Be More

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Have you ever loved someone so much you would do anything for them?  Have you loved someone so much you would risk getting hurt for them?  Have you loved someone so much that you would give it all for them?  Have you ever loved someone so much that you would go to battle and die just to win that battle for them?  Have you been willing to give everything you have because you believe the one you love is worth more than you are?

Many warriors fight for these reasons.  They go to war for their country, friends, family, and other loved ones.  They are willing to go into battle and risk their lives for loved ones.  Losing limbs or life is worth it to them.  Conquering the enemy to free loved ones says the loved ones more important than their own life.

When warriors come back home from war their entire family is victorious.  Even those who did not fight on the front lines share in the victory.  The mighty warriors defeated the enemy and now the family has them home.  While the warrior was fighting, the family may have been fighting battles at home.  Living while that loved one is away at war is tough.  Many challenges arise, but through the warriors bravery, the family battles on because they know how important they are to the warrior.  Sadly, sometimes that warrior doesn’t return.  He dies in battle while conquering.  He conquerors for them and the family is still victorious through the mighty warrior.

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What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can beagainst us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,  “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  Romans 8:31-36

The warrior loves for the people he fights for.  He gives all of himself.  This is what God did for us.  He gave himself.  He took our place because He loves us. We conquer because He conquered.  Because Jesus overcame we overcome.  Because Jesus defeated death, we have eternal life.  But there is more to it than just a victory.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  Romans 8:37

We don’t just conquer because of Him.  We are more than conquerors.  We are seen by Him as more.  We are so loved by God that He became a man and was tempted as we are tempted. We are so loved by God that we are worth dying for.  We are so loved by God that we are worth suffering the worst torture and death in the history of the world.  We are so loved by God that He suffered all of this and still is the victor and our Savior.  We are so loved by God that, once we believe on Jesus Christ, nothing can take Him away.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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When you are a warrior you fight not just for yourself, you fight for who you love. When you are a warrior you fight with passion for someone more than you.  You conquer for those who are more than conquerors.  Jesus conquered the grave for us because we are more than conquerors through Him.

Do you believe you are more than a conqueror?  Do you know Jesus?  Is He your Savior?

If He isn’t, He can be.  If you think there is more to this world than what we see, pray for Him to show you.  If you are asking, the Holy Spirit is already be at work in your heart.  He will show you.

If you feel you don’t deserve the love of someone who died for you, you don’t.   It is by grace Jesus forgives.  It is why He died.  He said “It is finished”.  He conquered not for the perfect, but for the broken.  He conquered for me, the biggest of all sinners.  And if he conquered for me, He definitely conquered for you.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

If you feel like you have done too much wrong to deserve forgiveness, you haven’t.  It is not about doing or deserving.  But we can turn to Him.  He died knowing what I have done.  He felt what I have done.   It was nailed with Him to the cross.  Now I am no longer a slave to sin, but I am free as a slave to Christ.  You can be too.  You can be “whoever”.  I pray you are.

For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

You can be more than a conqueror.

True Miracle

This past week a friend of mine lost his sister to cancer.  I did not know her but he told me she fought hard.  She never gave up.

My friend is a fellow believer in Christ Jesus.  He gives his life to Christ.  As a believer he prayed without ceasing for his sister to win her battle.  He talked to his sister about the healing power of Jesus and what faith in Him can do.  He even found a church where the pastor had a personal physical healing by Jesus and took her there.  He said she began to gain greater strength to fight for her life.  In the end though her life on this earth has gone.

After losing a loved one after praying and believing in miracles many would lose faith.  Many would turn from God.  But my friend is an inspiration.  He knows the truth.  He demonstrates true faith in Christ Jesus.  Instead of turning from God he boldly turns to Him.

At the viewing he said a few words about his sister.  He spoke of how he and many other family and friends had been praying for a miracle.  He said that many prayed for her life.  Then he spoke more truth of how in her battle with cancer he saw her grow closer and closer to the Lord.  He saw her faith grow.  You see, he knows the truth.  He knows the true miracle.  He knows the true promise of Christ Jesus. He knows that when we believe in Him we never die but we have eternal life.  Life without pain.  Life without suffering.  Life without cancer.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

While we all prayed for a miracle of her life continuing on earth, another one happened.  She came to truly believe in Jesus.  We prayed for her to live and now she lives forever.  If we believe, we will live forever as well.  My friend believes.  He will see his sister again.

Some may not see it as a miracle.  Some only see miracles as the blind seeing, the lame walking, the dead rising back on earth.  Once they see they will believe.  But believing is seeing.  Jesus didn’t work miracles in his life to draw attention to himself.  He worked them for the people who already believed.  All throughout scripture there are examples.

