Overcomers Impress God

REVELATION 21:7 NKJ
7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his
God and he shall be My son.

You face problems. Sometimes you struggle and wonder why God
doesn’t “just do something.”

God is giving you an opportunity to impress Him!

God is your audience — rooting for you. He is thrilled when
you overcome. Just like an earthly parent is thrilled when
their child excels.

God still LOVES you even if you fail. You just miss the
opportunity to thrill Him by not overcoming. (But what could be
a more worthy goal than to thrill God?)

“OK, I would like to impress God. How do I ‘overcome’?”

1 JOHN 5:4-5 NKJ
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is
the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.
5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that
Jesus is the Son of God?

Overcoming is clearly something achieved by believing — not by
other means.

Further light on this comes in Revelation 12:11.

REVELATION 12:11 NKJ
11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the
word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to
the death.

Because of the redemption obtained by the sacrificial death of
our Lord, and our agreement with it, expressed through words of
faith, we overcome. In short: expressing our faith in Jesus and
what He did.

Another key is mentioned: commitment — even to death. We must
be resolute and determined, no matter what the cost, to fully
and finally overcome.

Eight times in Revelation great promises are made to those who
overcome. (Rev. 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21, 21:7.)

Our Lord’s intention in giving these promises was certainly not
to make us feel guilty, or inadequate, but to spur us on to
victory.

God is cheering you on to victory! He believes you can overcome
(with His help)!

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Press On

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14 WEYMOUTH
13 …one thing I do — forgetting everything which is past and
stretching forward to what lies in front of me,
14 with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize
of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus.

Believers face many difficulties. Trials. Adversaries. Doubts.
At times we’re all tempted to quit. The struggle seems too
much, and we wonder if it’s worth it to continue, to hold on to
our faith when there seems to be no hope left.

But there is a goal — supremely worthwhile: life with our
wonderful Lord. Not just existence, but intimate fellowship.

Fix your eyes on the goal — God Himself — and press on!

1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NIV
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Please read the following verses slowly and thoughtfully.

1 PETER 5:7-10 NCV
7 Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.
8 Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy,
goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.
9 Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith.
You know that your Christian family all over the world is
having the same kinds of suffering.
10 And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all
grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and
support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share
in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.

Space does not permit much comment on these verses, but notice
that suffering is caused by your enemy, the devil, and its
purpose is to attack your faith.

Also notice that God only allows you to suffer a short time.

“But,” you say, “it’s already been a long time.”

Not really. It seems like a long time when you are going
through trials, but afterward seems like a short time. Even a
few years is nothing when you look back on it. Ask God to help
you see things from Heaven’s perspective.

“But why does God allow me to suffer at all?”

Because people make wrong choices. Conflict causes suffering.
But God believes in you! Why should He yank you out of the
arena? God believes that with His grace and help, you will
overcome and experience victory.

The end result is what really counts. God will make everything
turn out alright. (Read verse 10 again.)

Maybe you feel like your faith is barely hanging by a thread.
Just hang on. With God holding the thread — and He is — your
faith will survive. You will make it! God will help you.

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Father’s Faithfulness

PSALM 27:10 NKJ
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will
take care of me.

Normally, one’s parents are among the ones who can be counted
on to help and love and support — no matter what.

I recall reading that the mother of a convicted mass murderer
said he was still her son, and that she still loved him. That
is natural.

Yet, sometimes parents do forsake their children. But God’s
love for you is more dependable than the love of a parent for
their offspring.

ISAIAH 49:15 NKJ
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have
compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet
I will not forget you.

Concerning earthly love, none is greater than that of a mother
for her baby. Yet even that can sometimes fail, in extreme
circumstances. But God’s love for you is deeper, stronger, and
more sure.

HEBREWS 13:5 NIV
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content
with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave
you; never will I forsake you.”

People will fail you. You may even fail yourself. But God can
be trusted. He will never fail you. He will never give up on
you and never turn His back on you. He promised!

