Cheering, ‘Cause I got the Winning Number!

by | May 11, 2014 | New Life, Sanctification, Spiritual Growth

“Okay, for the first door prize,” the MC announced at an event I keynoted recently. “The number is 0773…”

As soon as those numbers were read, a man in the back of the room gave a shout, hollered and cheered, thinking he was the winner.

Then a roar of laughter broke out. The numbers that were read were the same three digits in everyone’s ticket. Rather than wait for the last three to be read, mistakenly, he jumped a bit too soon.

I had no business laughing because I’ve made a similar mistake. Years ago, I silently cheered because I held what I thought was the heaven-winning ticket. It read: baptized as a baby, followed my religion to the letter, tithed faithfully. Actually paid attention to Bible verses I heard on Sunday. And to make sure I was a “good” person, I worked in committees in the church and in the community. And from time to time, although reluctantly, I confessed my sins and followed through with the penance.

If you’d ask me if I thought I was going to heaven, I’d pull my shoulders back and with a grin, give you a sure, “Yes.”

But like the man who was mistaken about the ticket numbers, I was, too. When I re-read my ticket to heaven, the requirements were defined clearly and boldly stated in God’s Word: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16.).

Of course I believed in Jesus…but did I believe in Him enough to obey him? To answer that question I had to become a modern-day Ms. Nicodemus and ask as he did, what does one have to do to enter heaven?

“In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).

Born again? Start over? That’s what didn’t set well—too much change, too complicated and uncomfortable. So, I did what I thought everyone else did—avoid the change, and conveniently disregarded God’s Word as a priority in my life. No wonder His calling and invitation for a relationship went unnoticed.

Hallelujah! The day my brain cells and heart connected, I understood the change God calls “transformation.” That meant my thinking needed to align with God’s word. And a close, intimate relationship with Jesus had to replace religion. And what a joyous difference it made in my thinking, acting, and reacting not only to life’s quirky turns but also devastating events.

Today, should the King of Kings call out Matthew 7:21-22 as the winning number will that number be the one your heart holds?

Pray with me: Lord, grant me the wisdom and courage to begin anew, to hunger for you and to know you personally. I ask for the transformation of my soul, the change in my thinking, and the renewing of my desires. In Jesus’ name I pray.

· What guarantee do you have that heaven awaits you?

· Are your days lived in confidence and security for tomorrow?

Janet Eckles Now available in audio—my book, trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow—a celebration of living a life of triumph where adversity doesn’t have to defeat you and heartache doesn’t have to overcome you. Find it at:


Cheering, ‘Cause I got the Winning Number!