Main thought: to examine how we need to live as we were meant to.
Being more than Conquerors!
I heard an old saying once from brother Bill Gothard who God used to teach the Basic Youth Conflicts. It was ďweíre either missionaries for Christ or mission fields for satan.Ē How very true! We as Christians in this lost and dying world are like salmon fighting their way up rushing mighty rivers to their places of birth. There are those lazy Christians who think that they are going to make it up the stream just by doing nothing. After all, they are now salmon, why push it? Can you imagine a salmon in a river that decided just to stop swimming, what would happen? Not only would he not make it upstream, he would be swept away downstream and unless it came to its senses and realized what its fins and muscles were for, it would die never having accomplished its purpose. In the same way, our God expects us to learn how to fight the fight of Faith with passion and zeal. Look at this scripture; From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. (Whole Chapter: In context: )
We neglect to realize that not only does God hate wickedness, He hates laziness as well. Look at the following scripture of one who was given a gift from the Lord but thought just like the lazy salmon he was just going to keep what he had without gaining any ground with it; Matthew 25:25-27 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' 26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
Many people are afraid of failure which is why they donít try, to those I say look at for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. (Whole Chapter: In context: ) Notice the difference here between those that the Lord considers righteous and those He considers wicked; the righteous may fail multiple times but each time he gets right back up, the wicked on the other hand allows the trials to bring them down and keep them there. God is looking for those who know how to rise up and seek Him, those who know how to press into His heart and worship Him. God is not displeased with us when we are sincerely trying to walk with Him and fail and get up and keep trying. But He is disappointed with one who tries, fails, and quits. Look at our Blessed Brother Jacob; Genesis 32 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. 28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,  because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." God Bless our Brother Jacob who knew how to take hold of God and not let go! Our Lord is looking for those with that same attitude today. Those who know how to follow that still small voice with hearts full of determination to make the Lord our God their God and their passion.
When we start off our walk with Christ, weíre not expert walkers but we do need to be passionate, persistent walkers that learn how to keep getting up and pressing in to Him. Those are the ones that God knows how to steer into a right walk with Him; He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[ 15:2 The Greek for prunes also means cleans.] so that it will be even more fruitful. (Whole Chapter: In context: ) I wonder how many people have had their fruit stifled by those who emphasize the fact that itís by Grace through Faith we are saved and that is their soul emphasis. Of course it is!, but itís through getting hungry and thirsty for Him that growth is obtained. How Godís heart hurts for those who lack the Word in their lives to see beyond their birth into what He would have for them. To those who are only focusing on being born into Christ without growth in Christ take note of the following; Hebrews 6:1-8 1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so. 4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Itís amazing how puffed up we become with the blessings of Godís gifts, even the gift of salvation. To those I say the following concerning Godís chosen people the Jews and the rest of the world; Romans 11:17-24 17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
Isnít it amazing how lazy and complacent we become with the good things of God? I love our beloved Brother Paulís attitude when he said the following by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Whole Chapter: In context: ) I love this attitude of Paul! Even though he knew he was saved by the Grace of God through Faith, he was all the more determined to press in to grow in the beautiful Grace of God. There is a danger to be born and yet not to grow, not only in the flesh, but also in the Spirit. From the moment weíre born our immune system needs to keep fighting and grow stronger against the multitudes of illnesses weíre all susceptible to. We all know how important this is for us in the physical realm and so it is within the spiritual one as well. Wouldnít it be nice if we could go through life cuddled up in the place of comfort and safety in our Motherís arms never having to venture out and experience the cold away from those warm arms or to have to experience some bumps and bruises? Birth has its purpose but so does growth. And growth does not happen by those who would rather stay in places of comfort and safety. I love what our Lord Himself has to say here in Revelation 21:6-8 6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Notice the first ones He was listing in those who would not partake with Him in Glory, the cowardly and the unbelieving. Godís heart finds no pleasure in him who lacks the passion or resolve to press into Him but are so consumed with their own safety and well-being or their own egos to look beyond themselves into the realms of Faith. The kingdom of God is not for the faint hearted or the weak of faith. His heart is searching for those who know how to press in and take the kingdom of heaven by force and overcome unto His Glory, Honor, and Praise! All those other sins that our Lord lists after being cowardly and unbelieving will be a natural result if we do not awaken our hearts to Faith in Him and Love that flows from drawing close to Him. So, God bless those who not only teach on the beautiful birth of Life through Faith in Christ, but also those who know how to teach on going on to maturity with Christ.
Behold, He is coming soon to reward the hearts of men for their faithful service to Him;† Revelation 22 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. During this time of terrorism, America has realized that freedom isnít free and has risen to the occasion to protect our freedoms. In the same way, we as professing Christians need to arise from our comfort zones and press into Him ever deeper and ever higher so that He may be the more Glorified in and through our lives.
Heavenly Father, ever help each of Your children to know that though our freedom from sin was purchased for us by Your Son, that He paid the greatest price of all time and eternity. Teach us not to allow that kind of incredible Love to go unrewarded, but to return it with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths. In Jesus Glorious Name, Amen.
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