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Chumps or Champions?
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Romans 8:35-37

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

Here we are again at the beginning of a new week. What a joy I feel as I sit here and pour out those thoughts the Lord has laid on my heart today. I sure wish you could know how much I rely upon the Lord to share just the right thing for each day.

I can recall praying the prayer of Jabez many years ago. In I Chronicles 4:9-10 we read about Jabez and his prayer: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, I gave birth to him in pain.' Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, 'Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request."

How would you like to be given a name that means; "I gave birth to him in pain?" I am sure that as he was growing up Jabez endured much ridicule. I can just hear some playground smart aleck shout: "Jabez, you are such a pain!" In his prayer, Jabez asks the Lord to keep him from harm and that he might be free from pain.

But that is not the part of the prayer that had meaning for me. It was the portion in which Jabez pleaded with the Lord to bless him and enlarge his territory.

My own prayer was similar. I did not have the desire to be seen of men and receive honor or recognition, but rather to be used in ways I could never imagine. That prayer was prayed before I began writing the Daily-E-Votional. In the early days it only was sent out to thirty or forty. Over the years it has grown into thousands each day.

It is not the thousands that I am interested in. It is the one or ones who need to receive a message on a particular day that reaches them at a level that is needed. Each day I pray that the words which I prepare will touch the one God wants to read it. I have often heard that it is not someone I sent it to, but rather someone who received a message that was forwarded to them by a friend or family member.

A true champion is one that gives his or her all for things that will count for all eternity. It is not the titles we may gain here on earth, but the faithful dependence on the Lord to use us as He sees fit. I say that for I hear of many who strive to be awarded a title or recognition.

Sometimes I am awakened early in the morning to write something which the Lord has laid upon my heart. At times it seems that I would rather remain snug in my bed, but God knows best. At these times I am reminded of the words of my spiritual father, Doctor John Hall; "One hour of sleep in the Spirit is better than a whole night in the flesh!"

It is amazing how easily people can become caught up in sporting activities. Virtually every sport has a championship to determine who is the greatest and best. One individual or team may have done exceptional all season long, only to be defeated in the championships. Instead of becoming champs, they are the chumps!

Back in the early 70's I was on a business trip that took me to Twin Falls, Idaho. I was staying in the Holiday Inn and noticed that some type of conference was going on. It was a City wide Christian Conference and two of the guest speakers were Bill Glass, who was a defensive end with the Cleveland Browns and Roosevelt Greer, an interior lineman with the LA Rams. I began to attend some of the conference sessions.

I will never forget one speech that was made by Bill Glass. He told of being a star on his high school football team and winning the state championship. It felt good but he still lacked something. He said he felt that if he made a major college team that would satisfy. He did - it didn't. Then he aimed for being named to the All-American Team. Again only momentary satisfaction. Next it was making a professional football team - same story.

Finally he just knew that the real thing that would finally, once and for all satisfy that vacuum inside was to wear a Super Bowl ring. After being on the winning team and receiving his coveted ring he was soon filled with despair. He still felt empty. It was then that a friend told him about the Lord and he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Suddenly he said, all that he had been searching for on the field of fame and fortune, was found in Christ.

As Paul said in today's Scripture, we can be conquerors! In fact we can become more than conquerors! We have a championship that is not of this world and one that will never leave us feeling empty. Champs not chumps!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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