They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. And entering in, He said to them, “Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.”  They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat. Mark 5:38-43

I recently listened to a sermon by Alistair Begg about this passage.  He had a lot of eye-opening points.  The one that spoke to my heart about this loss is that after Jesus heals the little girl He tells those in the room not to tell anyone.  This is after He puts out all those who were laughing.  Alistair Begg points out that those who were laughing at Jesus, unbelievers, did not get to see the miracle.  He said something like, “those who laugh at the words of Jesus don’t get to experience the works of Jesus.”

Again I see that a true miracle did take place in my friend’s sister’s life.  She believed and now in her death she finally gets to live.

I pray that his family gets time to grieve.  I pray that when they are done grieving, whenever that may be, that joy comes in the morning.  I pray that they all see the miracle and they all find their way to give themselves to the Lord Christ Jesus.

To my friend, you are a godly man.  Your love and boldness for Jesus is inspiring.  Thank you for setting a great example for so many.

I saw how many people your sister touched with her life.  I am sure there are many more.  She is home now.

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. John 5:25

Game Changers

When I was a kid, people would tell me how my life will be different when I get married.  I didn’t really think it would be.  I dated and had relationships. I thought I had it all figured out.  Then I got married and well, I was wrong.  It changed the game.  All the rules I had before did not apply.  I tried to still follow those rules.  I really needed to throw that book out and follow a new one.  I not only needed a new rule book, I needed a new game plan.

Then, when you get married people ask when are you having kids.  Then, you get pregnant (I wasn’t pregnant my wife was and God bless her and all women for carrying children and giving birth because you are amazing) and people say, your life is going to change.  I should have figured they were right because they were right about marriage, but I said “how hard can this be?”  I was wrong again.  Another game changer requiring new rules and a new game plan.

With both of these events it may take you a while before you realize the game is different.  It took me a while. I was trying to play the same game for a long time and getting no where.  Most of the time I was neither the winner or the loser. I was just playing the wrong game.

When you realize this, you must adjust to the game.  This is a lifestyle adjustment.  You are no longer a party of one.  Married you are two equaling one.  Here losing may actually help you win.  Men and women are very different, more than I thought.  We think differently and act and react differently. Recognizing this is a key to the game.  Knowing what to do with this knowledge is an even bigger key.

I once heard a pastor say that the person you marry will probably not be 100% like you.  They will have things they do that annoy you.  They will have hobbies that do not interest you.  They will have communication issues and other things that don’t fit your image of marriage.  His feelings on that are God puts us with people who we do not agree with all of the time so we learn unconditional love.  I believe there is a lot of merit to that.  Love is work.

The other game changer I mentioned is having children.  I thought it would be like, well, I really don’t know what I thought.  I was so bad in the beginning.  I was actually afraid that I was going to break my daughter.  This little child was my responsibility and I was so afraid of doing something wrong that I would let my wife do everything.  That is not a good game plan for that game changer.  Now my daughter is three and I am still a little scared I will break her.  She is strong but I still worry that something I do will hurt her.  But I am taking responsibility the best I can and not just deferring to my wife.

These two game changers also changed my view on the world.  For example, my wife and I are really researching vaccinations.  We haven’t found definitive evidence either way on if they do more good than harm.  No one can give us a straight answer.  Even my scientist friend who has a family of doctors argued for them but never gave me a clear answer.  She has children so her game changed.  Now someone who does not have children has an opinion on this as well.  I respect it but their view may change when their game does.  When they have to make the choices that effect another human being who they are responsible for it will change everything.

There is one more game changer I would like to bring up.  That is Believing.

Believing in yourself will give you confidence.  It will help take you places you never thought you could go.  It just starts with a little belief and it can build into a huge amount.  It is a game changer.

Believing in others will help you believe in yourself.  It will also help them to achieve things that they never thought were possible.  It will give them confidence and courage.  You will help to change their game.

Believing in something higher will change the entire game completely.  Having FAITH is an ultimate game changer.  Believing that there is a God who is looking out for me, loves me, and wants me to be succesful changes everything.  I look at things differently.  The game changes I mentioned before start to come into place.  Believing that God has my back helps me make the right decisions in the game of marriage and children and business and LIFE.

Without belief can I play these games? Yes.  Can I play successfully?  Maybe.

Successfully doesn’t mean winning. Successfully means handling the loses and the wins with the same joy.  Success means accepting things for what they are but having a willingness to believe I can make bad situations better.  Success is never giving up and having faith that no matter what happens God has my back.

To me, Believing is the ultimate game changer.  It has changed my game.

(click photo for ways to beautifully organize game changing moments)

What are some other game changers that you have had happen to you?  Please drop some comments below.  I would love to hear from you.