John 15:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NKJV)
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which isnot inhabited.
7“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear[b] when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Judges 7:20 (NKJV)
20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the Lordand of Gideon!”
As I was fasting and praying for the Lord to fill me up afresh with His Holy Spirit, He was once again faithful to me. He showed me these scriptures today through my devotional reading as a reminder of what I should do. He reminded me of the main 4 ingredients that are needed for my victory.
Here are these 4 main ingredients:
1. I must abide in Jesus as He abides in me. It`s a mutual responsive relationship which could only exist through the personal knowledge of God and authentic genuine desire to know Him (John 15:4-5)
2. I can only rely on God in everything I do and not on man for cursed is the man whose strength is in people rather than in God (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
3. I must allow God to “break pitchers”, so His light could shine through me (Judges 7:20).
4. I must always carry “trumpets”with me whenever I go. To us, as believers, these trumpets represent our daily praise and thanksgiving to God for everything that He does in our lives.
I`ll go through each one of these components in greater details to remind us of the opportunity God presents us with by using these ingredients to win battles that we each face.
1. I must abide in Jesus as He abides in me. This is crucial to every believer to abide in Jesus and to realize the significance of His sacrifice.
When listening to the testimony of Nicky Cruz, he says that it wasn`t the deliverance of Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2), or the demon possessed man who lived among the tombs that was delivered by Jesus (Luke 8:27-33) that touched his heart, but the crucifixion of Jesus and a graphic depiction of that event, that got him to repent and really surrender his life to Jesus. Nicky says that he realized the Jesus was good and he was bad; he realized that he didn`t deserved to live, yet Jesus died for him on the cross. That`s the power of the Gospel that`s alive and continues to touch the hearts of people. We must acknowledge Jesus in our hearts and surrender to Him, so He could abide in us. We must abide not in other people, not in media, or whatever else that makes us tick, but in Jesus, so He in turn, could abide in us and bear “much fruit”. This mutual responsive relationship that softens our hearts; it uproots whatever sin we harbor in our lives, and produces spiritual maturity. We cannot win battles without this crucial component.
2. I can only rely on God in everything I do and not on man.
This is another significant truth that we have to have in our live as a backbone of our walk with the Lord. Whatever the circumstances are, our trust must be solely in the Lord and Him alone. People are like weather and seasons—they change on us unpredictably, and those whom we count to be most reliable today, tomorrow may stab us in the back and betray, but God remains faithful at all times for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV):
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
My own husband, my the best friend, betrayed me in the worst possible ways, so I would never put my trust in people ever again. Not to say that I would not be open to rebuild my relationships with my husband, but that I would never make him my source of reliance. I had so many opportunities to depend on my attorneys, or some people, or judges, but I knew that I would fail miserably in the court if I put my trust in who defends me or judges my circumstances because they are only flesh and blood appointed by God. I have to trust in my ultimate source—in God who orchestrates everything. There is nothing, and absolutely nothing, that happens without His permission. I think if we would truly realize that and remember every day, we would have no trouble trusting in Him alone to see us through our trials. If He gave us those trials, than He is the only source who could provide us with the solution and guidance as to how to win the battle; therefore, we must to have our trust only in the Lord.
3. I must allow God to “break pitchers”, so His light could shine through me (Judges 7:20).
This is a unique scripture in the book of Judges that He showed me today and shed a new light to the way I understood it before when reading the story of Gideon. This is just another reason why I love Bible so much because every time I read the same scriptures, I notice either a verse that I never understood before or never even remembered that it existed; God just uses Holy Spirit to open my eyes to the places that I need at the right time.
So here we have a story of Gideon and the way Israelites were oppressed by Midianites after their backsliding with God. The Lord commanded Gideon to first sieve through the multitude of the people who responded to the call to go to war with Midianites. God made sure that only the brave 300 were left to go with Gideon to war. Once he sieved through the multitude of the people, God commanded Gideon to take only the trumpets, and the pitchers with oil.
