In his sixth appearance at the PGA Masters Golf Tournament, South African native Trevor Immelman won by three strokes over Tiger Woods.After the match, he spoke about the sacrifice it took to put him in that position.
Trevor’s entire family devoted themselves to his success.His parents took out second and third mortgages on their home to afford to send him to tournaments all over the world, and his siblings felt the sting of lost opportunities to further their brother’s fabulous career.Since he was ten years old, Trevor’s dream of becoming the best golfer in the world has had the full support of the Immelman family.
Great accomplishments are seldom made without great sacrifice.Few reach the status of champion, not because they cannot perform at that level but because the burden of the journey is too great.
Christians are called to champion the cause of Jesus Christ!He created us with the ability to make a difference in this world by the proclamation of the Word of God.We were born to be victorious by God’s standard and to lift our family and friends to stand in the winner’s circle with us.When we raise the laurel wreath of victory for a job well done, it encircles all those we have encouraged and discipled into the Fellowship.How big is your circle?
The size of our circle of champions is relative to the size of the sacrifices we are willing to make to enlarge it.When God wrote the script for the real tournament of champions He knew what it would take to make us all winners. He was willing to give His son, Jesus, so that we could share in the ultimate victory.
There is no greater love than that which comes from personal sacrifice.Give, so that others may have life!It takes great commitment and courage to give up something precious so that others may benefit from our generosity.But the blessings far outweigh the cost.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love… each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”(Philippians 2:1,4)
“Going through the motions doesn't please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.
Make Zion the place you delight in, repair Jerusalem's broken-down walls. Then you'll get real worship from us, acts of worship small and large, Including all the bulls they can heave onto your altar!”
(Psalm 51:16-19 - The Message)
One evening recently, I came home after a long, stressful day only to find that my home was not a place of refuge.In fact, it was anything but and I couldn’t run away!There was water over a large portion of my kitchen floor and I was initially puzzled as to its cause.
I traced its pattern and it appeared that water was coming from my newer refrigerator; the used one I bought recently from a family relocating.
Now, I admit I am mechanically challenged, so I called a buddy to help me diagnose the potential problem over the phone.We both concurred that it was probably something simple… like a leak from the water line (that serves the ice maker) connection at the wall or the line at the point of entry to the refrigerator.So, his best advice was to pull the refrigerator out and turn the water off at the connection.
I managed to do one thing well; I pulled the refrigerator out.And, trying with all my might, my little pair of pliers did nothing to turn the water connection off.I just didn’t have the strength!
After opening the freezer and noting all the water in the bottom of that compartment, I took the ice tray out (with the remnants of ice cubes at that point) and emptied it in the sink.And, since I had to attend a meeting at church, I found as many towels as I could and left them scattered all around to absorb as much water as possible.
Upon return from the meeting, my buddy came by to check things out and realized the problem was larger than either one of us could anticipate.After checking the water line connections and the drip pan, it was evident the refrigerator was not cooling and everything had been defrosting and the ice melting for some unknown period of time.We turned it off completely and decided that I needed to call someone who specializes in refrigerator repairs to get it working again.We got more towels and finished sopping up the remaining water.
My life has been like my refrigerator, feeling a little used – sometimes broken, battered and bruised.My friends have come to my rescue and offered support many times and in many ways and I am so blessed.But, alas, more often than not, the problems are more than they or I can handle.
And, try as I might, I find that my strength alone is never sufficient.But, God is the source of my strength and my repair man!When the floodwaters come rushing from my tears, he absorbs them and when I have nowhere to turn and don’t know what to do, He illumines my path.He is my refuge in the midst of my storms and in the calm prior to them.He is my everything!
What have I learned from my refrigerator?
No matter how well we’re constructed, we may reach a breaking point…physically, mentally, or emotionally.But, I remain confident in His promises found in Genesis 28:15 (Amplified Bible):
“And behold, I am with you and will keep (watch over you with care, take notice of) you wherever you may go, and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done all of which I have told you.”
I also note that my refrigerator may have a complex or a simple answer to its problem; just like me.No matter what my circumstances are…complex or simple, I know that there is the one true God who can handle them all.I just need to rely on Him as in Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified Bible)
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Before the demise of the Southwest Conference, in the fall of 1964, Darrell Royal (University of Texas football coach) held a post-game press conference after one of the most sour defeats of his career. Arkansas had knocked off No. 1 Texas, unbeaten in its last 15 starts.
