Battles, Belief, Bible, Blessing, Praise, Rejoicing, Reverence, Scripture, Victors

AS FOR ME

HABAKKUK 3:18

“Yet I will triumph in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

That little phrase, “Yet I,” can be translated “as for me.” I kind of like that better. It reminds me of another verse – one from Joshua 24:15. “‘But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.’” I’ve always loved that verse.

Habakkuk is responding to what he said in the previous verse (read yesterday’s blog entitled “Even If”). If all fails, I will triumph in the Lord. I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. No matter what comes his way, Habakkuk had determined to worship and praise his God. He knew, because God had just spoken through him, that a lot of trials were coming. He still chose to be faithful.

APPLICATION

Can we say the same thing in our hearts? Can we say no matter what comes our way that we will worship our King? It’s easy to say that while everything is going well, but when the trials come, that’s another story. I am reminded on James 1:2-4. “2 consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Can you agree with Habakkuk and James? Testing is hard but worthwhile, in the end. As believers, we have the confidence that God is with us and will never desert us. We can honestly say just like Habakkuk, “As for me, I will triumph in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

As we approach the New Year, you may be writing down some New Year’s Resolutions. I know I have a few written down already. Some people call them goals or even mission statements. Call them what you want, but you won’t find a better one that today’s verse. Make it yours in 2023.

O Father, You are worthy of all praise. I will triumph in You. I will rejoice in You.

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Belief, Bible, Fear, Hope, Salvation, Scripture, Strength, Victors

TO NO AVAIL

NAHUM 3:15

“There fire will consume you, the sword will cut you down; it will consume you as the creeping locust consumes a crop. Multiply yourself like the creeping locust, multiply yourself like the migratory locust.”

I do not like being told there is no hope, so quit trying. But there are sometimes when we just know we can’t do it. A few years ago, I had to go through a physical challenge and score so many points to become a Reserve Officer with my local Sheriff’s Office. Due to a bad, left shoulder I could not complete the necessary pull-ups or push-ups. My other scores were okay, but not good enough to accomplish the score needed. I had to stop the challenge before I finished. I hated that.

Today’s verse may not be clear at first glance. But Nahum is continuing the prophecy against Nineveh. He ends this verse basically daring Nineveh to try to strengthen themselves against the hand of God. They could become as numerous as the locusts, but they would not prevail. It was all to no avail.

APPLICATION

Don’t listen to the naysayers. While we are in Christ, we never give up. There is always hope. He will never leave you or forsake you. We know that because He tells us that repeatedly in Scripture. I have not personally counted them, but I have been told that “do not fear” occurs 365 times in the Bible. That’s enough for every day of the year!

When the world says, “Just give in. Quit trying” you look them right in the eye and tell them you have a Conqueror on your side who cannot be defeated. Your life is in Him, not your circumstances. Do not give in!!! Do not!

There have been times in my life when I wanted to throw in the towel. I had believed the lies. I thought it was all to no avail. Why keep trying? But my precious Lord and Savior reminded me of what He had saved me to accomplish for Him. He didn’t so much save me from something as He saved me toward something. Life was worth it because of Him. Believe that today.

I will believe in You, my Lord, when all else seems to fail. You are my rock and my salvation.

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Affliction, Battles, Bible, Captivity, Defeat, Enemies, Protection, Scripture, Victors

CAPTIVITY 

NAHUM 3:10 

“Yet she became an exile, she went into captivity; also her small children were smashed to pieces at the head of every street; they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound with shackles.” 

In this study of Nahum, there has been a lot of talk about captivity. That got me thinking about what holds me captive. What do I allow in my life that holds me captive emotionally, spiritually or even relationally? I bet you have the same captors in your life. 

Nahum is continuing to address the Ninevites in his prophetic statements. He is painting a picture of the horrors of human captivity – children killed and adults led away as slaves in chains. Both their present and future were taken. How defeating.  

