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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Man Up!" - Always Victorious

I have always been sort of a history buff.  I enjoy reading about the history of the places we’ve visited, about United States history and especially the story of the area in which we live.  Our recent move to North Carolina has opened up an entirely new wealth of information to devour!  Yesterday I happened across a couple of books written about the history of the county we now live in.  So I immediately purchased a Kindle version of one and ordered a used copy of the other.  Later in the afternoon my wife and I, along with the pooch snuggled next to me on the couch, found ourselves in our study being regaled with descriptions of the county’s geographic treasures, abundance of waterways, and tales of early discovery.  It is evident that our small county was large in its contributions to our budding country!
Over the years, I have also become a history buff when it comes to the history of the Lord’s works in my wife, my family and in me.  As we continue to move forward in discovery of the new things that He desires for us to accomplish in our lives, I can’t help but to go back in our personal history to be regaled by His wondrous interventions in our past.  Many times this historical perspective is the final incentive to boost my faith for the next, sometimes seemingly impossible step He is encouraging us to take.  
As I look back over the last month or so that I have been walking through my morning study times with the Lord with the directive to “Man Up!” as my guide, I realize that one particular set of verses keeps popping up in my daily notes, with the major emphasis centering around the words of the Apostle Paul boldly declaring: “Now thanks be to God which always causes us to triumph in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:14 KJV)  Then when I take that declaration as a filter while reviewing my own life’s history, I can’t help but notice all the “victories” that overwhelmingly highlight my story!  Those victories are the keys that help to enable my future.
I kind of like some of the words that the more modern God’s Word © version uses in this verse.  Here the editorial team translated: “But, I thank God, who always leads us in victory…”  Two words stand out to me as I study this statement.  The first is that which underscores my ability to “Man Up!” in this New Year.  It is the definitive declaration of “ALWAYS!  I believe that the Apostle who wrote over half of the New Testament was telling us of the importance of always having an attitude of victory in every situation we face in our lives.
Previous to this statement he is telling his readers that although he had an open door of ministry in a certain region, that he did not have peace and was concerned because he couldn’t find his close friend and ministry associate Titus.  But that didn’t deter him.  He simply said good bye to the people there and moved on into Macedonia.  The next verse tells us that he thanked God in the midst of his difficulties and knew that he would eventually have the victory and find Titus.
In my striving to follow the Lord’s directions to “Man Up!”, I realized that I have to have the expectation of victory in Christ in everything He calls me to do.  I don’t go into a situation with the thought of failure or second best… I continually look to Him for His victorious conclusion.
The other word that stands out to me in 2 Corinthians 2:14 is “leads.”  Therefore the key to always expecting a victory is that we always follow His leading!  So… when we go into a situation our eyes are not dependent upon what we see, hear or feel in the natural or on our own abilities to gain a victory or successful conclusion to what’s before us, but that we are so intent looking for, listening to and obeying His leadings that we can’t help but attain His victory.  As I sit here this morning with my wife at my side at the dining room table with a view of our beautiful ¾ of an acre piece of property that the Lord has blessed us with, I can’t help but be amazed and somewhat astounded as I recall all of the victories that He had gained for us as we have kept our eyes on His leadings over the last six plus years.
And sure, it always hasn’t been easy or at times looked anything like a victory, but our faithful stand in, by and through Him has seen His vision come to fruition as we stuck to and obeyed the path He set out for us to follow… many times within the sounds and negative actions of naysayers.  I have also come to notice that I have a lot more self-confidence, peace, joy and the corresponding strength that comes from His infillings of joy when I am expectant of His victory!
I think that is the truth that motivated Paul to encourage and enable the church at Philippi to “Always be joyful in the Lord, I’ll say it again: Be joyful!” (Philippians 4:4 God’s Word ©)  So… what will history record about you?  When you look back through the years of your life are you encourage and enabled by all the victories you see?  In case that’s not what populates the pages of your past… the cool thing is that you can still write your future by taking 2 Corinthians 2:14 to heart and make it a reality in your life… STARTING TODAY!
So therefore have a great and encouraging day as you continue to ask yourself… “What VICTORYS in Christ am I expecting today?”

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