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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Photo by Richard Spiegel
While visiting people in their workplace we often see interesting photos displayed on their computer screen. Richard is a friend and fellow Christian we see weekly in the course of our chaplaincy. It's interesting how people perceive our work. He wrote, "fellowship with a brother in Christ always re-focuses my day on what's important." Today's photo was taken by Richard here in the USA but we are curious if any readers may know where.
(Click on photo for larger view)

"The Thrill Of Eternal Victory"

Message Summary: 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 the ultimate thrill of our eternal victory!

Note: Due to a late night (watching the World Series baseball game which went into an extra inning) and an early morning chaplaincy visit/company breakfast we will not prepare a podcast today.

"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).

Today's message title is based on a program I enjoyed when I was younger, much younger. Saturday afternoon I often watched ABC's Wide World of Sports. There are surely a few readers my age who will recall the opening scenes and the memorable line, "The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat" (See here for 30 second video).

The majority of our readers live here in the USA and undoubtedly some are baseball fans who have followed the World Series. This year I did not have a specific loyalty to either team but given the long drought since a championship for both teams, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, I could identify with the thirst for a victory with fans in either city. However, Chicago had the longer drought with their last World Series victory in 1908.

One 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, expressing the thrill of victory. 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. Watching the joyous celebration last night after the Chicago Cubs win I also experienced the thrill of victory, although due to the very late hour I didn't watch very much of it!!!

But last night I also noted the
profound disappointment and even despair of the players and fans of the Cleveland Indians expressing the agony of defeat. That's the nature of sports, there are winners and there are losers. However having no specific loyalties last night my focus was on the thrill of victory.

We are now in the midst of a great spiritual contest and sometimes with our eyes what we see sure doesn't look much like victory. But the Bible informs us (those who follow and obey Christ) 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!'" I think I've done that a time or to!

I'm glad the Bible declares that those of us 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 extremely important truth Paul writes about in Romans 8:37, "We are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ."

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 their  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" (2 Corinthians 4:9). But Paul continues with this spiritual diamond of inestimable value, "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

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 the ultimate thrill of our eternal victory!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, none of the celebrations we've attended compare with the overwhelming joy we'll feel at the ultimate victory celebration 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 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.

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 language, age differences, or mileage be a barrier to our communicating with one another from other lands or historical settings, before our life or after our existence.  I expect that 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 our defeat over sin is infinitely more significant than a sporting contest.

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.

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." 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 Ester to come to the front of the church where I was guest speaker and 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!"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun"  Video  (The old)

"Revelation Song"  Video 
Phillips, Craig & Dean  (The new)

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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