Frank Broyles (University of Arkansas football coach), and his Razorbacks had boarded their charter plane and were heading home when Royal began fielding questions. Frank's parting words were: "Sorry I can't stay for the press conference, fellows, but anything Darrell says goes for me."
Asked about a friendship that had stood the best and worst of times, Royal momentarily shed the agony of a 14-13 loss, and replied: "We've had a good rivalry. Anything Frank tells me, I know to be true. I trust him and have confidence in him." (Houston Chronicle, 08-14-02)
Do you have someone you can trust like that? I have a friend in whom I have known for more than 50 years. Robert called me not long ago and we talked for an hour. When it was time to say our goodbyes, he said, "I love you, bud." Robert is a dear and trusted friend. We have a history and friendship that transcends differences and long periods of silence between us. He is there for me, and I am here for him... it will always be that way.
Beloved, be encouraged that you have a best friend. His name is Jesus! Through trials and difficulties, on the mountaintops and through the valleys, in victory or in defeat... He is there for you. Be reminded today that He loves you unconditionally, He will be your light in darkness, your safe harbor through the storms you face, and He is the first to congratulate you in your successes and your triumphs. Glory!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I love You for all Your God-like qualities, but I don't know if I have ever told You how much I cherish our friendship. You have stood up for me in difficult situations, chastised me when I was wrong, cried with me when my heart ached, bandaged me when I stumped my toe, and stayed with me through sleepless nights. Thank you for being the very best Friend I have ever had. Amen and amen.
The Lord planted two trees in the Garden of Eden – The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life - and He said to Adam, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17 – NIV)
Later, after Adam and Eve had disobeyed that command, God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Genesis 3:22 – NIV)
Two trees – one gives knowledge; one gives life.
God gave the Law through Moses (Numbers 31:21); but, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law.Through the law we only become conscious of sin.But now, a righteousness from God – Jesus Christ - has now been made known to us (Romans 3:19-21).It is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, not by the Law (Acts 15:11)
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies…” (John 11:25 – NIV)
Two trees – one gives knowledge of sin; one gives life eternal.
Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).He also said that if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself you will live (Luke 10:26-28).
But, some tell us that we must live as though we still belong to the world and that we must submit to its rules: Do not handle!Do not taste!Do not touch!These “rules” are destined to perish because they are based on human commands and teachings.Such regulations may have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)
Two trees – one gives rules and regulations; one offers life through the love of God and our fellow-man.
Which tree are you?Do you witness through God’s love, showing kindness, patience, understanding and forgiveness; or, do you witness through the Law, with rules, regulations and judgment?
If you witness with God’s love, you are from God and have overcome the world, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1st John 4:4)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7 – NIV)
Be a tree of love… be a tree of life in Jesus our Lord.
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
It was difficult for Jesus to find time and solitude to be with His disciples, especially during the Jewish Passover when thousands of pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem.His band of twelve needed to learn the deeper truths before the end.Jesus took them across the Sea of Galilee to a mountain retreat to be alone with them.But the crowds followed.
It was likely that these people were traveling, and unexpectedly came upon the Master.Their provisions for the trip would have been low by now and Jesus had compassion for their hunger.Turning to Philip, He asked where bread might be bought for such a multitude.But Philip saw the situation as hopeless and offered no solution.
Andrew said, "I will see what I can do."He found a young boy with a picnic lunch and brought the lad to Jesus.We never know what might come of introducing people to Jesus.Andrew didn't realize he was providing resources for a miracle that day.He was just doing what he could to help the situation.
Then there was the boy with his meager lunch, five barley loaves and a few pickled sardine-like fish.Barley was the bread of the very poor.It was the required trespass-offering from a woman who had committed adultery, because barley was the food of beasts and the woman's sin was the sin of a beast.Barley bread was held in contempt but it was everything the boy had, and on that day it was enough to feed the multitudes.
The miracle of life is that Jesus needs what we can bring to Him.Little is much in the hands of the Lord.
GospeLines Prayer:May our lives be enriched because we have given everything we have, not because we have given the most.Let us rejoice that what we consider meager or contemptuous, when it’s put into your hands it can be transformed into a miracle to nourish the multitudes around us.Amen and amen.