, doughnuts and fried… everything.)

At the 15-minute mark I hit a wall. I made the mistake of looking at my watch and seeing that I had 10 minutes left, to which I audibly growled, “NOOOOOO!” I pushed on for another couple of minutes, but at the 18-minute mark I gave in. I started walking giving in to the voice in my head telling me that my heart was about to explode and my lungs were bleeding. Instantly, I was dejected. Then it happened. After about a minute of walking, the playlist I was listening to on my Droid kicked into Casting Crowns, “The Voice of Truth.” For the uninitiated, this song describes the constant battle that wages within us between the Truth of the reality of life in Jesus Christ and the lies that the enemy, Satan, would like us to believe about ourselves and this world. It is one of my all time favorite songs. Not only that, but the arrangement of the song lends itself to a very emotional and uplifting swell at the chorus that can transport one to that “Rocky Balboa” moment if you know what I mean.

As the verse gave way to the chorus, my anticipation and energy was building. I pressed the ear buds a little more firmly into place and commenced what I call the “Tiger Trot.” A not quite sprinting, yet definitely not walking pace, completing the run. Amazingly, I neither perished nor passed out. When I had time I went back and looked at the real data on my Droid.  At the time that I gave in and started walking, my heart rate wasn’t any higher than it was three minutes into my run. No joints were aching. My feet felt fine. There was even existing precedent for me running farther than that already. Clearly, the problem was not physical. The problem was in my head.

Upon further reflection, often this is exactly what we experience in our faith walk and in the church. We listen to and give credence to the voices that say:

“We can’t do that.”

“We don’t have the resources for that.”

“We’ve never done it that way before.”

“That could never work.”

“I could never be bold enough to share my faith like that.”

“That may work for them, but it could never work for me/us.”

It’s not that we try and fail. We never even try. Satan laughs. The Word of God [i.e. the Voice of Truth] in 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is Jesus talking. Even when we think we cannot, He tells us that we can. He made us. He knows what we are capable of and what HE is capable of through us. In fact, according to Colossians 1:27, the mystery of God is “Christ in you, the hope of Glory.”

We must stop thinking that we can’t do things and start ringing up victories in our lives for Him. Where God guides, He provides. We are the church of God and, “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

Grace and peace.