MORE than conquerors 

Ever wonder about the word ‘more’ in Romans 8:37 “…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us…?”

Seems like an unnecessary addition to something so final. Merriam-Webster describes a conqueror as, “One who: wins a country in war, subdues or subjugates a people, or overcomes an adversary.”

Wins. Subdues. Overcomes.

So why does it say we are “more than conquerors?” Is it saying we need to win more? Overcome more? – Conquer more?

I don’t think so.

Picture with me the aftermath of a battle from your favorite movie. A grizzly scene to be sure. Death and destruction as far as the eye can see. The winning side walks through the carnage, surveying the damage.

The battle is won, the enemy conquered. Most movies will now cut to the celebration feast, a joyous banquet of thanksgiving for their victory. What’s left?

Let’s cut back to the victorious battleground. Put yourself there in your imagination. Buildings are still in rubble. Landscape burnt to a crisp. Remnants of the defeated’s way of life are all around. What do you do?

Now comes the MORE. We remove the old and build the new.

Our sin nature was crucified with Jesus – it was conquered. Done.

Now we are free for the more – to build the kingdom of God on the earth until He returns.

Don’t take my word for it

A plea from a pastor’s heart that I stole to make my own…

“The Christian must take special care that he do not suffer himself to be led away from the Word of God by the many manuals (blogs!) which in our days are seeing the light.

These books will have this result – whenever a man seeks his instruction only in what the writer has to say, he then becomes accustomed to take everything at second hand.

These books can become a blessing to the reader only when they bring him always to that portion of God’s Word which is treated of in order that he may meditate further upon it himself as from the mouth of God.

Christians, there is in the Word of God an incredible power. The blessing which lies hid in it is inconceivable.

See to it that when you have read a portion you always return to that passage of the Scriptures of which an explanation is given. Receive that not as the word of man, but, as it is in truth, the Word of God, which works mightily in those that believe.

Hold fellowship with God through the Word.

Take time to speak with Him about it, to give an answer to Him concerning it.

Then shall you understand what the Lord Jesus says: The words which I speak unto you, they are spirit and life.”

Then shall Word and sacrament gloriously work together, to make you increase in prayer and in the life of God.”

— The Lord’s Table: A Help to the Right Observance of the Holy Supper by Andrew Murray

Communion- On the night He was betrayed

Have you ever stopped to wonder at the timing of when Jesus asked to celebrate the Passover with His disciples?

On the night He was betrayed, Jesus took the bread and gave thanks…

On the night He was betrayed

The very night He was betrayed. A betrayal that would accelerate His path to the cross. A betrayal He knew was coming and would be followed by the desertion of His beloved disciples. THAT very night is the night He chose to introduce Communion to the twelve, and ultimately to us.

And what was the first thing He did on that night? Jesus took the bread…and gave thanks. Jesus picked up the unleavened bread, held it up for the disciples to see, and He gave thanks.

I used to think Jesus was giving thanks for the provision of food, the bread in His hand. Of course that is true, and is a remarkable posture of heart considering the suffering He knew was imminent.

What I now see is Jesus was also giving thanks for the cross. The bread He took and put before the disciples was soon to be His very own body. His body that would be beaten. His body that would bear the wrath of Almighty God, so His relationship with us could be restored. That is what He was giving thanks to the Father for – and doing so on the very night He was betrayed.

Lord, may we always remember the Cross was Your idea, Your plan, Your willing sacrifice to bring us back to Yourself.

If God is for us, who can be against us!

I Corinthians 11:23, Romans 8:31

Communion – time to see it again

Over the summer God gave me an invitation to take Communion. Only this time, I wasn’t to wait for the monthly rotation in the Sunday service. I felt Him draw me to take Communion daily, in the privacy of my room, alone with Him.

Armed with only a pretzel stick and pomegranate juice, I began this daily practice.

I looked up the familiar verses we read each time Communion is offered. As I did so day after day, God took words I could recite in my sleep and began to give them fresh meaning. Deep meaning. Life-altering meaning.

After an entire summer of this daily practice, I was given the privilege to lead Communion and share publically what I had been experiencing with the Lord in private. Now I’d like to post these here for you, one nugget at a time.

Stay tuned…

For God So Loved _______

Happy Thanksgiving!

In my prayer time this morning, I asked God to speak to me. I simply said, “What would you like to say to me today?”

He answered me quickly and clearly.

He spoke John 3:16-17 over me, but instead of saying, “For God so loved the ‘world’ – He said,

“For God so loved Meredith, He gave His one and only Son, so that Meredith will not perish, but she will have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn Meredith, but to save Meredith through Jesus.”

I was so overwhelmed with how personalized His love for me became in that moment. I just wanted y’all to have the same!!

“For God so loved me, He gave His one and only Son, so that I will not perish, but I will have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn me, but to save me through Jesus.”

“For God so loved __________, He gave His one and only Son, so that __________, will not perish, but __________, will have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn __________, but to save __________, through Jesus.”

Thank You Lord.

