Tag  |  victory

Future Victory

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs baseball team won the World Series (North America’s pro baseball championship) for the first time since 1908. After their win, people everywhere declared that “the Curse” had been lifted. The curse supposedly originated in 1945, when William Sianis tried to bring his pet goat into Wrigley Field during a game. Guards denied them access and Sianis reportedly said, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”

unfair and unjust

At a recent kids’ function, I watched two boys play a jousting game on an inflatable “fighting” ring. Each boy was instructed to stand on an inflated pedestal and use an oversized pole shaped like a Q-tip to knock the other off his perch. The one who fell off first would lose.

trust and reality

The young man looked at me in wide-eyed fear. He could climb no further. “What happens,” he cried, “if I fall off the rock?” “The problem isn’t falling; the problem is hitting the ground,” I said, smiling. He sent an accusing stare in my direction.

why didn’t He protect us?

Our lives began to fall apart when my daughter took her life,” the woman told me during a break in the conference we were both attending. “And then our second daughter spiraled into depression and started to ‘self-harm.’ After several months we discovered the reason why: While my husband and I were missionaries in Indonesia, two of our three children had been sexually abused at a mission-run school. We had given our lives to serve God. . . . Why didn’t He protect us?” I would hear similar stories at that conference—people who felt betrayed by God.

our triumph

I started this year with great enthusiasm. Having mapped out a strategy for pointing the youth ministry at my church toward loving God and loving people, I shared it with some colleagues and off we went! Well, 6 months later, I did an evaluation and found we had made only minuscule progress. Discouragement covered me like a dark cloud.

the bottom line

While in college, the great missionary Adoniram Judson lost his faith when he fell under the spell of Jacob Eames, a deist who believed that God never interferes in our lives. When he was on a trip, Judson stayed at a village inn next door to a man who was dying. The man’s groans kept Judson awake and he began to think about death. Was he ready to meet God? The next morning Judson learned that the man had died. He asked the innkeeper if he knew who the man was. “Oh yes. Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames . . . Jacob Eames.”

foxy lady

Not long ago, my wife, Miska, met a friend for coffee. As they sat at an outdoor café, a man in a white fedora walked back and forth near them—several times. He would go into the barbershop next door, only to exit a few minutes later and cruise near the ladies, giving them a smile or word. He was working it. On his final sweep, he paused to slide Miska a note on a yellow Post-it addressed to “Foxy Lady.” Part of me wants to punch the guy in the face. But I’d also like to shake his hand. While I would have liked for him to raise his fedora enough to notice Miska’s wedding ring, I appreciate his brazen courage. I, of all men, understand the beauty he encountered. I guess with some people, we simply can’t contain our delight. But the poor fellow didn’t stand a chance.

vulnerable

David was commended by God as “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). But when I think of David, two significant events surface: when he took down Goliath (1 Samuel 17:32-50), and when he committed adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-5). One showed David’s victorious faith; the other his notorious sin and defeat.

walls

Walls are designed to keep people safe. But walls also divide, keeping people apart. The 96-mile (155 km) Berlin Wall kept the East Germans in. The Great Wall of China, which was believed to be 5,500 miles long (8,850 km) and is now estimated to be 13,170 miles long (21,196 km), kept enemies out.

in God’s presence

During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, military chaplain Cary Cash served with the US military’s 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment as they battled their way to Baghdad. After the regiment secured Saddam Hussein’s Almilyah presidential palace, a young marine—ministered to by Cash—bowed and received Jesus as his Savior. Later, the chaplain baptized the young man in the inner sanctum of the palace. In his book A Table in the Presence, Cash writes: “A place that had been known for the presence of darkness and treachery had become a place of the presence of God—a table in the presence.

victory

Matthew 26:38-39: He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet I want Your will to…

what we believe does matter

1 John 5:4-5: For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

As children of God, who have been redeemed and made alive unto God in Christ, we must see ourselves as more…

woof, woof

An Old Testament proverb says, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness” (Proverbs 26:11). And I’ll be the first to say, “Woof, woof.” More times than I care to admit, I foolishly feast on my own sinful puke—figuratively speaking. And it always leaves me (and others) feeling sick in the stomach.

What’s the deal? Why…

fish on!

Fish on!” I’ve heard those words shouted many times while trolling for salmon on Lake Michigan. It’s the traditional way anglers announce that a fish has been hooked and the fight has begun.

On one occasion, the angler who grabbed the pole that was dancing wildly in the rod holder was my buddy’s teenage son, Jake. For 20 minutes, Jake…

praise and victory

Tough day ahead? Maybe a battle or two or? Maybe just a busy schedule robbing you of peace? Let God duke it out for you. I'm going to try to the same thing.

Let's fight our battles, big or small, the same way Jehoshaphat did in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. (Read it for yourself— it's awesome!). He sought the Lord.

Verse…

Related Topics

> christian living

Actions Speak

Two siblings went down truly divergent paths. One turned his back on Jesus and eventually spent years in prison. The other lived out the grace and love of God, compassionately caring for family, those inside the body of Christ, and those on the outside. Two lives marked by actions that spoke loudly.

