More Than Conquerors

conquerorsHe had to know it was going to happen at some point in time, and he may have thought what life would be like without him; however when he heard the thundering voice of God, he was still shocked:  “Moses my servant is dead.

Joshua took a deep breath and began to reflect on the life lessons he had learned from this mighty man of God.  He wiggled his toes as he thought of his pilgrim journey—the past as well as the future. The one had been the geography of the land and the escape from Egyptian purgatory, but the other was just ahead and was the long-awaited “milk and honey” territory.  One had been miles of pain traveled by foot, but the other would be acres of promises claimed by faith.

His thoughts were interrupted by the unmistakable voice of God:  “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone.  Be strong and brave! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them . . . Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do (Joshua 1).”

Like Joshua, you have an inheritance to claim.  It’s more than a piece of dusty real estate, it’s a regal estate:  It’s a relationship that promises victory.  Paul said, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).”

When you read other translations of this verse, they speak of being “completely victorious through God; experiencing an overwhelming victory;” and, being “triumphantly victorious due to the one who loved us.”

There is not a single instance where God promised that the road of life will be completely smooth and detour free.  Moses and Joshua both experienced some trials and heartaches, and you will as well.  This is why Paul said, “We do not despair . . . even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day.  For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison  because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).”

When the hard times come, “be strong and brave,” and “don’t despair” the eventual victory is yours because you will be “triumphantly victorious” in Jesus.

A Blue Denim Gospel

IMG_0623I’m a blue jeans sort of guy, and I’ve never been much for pomp and circumstance.  Most days of the week, with the exception of Sunday, you’ll probably see me wearing a pair of blue jeans crafted by Lee.

When I slip my britches on of a morning, I see the label to the left.  It speaks of over 125 years of craftsmanship and authentic quality.  When I read this label, I’m reminded of the way God works in the lives of His children.

“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” ~Ephesians 2:10

Each of us are the unique creation of the Master Craftsman.  We reflect the authentic quality of His love, and we are the instruments through which His grace and mercy flow into the lives of others.

When you look at this verse in the words of The Voice, you get a better understanding of the workings of God: “We are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.”

You aren’t some barely legible and hastily scribbled note on a brown paper sack.  You’re a carefully etched piece of poetry written by the hand of God, and the rhyme and rhythm of your life is the evidence of His workmanship.

You truly are a piece of art.

How Do You Measure Life?

hwymyl_400x400Today is the day after Thanksgiving, and one of the discussions you will have today will be what you did yesterday—Thanksgiving as an event will be on your talk-turkey-agenda.

  • What did you do for Thanksgiving yesterday?
  • Where did you go for Thanksgiving?
  • How many people came to your house for Thanksgiving?
  • I ate way too much.
  • I had to sample a piece of every pie.

As you rehearse and digest the events of yesterday, notice the tenor of the discussion:  Is it geared more towards the quality of the day or the quantity of the food?  Was there any “thanks” in your Thanksgiving Day?

When he wrote to the church at Corinth, Paul made sure quality and quantity were center stage when he served his soliloquy on a life well-lived:

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done.  If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward.  If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire. ~I Corinthians 3:9-10 (JB Phillips)

Corinth was a hedonistic city of commerce and many of the Christians were living the epicurean life.  Their lives were lived in the quest for fleshly quantity and not spiritual quality.

As Peter Marshal once said; “The measure of life is not its duration, but its donation.”  Do you focus more on the “who” you are living for or on the “what” you are pursuing?

Here’s a final thought for you to chew on:  “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor (Vince Lombardi).”