More than a Conqueror

A wonderful image is offered in Romans 8:

33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

To be more than a conqueror. To get more than a battle won. To get the assurance of ongoing victories. This is the heritage of those taken up in a covenant of love with Jesus. Trials come and we are tempted to fret. “Oh, it looks as if I am going to go through that knothole again. I don’t think I can stand it one more time. Last time I got around to the point of trusting in God, and He brought the deliverance in a way not quite anticipated. But I don’t think that I can go through it again; don’t think that I should have to. It just isn’t fair!”

Have you ever heard yourself thinking or talking along this line? Has it not ultimately been proved to be a waste of adrenaline and a denial of His love and of the appropriateness of His plans for you?

The old evangelist R. W. Schambach gave a beautiful illustration of being more than a conqueror. He described a long drawn-out prize fight in boxing. Many rounds and many apparent swings in the advantage. Toe to toe; blow for blow. Finally in the tenth the one pugilist seems to receive a supernatural surge of determination, agility and punch power. A knockout to the cheers of the crowd! The belt. The ensuing press conference. The money prize.

And the weary fighter changes in the dressing room, takes his dream cheque home, and turns it over to his wife. Now SHE is more than a conqueror.

One gets the same impression in reading the Old Testament story of Ruth. The wealthy civic leader Boaz has been kind in harvest time to the sorry little Gentile widow. Her loving mother-in-law Naomi realizes that this man is near kinsman to the deceased husband and that God is at work in all these circumstances to give the woman a home and a name and honour and the laughter of children. Boaz is able to attend to legal matters at the gate before witnesses to bring it all to pass. Dear Ruth is more than a conqueror. It has all been done for her. (see also Deuteronomy 25: 5,6 and Ezekiel 16: 6-10)

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Why Should I Gain from His Reward?

The hosts of Heaven wept

The Father held His ground

The Saviour hung in shame

With coarseness all around

The crowd saw only loss

Disciples hid from view

A Mother watched her dreams

Dismissed like morning dew.

And all the Man had said

And all that He had done

Could not prevent the hate

That stopped a mid-day’s sun

He begged on our behalf

That light would come, and soon

And mercy for our crimes

This great Plan to atone.

Now I have heard the tale

And I have sensed my debt

And I have mourned this Cross

Still, I am hopeful yet.

Just as a priest of old

By strictest ways and means

Christ bore me on His heart

And I am rendered clean.

I cannot comprehend

‘Twas me for whom he died

But at Redemption’s end

His pain, full satisfied.

Frontiers of Discovery : High and Deep

Taken from Presentations at a major Health and Safety Conference Mississauga ON

Commander Chris Hadfield: Take a farm boy from Milton ON and submit him to training in engineering, aviation, test piloting, NASA orientation, Space Shuttle flights, partnership in Russian Soyuz Space Station missions and joint space research projects. Slowly simmer for 21 years and you have the material, intelligence, stamina, judgment and caution necessary to command the International Space Station racing around the earth for 5 months (2013). Give him a camera, a guitar and a computer link-up and he becomes a worldwide social network phenomenon, capturing the imagination of millions, and reinforcing the fact that we are a tiny global community intensely connected, in the midst of a universe full of wonder.

That’s the artistic and humanitarian consideration. The scientific one has to do with remarkable observations and experiments in other-worldly, zero gravity environment above our beautiful blue green and beige planet. Risk assessment with NASA seems over the top. Every astronaut constantly asks the questions “What might kill me today. How can I prepare. Who has the threshold skills. Where to go to research solutions and alternatives ways of responding in advance. Let’s think-tank on this and refine and refine.”

Four days before scheduled earth return this kind of training became essential as the crew discovered a leak of ammonia from the station tanks (the basic ingredient of the station’s cooling system). A space walk for repair became necessary and in record time. Hadfield already knew the players and their intense level of training in the relevant areas. The result was totally successful. Good to know your men and women, their capabilities and temperaments. Good to know everything, virtually everything, about the space station as big as a football field.

And about medical procedures, nutrition, wilderness survival, electrical systems, computer repair, orienteering, Russian language…and of course that guitar.

Doctor Joe MacInnis: Trained as a physician at the University of Toronto, Dr. MacInnis, not a superior academic, drove himself into the passion for Leadership in High Risk Environments (arctic, submarine, military, rescue, anti-terrorist) doing high life-threatening assignments. He went under the Arctic Ocean for many government sponsored research dives and to retrieve sunken wooden sailing craft. He accompanied special operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia. His dear friend movie-maker and oceanographer James Cameron invited him to team up in a mission to drop a high-tech submersible to the bottom of the ocean east of Philippines in the Mariana Trench. Seven miles down. Never done before. Trips had gone to the Titanic about 4 miles down. Dr MacInnis was asked to spearhead media coverage and all the medical and emotional needs of a team of 34 on an Australian ship carrying an Australian-made submarine. The construction and mission and publicity received support from National Geographic, Rolex and James Cameron personally.

