Complete the Race, Receive the Crown

Complete the Race, Receive the Crown

We all understand that in order to receive the crown (reward, wreath), we must complete the race as a winner.  A winner can also be called a conqueror, a victor, or an overcomer.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  (1 Cor 9:25 ESV)We are called by the Lord to complete the “race of life” as a conqueror who will receive an eternal reward.  One factor that is required, even as it is required of athletes, is self-control in all things.  But we are able.  Let’s remember that Romans 8:37 tells us:  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.We are “more than conquerors” because the true Conqueror, Jesus Christ, has shared His victory with each one of us through the gift of salvation.Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.  (2 Tim 2:5 NIV)Obviously, every race has rules that must be obeyed.  In order to receive the victor’s crown spoken about in the Bible, we must obey the Word of God.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim 6:12 NKJV)The battle in which we must engage is the battle for our very own souls, and the only way to win this battle is by FAITH.  This is emphatically taught in Scripture:For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4 NKJV)Who is the one who overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:5 NASB)But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NIV)

If we stay on the path of obedience to God and to His Word, we shall surely win the race and receive the crown!  Glory to God most High!

In All Situations, God is With Us

In All Situations, God is With Us

It’s an important fact to remember that God is always with us.  He always loves us and always fights for us.  He will NEVER forsake us.

Let’s look at what the Scriptures tell us:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  (Isa 43:2 NIV)

No matter what fiery trial may have come upon you, don’t forget that Jesus is in the midst of the fire WITH YOU.  We never walk alone, once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’  (Isa 41:10 AMP)

God is with us at all times to strengthen us, to help us, and to hold our hands.  And His hands are full of justice, power, victory, and salvation.  Praise God!

I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.  (Josh 1:9 CEV)

No matter where we go, the Lord commands us to be strong and to be brave.  We should not be afraid or discouraged.  Now that’s a pretty big ask.  To never be afraid—to never be discouraged—it seems almost too much to ask. 

But if we really meditate upon the fact that Jesus is with us, facing every foe and looking every challenge right in the face, right along WITH us, it will not seem quite so impossible.  Remember that Jesus carries justice, power, victory and salvation wherever He is.

But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  (2 Tim 4:17 ESV)

Even so, we will be able to testify that ‘I was rescued from the lion’s mouth’ right along with thousands of other believers.  All glory to God most High!

Pray for the Increase of Evangelism

Pray for the Increase of Evangelism

As believers and followers of Jesus, we’re called to pray for the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to spread over all of the earth. 

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you . . .  (2 Thes 3:1 NIV)  Pray for your Pastor and the missionaries that your church supports that God will bless and prosper their work.  Pray also for the family of your Pastor and the families of the missionaries that you support.

. . . for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.  (1 Cor 16:9 NIV)  Remember that there are spiritual opponents and challengers who stand against the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But the Bible reminds us that God has given us the victory.  It is part of our calling to pray for that victory to be manifested in every evangelistic outreach.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NKJV)

But the word of God increased and multiplied.  (Ac 12:24 NIV)  By the grace and mercy of God, our prayers can turn a situation around by faith in Jesus.

. . . therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Mt 9:38 NIV)  Ask the Lord in your prayers to send out more evangelists so that His good news of salvation may bring about the end-time harvest.

Of course, we should pray for our unsaved relatives and friends to be saved.  It’s a measure of our love for them that we desire to pray for their salvation.  Remember what the Bible tells us: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (Joh 15:7 NIV)  Rejoice!

An Established Throne

An Established Throne

As we read the Bible, we can see a consistent theme running throughout:  that God desires ALWAYS to do good to His people.  As we follow Christ obediently, by faith, we are one of God’s people.  Furthermore, He has decreed that His throne and His kingdom shall prevail forever.

