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In 1 Samuel 30, we read the account of David and his men returning to Ziklag after being away, and finding that the Amalekites had attacked Ziklag, burned it with fire, and taken the women and children captive. Verse 6 says, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”

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Prior to this event, David had already suffered much at the hand of Saul. This could have been David’s last straw; He could have given up. Instead, he chose to strengthen himself in the Lord, consult God about the situation, and go into the enemies camp to retrieve all that was stolen. He then shared the spoil from that battle with friends and leaders in Judah. Because of this victory, he gained favor at a kairos (strategic) moment in the kingdom: While David and his men were getting their stuff back, Saul was killed in battle. It was time for David to rule. By the time David got to Hebron to take over the kingdom, “he had a great army, like the army of God.” If David had not encouraged himself in the Lord, he would not have had an army, and he would not have had the favor or strength to rule.

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If we do not encourage ourselves in the Lord, we will not have the strength to rule. We don’t always know how close we are to the next God moment, or how near we are to breakthrough in a situation. Opposition precedes miracle, and often the darkest hour is just before dawn. We need “Kairos Strength” - strength to seize the moment, press through the doors, and be ready for opportune times. This requires determination to maintain ourselves in the spirit, and not yield to the weakness of emotion. How did David strengthen himself in the Lord? How did he get through his hardships? Psalm 27 is a good example of how David drew from His relationship with God.

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Psalm 27: 1-3: The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.(David is confident He will be victorious in God. He is strengthening himself in truth and exalting God at the same time.)

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Psalm 27:4-5: One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.(There is a hiding place in God that David knows will protect and sustain him. Again, he is declaring truth, strengthening himself, and exalting God.)

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Psalm 27:6: And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. (David has strength and authority over his enemies. In spite of them and even before them, he is joyful in God’s house and sings praises to the Lord.)

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Psalm 27:7-9: Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek." Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.

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Notice that all of a sudden, the psalm turns from strong declaration of faith, to pleas for God’s presence and favor. Lord, I know the truth, I know all I have said is so, but the threat is real and circumstances are pressing in…don’t leave me now. Then, in the very next breath, he says, “When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.”

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This is the secret to David’s victory in praise and prayer: The Holy Spirit is downloading truth as David prays, and David is being enlightened and strengthened in the midst of his situation. He is magnifying God, building himself up in truth, and declaring truth to the spiritual forces around him as He makes his declarations. As the forces around him, the storms swirling in his life, try to press in and draw him out of that place of faith and strength, he lifts his plea to the Lord, and an immediate response springs forth from the spirit: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me.” The Holy Spirit has answered his spirit, and his heart cry changes from “Lord, do not leave me”… to… “when my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me.” This is the power of prayer, the power of declaration, and the power of Holy Spirit as counselor, always leading us back to truth, as we purpose to exalt Him in the midst of our circumstances.

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His next words acknowledge the teaching power of the Spirit, interacting with his prayer and worship, as he says in verse 11: Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.Then in verse 12-13, he again moves from faith declaration to prayer and pleas for protection, yet still acknowledging His faith in the Lord: Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

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Finally, in verse 14, he states what he has just been doing in verse 1-13, and declares the results: Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

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Wait on the Lord, and He shall strengthen your heart. As David worshipped and magnified God, declaring His goodness and faithfulness, He received answers to his doubts and fears, and his heart was strengthened. The pressing of the enemy served to draw him closer to God, the enemy’s attempts to spiral him into despair were defeated, and God was further glorified in realms of the spirit as demonic powers were rendered powerless to defeat David’s strength in God. God meets us in our hour of need as we declare His word and ask for His help.

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We see this process again in Psalms 40:1-3: I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

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As we wait and pray, we are pulled out of those pits that would swallow us up, and we are established with confidence on the rock of Christ. Our spirits leap with songs of praise, even as others see God’s work in our lives, and put their trust in Him.

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Throughout the Psalms, we see David sharing the depths of his pain and struggles, and in his prayer/praises to God, being lifted up on the wings of joy in the spirit. David was real with God. He had emotions, but he didn’t yield to them. He brought his struggles to God, he waited on the Lord, and the spirit strengthened Him in truth.

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Now let’s look at the disciples. In Mark 14, we read the account of their time with Jesus in Gethsemane. “And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.’ …Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”

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The disciples had a face to face relationship with Jesus for 3 years, yet they still needed to watch and pray for strength, for in their flesh, they were weak. Is it possible that you can be in the presence of God for years, but never going through anything, never pressing into anything, never standing on His word for anything, always yielding to your wants and emotions, you can be weak? The disciples were weak, and on this day, unprepared.

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David strengthened himself in his Kairos moment. The disciples slept, and then they fled. They were not yet ready to rule, but Jesus already knew that, and He had prayed for them. During the crucifixion and in the days that followed, the disciples were sifted, emptied, broken, and humbled. Then Pentecost came, and the church was born, but it was not just Pentecost that enabled them to carry that awesome move of God. It was the time in the upper room, in prayer, in hunger, in brokenness, in expectant waiting. When the Spirit came in fire, they were ready for the filling and they were ready for the commission.

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In this hour, we are waiting for another Pentecost, another Azusa St., and even greater than that, but there is something beyond Pentecost. The Lord can pour out His Spirit and we can still be weak and ineffective. The Corinthian church is our biblical model for that. We are looking for Kingdom rule, Kingdom authority, maturity in Christ. It’s about more than just getting our stuff back, more than getting our needs met, it is about Christ manifested on earth and the Father’s house being filled.

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We are being made ready, and we are going through some trails. We’re learning how to fight, and how to encourage and strengthen ourselves in the Lord. We have also been challenged to give up; challenged by offense, sickness, discouragement, financial hardship, etc. Now is not the time to quit, for if we don’t fight the battle, we don’t win the victory.

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Theodore Roosevelt said, Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” Another word for grey twilight is comfort zone. It can cause us to avoid the very things that can propel us into a triumphant life and true liberty. Salvation is free, but true kingdom living is taken by force. It is time to watch and pray, to choose strength over comfort and to encourage ourselves in the Lord. We never know when we are on the brink of a Kairos moment in God.

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