Thank you Lord for bearing down.

Thank you Lord for sharing Your crown.

Thank you Lord for fixing Your eyes.

Thank you Lord for choosing me as Your prize.

Thank you Lord for being willing to kill,

the animals in Genesis You called good.

You took their life and skinned their hide,

To cover us in love because it was cold outside.

From fig leaves to cobwebs, works to neglect,

We each try and cover our shame and regret.

Yet from the moment we chose to go against You,

You worked out a plan to make us brand new.

So once again we pause and say

Thank You.

All Things Are Yours

A book I’m reading published in 1892 had a single line in bold – ALL THINGS ARE YOURS.

Seeing it stand alone like that caused me to stop and consider the meaning. Could it really be true? ALL THINGS ARE YOURS. Could it really be that simple? ALL THINGS ARE YOURS.

Wanting to dig further led me to a Google search of those words. What I found blew me away. Yes, it’s really true. And yes, it’s really that simple. Google said so. ha

My search took me to a commencement speech by John Piper back in 2013. Copywrite prevents me from pasting the text here, but with one magic click of your mouse you can listen below or READ HERE how ALL THINGS REALLY ARE YOURS!!!

MAY 17, 2013
All Things Are Yours
Bethlehem College and Seminary Commencement
Minneapolis, MN
Resource by John Piper
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:21–23  

Name it and claim it – ish

I’m naming a Land Rover and a Joanna Gaines farmhouse. Amen.

So far I’ve still got my Kia and 60’s era rental home. Must not have enough faith. Guess I just need to pray harder. Or pray longer. Or fast more. Or or or…

Church history informs us of countless doctrines that missed the mark. (Indulgences anyone?) But if you look closely, most have a sincere nugget of truth embedded within. It just took that core truth in the wrong direction. Many a baby has been tossed out with the proverbial bathwater.

Would you indulge me (ha) as I attempt to rescue the baby in the “name it and claim it” doctrine?

For those who hold this doctrine, both halves are centered on oneself. We need to do the “naming” of what we want, and then we can “claim” it as our own. This position doesn’t leave much room for God to be anything other than Santa Claus delivering our personally curated Christmas list.

But what if God did put presents under the tree for us? Ones we didn’t ask for – but ones He wanted us to have? I imagine we would wake up Christmas morning to see an array of beautifully wrapped presents of all shapes and sizes, each one with a gift tag with our name on it.

Let’s go get that baby.

There you are, standing in front of the tree, staring at a gift with your name on it. What do you do now? You claim it of course! You reach down and take what has been given to you. You open it up with wonder and delight and a boatload of thanksgiving. Then you use it!

These gifts were not ones we named, but ones HE named for us before the foundation of the world. The most valuable and precious being the gift He gave the world who didn’t ask – the gift of Himself.

The gift of forgiveness is one we must claim. We can’t have it if we don’t claim it. We can see it’s there under the tree with our name on it. There’s nothing we did or can do to merit its offering. Our only responsibility is to pick it up, believe it’s really ours to have, take what has been offered, and claim it as our own.

The gift of forgiveness is just the beginning. The Bible is full of undeserved gifts He has given to us.

What should we do in response? Claim what God has named for us!

Is Truth Flexible?

If you’re anything like me, the mere question fills you with an immediate and intense rebuttal declaring the supremacy of absolute truth.

But what if truth can be absolute and flexible at the same time?

Before you swipe left, let’s give this a think together.

I’ve been studying the armor of God, taking long deep dives to explore every individual piece. The belt of truth doesn’t seem to need much exposition. Truth is the Word of God, what we need to surround ourselves with at our core.

We also know what a belt is and how and why it’s used today. Even so, I decided to keep diving. Merriam-Webster defines a belt as, “A strip of flexible material worn especially around the waist.” The word flexible stuck with me. A belt is flexible. Hmmm. But is it always? No matter how hard I tried, I could not think of a single example of a rigid belt I could successfully put around my waist. It just wouldn’t work.

Belt of Truth. Those two concepts no longer seemed compatible in my mind. Until I asked God to help me understand why He described Truth as a belt and told us to wrap it around ourselves.

His answer to me began with highlighting the Pharisees. If Truth of the Word of God was all that we needed for godliness, that bunch would have been the most godly of all. They knew every word by heart – every jot and tittle as they say. And we all know where that got them.

“The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:6

Now I was beginning to understand. Truth apart from the Spirit of God is a deadly combination. Literally. The letter kills. It doesn’t just wound – it kills. Dead. The Pharisees, knew the truth. They just weren’t led by the Spirit in their application of it.

No wonder Jesus said in John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.”

Putting on the belt of Truth just got a little more flexible.

A Hero’s faith is in their journey.

I woke up this morning with this sentence ringing in my ears –

“A Hero’s faith is in their journey.”

Normally this is where I’d wow you with my revelatory insights written in prose worthy of a Pulitzer.

But today I’m going to leave the revelation to the Holy Spirit, and let HIM speak to you through it.

A true nugget of nourishment.