Turning defeat into a WIN - with Chad Smanjak

chad smanjak psalm 23 Jul 18, 2019


Turning defeat into a WIN - Episode 2

You already have everything you need.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1

The famous king and poet, David, wrote this lyric as a man acquainted with pain. David was told from a young age that he would be king. Nothing pointed to that promise coming true for years. In fact, the sitting king hated his guts and chased him around the wilderness, trying to kill him.

David understood that even when he had nothing, and was on the run with his life in the balance, he already had what he needed. He learned to trust that the Lord was his shepherd, provider, protector... even when circumstances were at their worst.

It seems the bigger the promise, the greater the pain on the journey. The secret is believing along the way, “the Lord is my shepherd, I already have what I need.”


The journey of faith insists upon rest.

He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. Psalms 23:2-3a

When we rest we remember. We remember that we are not the Source. Our Source is the God of the universe. He likes us to remember that He designed the meadows and the streams. They were His idea; and our strength comes from Him.

In the eternal scheme of things, you already have everything you need. Take a deep breath. What are we chasing? Stop long enough to trust that we lack nothing. Rest is God始s gift to us on this journey. We need to embrace and enjoy the rest. God has His way of clearing a path from where you始ve been to where

He is taking you.

He tells us that He guides us along right paths, bringing honor to His name. Psalm 23:3

God is guiding, but sometimes we not following. Many days I miss the sign posts. There are moments I blow Him off. What happens then? It seems God gives us some time to live out the consequences of the course we始ve charted, only to use the struggle, pain, or confusion to help us embrace the way He has chosen for us.

Before long, we realize that, in His grace, we始re further along than we thought possible. He turned our zig-zagging into new wisdom for the “right path” and the journey ahead.

What brings the most “honor to His name?” Us making perfect decisions and being a religious robot? Or when we throw up our hands and allow Him to lead us out of the weeds and back to the adventure?

Our God with His miraculous machete specializes in making wrong paths right.

The darker things get, the closer God seems.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Psalm 23:4

When you're in a room or space that is exceedingly dark it can be difficult to see your hand in front of your face. The further the image, the more dim and mysterious it is. God uses mystery and darkness to tune our senses. We are forced to feel His presence even when it始s too dark to see — the feeling is that of His close proximity.

We realize He始s been there all along, we just didn始t notice. Take advantage of your dark valley. Feel God. He is “close beside” you. You don始t have to be afraid.

When you始re starved and struggling, God is preparing your feast.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. Psalm 23:5

When our enemies surround us, the circumstances are not ideal. Something has gone wrong. Maybe a misstep; maybe someone betrayed you; maybe you始re on the gossip circuit; maybe the conditions changed and you are now vulnerable...

When enemies surround you, it can feel like you始re the outsider; the forgotten; or the left behind. But...even in your dark moments, while you始re clinging to hope of redemption, God is preparing the next feast. You are not forgotten or abandoned. He is not done with you yet.

In fact, there始s a tasty buffet being lined up, just in the other room. You can始t see it yet, but can you smell it? It始s coming. God has good in store for you. Don始t lose hope or give up.

It may seem like your enemies surround you now, but the tables are about to turn.

My cup overflows with blessings. Psalm 23:5c

Are you dry and barely hanging on? Or are you overflowing? Listen, your circumstances might not need changing. You may not even require a getaway. “The overflow” might come as you sit and reflect and notice how the blessings keep pouring out.

This family...those friends...a place to call home...opportunity and safety. Even the challenges you始re facing—blessings! Preparing you for what始s next.

Even better than pursuing God is when we realize He始s already pursuing us.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

The songwriter was well-acquainted with being pursued. The sitting king pursued David at length, hoping to kill him and any threat of David taking his throne. David went from a kid minding his own business on his dad始s ranch, to a young adult running for his life, pursued by the most powerful man in the land.

Being pursued can feel uncomfortable. You wonder if you did something wrong; if you deserve the wrath coming your way. You hide in caves and tunnels. You eat only what you kill that day. You don始t have extra and what you have, is wearing out.

But... when you realize that it始s been God pursuing you all along, well, everything changes. You no longer feel defeated but realize you始re a winner. When you stop running and rest in His protective hands of promise... stroll in green provisional meadows...drink from still satisfying waters... All of a sudden, being pursued by any human with bad intentions just doesn始t seem like a big deal.

Defeat is no longer something you fear....Because God has made you a winner. And now, you始ll always be winner — even when you始re not

Chad Smanjak


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