The Way God Wins

Gabriel Rosa

Photo Credit: Gabriel Rosa via CC Flickr

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses…., God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in (Jesus).” Colossians 2:13–15 ESV

When God wins, He wins big time! We’re not talking an overtime, squeak-it-out victory. And we’re not talking about a soccer game where there’s a shootout win because one ball dribbles in, but otherwise it would have been a tie. God doesn’t operate like that. When He wins a battle, His victory is decisive.

As God was pouring out His wrath on His Son, we were there in His mind. From each painful step to Calvary, to His last breath on the cross, Jesus was taking on the ultimate battle—“the rulers and authorities” who were waving “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.”

Satan had an open-and-shut case against us. Left to ourselves, we were toast. But Colossians 2:15 declares that when Jesus won the victory on the cross, “He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (NKJV). When it came to settling our eternal destiny, God wasn’t offering an obligatory “good game.” He was triumphing over the principalities and powers, including the enemy himself: “You lost! Just like I told you!” That’s the way God wins.

Further, after what looked like a devastating defeat by the enemy, came the ultimate triumph: “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6). Neither death nor the grave nor Satan’s plans stood a chance against the risen Savior!

Today, Jesus lives to further His victory through the lives of His followers. In fact, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). In Christ, we aren’t just conquerors, we’re super conquerors—because God doesn’t just win, He crushes the enemy (Romans 16:20). That’s why we don’t want to take on this battle ourselves. It is the reason the transaction at the cross was entirely out of our hands.

Jesus took on our debt, our sin, our (broken) condition, and defeated the condemning, eternal hold these things can have on us. Because of His death and resurrection, all who trust in Him for salvation are granted a place in the conquering band that will rejoice in His victory forever!
(All the above from James McDonald)

Pushbacks:
* Consider your personal battles in light of this truth.
* Express your heart to the Lord, pouring out your adoration, for an ultimate reason to celebrate.

LORD, when You win, You win big-time! That’s what makes this Friday so good and me so richly blessed. Thank you for becoming my complete sin-bearer, my only righteousness, my matchless defender, my true victor and coming King. You are the best, worthy of my lifetime devotion.

GOOD Friday to you!!!
Coach Mo

Winding Up Dead

Photo Credit: Andrew Kuchling via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Andrew Kuchling via CC Flickr

“A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.” Proverbs 21:16

Here’s a tough one for today…

What does it mean to ‘stray from the path of understanding’? I’ve gotta know this answer so I won’t wind up dead…or as good as dead. I don’t wanna kill a season, a life, a godly dream or great opportunity. This question deserves good pause and a solid answer.

For starters, here’s what I believe it means, what it looks like to stray from the path of understanding:
• pursuing dangerous relationships, ones based on flesh not spirit, lust not love. (Don’t play one on one here.)
• making life decisions based on feelings more than facts and faith. (Push feelings to the curb instead.)
• freelancing my way along without solid principles or smart plans to guide my moves. (Sometimes freedom becomes foolishness.)
• thinking freedom brings reward, not discipline that does it. (Truly, the fruit of discipline is freedom.)
• avoiding maturity and responsibility, believing that’s for older guys, other men. (Maturity and responsibility are timeless virtues.)
• living largely unsure of what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to in life. (Setting good definitions and wise boundaries always produces wins.)
• spending on what I want now more than patiently saving for later. (Live for eternity. Invest there.)
• seeing my time/talents/treasures as mine, without spiritual implications or social responsibility. (Steward my gifts.)
• seeing my body the same way, as mine. (Is it not the temple of God too?)
• seeking an end to the flow of good advice from others, believing this slows me down or keeps me from being my own man. (Wisdom never take shortcuts.)
• running through a stop light that says, “Nothing good ever happens past midnight.” (Too often that line is true.)
• viewing pornography as innocent and ‘safe sex’ as safe. (It’s all lethal.)
• believing it’s better to learn from experience, from one’s own mistakes, than from the mistakes of others. (The wise man learns from others.)
• shelving prayer, Bible reading and church attendance for the same reasons. (My experience should lead me to God, not away from Him.)
• thinking that good is evil and evil is good. (Wear the right glasses.)
• thinking that developing pride is more important than cultivating humility. (It never is.)
• living in disobedience before God, thinking I can get away with it. (I never can.)
• following what the world says, how it defines success, instead of what God’s Word teaches. (God’s way is best.)

What do YOU think ‘straying from the path of understanding’ means, what this looks like? Whatever you come up with, you better make sure you’re both right and steer clear. God says you could wind up dead otherwise.

LORD, help us to see straight and stay on the path of understanding. Hedge us in. Going astray could cost us dearly. We want to win for You and through You and live.

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

A Better Way to Play

Photo Credit: Phil Roeder via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Phil Roeder via CC Flickr

“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32

God places a high premium on patience. Maybe we should too. He says that having patience with self and circumstance is more important than building a winning-warrior reputation; it’s more important to a man’s success than having a strong sense of fight. Dominating others is not as important as dominating self. Rising to the top starts and ends with patience and the emotional stability it brings.

God also places high value on emotional control. Imposing our will on others is not nearly as crucial as imposing control over ourselves. Being able to reign in our temper at any given moment is more impressive and productive than single-handedly laying siege to a whole city.

Not surprisingly, in a detailed study of common personality traits of elite Olympic athletes, results showed that two of the top seven common traits were emotional control and emotional stability. The research supports what God declares. We’d be wise to value the same and grow them into ‘our game’ too.

How are you doing in the areas of emotional stability and control? Patient and steady over the long-haul? Under control in each moment (with few flare-ups or melt-downs)?

LORD, grant us wins in both these areas. We see it in Jesus. Install it in us, we pray. Help us to value what You do. We want to live out a better way to play.

Nothing detrimental. 
Bring honor to Christ. 
Coach Mo

P. S. Why not set aside some time and memorize Proverbs 16:32? I have and preach it to myself all the time. It’s truly made a difference.

Two Ways To Go

Photo Credit: Morag-Spinner via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Morag-Spinner via CC Flickr

“And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.’”

Jeremiah 21:8

Like a straightforward coach before a big game, God lays out a winning strategy. He defines the path to life, to victory. And He shares what must be avoided, the ways that will kill a team, a mission, a man. That’s good, critical coaching!

At a deeper level, God also wants us to see that the way of life starts with death…and that the way of death starts with apparent life. The death that leads to life is a death to pride and surrender of self. It’s a daily death. The life that leads to death is a life self-consumed, self-driven, self-defined, self-justifying. It is a daily deception.

Easter week is a great time to see these two paths playing out. We see death-to-life fleshed out so powerfully in Jesus. And we see life-to-death fleshed out so tragically by all the rebellious and indifferent self-righteous.

Praise God that He has set before us two ways to go: towards life and towards death. And He’s both shown the way and paved the way in Jesus. So let’s follow His road signs and good coaching to victory.

Lord, keep coaching us towards life and victory. We don’t wanna lose. Show us the way of life. And help us to be courageous and trust even if that means  dying comes first.

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo