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Friday, March 18, 2005

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT - FRIDAY: Three Principles For A Victorious Life In Christ

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. -- Winston Churchill
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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. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. -- Phil 3:12-14

As we conclude our series on a victorious life in Christ, we have come to realize that Paul was a mighty man of God, not only was he a fine scholar and an intellectual, but he was a man full of the Holy Spirit and power! Paul was a “hard man!”

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. 1 Cor 4:11-13

Newsweek magazine had an article on what it called the new wave of mountain men. It's estimated that there are some sixty thousand serious mountain climbers in the United States. But in the upper echelon of serious climbers is a small elite group known as "hard men."

For them climbing mountains and scaling sheer rock faces is a way of life. In many cases, climbing is a part of their whole commitment to life. And their ultimate experience is called free soloing: climbing with no equipment and no safety ropes.

John Baker is considered by many to be the best of the hard men. He has free-soloed some of the most difficult rock faces in the United States with no safety rope and no climbing equipment of any kind. His skill has not come easily. It has been acquired through commitment, dedication and training. His wife says she can't believe his dedication.

When John isn't climbing, he's often to be found in his California home hanging by his fingertips to strengthen his arms and hands.

We know the “Hard men and women” of Paul’s day…
Ø Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. -- Col 4:12-13

Ø Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. -- Rom 16:6

Ø Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. -- Rom 16:12

Ø Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
-- 1Thess 5:12

Who are the "hard men and women" for Jesus today? Who are those who will bring all their energies to bear for the sake of Christ? Who are the committed and the dedicated? Who will take no thought of their safety? Who are those who are willing to carry their cross and die daily? Who are those who will press on for the prize of the heavenly calling in Christ?

They are the men and women who will...
Ø Forget the Past
Ø Face the Future
Ø Focus Their Eye on the Goal

Loving Father, take me, mould me, shape me, and make me a hard man/woman for you! Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to be committed and dedicated for Jesus! Use me Lord to extend your kingdom and to win souls for Jesus! Help me Lord, to press on to my high calling in Christ for your glory! In Jesus wonderful and mighty name I pray! Amen!

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