Friday, December 16, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Victory

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.

While pondering the wonderful way artist Krista Hamrick illustrated the word, “Victory,” with a red heart in the center of the Cross of Christ, I was inspired by Travis Cottrell’s rendition of Victory in Jesus I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory, how He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me; I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood's atoning, Then I repented of my sins and won the victory. O victory in Jesus, My Savior, forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him, He plunged me to victory, beneath the cleansing flood.

The great English Bible teacher Captain Reginald Wallis writes: “The triumphant Christian does not fight for victory; he celebrates a victory already won.”

Navigators Pastor Lee Brase writes: “Allow God to help you recall the finished work of Christ and your future hope of final victory.”

The victory that has overcome the world is our faith - "This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith." (
I John 5:4b NET); "And this is the victory that has defeated the world: our faith." (Common English Bible).

Victory (nike) means overcoming of an enemy or antagonist. Nike means "victory, or the power that confers victory"…victory, then as abstract for concrete—the means for winning a victory.

Webster: Conquest; the defeat of an enemy in battle, or of an antagonist in contest; a gaining of the superiority in war or combat. Victory supposes the power of an enemy or an antagonist to prove inferior to that of the victor. Victory however depends not always on superior skill or valor; it is often gained by the fault or mistake of the vanquished. The advantage or superiority gained over spiritual enemies, over passions and appetites, or over temptations, or in any struggle or competition.

Nike or nikaō denotes victory over hostile powers. The real victor is God, who has power over his own enemies and those of his people and of the righteous. The people’s victory does not primarily depend upon the strength of their soldiers but upon whether God has delivered the enemy into the hands of the Israelite armies.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Self-denial is required, but true Christians have a principle which carries them above all hindrances. Though the conflict often is sharp, and the regenerate may be cast down, yet he will rise up and renew his combat with resolution. But all, except believers in Christ, are enslaved in some respect or other, to the customs, opinions, or interests of the world. Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armor by which we overcome. In and by faith we cleave to Christ, in contempt of, and in opposition to the world. Faith sanctifies the heart, and purifies it from those sensual lusts by which the world obtains sway and dominion over souls. It has the indwelling Spirit of grace, which is greater than he who dwells in the world. The real Christian overcomes the world by faith; he sees, in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth, that this world is to be renounced and overcome. He cannot be satisfied with this world, but looks beyond it, and is still tending, striving, and pressing toward heaven. We must all, after Christ's example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin.

Krista Hamrick chose to illustrate the word, “Victory,” with a red heart in the center of the Cross of Christ, in her Nativity Alphabet art print. This powerful translation of Habakkuk 3:17-19 Amplified Bible speaks of how we can lean in to this Victory in Jesus…Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Habakkuk saw injustice and violence, misery, and sin all around him. When God laid out the big picture and told Habakkuk of the victory to come, the prophet was so humbled and awed by the Lord’s greatness that something even more important did change: Habakkuk’s heart. He didn’t stop asking for the Lord’s help, but now he asked with faith and a heart of worship: No matter how bad things get, “I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” Ask God to build that kind of heart in you…no matter what.

Heavenly Father, as Habakkuk wrote, I have “heard all about You, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things You have done.” In our time of deep need, begin again to help us as You did in years gone by. Show us Your power to save us! No matter what happens, whether I see prayers answered or victories, may my heart rejoice in You. I will find my joy in You, for You are my strength! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Habakkuk 3:17-19 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on
Habakkuk 3:17-19 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on
 Habakkuk 3:17-19 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

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