What Does Victory Look Like For A Believer?

Does victory look like getting what we want? Perhaps seeing the sick healed or the peson we voted for getting into office? Or maybe it looks like prosperity? Or favor? Well, sometimes it does. But what about the times when victory doesn’t look like victory? What about the times when you’ve done all that you were supposed to do, but the outcome looks disappointing? What about then? It’s so tempted in those moments to ask ourselves if God came through for us. He says He’s the Rescuer. Did He rescue? He says He’s the Healer. Did He heal? He says He’s our Deliverer. Did He deliver? Our faith can be severely tested sometimes. When everything is going our way, it’s easy to believe that God is Who He says He is. It’s when our faith is tested, however, that we find out whether it’s genuine or not. It’s during times of disappointment that we have a choice to make: will we trust God even if our PERCEPTIONS tell us that He failed us? Will we trust our feelings, or God’s word?

Again I ask, What does victory look like for a believer? What’s the litmust test for victory? Perhaps we could look to those God commended to get His perspective of a victorious life. Hebrews 11 is a good place to find examples of believers who saw great victories. We see King David who conquered Kingdoms, Enoch who escaped death, Samson who was victorious in battle. We see people who recieved their loved ones back from the grave and others who overcame infertility. Some administered justice, shut the mouths of lions and escaped the edge of the sword. Wow. Pretty impressive. Looks like victory to me. But wait a minute…

Hebrews 11 also commends those who were victorious in another way. It also commends those who held onto their faith even when they didn’t get what they wanted. Verse 35 says,

Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some face jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in desserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. They were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. For God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Victory means choosing to trust God in the good times and in the bad.

Walking in victory means we hold onto our faith no matter what comes. It means that we choose to believe God whether we’re conquering kingdoms or not. Winning an election or losing one. In prison or in the palace. Rich or poor. Receiving our loved ones back from the dead or lowering their casket into the ground. Favored or rejected. Prospering financially or destitute, persecuted and mistreated. Healed or sick. There’s an old hymn that says, “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:4 says,

Everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that have overcome the world: our faith. Who then overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.…”

What do we do if we’ve come through a disappointing life experience that leaves us doubting God’s word? I went through this recently. I’d been diligent in asking God for something that I thought would be a good thing. I believed that God thought it would be a good thing too. But when things didn’t play out in a way that looked like victory, I was tempted to believe that God hadn’t come through for me. I found myself struggling with unbelief. Here’s what’s helping me get through it:

Recognize that the land of disappointment is a dangerous place to dwell. In his book, This Day We Fight, author Francis Frangipane writes,

Disappointment is not just a sad, emotional state of mind; it actually can sever our hearts from faith. It is the enemy’s work. Demonically manipulated disappointment can actually “dis-appoint” a person from God’s destiny for their lives. I have known many who were doing well, moving forward toward their appointed destiny. The future God had for them seemed almost close enough to taste. Then they became disappointed in someone or something. By accepting disappointment into their spirits, a bitter cold winter took over their souls, and their faith turned dormant…Often, it is not blatant rebellion against God that causes backsliding; it is the acceptance of dis-appointment into our hearts.” Page 90-91

I look at disappointment like a warning light on the dashboard of my car. Disappointment says, there’s trouble in my heart. It needs addressing, and quickly.

The next step to overcoming disappointment is being honest with God about how we feel. Let’s face it, the natural inclination of our flesh is to talk to everybody BUT God about our disappointment. Venting to others only adds fuel to the fire. Some feel like it dishonors God to say, “Lord, I’m angry with you right now.” The truth is, He already knows anyway. We can either process those strong emotions with Him, be healed and move on, or we can stuff our emotions and still be carrying them around 20 years from now. Ignoring our feelings won’t make them go away. We’re deceiving ourselves if we think it will.

The next step to getting through disappointment is to identify and confront areas of unbelief. I had to face the lies that God didn’t rescue, didn’t defend, didn’t help. I acknowledged to God that this is how it LOOKED to me. I confessed my unbelief and repented of it. It’s a mistake to believe that once we’re saved we no longer struggle with unbelief. The danger with this lie is that we get blindsided when our faith is severely tested. It’s normal for believers to be tempted with the sin of unbelief. It happens to all of us at one time or another. As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin. We don’t need to yield to unbelief. We have a choice!

The last step in overcoming disappointment is to reaffirm our faith in God. This is where we make a choice. Will we trust our feelings and perceptions, or will we trust God’s word to tell us what’s true? This is the most important step in getting through a crisis of faith…this is where we put our stake in the ground once again and declare, “I believe God.” It’s where we say, “I reject all lies about God and I CHOOSE to trust that He does not lie. He does not change. He is trustworthy. Even if I don’t receive in my lifetime what I’d hoped for, I trust Him.”

These steps have helped me to quickly move past disappointment and unbelief. My hope is that they’ll do the same for you if you find yourself in that place.

May your trust in God be renewed today,


United We Stand, Divided We Fall

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

The news had just broke. Our nation’s capital had just been breached. The country was in chaos once again. The division that was thick in our nation seemed to be seeping into the walls of our home. Our normally unified marriage seemed to be pulling apart at the seams. Strong opinions flared. It was almost like I could feel Satan’s pleasure in our quarreling. What in the world was going on??? What is needed here? I believe it can be summed up in one word:


How do we as believers choose unity when we’re floating down a raging river of division? Here’s a few things that I had to remind myself of:

Do a self-check: Which leader have I put my hope in? Is it a political leader? A political party? A particular form of government? If so, I’m vulnerable to division. Psalm 146 says,

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,…the LORD, who remains faithful forever.”

