Replace Sorrow with Praise

Facing the Giants Today

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. (1 Samuel 17:32-33) 
I remember learning the story of David and Goliath in Sunday school. As a child, I tried to picture the scene of this teenager going up against this scary, mean giant. How big was Goliath in comparison to David? Where did David get such courage to even think he could defeat him? All of the odds were against David. He had no experience, no armor, no weapon, and no one fought alongside him. Who was he kidding? But David had something far more powerful than physical stature, experience or weapons: he had faith in his God. 
Do you ever feel like you are in the midst of a battle where the odds are stacked against you? Or maybe you see the giants, hear their taunts and decide to flee and hide out, as opposed to standing up to them, as the Israelites did before David arrived? Today, we are all in a battle and there is one clear enemy. Make no mistake about this fact: “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan will use whatever tactics he can to get to us, to frighten us, and to keep us from fighting back. He will play tricks on our minds so that we see giants that are not real. He will deceive us into believing that we have no ability to win. One of the best tools Satan has against us is fear. 
Fear keeps us from facing the giants. Fear keeps us from ever achieving victory because we are afraid and run from the battle. Fear becomes our own trap of despair, depression and disillusionment. So often, the battle takes place in our own minds with giants conjured up in our thoughts, but we must understand that this is not God’s will for us. 
Where did David get his courage? He believed in his God, the God of Israel. He believed in all that he had been taught about God, and he had witnessed God’s faithfulness and protection in his own life. And on this day, he was willing to put his faith to the test. David took a huge step of faith, depending completely on the Lord to save him. With one sling of one rock, the giant fell. For us, today is our day of victory. Today is the day to face the giants in our lives. In faith we step out, stop running, stop hiding and stop believing the lies of the enemy, Satan.  In faith, we face the enemy head on and we claim victory in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. He has fought the battle and won, on our behalf, but we need to step out, stand up and sling the rock. Victory is ours in Christ.
I pray you are encouraged after reading today’s devotion. Whatever giant you woke up facing today, believe, claim victory in the name of Jesus! We are more than conquerors through him that loved us, Romans 8:37. 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 7:8 

The Valley

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (Psalm 23) 
Psalm 23 is an awesome promise from the Lord, so personal to each of us. God is our Good Shepherd and He knows all about us. He knows that by restoring us back to Him, we will be willing to be led down His path of righteousness. At times, those paths will lead us through valleys of the shadow of death. Most of us hate those paths. Even though the Lord is holding us by the hand, oh, how we resist! It is hard to acknowledge that the God of love is truly leading us through the dark, scary valley. We may even want to blame such terrible circumstances on everything and everyone else instead of submitting to God ourselves. In time, however, we will see that it was only by going through the valley of the shadow of death that the Lord could help us break hurtful habits and behaviors, so that we can receive His peace and rejoice in His love. 
Ask the Lord today to reveal any areas of your heart that need restoration. Do you feel dull or numb in certain areas of your life? 
Tell the Lord about those places in your heart where you sense frustration and barrenness. 
Ask Him to restore them back to Him. Restoration is not always just about life’s obvious issues; it can be very much about life’s less recognized ones. 
Take your time to really read through Psalm 23 (again) and listen to the Lord’s impressions on your heart. The Word of God is the most powerful Word you will read or hear today. 
I love Psalm 23. When I recently read this devotion I felt it could help many folks. I personally know many who may be feeling as though they are walking through a dark valley, but have hope, He is leading you through the dark valley. Get out your sword and equip yourself to receive His Peace today and to rejoice in His love. Just remember, your never alone in The Valley and with Christ you will come through victoriously. 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Proverbs 1:7

The Thrill of Victory

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4) 
Did you know that this word “victory” is used only six times in the New Testament? The Greek word for victory is “nike” and it means “a conquest” or “means of success.” For many of us, the word Nike refers to the mega-sporting enterprise that sells shoes and clothing. Victory has been skewed by society standards to now mean something of extraordinary achievements. But Jesus would come and tell us to just have faith, for through faith we will be victorious. 
How many of us as Christians today have victory in our lives? How awesome to experience the thrill of victory! But far too often we face the agony of defeat. Jesus did not come to earth, give His life, and leave us His Holy Spirit, just so we could enter heaven. Yes, He came to give us eternal life if we believe in Him, but He wants us to experience heaven on earth–today. Heaven on earth in this day and age? Is such a thought really possible? 
Today’s verse tells us that “whatever is born of God overcomes the world.” If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, then you have been born of God and are His child. To even accept Jesus indicates a position of faith on your part, for “by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). But real victory does not stop here, it begins here. Faith must be grown, matured and developed by the tests and trials of life. One reason prayer is so important is that our faith is increased every time we see God answer our prayers. And we must plant His word on our hearts and in our minds, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Christians who have weak prayer lives and no time in God’s Word will face the agony of defeat more than the thrill of victory. But Christians who pray, who read the Bible, and who seek the Lord with all their heart will have victory simply because of their faith. Just remember, however, that victory in Jesus is not always defined the same as victory in the world. 
Does your life reflect more victories or more defeats? Where do you spend your time and what are you seeking after? Start today by asking the Lord to increase your faith. Start praying for God’s help. Confess and repent from any worldly desires that steal your time and attention away from the Lord. Begin reading His Word and praying for more understanding of how to apply it in your life. At some point, we must decide which way we want to live; and then start acting on the faith given to us through Jesus. Then, and only then, will we have victory. 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. So often I’ve thought of victory as something that comes only when battles have been won but it’s far greater than that. Christ died that I may live in victory each and every day, good or bad, I am victorious, we are victorious each and every day, through Christ Jesus. I want my life to reflect more victories than defeats, what about you? Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7). 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Proverbs 9:10