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Winning the Battle for Your Breakthrough

by Marilynn Chadwick

Do you ever feel like some problems just won’t budge? Does it seem like you can’t seem to win your spiritual battle, no matter how much you pray?

Perhaps you just need a breakthrough.

Breakthrough was first used as a military term to signify an offensive thrust past the defensive lines of warfare. The word entered the realm of common speech during the technological age, often used to describe a sudden discovery or invention.

Breakthroughs usually occur only after repeated failures.

Think about it. Thomas Edison tried unsuccessfully over 10,000 times before his breakthrough invention of the electric light bulb. The Wright brothers experienced hundreds of crashes before their breakthrough in flight. And countless scientists performed endless experiments before breakthroughs in DNA research.

Breakthroughs in any endeavor require perseverance and strategy. This is especially true in the spiritual realm, when we sometimes crash headlong into a formidable yet unseen enemy again and again before the victory comes.

We can learn a lesson from the psalmist and warrior-king David. Years earlier, he had conquered the Philistine giant Goliath. But here he is preparing for battle again, facing the Philistine army not far from the site of his famous face-to-face encounter with the giant.

This time, the Philistines waged their attack in the Valley of Rephaim, which means “the Valley of Giants” or “the Valley of Trouble.” Though a seasoned warrior, David pauses to pray, asking God for His marching orders.

So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The Lord replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.” So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God did it!”

David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”) (1 Chronicles 14:10-11 NLT).

The Philistines abandoned their gods and fled, but they returned again to raid the valley one more time. Even with the memory of the first victory still fresh in his mind, David prays to the Lord and listens for His strategy:

Once again David asked God what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” God replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, go out and attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” So David did what God commanded, and they struck down the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. So David’s fame spread everywhere, and the Lord caused all the nations to fear David (1 Chronicles 14:14-17 NLT).

It’s a good thing David was listening, for God’s strategy this time required a very different response. The Lord rarely does things the same way twice, so it’s crucial to receive His instructions before we engage the enemy.

Ask God for His guidance in your battle, my friend. Really listen. You might be surprised at His answers.

Seek Him every time, then obey immediately. He wants you to experience the great joy of victory. Your “Valley of Trouble” can become the very place where you have a fresh encounter with Jesus, your “Lord of the Breakthrough.”

I’d Like a Fresh Encounter with Jesus

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Marilynn Chadwick is the founder of Seeds of Hope, a non-profit that provides education for kids with big dreams but lacking in resources. Learn more at


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