Tag Archives: i have overcome the world

Learning to laugh


Carol Burnett just received her Lifetime Achievement Award. What a well deserved honor! She and Tim Conway, and Red Skelton before them, committed their lives to making people happy. That’s not a bad legacy to leave, don’t you agree?


Life is serious business. But wholesome laughter is good medicine for our soul. And the bible has quite a bit to say about having a joyful spirit. One of the “fruits” of a spirit-filled life is joy. Joy should naturally blossom from the love God gives us to share with others. Do you know that God rejoices over you? We’re often so hard on ourselves, thinking we’re not good enough. But God has adopted us into his family and made us heirs of his kingdom. Regardless of how you feel, you might as well face the truth: God loves his children and is filled with joy over them, including you. Psalm 16:11 reminds us that there is joy in God’s presence. So why are we so eager to let everything else get in the way our most prized joy? The closer you grow to God, the more joy and fulfillment you will experience!


I like the expression in Psalm 126:2. “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Can you help but smile when you recall how very many ways God has intervened to save and bless his people? Expecting God will show up in your day should bring certain joy and cause for celebration. I wonder how many small things we let frustrate us when a better response would be to laugh it off.  Solomon reminds us (Ecclesiastes 3:4), “there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” If the wisest man in all the world recognized this, shouldn’t we also join in the celebration of life? Only in the power of God can we rejoice in our trials. Only by the faithful promise of Jesus can we accept, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Our troubles will not always plague us. He who catches our tears in a bottle will cause us to laugh again one day.


““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! (Some versions say, Be of good cheer!) I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


Learn to laugh more. Help others to laugh. If God is filled with joy and laughter, shouldn’t we be like him?


“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” We can rejoice, because regardless of the burdens we face, because God Almighty sees us where we are, he stays with us always, and we will live in the house of the Lord forever! Be blessed in being filled with his joy and hope!


Watch Carol Burnett’s humble acceptance speech for her lifetime achievement award: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/01/carol-burnetts-speech-at-the-sag-awards-is-gold.html


What difference does the resurrection make?


The day after Easter, it’s worth pondering, “What difference does the resurrection of Jesus have in my life?”


Some people, even professing Christians, believe it was just a story. (How in the world can people who call themselves ‘Christian’ still come to such a conclusion?) And for some who do believe, Easter is more of an event than a lifestyle. Church attendance swells on Easter Sunday and then dwindles to normal the week after. We turn the page of the calendar and move on. Of course, we’re thankful that Jesus conquering the grave means His followers also will share in that promise when our bodies die. But is there more?


Think on this. What if Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead? What if He remained in the tomb forever? He would be just like all the other ‘good’ teachers, wouldn’t He? We could say, “He was such a good teacher. I want to try to be like Him.” His life would inspire us to higher ideals, but we’d be left on our own to sort out how to accomplish that. Furthermore, if He was just like all the other ‘good’ teachers we’d be tempted to blend all the ‘good’ teachings into our lives: a little Christianity, a little Hindu, a little Buddhism. We’re told it’s ‘extreme’ to believe in “THE way, THE truth, and THE life.” And so it becomes easy to fold Christianity into a part of our life, rather than being our life.


But Jesus couldn’t have been just a good teacher. He claimed to be the Son of God. What good teacher would lead His followers to believe a lie if He was a mere man? And what believers would follow a lie to their persecution and tortuous death . . . for centuries to follow? And what difference did the resurrection of their beloved master and Lord make in their lives?


Following His death they were huddled in fear, guilt, and depression. Hopelessness and despair defined their days. They must have been asking, “What now? Should we go back to our routine manner of living?” They didn’t have long to ponder this because three days later they had real encounters with their risen Lord. They saw Him with their eyes. They touched Him with their hands. They talked with Him and fellowshipped with Him. And then they came to understand His compelling purpose for their lives.


While He walked on earth, Jesus interacted personally with many. After His resurrection He gave His Holy Spirit so that ALL could encounter Him any time, all the time, at the same time, now and forever. Because Jesus conquered the grave, we share in His promise that our death is not final, that true believers also will be resurrected unto eternal life. But amazing as that is, there’s more!


Because Jesus rose from the grave, we have hope for today! Because Jesus conquered death, Jesus-in-us can conquer life and all we face. For those who live in His Spirit there is resurrection power, not only in heaven, but for living – today.


You’ve heard about the historical Jesus. Maybe you’ve tried to incorporate His teachings into your life. But have you had a personal encounter with the real resurrected Jesus? Ask Him to be Lord of your life and let His resurrection power make a profound difference in your life, not only for eternity but for today.


