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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Frog holding onto flower bud
Hold On!

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"The Victory That Overcomes The World"

"This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4).

Life is really a sequence of overcomings.  Most of the time life rolls along rather smoothly and predictably.  We call that normalcy, a blessing we often take for granted.  When our lives are disrupted a return to this normalcy is especially welcoming.

My cousin Georgia sent me a prayer written on this matter following my surgery and Ester's  recovery from her unexpected serious fall: "Normal day let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you...Let me not pass by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow...and want, more than all the world, your return."

At other times the issues we deal with are more intense and out of the ordinary, but overcoming faith is always the "modus operandi" of the believer's life.  In fact the purpose of this devotional is to encourage fellow overcomers who, in the words of an old hymn, are "overcoming daily by the Spirit's sword."  And in this real time perspective I periodically share with you from my own overcomings, such as my surgery several weeks ago and the slow resumption to normalcy that I am experiencing. 

Today we will visit several of our companies that I've not visited since before Christmas. I look forward to seeing the employees, many who've become my friends over the past several years.  I expect quite a few will give me a hearty "Welcome Back!"  They've sent get well greetings through Brooksyne during her visits.  It takes me back to a year and a half ago when Brooksyne broke her ankle and employees would send her greetings through me until she was able to get back to work using a wheelchair.  And admittedly we now take her good health for granted, unlike the first couple weeks after her recovery from a three month abstention of any weight bearing on her left leg.

The daily text is a great source of encouragement. 
"This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). Interestingly the same root Greek word is used for both "victory" and "overcome".  It's the word nike from which the popular athletic shoe company derives its name.  For those who have some knowledge of the Greek the phrase "victory that has overcome the world" translates "νίκη ἡ νικήσασα τὸν κόσμον". Even those who do not know the Greek can see the similarity.

Our faith in God enables us to overcome the world.  Our confidence is in the One of whom it is said, "Jesus doeth all things well."

Bible teacher Alan Redpath wrote, "There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart."

You might want to print out the above quote and post it on your fridge or another visible location. It's a stirring thought and may just help you consider the bigger picture during times of testing.  May the Lord give us all overcoming faith both in times of normalcy and in times of trial!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we treasure the intercessory prayers of faithful believers when we undergo testing periods.  Because we walk in the visible realm, we sometimes forget that Jesus is interceding on our behalf, faithfully presenting our needs to You in a place unseen by human eyes.  He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, realizing the eternal purpose in all that we deal with.  Help us to trust You even when we don't understand Your plan, knowing in our hearts, that You do all things well and for our eternal good. Help us to look beyond our immediate need to see the victorious faith and spiritual fruit You are developing in our lives as we remain faithful trusting You to work out that which concerns us.  Amen.

Alan Redpath was an English preacher with many insightful quotes. I like this one: "The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment, but the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime."

He was also very wise in drawing illustrations from the experiences of life.  He had two daughters who loved to swarm him when he came home at night. As he came in the door one evening, his little girls ran to meet him. One grabbed his leg and hugged him with all her might. He snatched the other daughter up in his arms. The one squeezing his leg said, "Now, I've got all of Daddy." The daughter in his arms replied, "Yes, but Daddy has got all of me!" Redpath considered "Perhaps the question we need to continually ask is, 'Does God have all of me?'"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Faith Is the Victory" is an old gospel song that I haven't heard in many years.  It came to mind as I prepared this message.  Here's a nice piano version!  Video

Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.


Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwinds breath,
Swept on oer every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.


On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvations helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.


To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be givn.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heavn.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
Well vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus conquring Name.

"Blessed Be Your Name"  Video  This song contrasts the good times and the hard times and declares regardless "Blessed Be Your Name"

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

"All The Way My Savior Leads Me"  Video  Chris Tomlin's rendition of this great hymn that has the line used in the message "Jesus doeth all things well" (However this version does not use the line!)  This is a classic Fanny Crosby hymn. Here's a more traditional version Video with the line I like to hear.

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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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