I`d like to stop for a moment on the significance of the instruments that God commanded to Gideon to use for this war with Midianites: trumpet and a pitcher (torches with light). There were no weapons, no knives, or any other killing instruments other than these two important items: pitcher and a trumpet.
God showed me that these pitchers had to be broken down in order for the light to shine. The oil was hidden in the pitcher, and in order to use the oil to light up the light, the pitcher had to be broken. To us, as believers, it applies directly in such a way that we are clay in God`s hands, and He molds us into the pitchers/vessels of His glory. Sometimes in order for Him to get Jesus to shine through us and to direct our paths, He has to break this pitcher that He Himself created in one`s mother`s womb. Sometimes, He allows devastating circumstances in our lives that break our old nature and personality, so He could release that light in our hearts to bring victory.
I always carry with me this scripture in Jeremiah 48:11-15 (I used part of this scripture in my article called “Untouchables”):
11“Moab has been at ease from his[e] youth; He has settled on his dregs, And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into captivity. Therefore his taste remained in him, And his scent has not changed. 12 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I shall send him wine-workers Who will tip him over And empty his vessels And break the bottles (Jeremiah 48:11-12 NKJV).
Although God is talking about Moabites here and the example of the vessels of wine, but the principle stays the same: God breaks the vessels in order to get to the substance inside. This scripture is very dear to my heart because God showed it to me as a prophecy of what`s gonna happen to my husband and the way God would deal with him in order to get him saved. He is going to break this vessel that was left for awhile (my husband got saved when he was in high school during one of the evangelistic crusades, and after that he went right back to living an unsaved life), so God is going to break this vessel that was “untouched” from his youth, and He is going to pour the substance of his heart out, so He could give him a new heart, a heart of flesh rather than a heart of stone.
To us, as believers, this is a very important principle- God always breaks the pitchers in order to get to the light inside and make it shine. Some of us resist it longer than the others, but when God evaluates the substance of our hearts and sees that under certain amount of pressure, we would break, He does it because He cares for us so much. He cares only about our hearts, so they are given all the opportunity to get saved ad to abide in Him to bring “much fruit”.
We must have this component in our lives to see God`s victory. When God doesn`t deal with our “pitchers” (our hearts), than we cannot be worthy warriors for His Kingdom and bear fruit, so I encourage you not to estrange the hardships, afflictions, and trials. That only means that God cares about you greatly and He is trying to get to that “light”in your heart to make it shine, so you could win whatever battle of “Midianites”you have in your life. This is God`s prove that when we have Jesus in our hearts that shine brightly, all our enemies start running around in terror like all the Midianites did with the multitudes of others; God turned their hands against each other, so that Israelites didn`t even have to kill anybody. Whatever battles we fight, we must remember that those are God`s battles and not ours, so the victory is His!
4. Always carry “trumpets” with us whenever we go. To us, as believers, these trumpets represent our daily praise and thanksgiving to God for everything that He does in our lives. Israelites were appointed to have the Feast of Trumpets by God in which day they weren`t allowed to work but had to rest. That day was specifically to remember all the God`s work.
18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lordand for Gideon.’” (Judges 7:18 NIV)
Gideon and the 300 people who came with him for the battle blew their trumpets as a first weapon they used against the multitude of the nations gathered to fight against them.
Praise and thanksgiving is one of the most powerful weapons that we have against the enemy-Satan, on the days of our battles. These “trumpets” represent a mighty weapon of praise and worship.
The trumpets were common instrument Israelites brought with them as it served multiple purposes: as a warning of the enemy`s proximity, Levites carried trumpets to worship God and keep the service going while people were at war, there was a Feast of Trumpets(Leviticus 23:24, Numbers 29:1) in remembrance of everything God`s done for the nation, and they weren`t allowed to work that day but rest and remember all God`s work. Trumpets were also used for the calling of the assembly whenever Israelites were getting ready to leave from some place and move their tents for the road (Numbers 10:1).
