Thanks be to God Who gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
"Therefore, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord...and your work will not be in vain". (I Cor.15:57-58)
This is an encouraging word for us on this 5th anniversary of the terrorists' attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
With the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and recently Israel and Lebanon),
we need to proclaim (and believe!) again that there is Victory in Jesus!
We here in Oklahoma will never forget the bombing of the Murrah Federal Bldg.
in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people and injured over 800 others!
We realized then that life will never be the same.
I opened my file on 9/11 and found the September 20, 2002 issue of Decision Magazine. There was an article by Lisa Beamer whose husband, Todd, was one of the passengers on United Flight #93. It was hijacked and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania field after Todd and other passengers overpowered the hijackers. This prevented an attack on Washington DC which seemed to be the destination of the terrorists.
Here are some very encouraging quotes from Lisa, that emphasize that there truly is Victory in Jesus, no matter what happens!
"Turning to God was my natural instinct on 9/11 because as a little girl, I was told of His love for me. My parents told me about God's Love through stories from The Bible and from their own lives. Most important, they told me that Jesus is the Key to unleashing God's love in my life.
Jesus is the One Who is able to bridge the gap between the perfect, powerful God of the Universe and the sinful human me.
So I put my faith in Jesus, He forgave me and has helped me to love and obey Him throughout every day. My relationship with God through Jesus, has been the driving force in my life and for Eternity.
Never has this been more precious to me than the days since 9/11.
God has shown me the reality of Eternity in a dynamic way these few months.
When I am overwhelmed with sadness at what I've lost...
He is quick to give me His Eternal perspective.
God's absolute Sovereignty has been made clear to me!
I don't know God's Plan and honestly right now....
I don't like it very much!
But I trust that He is true to His Promise in Romans 8:28:
'We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him'.
My only response is to love God and He will work out the rest.
God has been faithful not only to show me the truth of Eternity and His Sovereignty...
but to love me in a very personal way, every day.
He knows that I am hurting....
and every day He provides encouragement and resources just for me.
He is with me in the Scriptures and through my friends.
His Love is sufficient to meet any need that I have.
Words of an old hymn have come to my mind many times over the past months.
My life boils down to this:
'Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey!'
It's that simple....God loves me....
and He is ready, willing and able to take care of my past, my present and my future.
I trust His love and I obey His plan.
There is no better way to live.
There is no other real hope.
So when the tape is over and the TV screen goes to 'blue'...
"Trust and Obey and I'll take care of the rest".
(Lisa and Todd had 2 little boys, then another son was born Jan. 2002 four months after Todd's death. Lisa named him Todd)
One day when many were leaving Jesus, He asked His disciples, "Will you also go away?"
Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we believe and are sure that You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." (John 6:67-69)
Though Peter and the others faltered at times, this faith carried them through....
and it will YOU also!
The words of a song say:
'Prayer is the key to Heaven, but Faith unlocks the door.'
God has SO much to give you, so unlock the door!
I have shared before the 'I Am's of Jesus'.
Now let me share with you from John's Gospel, the Victories we can have in Jesus.
The key Scripture is John 14:6:
"I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by me."
1) VICTORY OVER DISAPPOINTMENT (John 2:1-11)
Without Jesus' miracle, the wedding in Cana of Galilee would have been 'blah'.
Jesus is ready to help you in YOUR disappointments (and 'blah' times) in life.
What you lack, Jesus CAN supply!
2) VICTORY OVER DOUBT (John 4:46-54)
Jesus heals an official's son though there was not much faith.
Jesus speaks elsewhere about the effect of 'faith as a grain of mustard seed'. (Matt.17:20)
Feed your faith and doubt will starve to death!!
3) VICTORY OVER DISABILITY...AND/OR DISEASE (John 5:1-9)
Jesus is the Great Physician and were it not for miracles, La Moyne and I might have been in Heaven many years ago.
4) VICTORY OVER DESPAIR (John 6:16-21)
They were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and during a storm...they forgot that Jesus was near.
At another place and time, the same thing was happening and Jesus was asleep in the boat. They were frightened, so they awakened Him...and He said,
"Peace be still".....and the sea was calmed.
He can do this in YOUR life in times of despair.
Remember, He is in the boat of your life....
and wants to be Captain of your life!
Just a few moments ago we had a phone call from a dear friend in Quanah, Texas who said that she was having difficulty getting over the death of her 17 yr. old cousin who was killed in a car wreck last summer.
We encouraged her that each time she thinks of her cousin, to try and picture her sitting next to Jesus....and to keep reminding herself that her cousin is being loved and cared for by Jesus Himself.
Hopefully, Jesus' Peace will calm Lori's heart concerning this, each time she thinks of her cousin.
5) VICTORY OVER DESIRES (John 6:26-44)
"Labor not for that which perishes, but for that which produces Eternal Life"
(quality of life now and Eternal life to come).
6) VICTORY OVER DRYNESS AND DULLNESS OF LIFE (John 7:37-39 and John 10:10)
Jesus is that river living in you by His Spirit, so let Him loose! This old world needs Him!
7) VICTORY OVER DARKNESS (John 8:32-36)
Jesus is The Truth for the darkness of ignorance and rebellion.
There is a lot of darkness in this world and Jesus' light and life needs to live in us....
and be reflected in order to help others.
8) VICTORY OVER WRONG DIRECTIONS (John 10:1-18)
We are His sheep and must know and follow Him!
Life is like a 'two person bike'....
so make sure that Jesus is in the front seat, guiding and directing!
9) VICTORY OVER DEATH (John 10:27-30 and John 11:23-45)
Jesus said to Mary and Martha at the death of their brother Lazarus,
"I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me though he were dead...
yet shall he live.
And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die."
Then Jesus asked, "Do you believe this?"
They did and it made a big difference in their lives.
Do you believe it?
This song, 'Then Jesus Came' underlines what we're talking about:
One sat alone beside the highway begging,
His eyes were blind, the light he could not see.
He clutched his rags and shivered in the shadows
Then Jesus came and bade his darkness flee.
When Jesus comes, the tempter's power is broken;
When Jesus comes, the tears are wiped away,
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.
From home and friends the evil spirits drove him,
Among the tombs he dwelt in misery;
He cut himself as demon powers possessed him,
Then Jesus came and set the captive free.
"Unclean, unclean!" the leper cried in torment,
The deaf, the dumb, in helplessness stood near;
The fever raged, disease had gripped its' victim,
Then Jesus came and cast out every fear.
Their hearts were sad as in the tomb they laid him,
For death had come and taken him away;
Their night was dark and bitter tears were falling,
Then Jesus came and night was turned to day.
So men today have found the Savior able,
They could not conquer passion, lust and sin;
Their broken hearts had left them sad and lonely,
Then Jesus came and dwelt Himself, within.
~(Words by Oswald J. Smith and music by Homer Rodeheaver)~
One of my favorite illustrations comes from the early days of Robert Louis Stevenson, the great writer from London. Each evening when the lamplighter came to light the street lights, he would run to his mother saying,
"Here comes the man punching holes in the darkness".
This is exactly what Jesus did....
when He came to reveal God to us! (Revelation)
And when He died on the Cross for our sins (Salvation)
and arose from the dead (Resurrection) to give us Victory!
Another favorite story:
The children had rehearsed well for the Christmas play and at the end, all lights were to be turned off...except for the light on the Baby Jesus in the manger.
Something happened and ALL of the lights went out.
The children on stage whispered to those off stage,
"You've switched off Jesus, you've switched off Jesus!"
Don't EVER switch off Jesus for He is our Hope and He cares for us!
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
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