I Have Overcome the World

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This morning I was talking to a favorite friend of mine. We enjoyed light talk then moved into the realities of a chaotic and challenging summer. I loved her question: “Don’t you just want to take a break from growing, a break from being transformed?” “Yes!” I answered; I love breaks and I do believe God gives us those. However, I want abundant life even more than the break.

This is what I have come to understand. The world showcases the glamorous lives of the rich and famous through movies, TV and tabloids. Facebook or “Fakebook”, as my friend refers to it, portrays problem-free life. What the movies, TV, tabloids and Facebook do not properly portray is what is underneath all the glamour shots. With a close up view, there are things that even facades and make up cannot hide.

Struggle and Pain. Most of the time our lives have some element of struggle and pain. Yes, we can hide it behind facades, make up, busy schedules, exercise addictions, eating disorders, alcohol and anything else used to escape the reality of life. Nevertheless, underneath all the addictions and facades lay the same things — struggle and pain. It is the truth that we desperately don’t want to hear.

Look at the life of Jesus. He shared many wonderful, joy-filled moments with his people. There was also struggle and pain. Jesus experienced much rejection, being misunderstood, anger at those who did not understand his Father, mistrust of his own family, abandonment by his closest friends, then a trip to Calvary and an agonizing death on the cross.

Jesus understands struggle and pain. He did not die to guarantee you a pain-free life. He died to guarantee you a resurrected life. The struggle and pain in our lives are agents of change, agents to take us deeper into that resurrected life. They can be the means to our healing and freedom.

Here is the question: are you willing to trust God with your struggle and pain? Are you willing to allow Him to take you deeper into His heart, His plan, His way? If so, you have to embrace the struggle and pain and allow God to convict, heal and set free. This is our cooperative work in transformation. Like Jesus, we can overcome the world. We can overcome the pain. To overcome, we have to be willing to walk through the process of transformation. The awesome promise of God is that through that transformation we are moving from one degree of glory to another.

Yes, I know we all want a break from the transformation process God works in our lives. But ladies, we have to take heart. The victory has been won for us in the cross. It will be won in us through the Holy Spirit. We, too, will overcome the struggle and pain. In the meantime, we get to move deeper and deeper into the heart of our heavenly Father who loves us beyond comprehension and deeper into the abundant life he has planned for us.

More Than Conquerors

This summer the theme of Cross Train is “More than Conquerors”. It is taken from Paul’s letters to the Romans: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”(8:37-39).

To live an abundant life is to live knowing that we are more than conquerors. How do we do that? Paul makes it very clear that there is nothing (notice how many times the word nor is used — that is definitely for emphasis) that can separate us from the love of God. Absolutely nothing! There is nothing you can do, nothing that can be done, nothing you can think, no failure, not even death can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus took all those things on himself so that you could live free and secure.

Ladies, a key to the abundant life is living in that love, resting in it, receiving it. How are you doing with this? You are called to be “more than a conqueror”. Thankfully, this is not something we do on our own but something we do through our Lord. It starts with His love.

My heart’s desire for each of us is to fully embrace God’s love for us. Even more, I know it is God’s desire for us. Can you imagine? God gave His only Son so that we could live in relationship with Him. He has provided everything we need for life and godliness (see 2 Peter 1:3). Despite all that, we deny, resist, and refuse His love then blame it on our unworthiness.

On the cross, Jesus said you are worthy. You are worthy of the body and blood of Jesus; you are worthy of the love of your heavenly Father; and you are worthy of the abundant life. Thank God that the body and blood of Jesus declared us worthy — cleanses us, heals us and makes us into the righteousness of Christ.

Will you take a few minutes today to ask God what it would look like for you to live in His love? Then, ask Him what it looks like for you to live as “more than a conqueror”? I know God has awesome things to show you!

Faith, Fitness and Fellowship in July

Join us this summer as Cross Train takes a new approach to training. Our focus this summer: Faith, Fitness and Fellowship.  Monday, July 7 marks the beginning of the July session.

Faith: We will continue to enjoy daily devotions and prayers as well as weekly blog postings, focusing on stewardship of the body and personal faith development.

Fitness: Strength Fit workouts are designed to challenge every muscle of the body. We go through circuits of strength training followed by cardio intervals which allow for great calorie burn and fitness gain. If you want to change your body, this is the workout for you! The other great advantage — Strength Fit works for every level of training from beginner to advanced.

Fellowship: Workouts are just more fun with other women, especially in the context of a Christian community. Our goal is to build each other up by encouraging one another, pushing each other when needed and accepting and loving one another. In each workout, we find that we work hard and have a great time doing it! To build this fellowship, we will also enjoy monthly Healthy Happy Hours and Saturday Socials.

Want more? How about weekly teachings on the Habits of Health along with healthy recipes.

Summer training starts on Monday, June 7. We will meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 7:00 to 8:15 am at St. Peters Church in Lake Mary.

Monthly fee: $65.

For those who cannot commit to training every day, join us for the day for $10 per session. Also, anyone is invited to Saturday Social runs and walks and the devotional blogs are free.

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