We Get the Win
As they say in the sports world, “We got the ‘W’!” The enemy thought that he got the “W” (the win), when he manipulated Adam and Eve into sin, causing the downfall of mankind. But God’s sharp, unmatched omnipotence blew that plan away with the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, who always causes us to triumph.
When my mother fell ill with cancer, it greatly jolted my entire family. I felt guilty because I lived thousands of miles away. When I heard that she was hospitalized, on a ventilator, and in a drug in-dosed coma, I immediately packed my bag and took off. Growing up, seeing her kneeling to pray every night, modeled for us how to humble ourselves in prayer. She was the life blood of the family. And she loved us so deeply.
In the hospital, she was wrought with pain and the tube up her nose distorted her face and made her appear so frighteningly weak and weary. It was heart-wrenching seeing her either struggle to communicate or lifeless from being in a drug-induced comatose state.
Opportunistically, the enemy infiltrated our relationships. We were constantly snapping at each other, pointing fingers about who should have done what.
Weeks later, the hospital staff told us we needed to decide if we were going to keep her on the ventilator or remove her from it to see if she could breathe on her own. They made it clear that the likelihood of her breathing on her own was slim. Oh boy, talk about throwing gasoline on the fire, strife and turmoil became intense between family members. Some wanted to take her off and others did not. My Dad even said he wouldn’t be responsible for letting her die by taking her off.
Then an amazing thing happened. The day we agreed to take her off the ventilator, we got an early morning call from the hospital. They said my mother was passing and for us to come to the hospital immediately. We nervously got up and jetted to the hospital. We didn’t make it in time to say goodbye and I just dreaded seeing her. Heavy steps entered that hospital room. I looked over at the bed where my mother lay and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My mother looked so incredibly beautiful. I’d never seen my mother look so stunning. She was radiant. She had the look of perfect peace and tranquility, the look of an angel, and it gave us comfort. Her body reflected the transition from suffering to being sweetly coddled by dear Jesus. What a victorious victory. We won.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him (2 Corinthians 2:14 AMP).
I believe my mother was aware of the insane dichotomy dividing the family over taking her off the ventilator and she solved the problem for us. God used her to show us His love and to bring us back together in unity.
God always causes us to triumph. When a loved one goes on to be with the Lord, it’s their gain. There’s no more pain, suffering, tears, or fears. They are triumphing with the King of kings.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
We win. We get the “W.”
For reflection: What event(s) in your life has caused you to doubt that you got the win? Will you reframe that in your heart through your faith in the goodness of God?
Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle: 365 Sermons
Kicking against the pricks
‘It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.’ Acts 9:5
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 13:31–35
Observe the tenderness of the rebuke. It is not, ‘O Saul, it is wicked, ungenerous, and mischievous of thee to resist me.’ There is no rebuke of that kind; unless it be implied in the expression, ‘Why persecutest thou me?’ But the Saviour leaves Saul’s conscience to say that, and does not utter it himself. Nor did Jesus say, ‘Saul, Saul, it is very hard for my people to bear thy cruelties;’ nor does he add, ‘It is very provoking to me, and I shall ere long smite thee in my wrath.’ No, it is not, ‘It is hard for me,’ but ‘It is hard for thee;’ as if the thoughts of the Saviour were so set upon his poor, erring, but ignorant child that he felt, ‘As to what thou doest to my cause, I will say nothing; but see what thou art doing to thyself; thou art losing joy and comfort; thou art injuring thine own soul; thou art sowing for thyself the seeds of future sorrow. It is hard for thee.’ Who but the Saviour could have spoken after this fashion? I do not believe that the most tender-hearted of the Saviour’s ministers have been accustomed to look upon persecutors in that light. If we hear of tyrants breathing out threatening and slaughter against God’s people, we may readily say, ‘What a wicked thing! What a cruel and unrighteous thing!’ but how seldom do we exclaim, ‘What a sad thing it is for the persecutor!’ We add, perhaps, with a little sober vindictiveness, ‘What a terrible fate will be that man’s!’ but we feel but little deep pity for one whose terrible case it is to be an enemy to the sinner’s friend. What a bitter portion the poor, ignorant, offending persecutor has chosen; may we be Christlike enough to have pity upon him! The Saviour looks at sin through the glass of compassion; we often look upon it through the lens of Pharisaic pride.
For meditation: Christ’s apostles also had problems with their attitude towards those who would not receive him (Luke 9:52–55); but, in the presence of Saul of Tarsus, Stephen displayed a Christlike attitude to his own persecutors (Acts 7:60; 8:1). Without doubt that left an impression upon Saul (Acts 22:20) and probably contributed to his conversion.
Shallow – Streams in the Desert – September 9
- 20229 Sep
“Not much earth” (Matt. 13:5).
Shallow! It would seem from the teaching of this parable that we have something to do with the soil. The fruitful seed fell into “good and honest hearts.” I suppose the shallow people are the soil without much earth–those who have no real purpose, are moved by a tender appeal, a good sermon, a pathetic melody, and at first it looks as if they would amount to something; but not much earth–no depth, no deep, honest purpose, no earnest desire to know duty in order to do it. Let us look after the soil of our hearts.
When a Roman soldier was told by his guide that if he insisted on taking a certain journey it would probably be fatal, he answered, “It is necessary for me to go; it is not necessary for me to live.”
This was depth. When we are convicted something like that we shall come to something. The shallow nature lives in its impulses, its impressions, its intuitions, its instincts, and very largely its surroundings. The profound character looks beyond all these, and moves steadily on, sailing past all storms and clouds into the clear sunshine which is always on the other side, and waiting for the afterwards which always brings the reversion of sorrow, seeming defeat and failure.
When God has deepened us, then He can give us His deeper truths, His profoundest secrets, and His mightier trusts. Lord, lead me into the depths of Thy life and save me from a shallow experience!
On to broader fields of holy vision;
On to loftier heights of faith and love;
Onward, upward, apprehending wholly,
All for which He calls thee from above.
–A. B. Simpson
Nehemiah 10:28-29 28“The rest of the people–priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand– 29all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.
After the people had confessed their sins and repented, they took the difficult step of making things right with God. Then they went one step further. They took an oath. They realized how easily they slid back into the ways that destroyed the nation before, so they took an oath binding themselves with a curse if they broke it. The oath begins with the very things they had been most likely to compromise, marrying heathen wives, trading on the Sabbath, and not keeping the seventh-year release of debts and rest for the land.
We know the areas in our lives where we are most likely to compromise. It is usually in the same areas that Israel had problems, sex and money. They got serious about their weaknesses. They pledged together that if any of them went down that road again they would be justly cursed. How serious are you about sin in your life? Is it enough to make it very costly to do so? They took the curse quite seriously. They had seen the pain and devastation that sin caused and said, “If we go there, we deserve what we reap.” Have you observed the price of sin in your life? Have you really tallied up the cost of rebellion against the Holy Spirit? I’m not suggesting you take an oath unless you are led to do so, but I am suggesting you deal with your fleshly tendencies to go back down that road of compromise.
Most of the rest of the oath had to do with financial obligations to the temple and the commitment to keep the worship ministry alive and well. We have the same obligations in a spiritual sense. The temple is the family of God. Are we loving the body of Christ, or ignoring one another’s needs? Are our gatherings for worship as He commanded, “worship in spirit and in truth”?
Consider: Once you repent of sin and make restitution, go the next step. Ask the Lord to show you a deterrent to keep you from going down that road again.