As believers, we must have always in our daily walk with the Lord a grateful heart for everything that He does, and make it a point to remember each day down to the small details all the testimonies that He gives us. I make myself write down as many testimonies as I can for the way Lord protects me, delivers me, provides for me, and shows His endless love. It serves me a constant reminder of the way His hand sustains me, and it helps me believe on the days when I doubt that He is with me, and this is His battle and not mine that I fight.
Only today, I was praising Him for the way He provided and alternative temporary job for one of my close family members knowing already that the job she had until last week was going to temporarily stop. God already knew ahead of time that we would need additional income, and He made sure that He organized and worked out all the details for the alternative employment week ahead of time before my family member found out about her layoff. This is marvelous work of God, and it only proves that only He knows all the deadlines and circumstances ahead of time. He orchestrates everything and guides us when we are faithful to Him and abide in Him.
We must have grateful hearts even for the small details (I remember the days when I thanked Him for a free cup of coffee that I would get once in a while or free food, or a gift card to buy clothes when I needed to buy some alternative size after losing a lot of weight with all the stress that I am going through this year). I would never forget the day when out of the blue, a person whom I never met before, but whom my cousin knew (she was a mother of one of his friends in school), she brought us gift cards and basket of food right before last Christmas worth for $400. We were in awe the way God provided for us every day when we literally had no means and were tight on money. All those gift cards weren`t just unnecessary luxurious items, but they were gift cards for the grocery store, particular really nice clothes store (which ran enormous sale right at that time allowing me to buy the necessary clothes for work by a really good clearance), and other needed items. That was a glory of God that sustained us and continues to see us through all the hardships whenever we experience.
I make sure I carry my “trumpet”with me every day and make it a point to thank Him for everything. He rewards me greatly for my soft and receptive heart. This is important for us to remember to have praise and worship time every day and share with others of all the things He`s done and does each day. This kind of grateful heart produces testimonies which are the best music to His ears because they testify of His glory. They produce much fruit, which is exactly what Jesus referred to in John 14:4-5 when He stated that when we abide in Him, He abides in us, and we bear “much fruit”. I love this. This is yet another promise of God that I will bear “much fruit” when I commit myself to truly daily and faithfully abide in Him.
There is no magic here when we look for these main 4 components bringing forth God`s victory, yet so many times we lose some of these ingredients in our lives, and as a result we fail. When we fail, we tend to blame God for our failures when the answer is simple: abide in Him, rely on Him only, allow Him to break your “pitcher” and take out your “trumpet”. It is essential that we have all 4 of these things present in our lives to see the victory. I am grateful to the Lord that He reminded me of these things as I approach my upcoming hearing in a month. I have a count down for a last month until my hearing on October 19th, and I better have all these 4 components up to date in my life, so I could see a victory on the day of the hearing.
It may even look to us sometimes that these are not substantial enough resources to battle our circumstances with, yet these are exactly the components God wants us to use to fight, so we don`t become proud. He wants to receive all the glory. These ingredients require faith and trust in the Lord, and sometimes it`s too tempting for us to seize control in our own hands and attempt fighting our battles with worldly typical weapons: lie for a lie, vengeance for betrayal, hate for hate, blow for blow.
Here is what God told Gideon inJudges 7:2 (NIV):
2 The Lordsaid to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’
We are so selfish, proud and sinful in nature, that it`s only natural for us to boast when we win. That`s why God calls us for using unnatural weapons to our nature requiring complete surrender in faith. He eliminates and sieves through the multitude of the resources that we have when facing battle, so only His “light” and “trumpet”could win.
We should always keep in mind that God is on our side when we abide in Him, and He would never leave us when we put our trust in Him on the day of our battle. The victory is His to begin with, so we only need to allow Him to win by walking in obedience.