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Hugs to Encourage and InspireStories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire
By John Smith
Howard BooksCopyright © 1997 John Smith
All right reserved.
The Victorious Heart
If I am for you, who can be against you? In all things, you
are much more than a victorious conqueror through me. Nothing can
stop me from loving you - not death or life, angels or
demons, current circumstances or anything in the future. Know
that nothing and no one in all of the entire world can separate
you from my totally awesome and indescribable love.
Love always and unconditionally,
Your God of Victory
With tears staining your cheeks and pride swelling your heart,
you smile for the cheering thousands. The TV cameras pan the
audience until they finally focus on your proud family, who is
cheering encouragement to you and telling all within earshot that
you belong to them.
Most of us will never know the exhilaration of winning a gold
medal at the Olympics. But in ourimaginations, we've all
proudly stood on that top platform . . .If only it could be true.
Your world may be filled with challenges just as trying as
those faced by top Olympic contenders, but no roaring crowds
cheer you on, and no one offers you a gold medal for your valiant
efforts to win this game called life.
But wait . . . if you listen closely, you might just hear the
faint sound of cheering. And as you open your heart to the
possibilities, the cheers will become louder and louder as you
discover their source. Hebrews 12 says that we have a great cloud
of witnesses surrounding us, cheering us to run with perseverance
the race marked out for us. More than spectators, these witnesses
are previous competitors, and they understand the sacrifices
you're making and the pain you've endured.
And if you'll pan the crowd, you'll see your Father
- he's the one leading the cheer. Arms raised, index
finger extended, he's shouting to you, "You're
number one! You're number one!" Beside him is your
brother Jesus. He's turning to others in the crowd,
excitedly telling all that you belong to him.
You are declared the winner!
The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the
things that endure. These qualities are so much more important
than the events that occur.
I was watching some little kids play soccer. These kids were
only five or six years old, but they were playing a real game
- a serious game - two teams, complete with coaches,
uniforms, and parents. I didn't know any of them, so I was
able to enjoy the game without the distraction of being anxious
about winning or losing - I wished the parents and coaches could have done
The teams were pretty evenly matched. I will just call them
Team One and Team Two. Nobody scored in the first period. The
kids were hilarious. They were clumsy and terribly inefficient.
They fell over their own feet, they stumbled over the ball, they
kicked at the ball and missed it - but they didn't seem
They were having fun.
In the second quarter, the Team One coach pulled out what must
have been his first team and put in the scrubs, except for his
best player who now guarded the goal. The game took a dramatic
turn. I guess winning is important - even when you're
five years old - because the Team Two coach left his best
players in, and the Team One scrubs were no match for them. Team
Two swarmed around the little guy who was now the Team One
goalie. He was an outstanding athlete, but he was no match for
three or four boys who were also very good. Team Two began to
The lone goalie gave it everything he had, recklessly throwing
his body in front of incoming balls, trying valiantly to stop
them. Team Two scored two goals in quick succession. It
infuriated the young boy. He became a raging maniac -
shouting, running, diving. With all the stamina he could muster,
he covered the boy who now had the ball, but that boy kicked it
to another boy twenty feet away, and by the time he repositioned
himself, it was too late - they scored a third goal.
I soon learned who the goalie's parents were. They were
nice, decent-looking people. I could tell that his dad had just
come from the office - he still had his suit and tie on.
They yelled encouragement to their son. I became totally
absorbed, watching the boy on the field and his parents on the
After the third goal, the little kid changed. He could see it
was no use; he couldn't stop them. He didn't quit, but
he became quietly desperate - futility was written all over him.
His father changed too. He had been urging his son to try
harder - yelling advice and encouragement. But then he
changed. He became anxious. He tried to say that it was okay
- to hang in there. He grieved for the pain his son was
After the fourth goal, I knew what was going to happen.
I've seen it before. The little boy needed help so badly,
and there was no help to be had. He retrieved the ball from the
net and handed it to the referee - and then he cried. He
just stood there while huge tears rolled down both cheeks. He
went to his knees and put his fists to his eyes - and he
cried the tears of the helpless and brokenhearted.
When the boy went to his knees, I saw the father start onto
the field. His wife clutched his arm and said, "Jim,
don't. You'll embarrass him." But he tore loose
from her and ran onto the field. He wasn't supposed to
- the game was still in progress. Suit, tie, dress shoes,
and all - he charged onto the field, and he picked up his
son so everybody would know that this was his boy, and he hugged
him and held him and cried with him. I've never been so
proud of a man in my life.
He carried him off the field, and when he got close to the
sidelines I heard him say, "Scotty, I'm so proud of
you. You were great out there. I want everybody to know that you
are my son."
"Daddy," the boy sobbed, "I couldn't stop
them. I tried, Daddy, I tried and tried, and they scored on
"Scotty, it doesn't matter how many times they
scored on you. You're my son, and I'm proud of you. I
want you to go back out there and finish the game. I know you
want to quit, but you can't. And, son, you're going to
get scored on again, but it doesn't matter. Go on,
It made a difference - I could tell it did. When
you're all alone, and you're getting scored on -
and you can't stop them - it means a lot to know that
it doesn't matter to those who love you. The little guy ran
back on to the field - and they scored two more times - but it was
I get scored on every day. I try so hard. I recklessly throw
my body in every direction. I fume and rage. I struggle with
temptation and sin with every ounce of my being - and Satan
laughs. And he scores again, and the tears come, and I go to my
knees - sinful, convicted, helpless. And my Father - my
Father rushes right out on the field - right in front of the
whole crowd - the whole jeering, laughing world - and
he picks me up, and he hugs me and he says, "John, I'm
so proud of you. You were great out there. I want everybody to
know that you are my son, and because I control the outcome of
this game, I declare you - The Winner."
Excerpted from Hugs to Encourage and Inspire by John Smith Copyright © 1997 by John Smith. Excerpted by permission.
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