John 16:33 New International Version
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
After I was asked to write a devotional, these thoughts came to me in the night, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” As I lay there in my bed, I began to meditate on these words and think about our world.
So many people have been overcome by the world. Teens, young adults, and even older people are full of anger, loneliness, hate, and utter despair. Yet God has His ambassadors reaching out to this lost world. His church, whether, Nazarene, or Baptist, Wesleyan or Assembly of God, groups like the Navigators, CRU, Prison fellowship International Billy Graham Organization and so many more are reaching out with hope, with the Good News!
Over 70 years ago, one of God’s ambassadors called on my home in Akron, Ohio, and led my mother to Christ. She was gloriously saved. She began attending Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Wednesday night Bible Study, Friday night prayer meeting and any things else that was offered along the way. Our family thought that she was off her rocker, BUT we could not deny that she was so happy, so joyful, so fulfilled in life!
Four or five months after that, there were revival meetings in the church. Mother invited Grandad to come. He said, “NO.” She invited Dad. He said “NO.” She invited my older brother, Bud. He said “NO.” By the time she got to me, she was crying. I hated to see my mother cry. I thought, “It’s probably like going to the movies.” So I said I’d go.
Grandad said, “If Dick goes, I’ll go.”
We went and sat half-way down to the front. Grandad sat on the aisle. The church was crowded. The preacher was like a prophet of old. He preached and pointed his finger at us or so we thought. Me and grandad scrunched down in our pew. We were under conviction. The Holy Spirit was working on us. I did not know that then. Then they gave an invitation. They were asking us to come to the altar. A distinguished older man was leading the song. He saw my grandad and thought this is that old man’s last shot. He walked down the aisle and stopped by my grandad, “Dad,” he said gently. “How is it with your soul?”
Grandad quickly responded, “Ask Dick how it with his.”
I squirmed and wriggled and wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. My mother came up behind me and added, “Dick, why don’t you give God a chance?”
I don’t know how it happened. But somehow Grandad got out of the way and I walked down and knelt at the altar. But I had no idea how to pray. I knelt there with my heart beating like a tap-hammer. A backslider ran down and prayed for forgiveness. He prayed so fast. I just poured out my heart saying, “God what that man said, do it for me too.” Suddenly peace filled my soul.
I was still dumb and stupid about spiritual things, but the peace was there. The pastor came over to me and led me in the sinner’s prayer. I felt like I was a helium balloon floating on air. That began the greatest adventure of my life. It also began my truest vocation as an ambassador for the Lord.
Even at the old age of 90, the words of Jesus still ring true, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And through Him, you and I overcome the world and can enjoy His peace, no matter what we see or hear around us.
And this message is not for us alone. We are now His ambassadors that others may know His peace and overcome by the power of His Spirit within.
Still having the time of my life serving Jesus,
Rev. Richard Clifford