where champions are crowned
“…I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
And now the prize awaits me—the crown…”
2 Timothy 4:7,8 NLT
Within a fraction of a moment (I like to say nano-second), I went from my hotel room to a place I intuitively knew as the Belmont Races. There I was, standing at a horse racetrack.
As fast as I had left, I was back tucked in my hotel room bed. I didn’t even know if a Belmont racetrack existed. Curiosity got the better of me so I decided check with Google. The results were astounding—especially since Holy Spirit spoke louder than the words I saw on the page instantly paralleling what I read to the life we live.
I discovered there is a major thoroughbred horse racing facility in New York called the Belmont Park Horse Races. It is home of the Belmont Stakes, third leg of the Triple Crown and regarded as the “Test of the Champion”. To me, Triple Crown represented the Trinity of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the great Three-in-One Who is King above all kings and most certainly wears the royal crown).
Named after August Belmont Sr, the Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown events and one of the oldest stakes races in North America. (I’m sure that I don’t have to mention that our God is the Ancient of Days.)
August Belmont Jr. became heir of his father’s vast banking fortune. Along with inheriting an avid interest in racing, he became a scholar of bloodlines. Champions passed through his stables.
The champions named were: Man o’ War, Tracery, and Hourless. (Once again, names - and 3 at that - so symbolic of the Lord Almighty.)
The first horse listed as one of Belmont’s champions is MAN O’ WAR. Immediately I heard in my spirit, “The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.” (Ex 15:3).
and me. We are the branches formed on Him—and by Him. Jesus declared, “…you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5). It’s the truth! We cannot run this race without Him, much less win. We can do nothing apart from Him!
The next morning as we headed to a church we were visiting, I asked my daughter to type the address into google maps. “Ok,” she said, “Belmont Church.” Her words sunk like an arrow deep into my spirit, awakening the memory of last evening’s God-encounter and download.
I hadn't made the connection that we were visiting a church called Belmont, but I was now keenly aware that God had a message for His Body of Champions. As we live in these days, this race of life will certainly be the “Test of the Champion”.
Belmont is the third leg of the Triple Crown. This means that not all make it to this phase of the race. The Belmont Stakes are where Champions are crowned. This is a race for champions.
Now, there is a vast difference between riding and racing. Racing takes a different type of rider. The scariest part of the ride is not the speed, but the horse’s strength. You can love a racehorse all you want in the barn. But, everything suddenly changes when you take them out to the track and swing a leg over their back.
Power - like that of a tightly wound spring about to be sprung - will ripple through the horse’s body, and therefore through you, as the horse becomes all business. What seemed somewhat controllable in the barn, becomes unstoppable and unrestrainable.
Church, we are about to experience explosive power ready to be unbridled as endless power and life ripples through Christ’s Body!
Great jockeys cannot ride by sight. (They probably can’t see through the flying dust and grime anyway). Great jockeys must ride by proprioception. Proprioception has to do with positioning. Proprioception (alignments and balances of the “body”) allows riders the most direct communication with a horse.
Nerves of steel, extra strength, patience, and aggression are needed to be a jockey. The same can be said for the Church. Running the last leg of this Triple Crown Race is not for the faint of heart. It is for Champions.
In order to be victorious as a rider, you must ride the winning horse. A great jockey can’t win without a champion horse. This race is not really about the rider but Who the rider is with. Jesus Christ is the all victorious One. “…All things shall be subdued unto him … that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor 15:28).
As the God of Glory thunders down the track, it’ll be all we can do to hang onto Him. Not because it will be a “barely” victory, not because we will “barely” make it, but because of the magnitude of His speed, agility and ability about to be exhibited.
In an unprecedented display of sheer power, His grace will speed down the last leg of the track swallowing up every rival and contender that would dare challenge Him as He thunders to the finish line.
Interestingly, Belmont’s champion horse, Man o’ War, suffered his one-and-only loss to a promising young colt named Upset. This became the most amazing upset in horse-racing history. But it is said, “the loss only enhanced Man o' War's reputation.”
The Daily Racing Form wrote, "Without attempting to detract from the merits of [Upset's] performance, Man o' War proved himself in the running unquestionably the best.” The event that looked like the most amazing upset in world’s history, actually proved that Man o’ War was "unquestionably the best."
As Jesus voluntarily chose to suffer this loss, he actually increased His rank, celebrity, and prestige. He became known throughout all ages as the risen Lord and glorified Christ.
A stable boy once made this statement about Man o’ War, “He’s nice and he’s smart, but don’t ever try to force him or you’ll come out second best every time.”
Satan had certainly forced his hand. It looked like satan won, yet he most certainly didn’t come out as victor in this battle for supremacy because “we see Jesus … crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." (Heb 2:9).
It was in this one “defeat” of tasting death that Jesus Christ became the Crowned One. Jesus, the mighty Man of War, became “the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18).
The contest was over! Having disarmed powers and principalities, Jesus became the absolute and supreme Victor. What looked like defeat had only enhanced and raised the stakes! Through His suffering, He was “…bringing many sons unto glory…” (Heb 2:10).
The prized champion, Man o’ War, sired many to become champions such as Himself. So, too, with Christ. He has produced champion sons and daughters. “…because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 Jo 4:17).
After his historic defeat, Man o’ War gained his revenge by many future victories against Upset. In true form, Jesus and His Champion Church are still winning victory after victory after victory against Upset. There is no one greater than our Lord! He is the ultimate authority! He is the ultimate power! He is the ultimate victor!
In the Belmont Stake’s wording, “Here is the hallowed ground where Man o’ War left the crowd in awe…” This track of life is the ultimate “Test of the Champion” but this track is where champions are crowned.
Get ready to be crowned as an overcomer. The Book of Revelation reveals the blessings given to the overcomer. That, my friend, is you! You are an overcoming champion if you are riding with the ultimate champion, Jesus Christ.
Get ready to: set multiple world records, have recognized accomplishments, and win even under heavy restraint or terrible starts. We will see: miracles great in quantity and quality, divine encounters, healings without number, astounding provision, incredible signs, and miraculous wonders!
What we’ve felt and seen to date is just a small ripple of the power about to be poured out. The Bride of Christ is about to be awed by the Man ‘o War, right here on this hallowed ground called earth. For this ride, all you can do is hang on!
Just hang on—He’ll get you around the track! He’ll get you to the finish line where champions are crowned. You will be able to say, “…I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown…” (2 Tim 4:7,8, NLT).