APPLICATION 

As horrible as that sounds in today’s verse (and it is horrible), we willingly or naively put ourselves in similar chains. We stay in relationships that we know are not good for us spiritually. We continue in behaviors that will only lead to trouble down the road. We even sit under teaching that floods our minds with ideas that run contrary to God’s Word. 

Paul warned the Colossians of this in chapter 2 of his letter to them. Colossians 2:8 reads, “See to it that there is no one who takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception in accordance with human tradition, in accordance with the elementary principles of the world, rather than in accordance with Christ.” 

We have warnings all through Scripture, if we will just heed them. There lies the problem. We don’t read the Scriptures to know of these warnings. We don’t memorize and meditate on them to build our defenses. The only way to combat captivity is to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Get in the Word today. 

I am armed with Your Word to battle against any evil force that may come my way. You are my tower of safety. 

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Battles, Bible, Devil, Enemies, Faith, Protection, Satan, Scripture, Victors

THE APPROACHING ENEMY

NAHUM 3:2

“The sound of the whip, the sound of the roar of the wheel, galloping horses and bounding chariots!”

I have never seen a chariot race. Chariots are not used very much anymore. But one of my favorite, all-time movies is Ben Hur. There is this classic chariot race near the end of the movie which is intense. Ben Hur, played by the late Charlton Heston, defeats his enemy in the arena. I just love that movie.

Nahum foresees the approaching enemy of Nineveh. He can envision their chariots racing down upon the city. He uses some words intentionally that, when read or said out loud, have rough “r” sounds: רעשׁ ra‛ash (roar), דהר dâhar (galloping), מרקדה meraqēdâh (bounding). You could almost hear the noises as Nahum said this.

APPLICATION

Who is our enemy? How can we know when he is approaching? 1 Peter 5:8-9 tell us. “8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 So resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world.”

We are at war, beloved. The enemy has his sights set on us. He knows he has lost the war, but he will settle for some victories in some battles in our lives. When I hear of families being torn apart, I see the enemy at work. He wants to destroy the church (the bride of Christ) and attempts to do that by destroying Christian families from within.

I pray you are praying for your family daily. I pray you are praying God’s hedge of protection over them. Without His protection, we are vulnerable. Be alert. Stay focused. Pray without ceasing. With Jesus all things are possible. We walk in victory. Don’t forget that.

Thank You, Lord, for watching over me. Help me stay under the umbrella of Your protection.

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Bible, Enemies, God's Will, Protection, Scripture, Surrender, Victors

STOP!

NAHUM 2:8

“Though Nineveh was like a pool of water throughout her days, yet they are fleeing; ‘Stop, stop,’ but no one turns back.”

Do you remember playing in the yard with your friends and having team games. We used to play “Capture the Flag.” Loved that game. I can remember seeing the other team coming and seeing all my teammates running for cover. I would yell at them to stop, but they were just trying to take care of themselves.

That is the scene Nahum is describing here in Nineveh. The “pool of water” had been disturbed. The enemy was pouring into the city and the inhabitants were running for it. All shouts from their leaders commanding them to stay and fight fell on deaf ears. Nahum says, “no one turns back.” All fled.

APPLICATION

Let me ask you – are you running for cover or staying to fight? We are in a battle. You know that. I am not saying anything you don’t know. The Lord is telling us to stop running. We do not have to fear these attacks. We just have to turn and face them, knowing that it is the Lord who fights for us.

I have shared before one of my favorite verses. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, while you remain silent.” You see the moment we surrender our heart and life to Him; He becomes our protector. Nothing will touch us that He has not allowed. So, turn and face whatever attacks you are under.

Stop the complaining! Stop the excuses! Stop the hiding! Just stop! Watch what the Lord will do when you surrender to His will. Watch what He will do when you finally allow Him to fight for you. He is waiting. What will you do?

I hear Your voice, Lord, telling me to stop and fight. I will fight, knowing the victory is through You.

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LED AWAY

NAHUM 2:7

It is set: She is stripped, she is led away, And her slave women are sobbing like the sound of doves, beating their breasts.”

