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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cloud scene over Martin farm, Lancaster County PA
Our friend Nancy Martin sent us this photo taken here in Lancaster County

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"We Win!"

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Corinthians 15:57). "In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

Everett DeWalt 9/10/09 (74th birthday)
The majority of our readers live here in the USA and undoubtedly some are baseball fans who are following the World Series.  Lancaster County is near Philadelphia and most of the baseball fans in this area follow the Philadelphia Phillies.  Certainly there are many avid fans among them. I especially consider our friend Everett who works in a company we serve whom I've rarely seen without his very well-worn Phillies baseball cap. Last night was an exciting game as the Philadelphia team came back to keep the series alive and force a Game Six.

Phillies adHowever what prompted today's message was an ad that appeared in yesterday's Philadelphia newspaper congratulating the Phillies and declaring them to be World Champions!  How could that be since at that point the Phillies were down 3 games to 1? The mighty Yankees from New York seemed to be on a roll and with the momentum they had they may very well have ended the series that same evening. To many readers in Philadelphia it may have seemed to be a cynical mockery to the demoralized Phillies fans, but apparently it was merely a big goof.

Although we are in the midst of a great spiritual conflict and sometimes with our eyes we may not see the victory the Bible informs us that we are on the winning side. Perhaps many of you have seen the preacher hold up his Bible and declare, "I looked ahead to the back of the book and We Win!"

Red Sox victory celebrationOne of the great sports scenes I've enjoyed since my childhood is that of a winning team gathering on the field to celebrate after winning a championship game. Of course it's all the more meaningful if it's "my" team but I can even get into the sensation of the moment when it's not. This photo shows the joyous celebration on the field after the Red Sox won the World Series several years ago.
I'm glad the Bible declares that those who serve Christ are all winners.  Your role in service for God may be quite visible or you may work quietly behind the scenes as you utilize your gifts for God.  No matter what position you serve in the body of Christ you will face the inevitable moments of discouragement and disappointment. In the midst of seemingly impossible odds hold onto this important truth Paul writes about in Romans 8: "We are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The Great BanquetWhether you're a sports fan or not, those who are in Christ have a future celebration that makes the most celebrated earthly event miniscule in comparison.  Imagine with me the scene of our future reunion in heaven; when we see our Redeemer Jesus Christ, our loved ones who faithfully completed the spiritual race, and believers from every region of the globe and from every generation. No longer will foreign language, age difference, or distance be a barrier to our communicating with one another from other lands or historical settings, before our life or after our existence (should the Lord tarry).  I expect that reunion to be quite an emotional time! But among the major differences is that our spiritual victory is not just for one season, nor is it competition based.  It is for all eternity and this victory is infinitely more significant than a sporting contest.
In the first daily text the word is simply translated "victory." In the second verse it's a part of the wonderful Greek compound word "hupernikomen" which means "to be more than a conqueror, to gain a surpassing victory."
The two daily verses complement each other. Both have a similar underlying Greek word that is very familiar to those who enjoy sports. That word is "nikos." The popular sports shoe company, Nike, is based on this word.

Early on I taught Ester to use this word to describe herself in the overcomings she has experienced as a heart patient and other setbacks in life as well. Over the years I've invited her to come to the front of the church where I was guest speaker and then I'd ask, "Ester, what are you?" Without hesitation she would say in a rather grown up way, "I'm a hupernikomen!" Of course no one in the congregation had any idea (which she loved, by the way).  I would then ask, "What does that mean?"  She would respond in a confident voice through a big smile, "I'm an overcomer!"
I'm sure glad to be on God's team today. Yes, there are setbacks for every believer and even apparent losses in this great spiritual contest. But God turns our losses into gains, our failures into His victory, our conflict into His peace, and our weakness into His strength. The all-surpassing power from God is seen through the endurance of the believer in the midst of life's ups and downs.  Paul encourages us not to lose heart as he describes the challenging turmoil believers suffer and the triumphant outcome:  "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (II Corinthians 4:8,9).

God's Word says, "He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" and "in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."  Let these blessed truths encourage you today as you consider our ultimate lasting victory. Indeed, We Win!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, none of the celebrations we've attended compare with the overwhelming joy we'll feel at the ultimate victory party in heaven.  We'll rejoice with the saints from all generations telling of the marvelous saving and sustaining power of Christ. We look forward to sharing stories about the times we faced trouble, hardship, persecution or danger and the miraculous way that You delivered or sustained us through those difficulties.  We're not there yet, so help us to keep on keeping on, until that glorious day!  It is in the matchless name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

David Pierce
We watched 2 year old David while his mother had an appointment this morning.  He sat beside Brooksyne while she edited our message at her computer in the kitchen.  The pumpkin coasters entertained him as he diligently arranged the four coasters and put them in their proper order.  Then he'd dump them and do it over and over.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Victory Ahead"  Video  This is a song I don't recall singing since Bible College in the seventies!

This selection of songs from the Intergrity Scripture Memory series deal with personal victory. If you choose to listen click on the "Play All" button.

Andrew & Jessie HostetlerAndrew Hostetler, pictured here with his wife Jessica, is the worship team leader in a church I spoke at several times last year in southern Lancaster County. Brooksyne and I enjoy this song he and Valerie Kreider wrote, based on Psalm 33. Here's the key thought for our readers today: "The Creator of the universe cares about each one of us."  audio mp3

Today message mentioned an advertisement. Was it prophetic?! Here's an article about it. Have other sports fans noticed how that immediately following a championship game the winning team places on championship caps, t-shirts and other apparel. I assume the losing team also has them and I wonder what they do with them after the loss.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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