Being Victorious

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day
2 Timothy 4: vs 7-8


This week has brought the sad news of the passing of our dear friend Mary Pickles. Mary was a true inspiration, and a wonderful example of a Christian with such a heart for her Father God and Lord Jesus Christ. She will be missed by many in our Church. Mary was a quiet and unassuming character, but she was a huge prayer warrior. She had been on so many adventures with our Lord Jesus through her life and was always devoted to Him. Whilst it is sad for us who are left behind, for her it is great because she will be back with her husband whom she loved dearly and her dad who she loved to be with, as well as the rest of her family. More than that even, she will be with our Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, which I think more than anything she would dearly love to be with. For her, it is such a wonderful thing, we know without a shadow of doubt that she is now in Heaven. Her race is run, and she certainly was victorious!


For the rest of us left behind, it leaves the question in our minds, what will happen to me when my time comes? What are my thoughts and beliefs about life after death? What do I have to do to be victorious like Mary?


Lets start by spending a few minutes discussing with our Lord Jesus what our thoughts are about death, and life after that point.


We know that the bible tells us clearly, that it is our choice what happens. There is either Heaven, where our Father lives, and His son, our Lord Jesus Christ, where there are no more tears, no more sin, no more upset, just peace, worship and time in the presence of Jesus and Father God. The alternative just does not bear thinking about. That is being in hell forever, where there is no peace, no calm, just pain and anger, frustration and upset. Tormented 24 hours a day in the presence of satan and his followers who want nothing more than destruction. Our Choice.


For me, the definition of hell is my separation from God and Lord Jesus Christ. I shudder to think what that might be like, I don't want to even think about that! So lets choose Heaven. This means choosing to believe in Jesus Christ NOW as our Lord and saviour. For us to have eternal life in Heaven, we need to accept that we are not perfect and we make mistakes and sin every day. We need cleansing from our sins, and also need forgiveness so that we have peace, and can be the people the God Himself made us to be. We are cleansed ONLY through the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for us, as a perfect sacrifice once and for all, for the cleansing of our sins, past, present and future. We have to both accept this and believe in it whole heartedly. Then we know that our sins are forgiven when we confess them. Only sinless because of the the blood of Jesus Christ can we stand in the presence of our Father, who is sinless and perfect. Jesus Christ has brought us as believers back into relationship with our Father God in Heaven.


I know for my self, that I too frequently get things wrong, I know that I sin. I look back at who I used to be and recognise that it is Jesus Christ who has saved me. It is only by His grace and Mercy that I had a fresh start and can choose to live a different life because of His grace. The thing to remember is if Jesus was so graceful with me, because I needed it, then I need to be as graceful as I can with others, because they need that love as well.


Lets spend some time thinking about where we would like to be at the end of our time on earth,. Lets make the choice to accept Jesus's gift of eternal life through His blood, and sacrifice on the cross for each of us. Lets accept that we cannot save our selves, so need to reach our hand out to Jesus so that we can be saved. Lets ask Jesus to make it clear in our minds, and ask what He would say to us as He sits next to us now.


The rest of your life will now be a journey you don't take alone, but in the company of Jesus Christ and His Holy spirit. The journey is not always easy, but always so precious and rewarding. There are things we can not learn or experience the easy way, but with Jesus by our side, if we trust in Him and lean on Him we can be certain the journey will always be victorious and so worth while!


The journey has 2 purposes I think. The first is for our own learning and understanding of who Jesus is, and what our life in Him is about. The second part is about sharing our journey to encourage others to see Jesus and how much He loves them.


We know that Father God made each of us, with such great hopes and plans for our lives. We are His creation. How painful for Him it must be when we choose to turn away from Him. So it is our job as Christians and believers to please our Father, and share the good news which is that Jesus has come to save us and give us eternal life. We need to share the brilliant news of Jesus with others, so that they may have the choice of living with our Father God and Lord Jesus in Heaven when their time comes. It is our Father God and Lord Jesus who do the saving, it is us who share Gods love and His word so that each person can make their own decision as to where they want to spend eternity.


Lets spend some time discussing with our Lord Jesus, who we can share this good news with, and how to do it. It is not for us to force others to listen, rather it is the Holy spirit who prepares a persons heart so that it is ready to receive this good news. It is for us to be good witnesses, gently sharing with love. This is what builds our Lord Jesus's Church.


This is not always an easy task for those of us who are not evangelists, who have other gifts, but as the bible tells us, we should always be ready to share our testimony, and show love and care for every person, helping where we can. There are many ways to be a good witness.


Lets spend some time asking the Lord how he wants us to witness. What is our natural way to do it. Who does the Lord want us to reach out to this week. Why not give the Lord 5 minutes each day praying for someone who the Lord puts on your heart.


Remember, our heart is to please our Father God, to help bring His people home to Heaven, that they can spend eternity with their Father in Heaven, as we have been blessed to be able to do. We are pleasing our Father, and that is what is important for us to do.


Lord Jesus, please help us to hear your voice. Please be with us and help us to share your love and the love of our Father with others, that they may see clearly that our Father in Heaven loves us, and dearly wants us to choose to spend time with Him now, and choose to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Lord Jesus, we want to please our Father God, and you. Please will you help us to do that. Please move our hearts to do your will Lord Jesus. Please hold our hand and guide us each day, but most of all, help us to feel the love that you have for each of us. Help us to share with others the amazing things you have done for us and still do for us and with us each day. Help us to please our dear Father God, we pray in your precious name Lord Jesus, Amen.