I had a friend, who is now with the Lord, who was captured and was a prisoner of war during World War II. He survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines that was led by the Japanese. He told me once how hopeless and helpless he felt. I cannot imagine what he went through.

Nahum is describing Nineveh as a woman being led away in captivity – stripped, sobbing, beating their breasts. Hopeless, helpless! When Nineveh was defeated, the surviving inhabitants were led away. Nineveh would never be the same. Rebellion against God never ends well.

APPLICATION

We often feel defeated. We feel hopeless and helpless when the enemy is upon us. When we give in to the attacks, he can rob us of our joy. But we must remember what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

We are not defeated. We are victorious because of Christ. We are the victors. The war has already been decided, and we are on the winning side. Never forget that. We will face battles in the future, and we may fail at times. But we are not captives.

Aren’t you glad that you are not on a death march? When you  get discouraged, look up. You need allies in your life who can come alongside you during those trying times. Most of all, turn to Jesus, who can take all your pain away. You are NOT DEFEATED!

Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming love.

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Abiding, Bible, Darkness, Devil, Evil, Persecution, Satan, Scripture, Victors

VICTORY THROUGH PERSECUTION

MICAH 5:6

“They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod at its entrances; and He will rescue us from the Assyrian when he invades our land, and when he tramples our territory.”

The persecuted church is a real thing. We do not see it much here in the U.S., but it is happening all over the world. Satan thinks he can destroy us. He thinks he can defeat the church and thereby destroy Christ. It is not possible. We have seen time and time again how the church has risen up in the midst of persecution.

Micah says here in today’s verse that although the nations are coming against them, their Chief Shepherd will arise and defeat them. “The land of Nimrod” refers to Babylon, which succeeded Assyria in its persecution of Israel and Judah. But God took the fight to them and defeated them. He will do the same for us.

APPLICATION

The battle belongs to the Lord. We have no power to defeat darkness. It can overwhelm any of us. But thanks be to God, He can defeat the darkest dark. His light can pierce through and enlighten those deep crevices where evil lurks. Our part in the fight is to cling to Him.

Clinging is hard, though. We want to venture out and sling our sword at anything that moves. We are just like the foot soldier. We must wait for our orders. Only then may we go out, in His power, to attack and defend the faith. It is His battle, and we are His vessels.

When I finally realized that the battle, much less the war, was not mine to fight, I was able to rest. It is not up to me. God’s got this! He knows exactly how to defeat the evil one. He will equip us and prepare us, but we must not try to do this on our own. Will you rest in Him today?

Lord, thank You for fighting for me. I will rest in Your capable hands.

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Advocate, Battles, Bible, Blessing, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Faith, Faithfulness, Rescue, Salvation, Scripture, Victors

FORGOTTEN VICTORIES

AMOS 2:9

“‘Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, though his height was like the height of cedars and he was as strong as the oaks; I also destroyed his fruit above and his roots below.’”

I am a University of Georgia Bulldog fan. I went to school there from 1978 to 1982. So, I cheer loud and strong for the Red and Black whenever I get a chance. But as excited as I get about our football victories, I couldn’t tell you the exact dates and times of each victory. Sure, some of them stand out, but most fade into my memory. Forgotten victories.

The Israelites had forgotten how God had destroyed their enemies as they entered the Promised Land so many years earlier. In just one example, the Lord reminds them of the Amorites, of which dwelt the Rephaim who were giants in height. Their size alone brought fear out of men. But Jehovah destroyed them for the Hebrew children. Forgotten victories.

APPLICATION

How many victories has God done in your life for you to quickly forget them? Perhaps you had a bill you couldn’t pay, and God provided for you. Maybe you had a health scare from which God delivered you. Your child was sick with fever, and you prayed all night long. Do I need to go on? Forgotten victories.

