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The life of following Christ was not promised to be without trials. This week Luis Palau reminds us that everyone faces spiritual warfare yet Jesus Christ leads us through that warfare to become victorious! Even the disciples of Jesus lived a life together with joy, pain and victory over temptation.
When my wife and I lived in Virginia, we had a massive oak tree in our yard. When I say “massive,” I mean it was ancient! You could see the tree from our living room window in the front and then look out the window in the back of the house and see limbs from the same tree. The thing was giant. And, raking its leaves was a fearsome job. One day, as Wendy, the kids and I finished filling endless garbage bags with leaves, I heard her exclaim “My wedding ring is gone!” My heart sank as I looked at the bags of leaves. We would never find it. But, Wendy wasn’t discouraged by the mounds of leaves. She dropped to her knees and started going through each bag, leaf by leaf.
Finally, hours later I heard her scream, “I found it!” Sure enough, there sparkled the little diamond I had given her on our wedding day. Wendy was persistent and would not give up. She prized that ring so much that it didn’t matter how long she had to search – she was going to find it. We all have things of great value to us like that ring. But do you know what God values? Of course, He values people.
II Peter tells us that it is not God’s will that anyone should perish. And yet, just as we all once were, people are lost without Him. Are we looking for the lost as if they are valuable? It’s our calling. Wendy faithfully searched for her ring because it was precious to her. Let’s treat lost souls in the same way. Our hearts should ache to the point of action to reach our world until what’s lost is found.
When I was twelve I gave my life to Christ and I knew I had eternal life. For in the book of John it says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Once a follower of Christ we have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but how do we live this promise out?
In my teenage years, I prayed, read my Bible, helped in children’s ministry in my church. Yet I was still searching for some feeling of fulfillment. I thought that at some point it would just click. But it didn’t, until a speaker spoke simply on Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my efforts to follow Christ, my self-discipline or my devotion. It isn’t about me, it’s about Christ in me.
We can’t do it at all without Jesus’ indwelling, resurrection power. We cannot bring others the Good News without walking in the energy Jesus delivers within us. He no longer calls us servants but friends. Share this Good News with those around you and you may see many of them come to Jesus Christ.
Our life in Christ is a life of victory! Yet triumph only comes if there was a battle before it. I learned this while in Bible College reading the Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”
After my first semester at Bible College in the USA, I was ready to quit. I felt like a hypocrite and experienced battles of doubt in my spiritual walk. But Christ had other plans for me. We all face a spiritual war on this earth. But Jesus Christ, living in us, leads us in our warfare to become victorious! It’s a hard battle to face but by relying on the truth that He indwells us, we can overcome our fears.
This week let’s reject any lie of which the deceiver has tried to convince us. Encourage your friends who are struggling too, and help them take in these truths written in the word of God! Take every thought captive, be triumphant, and spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And once again, don’t forget the word: “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ.”
Finding strength in Christ can be a struggle during difficult times. When my wife, Pat, was first diagnosed with cancer my heart was broken. I came home feeling alarmed. But then I heard my wife on the piano playing, “How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord...”. The Lord spoke to us both on how we desperately needed to base our strength in Him, and Him alone.
The apostles of Jesus Christ were constantly tested. The apostle Paul was thrown in jail and beaten time and time again. Paul could have cried out to the Lord, “I’m your apostle. I follow your truth, so why do I deserve this?” But Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” He says I have learned to be content. As with Paul, I had to learn to trust the Holy Spirit that He is sufficient while my wife battled cancer. And He was sufficient and still is, as my wife was healed!
The life of following Christ was not promised to be without trails. To be content in our trials, we must allow the Spirit of God to speak His sufficiency in every circumstance. So learn to be content and be a testimony of Christ to others. They will notice, and you’ll get a chance to tell them about your Savior.
Did you know your life in Christ has tremendous and astonishing possibilities? In Psalm 23 it says, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” When we are following and trusting Christ the cup runs over. It’s a life that’s meant to be filled with Christ Himself.
My mother gave us a solid demonstration of living our life in Christ and through Christ. It was very practical and very much a day-to-day learning skill about income for a family of eight, food, work, clothing and mostly trust in God’s promises.
The enemy throws many things our way to try to knock this cup over. Through trials, illness and financial crisis it may seem like a life in Christ is too difficult. Yet when we read the word of God we are reminded of His promises. Through the story of Jesus’ disciples we are encouraged. For His disciples endured hardships too. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through God’s written Word.
This week let’s reflect on what is in the Word and the promises of a life that’s full through Jesus Christ. Reject any lies of the enemy who tries to keep us from those promises. Then let’s share the wonderful promise of an overflowing life in Christ with the people around us. “You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.”
Luis Palau shares about the reason for the season - the Light of the world - Jesus Christ. Listen to this encouraging word as you celebrate the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You will find reason to rejoice and you will be filled with peace as you remember what God has done through sending His Son into human history. Don’t miss this special message.
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Luis Palau shows how we can reveal Christ in Christmas to our friends and family. It’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday buzz and forget what it’s really all about. Receive a good reminder of why we can have a truly merry Christmas!