The crew experienced an immense setback from a helicopter accident in rough weather killing two team members.

A test drop near Papua /New Guinea to a depth of 4 miles was aborted when Cameron experienced major systems failures in communication, lighting and environment. The little pressurized operator’s fish eye/compartment at the bottom of this long and heavy green steel cigar proved intensely uncomfortable. Rigged for the exterior with revolutionary IMAX cameras and functional arms and huge battery packs and light fixtures.

In a total of 60 days the team accomplished construction, travel, test measures and target dive. Water pressure down there in the darkness and cold, approached 8 tons per square inch! For leader James Cameron this consummated a seven year vision and effort. Truly he was the courageous and well-liked commander.

Morale on board was so very important to the Doctor.. “Press forward one day at a time”. He saw the genius of leadership and teamwork as follows:

  1. Enhance Empathy (getting inside the other guy’s heart and hopes and limitations)
  2. Elevate Eloquence (a common, concise language of terms and specifications clearly understood. An encouragement of suggestions and opinion exchange in a spirit of courtesy)
  3. Amplify Endurance ( the colossal tasks require physical refinement and drive in positive work ethic)

Not too difficult to imagine how these guidelines can impact initiatives in the workplace that work toward partnered agendas of accomplishment and improvement.

Note: The reader here might have a look at Psalm 19.

This Much I Do*

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The soil smells of promise

Low spots all dried up

Last year’s scruff calling for turnover

Team watches me adjust the discs

Shaking heads as trappings jangle

Anson will take the left this year

Old Caleb the right

Two young uns midst

And still learnin’ the trade

Much too eager yet

Competitive, even

I call the straight and narrow

Rooks above call the tune

For mid-afternoon outing

As clouds race merrily above

Knowing this wind is spring

And the blue not a disappointment

Right hand hurts

With the arthritis

Thankfully left still has the tug and touch

Anson gets the message

As if those reins were telegraph

And we’re off for first acreage

All the old metal squeaking with joy

Father used to talk to it

As I clung to his right

Feeling every rock through steel seat.

At the headland Caleb plants

His power as fulcrum

Ansen choreographs the sweep

Good sports all

And back we go

Fine pace setting in

As April gets ready to leave.

Late season with those snows

God is good.

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* for the prize of the high calling (Philippians 3)

Fred Still Going

‘Confess your faith with appropriating actions following’ (Yeah that’s good Fred. Thank you)

“It’s about money.” (Philippians 4) (Aw, why’d you go and parrot that Fred?)

Don’t go for the PhD in Worrying. Cast all your cares upon Him (That’s good Fred. End strong.)

A Good Connection
(Taken from a sermon by John G. Lake entitled “Sin in the Flesh”)

…after you have fed on the Word, and your spirit is open to the truth of confession, you can’t bottle God up. You can’t lock him up. It has been God’s method throughout all the ages to speak to people through those that are in right relation with Himself, and when you are in right relation with Him, the most normal and natural thing is, that He will use you to communicate Himself to others, and so you act as the medium through which He is to pour His message, by song or by testimony, or by prayer or by some other means; but you are His medium, you are His testifier, you are His spokesman, you are His instrument through which He is going to work. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Now you see what keeps you in perfect communion, because you have to continually get new messages all the time from Him, so you live in perfect fellowship with Him, feeding on His Word, and telling out the things He does for you. And no Christian is safe that hasn’t a NOW experience with the Lord, because sickness can come on you and you have no power to throw it off. You have your NOW experience in your spirit, and you are continually in contact, and the spiritual power is coming down and going back and forth continually. Things are coming down and things are going up-from Him to you and you to Him-down through your spirit. You have a beautiful picture: angels ascending and descending. It is the thoughts of God coming down and your thoughts going back. Him feeding on you, and you feeding on Him.

…Now if your spirit has reached the place where it has no appetite for the things of God, you have been playing hooky. You have been feeding on things that you ought not to eat, and you have compelled your poor spirit to feed on trash and cheap scandal and cheap talk and useless talk, wise cracking and everything, and you have never given your spirit any really healthy food for a long time, and the poor thing is dying of hunger.

Do you understand me now? You can’t get your healing until you get your spiritual healing…The healing you want is not physical but spiritual. You get right, and get adjusted so you are feeding on the Word, and so you are giving public testimony, and you will be well or in a condition to get well.