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The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came...Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory.” Torrey, R.A.
“In football they have a huddle, the goal of the huddle is to give you thirty seconds to call the play, that is why they give you a huddle.(At a professional football game there may be ) Sixty thousand people watching you huddle, they don’t mind you taking thirty seconds to call the play. They understand that you have to get organized, you have to know where you are going to go, the ends need to know where they are going to go, the quarterback needs to know where he is going to go, the backs need to know where they are going to go. A huddle is a necessary part of playing the game. But let me inform you if you do not already know, sixty thousand people do not pay $20 a ticket to watch you huddle. See, people don’t come to football games to watch the huddle. They want to see if their team can overcome the opposition who is daring them to snap the ball and move down the field to score. What they want to know is does your practice work? Now what Christians often do is get high on their huddles. We gather together on Sunday morning and Sunday nights and Wednesday nights and we go nuts over the huddle! We say, “Boy did we have a huddle!! My quarterback can call plays better than your quarterback. And boy do we go off on the huddle. But what people don’t seem to understand is, that the huddle is so that we can play the game. The effectiveness of your church cannot be measured by how well you do on Sunday morning. … The test of the church is what it does in the marketplace. What we need today is churches that are representative of Jesus Christ not only when gathered but when disseminated.” (Dr. Tony Evans. “The Power of God’s People.” (Sermon, 1987 – Church Growth Conference, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX)
Blessed Are The Meek
As you study the character traits described in the Beatitudes, you can't help but realize one thing; these qualities are by no means natural to the human spirit. They are very foreign. Poverty of spirit, true mourning over personal sins against God and meekness does not come to us naturally.
The greatest preacher of all time, Jesus Christ, proclaimed "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." (Matt. 5:5)
The Greek word for "meek" means to be gentle; to be strong, very strong, yet be humble and tender. It is a man with all the emotions and ability to take and conquer, but he is able control himself in all ways. It is a state of being disciplined -- a man who is disciplined because he is God-controlled.
W. E. Vine writes: "Meekness is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercise of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good and therefore without disputing and resisting."
True meekness is a submissive and trusting attitude toward God. It is an attitude which considers all things that come your way as being for God's good purpose in your life. Meekness looks beyond circumstances, no matter how upsetting and hurtful, and humbly bows the knee to the Sovereign God.
Jesus is the perfect picture of someone who was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4: 1) and lived a life of true meekness. He had all the power needed to prevent His arrest and crucifixion, yet He surrendered to God's will. (Matthew 26: 53 - 45) He fully understood the sovereignty of God and the results of the free will of man. Jesus said to Pilate, "You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." (John 19: 11) Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. God used it to accomplish His plan of redemption, and yet Judas was and will be fully accountable before God. (Acts 1: 15 -19)
Man has strength to ignore God's will or to take God's gifts, talents, and abilities and use them for self or he may choose to use God's good blessings to glorify the Lord. Without meekness, he will squander what is given to him by God to gain earthly wealth, self-satisfaction and fame (little or great).
The Beatitude of meekness epitomizes the results of kneeling in total submission to God's will. It comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit and from allowing Him to produce Christ-like character in us. Are you craving that submissive spirit of meekness that bows and responds to the mighty sovereignty of God with joyful obedience? Meekness says, "not my will, but Yours be done." (Mathew 26: 39)
The Bible says, "...the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace." (Proverbs 37:11) Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29) The meek will rule and reign with Christ upon this earth someday. (2 Tim. 2:12)
True meekness is not a natural character trait. It can only be obtained by knowing Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. Invite Christ into your life today a discover the joyful surrender of true meekness.
No treachery is worse than betrayal by a family member or friend. Julius Caesar knew such treachery. Among the conspirators who assassinated the Roman leader on March 15, 44 was Marcus Junius Brutus. Caesar not only trusted Brutus, he had favored him as a son. According to Roman historians, Caesar first resisted the onslaught of the assassins. But when he saw Brutus among them with his dagger drawn, Caesar ceased to struggle and...
How seldom is it that the soul keeps itself silent enough for God to speak.
Life Examples: Jesus: Example or Sacrifice (Mt. 26:39)
Some believe that Jesus came to show us how to live a good life-and to be sure, He is our example of righteousness. We are to become like Him. But that isn’t the reason Jesus came. Jesus came to die, to become the sacrificial, substitutionary, all-sufficient atonement for our sins.