Careful Living

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is a marvel to behold. Clad all in stainless steel, the 630-foot arch is the tallest of these types of structures in the entire world. When it was constructed in the 1960s, both feet of the arch were erected simultaneously, and joined at their very center. But had the construction of either foot of the arch been off by even a fraction, the two halves of the arch would have missed making a perfect union. Such a marvel of engineering required incredibly careful planning and thorough execution.

Honor by Example

Darkness wrapped the jet in a quiet comfort, while a few reading lights remained on. Though it was late in the evening and passengers were trying to sleep, the loud chatter of two young women could be heard above the hum of the plane’s engine. Suddenly, an older woman seated in front of them turned around and sharply exclaimed, “Would you two be quiet!” Taken aback, they looked around to see who had heard and began laughing disrespectfully. Turning to glare once more, the disrupted sleeper settled back in her seat.

> daily devotional

Making Plans

Andre-Francois Raffray was a middle-aged lawyer who found a bargain. A ninety-year-old widow named Jeanne Calment offered her French apartment en viager, or “for life.” If Raffray paid her $500 US per month for her remaining days, he would inherit her apartment when she died. But as months turned into years, Calment kept living and Raffray kept paying. Finally, after thirty years and a lot of money, Raffray died! Jeanne Calment celebrated her 120th birthday and shrugged, “In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.”

Looking Back

Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But the original thought may be traced to the philosopher George Santayana, who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s true; you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.

Actions Speak

Two siblings went down truly divergent paths. One turned his back on Jesus and eventually spent years in prison. The other lived out the grace and love of God, compassionately caring for family, those inside the body of Christ, and those on the outside. Two lives marked by actions that spoke loudly.

> ethics

Imitate My Father

The idea of immigrants competing with locals for jobs is a political hot potato in many countries. Some citizens resent the newcomers because they perceive them as stealing jobs, competing for scarce services, and causing overcrowding. With unfamiliar customs and languages, the immigrants are sometimes accused of disturbing and even threatening the social fabric of the native born. So how should believers in Jesus respond to the aliens living in their midst?

rotten fruit

There’s a “quick sale” area in my local supermarket where fruit is offered at a huge discount. If not sold quickly, the fully ripened edibles will become soft, flabby, and infected with fungus.

judgment of justice

An acquaintance of mine, who is highly intelligent and has a philosophical bent, also carries antipathy toward God and religion. He enjoys being provocative, recently quoting the second-century philosopher Epicurus who said: “There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men.”

> faith

Semper Gumby

Since 1883, semper fidelis (always faithful) has been the motto of the US Marine Corps. The toy figure Gumby, based on an animated character from a TV show, has been with us since the 1950s.

A Heart of Gratitude

In his memoir Townie, novelist Andre Dubus III shared that his father, also a renowned writer, would write every single morning. After he finished, “He’d count how many words he’d gotten and record the number. After each total, whether it was fifteen hundred or fifty, he wrote ‘Thank you.’ ” This writer had learned the art of gratitude, and it shaped his work—allowing him to see and then write about rich experiences of hope, humanity, and grace.

Unscripted

After walking into a sandwich shop, I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to reach out to the young man who took our order. Unsure of how to start, I gathered my food and followed my husband to the patio area. Shortly after we sat down, the same young man came outside to sweep the area. I set aside my fear and began an unscripted conversation. In this unexpected moment, God provided the opportunity for us to discuss how Jesus’ love and the power of the Holy Spirit could help the young man overcome the situations he was facing.

> health

Gaps

A battle rages where I live—a rivalry between two universities. The rivalry manifests itself primarily in athletic competition. My alma mater proudly displays the letter “S” as its logo. The S stands for State, as in Michigan State University. The other school brandishes a distinctive “M,” which represents the University of Michigan.

Hope for Today

Someone close to me recommitted his life to God, began taking his wife and young daughter to church, and was seeking to follow Jesus faithfully. Within weeks, however, his world began to fall apart. His daughter was admitted to the hospital with a chest infection, his business partner refused to pay him, and his wife asked for some time apart. He looked drained and weary when I offered to pray for him, saying he’d rather not have any help from God. From the moment he’d chosen to serve the Lord again, he said it felt as if a huge target had been placed on his back and the Enemy was having a field day.

Something More Powerful

When France’s ministry of health realized that 17.8 percent of French women smoked while pregnant, they came up with a plan. For a trial period of thirty-six months, seventeen French hospitals paid women up to 300 euros to stop smoking during their pregnancies. Of the 612 participants, 22.5 percent of the women gave up their cigarettes.

> relationships

Next Generation Faith

Graeme was part of a group of self-proclaimed Satanists at my school. By God’s grace, he came to Jesus during an outreach event, began growing in his faith, and eagerly attended church youth groups. But one day I noticed he looked quite sad. When I asked why, he said his parents didn’t approve of his newfound faith. They wanted him to go back to his former way of life that included partying.

Covenant Relationship

Two different friends from different spheres of my life—one a man, one a woman—told me about their unfaithful spouses during the same week. Both felt betrayed and angry. They wondered if they would ever feel whole again.

Gifts from God

Police were sent to a home in response to a report of domestic child abuse. When they arrived at the house, they found a scared four-year-old girl with a black eye, swollen cheek, and bruises covering a majority of her tiny frame. The officers were devastated when they asked her to say her name and she meekly replied, “Idiot.”