Does this mean God will always protect you from everything
unpleasant? No. Not any more than a good earthly parent can
keep their child from every unpleasant experience.

We must grow up. We must learn to walk in faith and love, and
to overcome.

But God will be there to help you. And to make sure that
everything does work out for your good in the long run.

Trust in the Father God. He is more dependable than friends or
family, and He loves you more than anyone else ever will.

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Love Your Enemies

MATTHEW 5:44 NKJ
44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse
you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who
spitefully use you and persecute you,

“Love your enemies? What kind of advice is that? How can you
have enemies, if you act in love toward them?”

Good point.

Why would anyone want to have enemies? Do you?

God’s instructions, if acted upon, will make friends out of
enemies. Think how much better the world would be then.

God can, and does, love His enemies. He proved it. No matter
what they did to Jesus, He never quit walking in love.

But it may be impossible for a normal human to love their
enemies — without God’s help. Fortunately, God’s help is
available!

No matter how hard it seems, you can love those who have hurt
you. If it was not possible, God would not command us to do it.
Of course, to be successful at it, we need to call on the Lord
and receive His help.

“But why should I love my enemies?” You should know it is the
best thing for you to do, just because God said it. It benefits
you as well as the one who wronged you.

You have two basic choices when someone does you wrong. Do
wrong back to them. Or, return good for evil.

If you fight back, then they will have a valid excuse to
continue mistreating you. Is that what you want? If not, then
the intelligent choice is to stop the vicious cycle by
returning good for evil. Love your enemies until they become
your friends.

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God With Us

MATTHEW 1:21-23 NIV
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the
name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said
through the prophet:
23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”

Part of the wonderful good news of the New Testament is that
God is not just a far-off God, but He is right with us.

With us — in many ways.

With us as we face life — right here to help us. Not far away,
and out of touch with what we are facing. Not difficult to
reach — but only a prayer away.

With us in understanding what it is like to live on earth and
face the problems and difficulties we all face.

With us in knowing what it is like to experience pain and loss.

With us in knowing what it feels like to be rejected and
despised and misunderstood.

With us in knowing what it is like to be hungry and have
nothing to eat.

With us in knowing how difficult it can be to struggle against
sin.

With us in knowing what it is like to be attacked by the devil.

HEBREWS 4:15 NIV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize
with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in
every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.

God came to earth. He became a man. (No, I don’t understand
that, I just accept it.) Jesus experienced what we experience,
yet He always walked in victory.

If you let Jesus, He will guide you into victory, also.

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Get Out Of Your Cave

1 KINGS 19:9 NIV
9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word
of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah was hiding in a cave, fearful, discouraged, and
confused.

Why?

Elijah knew God and had seen God do mighty things, even in
answer to his own prayers. Yet he was human, just like the rest
of us.

JAMES 5:17 NIV
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it
would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a
half years.

Elijah had only one real problem, and it was not the
adversaries he faced. It was that he got his focus off of God
and onto himself.

To me, God seems amazed at Elijah’s hiding. I picture Him
thinking, “Doesn’t Elijah know that I am greater than all his
adversaries? Doesn’t Elijah know that I will help him?”

I would paraphrase the verse above as, “What in the world are
you doing here, Elijah? Have you forgotten who your God is?
Have you forgotten who you are, a servant of Almighty God?”

Elijah was human — just like us — and we face the same
difficulties in life. But just like Elijah, our real problem is
not the problems we face — but our focus.

We can focus on our inability and lack, or we can focus on
God’s ability and abundant provision.

Are you hiding in a “cave” today, afraid to venture forth and
face life? Are you afraid of failure and rejection? Are you
discouraged because things haven’t worked out like you thought
they would?

What are you doing?! Get out of your “cave!”

God is on your side. The Greater One is in you. The Lord is
your helper. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you.
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

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Look At The Flowers

LUKE 12:27 LB
27 “Look at the lilies! They don’t toil and spin, and yet
Solomon in all his glory was not robed as well as they are.