If Jesus didn’t come to die, there is no purpose in the cross or the Resurrection The New Testament consistently confronts us with this message: Christ died for us. Jesus came so that you and I might transfer our guilt to Him and accept by faith that as the guiltless One, He has received our sin and taken it to Himself.
If you are looking for forgiveness on the basis of your pleas, promises, and performance, then you will remain in your sins. Only if you accept His sacrifice will you open yourself to receiving the fullness of God’s life-giving Spirit.
-The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible
April 18, 2005 “Good Name Above Good Gain!” Genesis 43:1-12 Key verse(s) 12:“Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back in the mouths of your sacks.”
In a world so caught up in rules and regulations it is not surprising that in that regulating process the door has literally been left ajar for those who enjoy skirting the rules. Whether it’s cheating on college exams and papers (which has become pan-demic on college campuses around the world) or fudging a few figures on Uncle Sam’s form 1040 (according to the IRS tax fraud has increased dramatically in the United States, especially since taxes were simplified over the last few decades), fraud is on the increase around the world. It seems the more governments try to circumvent it with complicated systems of control and reporting, the more it seems to spread. One young enterprising IRS examiner put it this way. “It’s like scratching a rash. The harder we try to stop the itching, the worse the itching gets and the farther the rash spreads.”
Where once a man’s integrity was so valuable that he would do nearly anything to preserve his good name, now integrity has become with many nothing more than an afterthought, something that you almost forgot about but knew, perhaps, you should be careful to avoid trouble with. There was a time when the central focus of political campaigns was whether or not the candidate had integrity or not. Lincoln ran on this platform in 1860 and 1864. Theodore Roosevelt did the same almost fifty years later. But now, a century since Teddy, the fact that a man or woman has shown less than sparkling character during the course of their personal lives seems to be of little importance in a more pragmatically focused world where “our personal lives are none of the nation’s business.” (Bill Clinton, 1998.) Issues like whether or not you have cheated on your spouse or faithfully served your country in the military or, for that matter, believe in God, have been relegated to the scrap heap of time-worn and irrelevant ideas that are no longer applicable to our times. (By the way, if you ever have wondered what common thread tied Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt in such a way as to be the faces depicted on Mt. Rushmore, you need look no farther than this: each man led a life of integrity.)
The thing that so often exemplified presidential leadership in days gone by was something called integrity. Everyone expects a president to be honest. That’s doing the right thing when everyone expects you to do it. But, doing the right thing when no one expects it is certainly another. That’s called integrity.
Booker T. Washington describes meeting an ex-slave from Virginia in his book Up From Slavery: “I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labor where and for whom he pleased.
Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars. Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands.
In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay his debt, but that he had given his word to his master, and his word he had never broken. He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise.” (Douglas E. Moore.)
Jacob didn’t have to put double the silver back into those sacks. It is probably certain that he could have ill-afforded to do so personally as years of draught must certainly have drained his resources. Nonetheless, even though no one expected him to do so, he was compelled to not only do the honest thing and return the silver, he was also compelled to double it because his name, the most valuable thing he possessed, was even more compelling. Perhaps the temptation was there to try to “get away with something.” Jacob was as human subject to sin as you and I. Yet, he did not yield to this. Rather, he was not willing to accept something for which he had not dutifully paid. It really didn’t matter whether he had to or not. His reputation was on the line and he would spare no cost to make sure that his good name would remain so. Jacob guarded his integrity. He put his good name above good gain.
Heavenly Father, may we always regard our good name highly, not just in public, but also in secret where only You know what we do. May we always place integrity, a good name, above any good gain. Help us to guard our integrity at all costs. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
LOVE GIVES TO THE LIMIT
The late great Scots Church of Scotland theologian, educator, author, and radio and television presenter, William Barclay (1907 - 1978), once said, "Love never calculates; love never thinks how little it can decently give; love’s one desire is to give to the uttermost limits; and, when it has given all it has to give, it still thinks the gift is too little. We have not even begun to be Christian true believer if we think of giving to Christ, and to His church in terms of a...
April 29, 2003
Because Trent Dilfer is a public figure, the death Sunday of his 5-year-old son Trevin is news.
It’s sad news.
Even those critical of Dilfer the football player surely feel for Dilfer the man and his family. Five-year-olds aren’t supposed to die, they’re supposed to go to kindergarten.
About a month ago, when Trevin Dilfer’s heart illness became public, I contacted the Dilfer family and was politely told the family wishes to be left alone.
