I’m on the Winning Side!
I am having the time of my life! Just like for many of you readers, this lyric also finds an echo in my heart:
Sweeter gets the journey every day; serving Jesus really pays! I get happy in this heavenly way; sweeter gets the journey every day.
The days are made sweeter still as I enjoy the journey with my wife and our family, the church and college family of North Valley and Golden State, and fellow Christian laborers around the world. In my life and in my ministry, there is joy—at times in the shifting external, but rooted and forever unwavering in the internal.
By external, I mean the factors outside of ourselves that contribute to our happiness such as family and friends, ministries, occasions and events, opportunities, etc. However, joy is not constant in the external. Jarring circumstances may arise, seeming to shake the very foundation of your faith. Those whom you count most dear in the world may turn from you. Your life may not turn out as you had hoped or planned—poor health, a broken marriage, financial reversal, etc. Even in those dark moments, when the external fall away, you may still find joy in the internal.
By internal, I mean the strength, hope, peace, and, yes, joy we may always find in our Lord Jesus Christ. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (I Peter 1:8)
We may also find continual joy in—
- The Word of God
- Believing God
- Hoping in God
- Serving God
- Praising God
- Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs (Ephesians 5:19)
- Never Expressing Defeat
- Right Thinking (Philippians 4:8; Isaiah 26:3)
Let us not lead our lives from a position of despair, despondency, and defeat. Rather, let us determine to live on the winning side of life. For example, our ministry is under tremendous financial pressure. Maintaining an elementary and high school, a Bible college, and a growing church in the middle of the Silicon Valley can be challenging. The financial stress is an external factor, not producing a great deal of joy. In fact, our circumstances at times seem as bleak as when the children of Israel were met with the obstacle of the Red Sea. As you know, the Red Sea lay before them, appearing impossible to cross; and the children of Israel were trapped. Even as the Egyptians were bearing down on them, God performed a miracle. And a miracle is exactly what I am anticipating from our Lord for this ministry. Every day, my faith is strengthened with each letter and gift we receive. On Sundays, I witness God’s people seeking to do their best to give to the work of the Lord. In all of our ministries, we are analyzing and minimizing our expenditures. Our Lord is renewing my faith day by day; and He is creating a heart of peace and joy in me as I daily seek the “manna” He provides.
- These are days to believe and trust God.
- These are days to praise God.
- These are days to rejoice in His work.
Even when the future seems bleak, as it undoubtedly seemed to the Israelites thousands of years ago, remember that we may continue to hope and trust in our Lord and that “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him…” (Romans 8:37).