“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33



Thank you, Heavenly Father



Have you ever imagined living a totally confused life, one where you have trouble remembering the things and people most important to you? Sure, we all  become forgetful sometimes, especially during seasons of high stress. We might even laugh at ourselves, walking into a room only to forget why we went there. But mental confusion is no laughing matter, especially when it is caused by Alzheimer’s.


I sometimes have wondered, if I could remember nothing but one thing, what would I want that to be? How about you? If you could be guaranteed to remember just one thing, with everything else forgotten, what would you have fill your mind? It is a daunting question that cuts straight to the heart of who we are and who we want to become.


In a recent article, singer Glenn Campbell’s wife, Kim sheds light on dealing with her husband’s life with Alzheimer’s Disease. Much of his care involves keeping him safe and at peace. While he lives in a mental fog much of the time and has lost much of his communication skills, Kim says he still can make short sentences and say things like “I love you” and “We are so blessed.” The aides and nurses say he must have been a godly man because they always see him walk over to the window and lift up his hands and say, “Thank you, heavenly Father.”


Kim shares, “When I see him do that, I know God is with him, and he’s aware of His presence. He’s relying on the Lord and gets his strength from Him. Even in his affliction, he’s ministering to people and trying to be a blessing. In between those moments, he’s lost. He wanders. He can’t communicate. He doesn’t understand what others say to him.”


It causes me to ponder how the storms of life sometimes creep upon us like an enveloping fog, causing us to forget the things that are most important, even if our memories are not impaired. Especially in those times, we need to know that God really is there with us and that we can draw close to Him.


The truth is, while the storms of life continually buffet our frail bodies, we can choose what we put into our hearts and minds today. What we choose to dominate our thoughts and ambitions now may be the very thing that controls us when all else is gone. The Psalmist writes, “I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)


Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” It’s guaranteed and seems to be part of our job description. But we can say, “Thank you Heavenly Father,” because He adds, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)


I hope you let the gracious light of Jesus disperse the fog that comes your way today and find many reasons today to say, “Thank you Heavenly Father.”


Are you an overcomer?



Nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37


One of the songs from the Civil Rights movement still rings in my mind:

“We shall overcome, We shall overcome
We shall overcome someday
Deep in my heart I do believe
We shall overcome someday.

We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace
We shall live in peace someday.

Deep in my heart I do believe
We shall overcome someday.”

For me, the song is about more than civil rights; it was about overcoming the oppression inside each one of us; to get beyond struggling against difficulties and disadvantages.  Do YOU want to be an overcomer? Do you want to conquer your fears and frustrations? Do you want to break out of whatever difficulties are holding you prisoner?


God’s Word says that we ARE overcomers.  How can that be possible? Can we rid ourselves of pain and remove ourselves from sorrow? Can we guarantee our success in all ventures? No, but we can rise above our circumstances. Though they remain around us, they don’t have to remain within us.  We break free of the oppression of our circumstances by standing firm in God’s presence and in belief that His Word is true; that He WILL complete that which He has started in us, that He will NEVER abandon us (no matter how we feel at the time); He WILL give you a supernatural peace if you will just claim it. He can promise these things because He already has overcome the world. It may not seem like it in this present chapter of our history, but His Story has been written; and in the end, GOD WINS! Isn’t it time to start being the overcomer you are meant to be?


“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.” Jesus in John 16:33



Hope and joy go together

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

Why does joy accompany hope? Hope sees beyond the struggles of the present moment. Through trustful eyes of faith hope is assured of another reality to the one we currently experience. We may experience true sorrow or persistent pain now, but it will not always be that way. It may seem we are all alone in our suffering and that there is no way out, but true hope experiences the sustaining presence of God in the most difficult of times. Real joy is not the effervescent giddiness that brings a plastic smile to our face. Rather the very nature of real joy bears a contentment and peace that counters our present pain.

Sometimes we hope in earthly outcomes that align us and others with God. Always our hope is also filled with the reminder of our eternal outcome which is filled with joy greater than perhaps we can fully comprehend. The reality of the christian experience reminds us we are aliens and strangers in this land. We won’t be here forever. Our suffering and disappointments will not last forever. As we walk closer to God we see the world as Jesus sees it:
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

We need this reminder do we not? The troubles of this world sometimes seem so real and so permanent, they would lead us to hopelessness. But when we are one with the one who has overcome this world, we have real hope that brings joy and peace. Examine your anxious thoughts and fretful activities today. Turn them under the control of a real and lasting hope in a world that is already overcome and find the peace and joy that you were meant to find.