Page 284 was a beautiful fall day to begin the work week. The morning began with sweatshirt and jacket temperatures and warmed up to short sleeves by mid-day. It’s in these roller coaster temperature days that I often find myself leaving a trail of jackets behind me as the temperatures gradually warm up. Many times I don’t realize I’ve left them behind until the next morning when I go to put my jacket on and it is no where to be found. I think I’ve managed to keep track of them today, but it is early in the season. 🙂
The day began with the usual Monday morning cleaning and building prep. Once that was finished and the building ready for the day, I settled into my office chair to spend time with God and work on the prayer guide for next week. As I spent time in prayer, I finally settled on the topic of victory. God says that it is through faith that we can experience the victory that has already been won by Christ. As I spent time in prayer putting the prayer guide together, I thought about the difference in attitude between those who feel victorious and those who feel defeated. I live in a college town where the entire city seems to have a different atmosphere depending on whether or not the football team wins on a given weekend. In the midst of a losing season the discouragement and pessimism is pervasive and seems to be contagious. The bad moods beget further bad moods until everyone not only has a short fuse, that short fuse has been lit and it’s just a matter of time before an explosion takes place.
Unfortunately, the same thing happens in churches when it doesn’t have to. Instead of living with the victory that is ours in Christ, people can have a tendency to measure victory by attendance or offering numbers and incorrectly conclude that the church is losing — at least on a small scale, individual congregation level. Or we look at the mess the world is in and focus on the spiritual battles that appear to not be going well, and we even conclude that the church as the body of Christ isn’t doing so well — perhaps it is losing too. In a local church setting, it doesn’t take a visitor long to decide if there is a sense of victory or defeat. The determining factor usually has far less to do with balance sheets, attendance records, or the world’s view of success than with simply being faithful. Even when success seems lacking by all of the world’s standards, an individual who is living a life faithful to God will live a life that exudes a spirit of victory.
After the prayer guide was written, I took advantage of the beautiful day to start on some outside work on the church property. After selling off some trees last winter, the trails through the woods are in need of a lot of attention. As I was out cutting wood, clearing brush, and opening trails back up, I found myself singing songs of victory in worship of God. One of the hymns I was singing as I worked has a chorus that ends with the words, “Faith is the victory that overcomes the word!” I was thankful for the reminders from God that I can, and should, live a victorious life in Christ.
Once the workday ended I headed home and spent some time resting and sorting through photos as I continue to work on putting a photo calendar together for next year. As evening approached, we went out for supper then stopped by the river walk so I could shoot a few photos as the sun began to set. The photo on today’s page is one from tonight as the sun set over the St Joseph River in Mishawaka. To me, the setting sun is like God’s fireworks display celebrating another day in which He reigned victoriously over all the earth.
I pray that you and I would live life in such a way that others view it as victorious regardless of our circumstances. I pray that we would pay attention to the times when discouragement begins to settle into our spirit so that we would realize our need to look to God for reminders of the victory we have in Christ. I pray that we would find ways to address real problems and difficulties while maintaining a victorious attitude. I pray that we would keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is not only the source of our faith but also the one who perfects our faith.