Friday, January 26, 2007

A Prayer Away From A "Nevertheless"

I thought that President Bush's State of the Union address was really good. He hit upon many of the important points of our day. He showed strong, unflinching, leadership ability in regards to the war in Iraq; despite the naysayers in Congress, the press, and all the critics of the war. Webb's Democratic response lacked any new ideas and was simply a tool for him to unleash his hatred and contempt towards George Bush.

I have been reading a book called Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado. He is one of my favorite Christian writers! While reading chapter 12, which is on the subject of "strongholds," I couldn't help but see some similarities between what David faced when he looked at Jerusalem (which, at the time was occupied by the Jebusites...see 2 Samuel 5) and what our nation, troops and president face with regards to the current terrorism stronghold within Iraq today.

A "stronghold" is defined as:
1. A fortified place or a fortress.
2. a. A place of survival or refuge: one of the last strongholds of an age-old tradition.
b. An area dominated or occupied by a special group or distinguished by a special quality: a feminist stronghold; a stronghold of democracy.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

In 2 Samuel 5, we read how many times David had to defeat the Philistines, who, when they heard that David had captured the city came back again and again to take it away.

This is similar to what is happening today in Iraq. There are Jebusites (Al Qaida, Saddam loyalists etc.) and Philistines (Iran, Syria) who want to defeat the liberation efforts going on to accomplish victory for a free and democratic state of Iraq. In his speech, President Bush captured how important our efforts are, and how necessary our victory will be over there:

My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance of success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq – because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far reaching.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country – and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq, would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens... new recruits ... new resources ... and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September 11th and invite tragedy. And ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East ... to succeed in Iraq ... and to spare the American people from this danger.

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you in person. I respect you and the arguments you have made. We went into this largely united – in our assumptions, and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq – and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field – and those on their way.

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. That is why it is important to work together so our Nation can see this great effort through.

In the Democrats (and some RINOS) typical style, the "Jim Webbs" of our country don't want to give additional troops the chance to take back this stronghold within Baghdad.

Sure...this is a democratic republic and people are entitled to their opinions about the war. But I haven't seen nor heard one single naysayer come up with a better alternative!

Cut and run isn't a viable alternative. It would be disasterous, for all of the reasons that our president outlined in his speech.

What is sad to me is the fact that so many on the "other side of the aisle" (you know...the ones who claimed that they want to work in a "bipartisan" way) in Congress are like "the Jebusites" towards President Bush. I will explain while utilizing some excerpts from Lucado's book.

First, I want to make it clear that I am not using these illustrations to say that there is an exact comparison between David of the Bible and President Bush.

However, I am comparing the actions needed to defeat the stronghold each one faces. Second, in the biblical account, David occupies the city, whereas, in Iraq, the point is to allow liberty to occupy the capital city of Baghdad.

Lucado mentions that strongholds are often a tool of Satan. And, we have seen such a thing occurring through the Islamo-fascist ideology that possess the terrorists in Iraq. Lucado states:

He (Satan) lives up to both sides of his compound name: strong enough to grip like a vise and stubborn enough to hold on. He clamps like a bear trap - the harder you shake, the more it hurts.

Strongholds: old, difficult, discouraging challenges.

That's what David faced when he looked at Jerusalem. When you and I think of the city we envision temples and prophets. We picture Jesus teaching, a New Testament church growing. We imagine a thriving, hub-of-history capital.

When David sees Jerusalem in 1000 BC, he sees something else. He sees a millennium-old, cheerless fortress, squatting defiantly on the spine of a ridge of hills. A rugged outcropping elevates her. Tall walls protect her. Jebusites indwell her. No one bothers them. Philistines fight the Amalekites. Amalekites fight the Hebrews. But the Jebusites? They are a coiled rattlesnake in the desert. Everyone leaves them alone.
Doesn't that sound eerily similar to the former Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq?

Didn't the United Nations let that "rattlesnake in the desert" continue on, defying 17 U.N. resolutions?

Didn't Saddam kick out the weapons inspectors?

Didn't we eventually find out the real reason WHY the U.N. didn't want to go to war in Iraq in the first place?

Once the U.S. Britain, and the rest of the coalition countries were there, we discovered indisputable evidence of the ongoing Oil for Food Scandal...starring...several of the U.N. "ambassadors" and Hussein's corrupt sons!

History tells us that the region of Iraq suffered under more than 30 years of dictatorship from a brutal thug like Hussein. He paid Palestinian "suicide-homicide bomber" families hefty sums in order to get young men to straps bombs on themselves, creep into Israel, and blow themselves up...with the goal of taking as many Jews with them, in death, as they could.

I could go on and on with a whole list of atrocities. Mass unmarked graves, torture chambers and rape rooms...