The Lord does so many things for us in our daily battles. We forget how faithful He is despite out unfaithfulness. He delivers us when we don’t deserve delivering. He defends us from our adversary, the devil, when we have faltered in our faith. Every victory we have in life can be traced back to our Deliverer. As a child of the King, our victories all belong to Him. Forgotten victories.

Don’t let your life be filled with forgotten victories. Make a log of them. Write them down. Keep track of them. Not for bragging purposes but for celebration purposes. I recently rang the bell at my Oncologist’s office indicating I am in remission from a disease I have. That victory belongs to God. He was the One who healed me. Remembered victory!

O Lord, I praise You for every victory in my life. The battle belongs to You.

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Abiding, Advice, Advocate, Battles, Bible, Confrontation, Courage, Demons, Devil, Encouragement, Enemies, Fear, Fighting, God's Will, Judgment, Punishment, Safety, Satan, Scripture, Victors

LOOK OUT

HOSEA 5:8

“Blow the horn in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah. Sound an alarm at Beth-aven: ‘Behind you, Benjamin!’”

I have never had to run from an enemy, but I can imagine the fear that must be in your mind when you find yourself being chased by someone who is intent on harming you. I love watching old westerns. I have seen many a cowboy being chased by a band of Indians. That’s the picture I have in my head as I read today’s verse.

Hosea is pronouncing judgment on the tribes of Israel. He tells them to blow the shophar, the horn they would blow to sound the alarm. He tells them to blow the trumpet which would be used to prepare for battle. And then he tells Benjamin to look behind them. The enemy was that close. That must have been a fearful sight.

APPLICATION

Who is chasing you? I will tell you. Satan is chasing you. He and his army of demons are always trying to chase us down and defeat us. He is always ready to attack. He is always looking for an opportune time, as it says in Luke 4:13. He is looking for a crack in our defenses, a small hole to establish that foothold.

But thanks be to God, we have a Savior who has already defeated him. His battle plans will not succeed. All we have to do is remain firmly grounded in Christ. We have to stay in His Word and surrendered to His Will. Oh, is that all, Carl? That’s not so easy. I didn’t say it was. But it is possible.

How do I know it is possible? Because God said so. The Lord will never ask us to do anything that is not possible through Him. We do not have to worry about the advancing attacks of Satan if we stay firmly in the grip of Jesus. Yes, Satan is real and wants to do us harm. But Satan can only do what God allows. Remain in Jesus. There is no safer place.

I will rest in Your arms, O Lord. I know I am safe there and no harm can come to me.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blasphemy, Condemnation, Denial, Forgiveness, Hypocrisy, Infidelity, Judgment, Lies, Satan, Scripture, Sin, Victors

WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE…

HOSEA 4:14

“I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, or your brides when they commit adultery, because the men themselves slip away with the prostitutes and offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes; So, the people without understanding are ruined.”

You probably have heard the expression “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” That sounds good, doesn’t it? But not always. If both parties are going to get punished, I would prefer to not be the gander, lol. I would hope that I could learn from others’ mistakes and avoid them.

That’s not what happened in Israel. In fact, God has given them up to their sins. The verse sounds like the women are being forgiven. No! God is allowing them to continue in their adultery. The men are doing the same. When God gives you up, that’s a bad thing. Don’t you think?

APPLICATION

So, how do we deal with this verse? We need to confess our sins and live our lives honoring the Lord. We cannot live like the world and pretend there are no consequences. The Lord may not hold us accountable immediately, but every sin has consequences sooner or later.

Now, listen to me. As believers we should never chase sin. After salvation, sin chases us. We have to decide if we want to stop and let it catch us. But we need to remember that in Christ, we have power over sin. We are free in Jesus. Don’t believe the lies of the devil. He will try to convince you that you just can’t help it.

I choose today to live in victory. There is nothing more freeing than knowing that. When we surrender daily to the Lord and walk in the light of His Word, we have victory. Hallelujah! I refuse to be defeated. Jesus has defeated the devil. Don’t forget that.

I praise Your name, Jesus. Thank You for defeating the devil and putting him in his place. I walk today victorious.

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