Both the Seattle Times and Post-Intelligencer ran short stories Monday, both with the family’s statement: "We are deeply grateful for the prayers and kindness of so many relatives, friends and strangers over the past five weeks. We will always cherish the heroic efforts of the doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital-Central California and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Trevin was a very brave young boy and we are comforted in knowing that as a child of God, he has returned to his maker. We grieve, but not as those without hope. In this time of sorrow we are thankful for the sensitivity displayed in respecting our privacy."
Dilfer had been through some tough times before but nothing like this. In college, he drank every day until becoming a Christian during his sophomore year.
In Tampa, Fla., he was booed relentlessly by Buccaneers fans and was released by the team in 1999, two years after making the Pro Bowl. In Baltimore, he was dumped by the Ravens just after winning the Super Bowl.
And in Seattle, he ruptured his Achilles tendon after finally winning the starting job with the Seahawks. Each time, his faith — and his football — kept him from crumbling. But this was different. This time, God was asking him to let go of Trevin.In March 2003, the family went to Disneyland. On the second day of the trip, Trevin felt feverish and wasn’t himself. A doctor diagnosed him with asthma and bronchitis.
The day after the family arrived back home, Trevin was listless and couldn’t speak, so Dilfer’s wife took Trevin to the emergency room.
Doctors thought Trevin might have hepatitis and sent him to a nearby children’s hospital. But his heart failed twice during the trip. Doctors sat the Dilfers down and said: “He’s not going to make it, for some reason his heart won’t respond. We’re pumping it manually. We have no idea what’s going on.”
Dilfer fell to his knees and sobbed.
Doctors stabilized Trevin and moved him to the hospital at California’s Stanford University.
By the next day, friends, family and teammates flew in. They were known as Camp Trev, and from the time Trevin arrived, he had as many as 40 visitors a day.
One day, Dilfer put his finger in Trevin’s hand and started talking. A tear slipped out of Trevin’s eye, and he squeezed his dad’s finger. It was the happiest moment of Dilfer’s life.
Doctors told the Dilfers a rare virus had attacked Trevin’s heart and he needed a transplant, so he was placed on the waiting list for a heart. But it was a race against time. Each day brought an increased risk of a bacterial infection. If Trevin developed such an infection, then he’d have to be removed from the waiting list.
The next 25 days were excruciating. Often Dilfer would go to the rooftop garden and pray. Once he went to the chapel and broke down. “God, take my life, just spare my son,” Dilfer pleaded.
Dilfer and his wife attended Easter services April 20, 2003, marking the first time in almost 40 days that they both were away from Trevin. But when they returned, Dilfer knew something was wrong.
The next morning, the Dilfers got the bad news — Trevin most likely had a systemic infection.
All this time, they had trusted that the Lord would save Trevin. But that night, Dilfer had a revelation — God would save Trevin by taking him home.
Six days later, the couple prayed and decided to take Trevin off life support. They were told the machine could only keep him alive two more weeks and he’d be in pain. Doctors and pastors assured them it was the loving and merciful thing to do.
Three days later, April 30, the Dilfers held a Celebration of Trevin’s Life at Peoples Church in Fresno, Calif.
Dilfer didn’t intend to speak, but he felt moved to do so. He picked up Trevin’s blue blanket, the one he had in the hospital. Then he looked up at the huge picture of Trevin on the projection screen, cried and said, “He was my best friend.”
The Dilfers set up TD4HIM, a foundation to raise money for youth sports programs, church ministries and other things they knew Trevin loved. They kept Trevin’s bedroom intact to keep him with them in spirit. They surrounded themselves with family and friends and sought counseling. Still the grief was suffocating.
When it came time for Seahawks camp the summer of 2003, Dilfer somehow made it to camp. It was a tough season.
The next season, 2004, Dilfer started two games as a relief quarterback and Seattle won them both. He realized that more than ever he needed to be on the field. But he knew he’d have to leave the Seahawks to be a starter again.
Dilfer was ready for a new challenge, another step in the healing process. What’s more, his family was emotionally up for such a big move. He asked the Seahawks to trade him and soon received a call from Browns General Manager Phil Savage. Dilfer called it a miracle.
He was back in the game as a starter, and now Sundays are more special than ever. They’re a chance to show off for Trevin, his best friend and No. 1 fan. (RNS)
"I have so much to do today that I shall never get through it with less than three hours prayer." -Martin Luther