Many people would have you believe that God only supplies what
we need — nothing more.

But they haven’t considered the flowers!

If you want to know God better, obey Jesus and look at the
flowers. They were God’s idea.

Why did God make so many flowers? All the many different
flowers are not necessary. Although flowers have some purposes,
one kind of flower in one single color could have been made to
meet all the needs.

The fact is: so many different flowers are not needed. They are
“extra,” something far, far beyond merely what was needed.

We could live without all the different flowers, but life is so
much more beautiful with them.

Dear friend, God is not intent on you barely scraping by. He
told you to ask and receive — that your joy may be full (see
John 16:24). God desires your joy to be full.

But don’t make the mistake that so many do. Abundance of
“things” will never satisfy you apart from God. But what a joy
it is when you have close fellowship with the Creator, and can
thank Him for all the wonderful things He has provided for you
because of His great love. In that context, things are a great
blessing, because they are a constant reminder of the goodness
and love of God.

Others tell us that “God only helps those who help themselves”
and make us think that “if it is to be, it is up to me.”

No! While it is true that we must cooperate with God, mostly by
trusting Him and resisting our enemy by standing in faith on
God’s Word, it is not true that we have only ourselves to
depend on.

That was part of Jesus’ point: God “prospers” flowers better
than Solomon could achieve — and he was the richest man who
ever lived! God can, and will, take care of you, too. Just let
Him.

Whenever I see flowers, or whenever I think of the abundance
God has provided, it reminds me of His love, and I say, “Thank
You Lord, for flowers.”

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Heaven Is Our Home

PHILIPPIANS 3:20 LB
20 But our homeland is in heaven, where our Savior, the Lord
Jesus Christ, is; and we are looking forward to his return from
there.

Heaven is a real place. In fact, Heaven is ultimate reality.
There are real people there, involved in real activities. But
most importantly, our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ and our
Father God are there.

Sometimes people talk of someone who has departed this life as
“having gone to their reward.”

Heaven is not a reward.

There will be rewards given out by God, but going to Heaven is
not a reward. Heaven is a return to normal.

That’s right. Heaven is the way life was supposed to be. Heaven
is normal. What we have been experiencing on this sin-infested
planet is sub-normal.

But part of the Good News is that Jesus will not leave this
place, or us, sub-normal forever. One day, maybe soon, Jesus
will return from Heaven and change things on Earth back to what
God intended when He created this place.

Everything on Earth, as originally created, was a reflection of
the home planet, Heaven. All the beauty and everything good
that we enjoy on Earth is but a dim reflection of what Heaven
offers.

What makes Heaven our home? Home is where your family is. Home
is where you are comfortable. Home is where you have a place to
live. Home is where you belong. For the believer in Jesus
Christ, Heaven fits all those descriptions.

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Tell satan Where To Go

MATTHEW 4:10 NLT
10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the
Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; serve only
him.’ ”

Jesus spoke directly to the devil — and so must you.

Many Christians think they should pray about the devil and ask
God to deliver them from his attacks. But the Bible is clear —
God has given the authority to believers to resist the devil.

You must control the devil, or he will control you!

Unless you exercise the authority delegated to you by Jesus
Christ, the devil will wreak havoc in your life, and everywhere
he is allowed to.

LUKE 10:19 NKJ
19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and
scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing
shall by any means hurt you.

Praying to God to stop the devil’s operations is no different
than my son asking me to take out the trash, after I have told
him to do it.

God told us to resist the devil and he would flee. We must
believe and act on God’s Word.

EPHESIANS 4:27 NKJ
27 nor give place to the devil.

Would God tell us not to let the devil have any place, if we
had no say about it? If the devil does have a place in our
affairs, it’s because we allowed it.

JAMES 4:7 NKJ
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee
from you.

We must first submit to God, because we are not greater in
power than the devil. But submitted to God in Christ Jesus, the
devil must back off when we resist him and his works.

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