Core Ideas of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Posts tagged ‘what is an overcomer’



“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

There is another tsunami of rage sweeping your way.  Lately, it feels like we live and breathe in a sea of outrage, disgust, fury, and offense.  Serious people are not permitted to be tranquil, optimistic, or content.  It’s normative to be mad at the world: it’s expected.  Even when you must offer a bit of praise for someone or something noble or virtuous, it must be qualified.  Nothing’s that good anymore.

That’s the world we inhabit today.  And that’s the Establishment Jesus has empowered us to overcome.  Our Gospel is supernatural.   We can shine like lights in the darkness.  You and I are The Resistance, and we’re not nearly the first.  Paul coached resistance in the 1st Century:  “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” (Romans 12:2; The Message)

Here’s how we resist:

Don’t be swept away in the rip current of outrage.  Anger is rooted in fear. Confess Christ and cast your fears to the winds.  Your Father cares for you.

Walk away from the angry demonstrators.  The culture of complaint and criticism keep us ever focused on negatives.  Find a place where God is positively working and join him there, and with passion.

Don’t be another #Me Too!  Others can hurt you, but only you can make yourself a victim.  Break out of your prison of the past and walk boldly into a future of hope and joy.  Leave the shame and powerlessness behind you.

Stop drinking the poison Kool-Aid.  Read the Bible more and best-selling fiction less.  Stop watching TV shows you know are profane and inflammatory, no matter how you’ve rationalized it as acceptable because everybody’s watching it.  Turn off news programs that stir up indignation just to keep you watching rather than praying.

Dare to be noble and compassionate.  In Christ, we have the capacity to concentrate on powerful ideas that are true, noble, excellent, commendable, lovely, and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)

Meet God in worship and take an outcast with you.  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you’re only deployed here on hostile soil for a while.  We don’t have time to be dragged down by the aggravated, earthbound people around us.  They don’t understand that the names and faces change with each generation, but the system always stays the same.  That corrupted system is called The World.

That’s what we resist: the deadly system, not the politicians and power players, all interchangeable.  The joy of the Lord is our strength.  Don’t let outrage and irritation leave you powerless.

Lift up the Cross.


Beyond Understanding

 “…And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:19 ESV

I woke up in the desert this week.  Just ten days before, I had been pouring myself out in ministry to pastors and leaders in Africa.  Suddenly the trip was over and I found myself back home, pedaling as fast as I could to catch up with administrative details and finance questions and county regulations.  Without warning,  I began to experience a condition we used to describe in Alabama like this: “I didn’t know if I was going or coming!”  It lasted for days; kind of like walking around in a dust storm.  Nothing was clear. People asked if I was okay.  I smiled but I wasn’t.

This morning, I was desperate to be with God.  I retreated to my prayer place and “shut the door.”  I surrounded myself with the Word of God in various forms and a copy of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  I pulled up a blanket and wrapped myself in the Word of God.  Within just a few minutes, I could almost feel the heart of God beating close by me.

Oswald Chambers cited Peter’s message from God, “Be ye holy as I your God am holy.”  Chambers writes, “Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted with them.”

Paul admonishes the Ephesians 5, “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,  “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

The ways of God are mysterious. Like the wind, he chooses to work without always revealing his comings or his goings.  I told God about my pitiful feelings and he told me about his magnificent plans.  After days of parched, spiritual wilderness, I began to sense the water of life stirring in me again.  The Holy Spirit gently pointed out sins and oversights in my life that were blinding me to the heart of God.  In little more than an hour of time with the Father, I experienced a status change all the way across the gauge from “E” to “F.”  It was hard not to pray.  It was hard to stop and go back to ordinary life.  But I had my marching orders and a full head of steam.  How does God do that?

You can’t describe the love of God.  You can’t even express it very well.  But history and experience show us time and again, you can be changed by it.  If you’re in some kind of funk today, block out some time and sit down with the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God.  If you’re desperate, cry out to Him!

And lift up the Cross!

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