Tag Archives: victory

Graffiti Summer: Opposition to Victory

During this fourth week of Graffiti Summer Study and Do, we took a closer look at the opposition Moses faced when obeying his God-given call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt as recounted in Exodus 6-14. The Lord had hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and it took 10 intense plagues before Moses was able to begin walking in the victory he had been promised.

By reminding us that life is full of opposition and struggle even when we’re stepping into serving exactly where God leads, Alene challenged us to share our struggles with others instead of hiding behind an “everything is fine” mask and to remember that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness.

DO Assignment: Engage in authentic conversation with someone. Share struggles from a deeper level to give others freedom to do the same.

graffiti summer - opposition to victory

For the past several weeks, I have had the privilege of leading two other women from my life group at church through a discipleship study on Monday nights over dinner at Panera. We finished up our study this week, and while there were several things I loved about our time together, one of the things I most appreciated was the opportunity to just be real about some of our faith struggles.

During our study on fellowship within the body of Christ, the Church, that led us to recognize the unique and valuable role of each member, we were challenged to consider if there was someone within our local church community that we had a hard time loving. The study asked us to consider the reasons why it was hard to love them and how we could overcome those reasons.

I was extremely honest in my workbook when I answered these questions in preparation for our meeting, but verbalizing them during our discussion? I wasn’t so sure.

But recognizing the opportunity that was presented, I did ultimately share my horribly immature and self-serving answers. And the brief conversation that resulted, in which we realized that ALL of our answers lacked Christlikeness and then shared truth-filled Scriptures with one another to counter those answers, was both productive and Christ-honoring.

We may not have come away with a perfect answer or perfect attitude, but the authentic conversation that led to countering opposition with the absolute truth of Scripture was more than worth it.

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The Victor’s Grip is Greater

Victor's Grip

Some days, the what-ifs and I-don’t-knows of this feel overwhelming. Even a little dark. Like swimming through murky waters just below the surface. I can’t quite see my way out.

Questions of the alternatives hang in the balance.

But maybe I’m supposed to sit with the tension, the conflict, the trial, a little longer. Each day realizing even more that this is out of my hands. It was never really in them anyways.

The facade of control crumbles.

The attempt to manage and maintain fails.

But the message from Sunday’s sermon on James 1 rings loud and clear.

“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (ESV)

The trustworthy Words of the Lord are light in this darkness.

I can hear Him saying…

Trust Me. Be Steadfast. Rest. Find Joy. Not in your ability, but in Mine.

And I find myself desperately asking for wisdom (my word for this year). Because I just can’t do this on my own. I can’t even fix my gaze on Him without His power, His strength, His presence drawing me in, drawing me near, drawing me deep.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5 (ESV)

The burden to figure-out this life is not mine to bear. There’s really very little to figure-out. He’s already done that. He’s already planned, battled, and won.

The unknown is frightening and fear’s grip can be great, but the victory is secure, and the Victor’s grip is greater.

Leaves & Lies

I was sitting at my desk, staring out the window into the courtyard – probably either recovering from a stressful email exchange or avoiding opening the next manila file folder on the stack – when I saw it: a lone leaf, seemingly suspended in mid-air, twirling in the breeze.

 

 

It did not take long, however, to discover that the leaf was not actually suspended in mid-air (I know…shocking), but rather was hanging on a long, sturdy thread of a spider web.  Although the leaf appeared to flip and twirl freely in the breeze, it was actually quite trapped.

Within moments, I was struck with the reality that we have an enemy who traps us in a similar way through a web of lies.  Lies…

 

that we don’t belong.

that we aren’t worthy.

that we misinterpreted our calling.

that our God isn’t able.

that _________________ (you fill in the blank).

 

And sometimes, those lies are convincing because as we are warned in Scripture…

“When he [the enemy] lies, he speaks his native language,

for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

John 8:44 (New International Version)

The lies can be so convincing that we even live under the illusion that we’re going somewhere, that we’re moving forward and reaching goals.  But just like the leaf, in actuality, by believing the lies we are simply stuck twirling in place on a thread.

 

 

BUT, as believers, we have also been chosen by and belong to a God who is bigger than any of the enemy’s lies and who can release us when we do get stuck.

So the next time you begin to hear and believe those lies, instead of becoming stuck in them, allow them to serve as a reminder…

 

to return to the Lord,

to be broken for the Lord,

to be humbled before the Lord,

and to know the Lord and His truth.

 

Because that truth – HIS truth – is this:

 

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities,

He made a public spectacle of them,

triumphing over them by the cross.”

Colossians 2:15 (NIV)

 

“The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 (NIV)

 

The enemy has been defeated; Christ has already won the victory!  And that truth will set you free.  Without fail.

 

Claim that truth.  Trust that truth.  Rest in that truth.

Sola Scriptura

Over the past few days, my mind has been on overdrive and my thoughts have been scattered.

So today it seems appropriate to keep my commentary to a minimum, and rather allow the Scripture resonating in my heart to speak for itself.

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’

‘O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?’

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:54-58 (English Standard Version)

Even when we feel defeated, we can be assured of the promise that our Lord Jesus Christ is always victorious

What specific Scripture has been resonating in your heart recently?

Leave it in the comments below!