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.  (2 Sam 7:16 NIV)

. . . 10 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel. Also I will subdue all your enemies. Furthermore I tell you that the Lord will build you a house. 11 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.”  (1 Chron 17:10-14 NKJV)

The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.  (Ps 103:19 CEB)

A throne will be established in mercy. In the tent of David a judge will sit on the throne in truth, seeking justice, eager to bring righteousness.  (Isa 16:5 EHV)

Why should God’s promise to establish a throne forever be good news to us?  Here are a few points for your meditation and reflection.

  • God, who knows EVERYTHING, is on our side.  (Ps 118:6-7 ESV; Heb 13:5)
  • God, who is ALL POWERFUL, is 100% for us.  (Ps 56:9b; Isa 41:10; Mt 28:20)
  • God is all-wise, and He shares His wisdom with us through His word.  (Ps 111:10; Pro 2:6; Lk 21:15; Jas 1:5)
  • God has good plans for each one of us.  (Jer 29:11; 1 Cor 2:9)
  • God is our healer.  (Ex 15:26; Ps 30:2; Jer 30:17; 1 Pet 2:24)
  • The Lord fights for us.  (Deu 3:22; 20:14; Josh 23:10)
  • The Lord has given us the victory.  (Deu 20:4; Rom 8:37; 1 Cor 15:57; Col 2:15; 1 Joh 5:4)

God’s plans for us are good.  He not only fights on our side, but He has already given us the victory! Hallelujah!

Where is God?

Where is God?

Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock?  Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them . . .  (Isa 63:11 NIV)

. . . just as I promised your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt. Don’t worry. My Spirit is right here with you.  (Hag 2:5 CEV)

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.  (Zech 4:6 ESV)

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Heb 13:5 NKJV)

For all of us who wonder, “Where is God?”  The Scriptures have given us answers as we can see from the passages shown above.

The Lord, who created us in His own image, has promised that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.  In the midst of sorrow, pain, and challenging circumstances, meditate upon these Bible passages. 

When we fancy that God is far from us, and is not moving in any way to help us—we must realize that we are mistaken.  We are in too much pain or in too much worry to see the truth.  The enemy of our souls will do everything within his power to prevent us from seeing the truth—that God is with us at all times. 

God is supplying His grace and His mercy to whatever our situation is.  He is operating in the spiritual, unseen realms to bring us to His victory:  for which Jesus has already paid the complete price.

Meditate upon the stripes that Jesus bore; the painful crown of thorns that were beat into His head by Roman soldiers; the cross that He carried for miles; and the ignominious death that He suffered all for you and for me.  After Jesus’ death, the mighty power of the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead, and carried Him to the right hand of God in heaven. 

Jesus fulfilled His destiny, so that all human beings would be able to have a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord.  He has promised He is with us to the end of the age.  (Mt 28:20) Oh, joy!

God Gives Us Triumph

God Gives Us Triumph

The Bible gives us many passages that speak about the truth that God gives triumph to His people.  Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord delivered His people from their enemies and gave them the victory.  In the New Testament, we also have a firm basis to trust that our God shall bring us to triumph over our enemies.

So I will triumph over my enemies around me. With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple; I will sing, I will praise the Lord.  (Ps 27:6 GNT) 

Whenever we experience an instance of God-given triumph, it should always motivate us to praise and to worship the Lord in joyous thanksgiving.  It’s an important part of victory to give the Lord all of the honor and glory that is due Him.

Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.  (Ps 112:8 NIV) 

In the midst of a trial or battle, we can rest assured knowing that we shall ultimately experience victory over the enemy.  Allow the passage of Scripture above to support your faith in a crisis.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.  (Col 2:15 NKJV)

Jesus, our Savior, is the One who disarmed every spiritual enemy and by publicly putting them on display, triumphed over them permanently.  Hallelujah!

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [triumph] through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NKJV)

In 1 Corinthians, the Scriptures clearly reveal that we may live in continual victory through Jesus Christ.

By faith in Jesus—and living in agreement with and obedience to Biblical standards—we live in a constant state of victory.  Our faith in the Lord makes us participants in His victory which is established forever in the heavens.