Why was the U.N. content to sit by and just let that horrendous regime cause such immense suffering and murder of its people?




A corrupt and brutal dictator in Iraq.

Corruption at the U.N.

Pretty much sums up the Oil for Food Scandal.

Back to Lucado sharing David's story:

Everyone leaves them (the Jebusites) alone. Everyone, that is, except David. The just-crowned king of Israel has his eye on Jerusalem. He's inherited a divided kingdom. The people need, not just a strong leader, but strong headquarters.

We didn't know that 9/11 was going to happen. But God knew. He chose a leader for America during the divisive 2000 election, and again in 2004 who would stick to his decisions and not waver in the midst of controversy, disagreement and mockery.

Lucado cites 2 Samuel 5:6-9 (NKJV):

2Sa 5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, "You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you," thinking, "David cannot come in here."

2Sa 5:7 Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).

2Sa 5:8 Now David said on that day, "Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind, who are hated by David's soul), he shall be chief and captain."* Therefore they say, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house."

2Sa 5:9 Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo* and inward.

Lucado continues:

This regrettably brief story tantalizes us with the twofold appearance of the term stronghold. In verse 7, "David took the stronghold," and in verse 9, "David dwelt in the stronghold."

Substitute David's name with the term "Liberty" and we see what our war efforts in Iraq are to accomplish.


Jerusalem meets the qualifications of one: an old, difficult, and discouraging fortress. From atop the turrets, Jebusite soldiers have ample time to direct arrows at any would-be wall climbers. And discouraging? Just listen to the way the city-dwellers taunt David. "You'll never get in here...Even the blind and lame could keep you out!" (5:6 NLT).

The Jebusites pour scorn on David like Satan dumps buckets of discouragement on you:

* "You'll never overcome your bad habits."
* "Born white trash; gonna die white trash."
* "Think you can overcome your addictions? Think again."

[Note: In Lucado's book, he discusses the individual strongholds that can ruin our lives if we let the enemy of our souls build a stronghold there. But for the sake of this essay, I will simply say that we have all heard the mocking voices of the terrorists, as well as those in our own country who hate President Bush.]


If you've heard the mocking David heard, your story need the word David's has. Did you see it? Most hurry past it. Let's not. Pull out a pen and undeline this twelve-letter masterpiece.


"Nevertheless David took the stronghold..."

Granted, the city was old. The walls were difficult. The voices were discouraging...Nevertheless David took the stronghold.

Now, apply those same words to Iraq and Baghdad.

Nevertheless LIBERTY took the stronghold...

Granted, the city (of Baghdad) was old. The walls (enemies gathered there) are difficult. The voices were discouraging (both of our enemies and our liberal left media)... Nevertheless, LIBERTY took the stronghold.

THAT is our goal in Iraq!

David turns a deaf ear to old voices. Those mockers strutting on the wall tops? David ignores them. He dismisses their words and goes about his work.

That's a true sign of a great leader...

We need to continue to pray for success in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere else we are needed to fight this war against Islamo-fascism! Are you fellow Christians??


Switching gears a bit, let's look at Lucado's question to us all:

Wouldn't you love God to write a nevertheless in your biography?

We all need a nevertheless. And God has plenty to go around. Strongholds mean nothing to him. Remember Paul's words? "We use God's mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil's strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:4 NLT)


Remember Nehemiah? Five hundred years later, he headed up a building program to restore the fortifications after Jerusalem was in ruins and many people were in captivity. Critics tell him to stop. They plan to interfere with his work. They list all the reasons the stones can't and shouldn't be restacked. But Nehemiah won't listen to them. Nehemiah knew how to press the "mute button" on his dissenters. (see Neh. 6:3)

What about the individual, personal strongholds in your own life?


Two types of thoughts continually vie for your attention. One proclaims God's strengths; the other lists your failures.

Why listen to the mockers...when you can, with the same ear, listen to the voice of God?

I know many victorious Christians who overcame some deep and difficult strongholds within their own lives! Alcohol, drugs, illicite sex, name it.

Just like David, they found fresh hope in God through His strength!

The Person of Jesus Christ indwelling within the soul of the believer has the power to overcome any stronghold in your life...if you allow Him to work within you through the power of the Holy Spirit!

What a promise we have in Jesus Christ!!

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

Eph 1:14 who* is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Eph 1:15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,

Eph 1:16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

Eph 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,

Eph 1:18 the eyes of your understanding* being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Eph 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

Eph 1:20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

Eph 1:21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Eph 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

Eph 1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

1:10 NU-Text and M-Text omit both.
1:14 NU-Text reads which.
1:18 NU-Text and M-Text read hearts.


Who knows, you may be a prayer away from a nevertheless. God loves to give them.

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