• Rev. Mark Tews

Prevail with Confidence

Retired U.S. Marine Corps General, Charles Krulak, recounted a critical event in the Gulf War of 1991 during a message he gave in Wheaton, Illinois. “The prevailing winds in the Gulf area blow from northeast to southwest. If you attack from the southwest, your enemy can release biological weapons into the air, and the chemicals will blow right into your face. It was a tremendous concern for the military in the southwestern desert and a grave prayer concern for many, both overseas and back home. On February 21, 1991, American forces began an attack from the southwest at four in the morning. Only three hours before, the prevailing winds had shifted from southwest to northeast, exactly 180 degrees from the direction the prevailing winds normally blow. The winds blew in that direction for four days, the four days of the duration of the war. Within thirty minutes of the surrender, the winds shifted back.” (Leadership journal, www.PreachingToday.com). That is the unbelievable power of prayer. So don’t be afraid to ask God for the impossible in your life, if that’s what it takes to accomplish His Will.

Persevere with certainty as you depend on the Lord’s power. Persist in the fight until God gives you complete victory over the enemy. That’s what Joshua did. The book of Joshua tells how Joshua led the Israelites with God over one enemy after another until they had conquered the entire southern region of the Promised Land. “And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.” (Joshua 10:42).

Joshua prevailed, not because of his own ingenuity but because God fought for Israel. My dear friends, God fights for you as well. So, like Joshua, keep on going until you have conquered every enemy. PREVAIL WITH CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S MIGHT. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10). You see, God has already conquered the enemy on the cross! “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame.” (Colossians 2:15). God became one of us so “that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14-15). God fought for you on the cross, disarming the forces of evil and delivering you from slavery of sin. So, persist in the fight until you have conquered every enemy!

Sherwood Pictures and the Kendrick Brothers have produced some great movies over the years. They include Fireproof (2008), Courageous (2011), and War Room (2015), all of which have been very popular. One of their earlier films, Facing the Giants, was also very popular. It’s about Grant Taylor, the head coach at Shiloh Christian Academy, who has yet to post a winning record in his six-year tenure. After his seventh season begins with a three-game losing streak, the players' fathers start making noise about replacing him with one of the other coaches. That’s when Grant rededicates himself to God and decides to praise God, no matter what the result. He also urges each one of his players to give the maximum effort and motivates them to believe they can win with God’s help. However, he needs one of his key seniors, Brock Kelly, to stop dragging the team down with his pessimism and take the lead.

As the players gather for practice one day, one of them asks, “So coach, how strong is Westview this year?” Brock answers, “A lot stronger than we are.” Coach Taylor asks Brock if he has already written off the game as a loss, and Brock responds, “Well, not if I knew we could beat 'em.” Coach Taylor summons Brock and another player, Jeremy, onto the field and tells Brock that he wants to see him do a death crawl (a training exercise where one player bear crawls with another player on his back). “Except,” the coach tells Brock, “I want to see your absolute best.” Brock asks him what that means – “What, you want me to go to the 30?” Coach Taylor responds, “I think you can go to the 50.” Brock tells his coach he could do that without anyone on his back, but Coach Taylor tells Brock he thinks he can do it, and “even if you can't, I want you to promise you're going to do your best.” When Brock agrees, his coach adds one more challenge: Brock will be blindfolded so he doesn’t give up too soon.

As Brock takes his position and Jeremy climbs on his back, Coach Taylor starts him off and encourages him. When Brock asks if he’s at the 20-yard line yet, Coach Taylor replies, “Forget the 20. You give me your best.” He continues to call out encouragement to his player. Brock pushes until he slows to a stop asking for a rest, then continues until he cries out that it hurts. “Don't quit on me,” Coach Taylor answers, “your very best—keep drivin'.” “He's heavy,” Brock wheezes. “I know he's heavy.” “I'm about out of strength.” “Then you negotiate with your body to find more strength,” Taylor yells, raising his volume to exhort his player, “but don't you give up on me, Brock. You're doin' good. Do not quit on me. It's all heart from here.”

By now the entire team is standing speechless, watching Brock continue on. Coach Taylor shouts: “30 more steps … 20 more … 10 more … 1 more!” until Brock finally collapses. “It's got to be the 50,” Brock cries. “It's got to be the 50; I don't have any more.” “Look, Brock,” says Coach Taylor, “you're in the end zone.” (Facing the Giants, Destination Films, 2006, directed by Alex Kendrick; Chapter 12, 00:45:24 – 00:49:46; www.PreachingToday.com).

The coach knew that Brock had it in him, so he pushed Brock not to quit until he had crossed into the end zone. My dear friends, as believers in Christ, you have it in you too! You have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within, and the Bible says, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). So do not stop until you have crossed into the “end zone.” Persist in God’s power until you have conquered every enemy. Proceed with confidence in God’s Word. Pray with confidence in God’s Will. Then prevail with confidence in God’s might, no matter how great the enemy. With God’s help, you cannot lose!

I like the way J. R. R. Tolkien once put it in a letter. He said: "No man can estimate what is really happening at the present. All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience, is that evil labors with vast power and perpetual success in vain: preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in.” (Chris Armstrong, “9/11, History, and the True Story”, Christian History Connection, 9-14-02; www.PreachingToday.com).

In God’s world, the enemy’s dirt is only the soil in which God grows good things. So put your confidence in the Lord and let Him grow His goodness in you no matter what the enemy throws in your face.