Crucify the Earthly Nature

Crucify the Earthly Nature

Today’s topic is the earthly nature of man with its passions and desires.  The Bible urges us to put to death the deeds of the body.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  (Col 3:5 NIV)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  (Rom 8:13)

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  (Gal 5:24)

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and temporary residents in the world, to abstain from the desires of the sinful flesh, which war against your soul.  (1 Pet 2:11 EHV)

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  (1 Cor 6:18)

Why do you think the Scriptures urge us in so many passages of the Bible to:

  • Put to death the earthly nature;
  • Put to the death the deeds of the body;
  • Crucify the flesh;
  • Abstain from desires of the sinful flesh; and to
  • Flee sexual immortality?

1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Peter 2 state very clearly the reasons why we should obey the Bible:

  • Because the desires of the flesh war against our own souls; and
  • The one who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

When we allow the lusts of the flesh to govern our actions, then we sin against our very own bodies.  How?  Because our bodies have become the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19-20)  This type of sin is an offense to our temple and the Holy Guest living within it.   

We belong to God, and our individual bodies belong to God.  We have chosen to follow Jesus of our own, free will; it hasn’t been forced upon us. 

The Lord has sealed each believer and given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.  (2 Cor 1:22)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  (Eph 4:30)

We are urged by the Word of God to live a righteous and holy life by the empowering grace of God.  (See Rom 12:1; 1 Pet 1:15-16)  Since the Lord has given us His gift of grace, we are enabled to live obedient, holy lives.  He has given us victory through Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57)  Let us celebrate God’s goodness and mercy!

We are called, as followers of Jesus Christ and children of God to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits.  God bless you!

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

God Stands By Us

God Stands By Us

Our amazing God stands by His people at all times, and in all circumstances. He actually fights for us.  The Bible confirms this truth.

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.  (Deu 3:22)

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.  (Deu 20:4)

Through You we will push back our adversaries; through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. (Ps 44:5)

One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.  (Josh 23:10)

God loves us and He defends us in order to give us the victory.  Jesus is our Overcomer.  (Joh 16:33b)  God has made each and every one of us overcomers because we are people of faith who serve a God who asks us to put our faith in Jesus Christ.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5, emphasis added)

God has promised that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ (which qualifies us as born-of-God) are overcomers.  Hallelujah!

God never stops fighting for us because He is almighty and eternal.  He is not limited by time; He is not limited by human constraints; and He never lacks for anything.  He calls us His chosen and special ones.  (Deu 7:6; 14:2)

His Word is His promise to us, and He is eternally faithful to His Word; He keeps His Word.  When our faith is weak, He is by our side, imparting His strength and grace to us.  All we need to do is to open our hearts to Him and allow His strength and empowerment to flow into us.

The Lord said that He will never leave us, never forsake us. (Neh 9:31; Heb 13:5b, italics added) 

If you’re in a battle of any kind whether faith, finances, relationships or health, put your trust and hope in Jesus Christ.  He is with you always—waiting for you to turn toward Him.  God bless you.

A Shield Called Faith

A Shield Called Faith

. . . above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  (Eph 6:16, emphasis added)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4, emphasis added)

We see that the Bible mentions a “shield of faith” in Ephesians chapter six.  This is quite an important concept, when you think and meditate upon it.  Shields were used to in ancient times to block attacks from hand-held weapons like swords as well as from projectile weapons such as arrows. 

The shield can also symbolize steadfast principles, commitment, loyalty and protection, which are afforded to us by taking up the spiritual “Shield of Faith” in Christ Jesus, our Savior.  This spiritual shield protects our hearts and minds from the attacks of the enemy which are designed to rob us of peace and joy.  Our spiritual shield also enables us to persevere in times of trials and crisis.

Cling to your confession of faith, brothers and sisters!  Heed Romans 10:8-9:

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.