We see in 1 Corinthians 1 how putting our hope in human leaders is a door-opener to division when it says,

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”

Another thing I needed to remind myself of in order to choose unity is that God is in control, not me. It’s Soooo tempting to think that if we can just be the one in control, we can protect others. When this happens, it’s easy to start scrambling to seize power. Even if it’s just by sitting on our couches pointing fingers and spouting our strong opinions.

Instead, we can choose unity by acting as if we actually believe that God is Sovereign. He rules. He has not gotten off of His throne, and He never will. Daniel 6:26 assures us,

For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.”

Another thing I needed to remember in order to choose unity is that people are not the enemy. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

It’s so tempting to think we have to fight our battles in the physical realm. The truth is, the solution to the problems we face is found on our knees. There’s a time to try to persuade others in the physical realm. But first, let’s go to our knees. Let’s reopen the alters for corporate prayer. We are stronger when we come before the throne of God together.

Another thing I needed to remind myself of was to submit to God’s answer to my prayers. Many have been praying for the outcome of this election for a long time. There are different opinions within the Church about who would make the best President. Some have prayed one way, others another way. When we go to prayer, we often just want what we want. If we don’t get it, the temptation can come to yield to disappointment and disillusionment. We may begin to question whether our prayers have any power at all; yet even Jesus didn’t always get a “yes” when he prayed. Hebrews 5:7-9 says,

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…”

I’m guessing that after Jesus cried out to the Father asking that the cup of suffering would pass by Him if possible, it might not have LOOKED like He’d been heard. When He was flogged, He couldn’t depend on His feelings. When the soldiers pressed the crown of thorns on His head, He couldn’t depend on how things looked. When He was nailed to the cross, He had to depend on the faithfulness of the Father. This passage from Hebrews teaches us some things we can hold onto:

God listens to the prayers of His people. Hebrews tells us that Jesus “was heard because of his reverent submission. In the original language, “was heard” means that the Father not only listened, but that Jesus was deeply heard. The Father listened intently. It also means that Jesus’ request was granted. You might ask, but how can that be? Jesus still had to suffer. He still died. It is only when we look at the outcome from heaven’s vantage point that we can see that our prayers and the Father’s will are both able to be satisfied. It is this eternal perspective that the Father did indeed save Jesus from death. It was through Jesus’ resurrection that death no longer had power over Him.

The Father does the same for us. He listens intently when we pray. We are deeply heard. We have His attention. God responds to our prayers. He makes a way even when there is no way. When our prayers collide with His Sovereign will, He makes a way so that His will is satisfied and our prayers are answered. It just doesn’t always look that way this side of eternity.

So, how should we respond if our prayers don’t appear to be answered the way we hoped they would? We do the same thing Jesus did: we submit to God. We yield to His Sovereign will. We say, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.” We resist lies of unbelief that say, “God didn’t hear me,” or “It doesn’t do any good to pray.” We agree with the word when it says,

  • “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
  • “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
  • “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17
  • “The judgments of the LORD are true, being altogether righteous.” Psalm 19:9
  • “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does as He pleases with the army of heaven and the peoples of the earth. There is no one who can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?” Daniel 4:34-35
  • “There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1

Scripture reassures us that God is the One Who puts people in positions of authority. We can rest in this. Now, is there ever a time to take action? Yes! The key is that we don’t just go rogue. We are protected when we get our marching orders from our heavenly commander-in-chief.

God has a plan for this nation, and it’s good. He is for us! He never ceases to be our rescuer! He never stops acting as our Protector. We can trust His leadership fully. So let’s lay down our walls of fear. Let’s turn away from division, finger-pointing and making political leaders the foundation of our hope. We will not be disappointed if we put our hope in God.

May the peace of God rule in your hearts today,


Surviving When Earnest Prayers Appear To Go Unanswered

desparate-prayerI am so proud of my Church family. So proud of those who dared to go out on that limb of faith and believe God for the impossible. So proud of those who faced down their fears…”What if I stand in bold faith and declare, “I believe God for this healing.” “What if I hurt those I love by declaring healing and then it doesn’t happen?” “What if my credibility is destroyed by taking a position of faith, but appear to have been wrong?” “What if, what if, what if…” Continue reading

Intercessors Overcoming Unbelief

desparate-prayerHave you ever been praying for something and realized that you don’t really believe that your prayers will be answered? I have.

I think unbelief is one of those hindrances that can, if we allow it, keep us from our prayer closets. This is a little bit intimidating to even bring up. We’ve all heard the criticisms that the “Name It Claim It” groups receive. Some, unwisely, have told someone who is going through a devastating trial that they just don’t have enough faith. Talk about adding insult to injury. It’s easy, in a knee-jerk reaction, to just ignore unbelief. That feels safer. But for those of us that spend a significant part of our time and energy in intercession, it seems like a topic that needs to be brought up if we are going to bear fruit.  In James 1:6, in the context of praying for wisdom, it says, Continue reading

Intercessors To The Church – Part 1

240_F_155972609_4f7rmJI3OtmnnyESIhfGDsoH7VV9dm4XHow Intercessors Can Bless The Church And Its Leadership.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you feel compelled to pray for the body of Christ. You see needs and have compassion for God’s people. You have been given a great trust and have the potential to do a great amount of good for the body of Christ. You are on the front lines, and often see things before they impact the rest of the body. As you pray, the trajectory of the spiritual realm shifts. Thank you for the sacrifices that you make. There is a cost to intercession, and you are VERY much appreciated. I want to share with you some things that I hope it will make your path a little smoother. Continue reading