The Greatest Race

 

Because they have a higher goal, athletes do not sit around all day.

Because they have a higher goal, athletes do not sit around all day.

Athletes know how to work hard. Olympians train for years, to simply be ready for anywhere between minutes to a couple of hours of performance. In order to accomplish this, they make tremendous sacrifices. Sacrifices of time, energy, and comfort, in an attempt to win a prize.

Unfortunately, this effort is not often matched in a even greater race – the race of life for God’s final prize. Paul said in Philippians 3:14 “ I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He did not live a life of comfort and rest. He earnestly pressed toward God’s prize. Being a Christian, he had a very good reason for doing this, as found in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Jesus put it simply in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” We need to leave behind all competing affections that steal our time, energy, and actions from seeking God. Paul wrote Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:4 saying, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 commands “thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” When we do this, God promises in Matthew 5:6 that “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Being filled with God is about the best thing that could ever happen to us.

Every individual should make this important choice: to dedicate themselves completely to God, to seek Him first in their lives, and to press toward that mark. We need to give our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, completely dedicated to him (see Romans 12:1). The only other option is to waste themselves on the things of the world, temporal pleasures that do not last, but burn with the fire.

Will you be like King Josiah, of whom the Bible says that there was no king “that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.” (see 2 Kings 23:25).

 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6

If you have made a decision to seek God first in your life, and to completely give your life to Him, there are a couple of steps that will help you follow through with this. First, write down things that distract you during your day. TV, computer games, or anything else that steals your time or thought life from more important things. Next, write a list of good things you should be doing, such as reading the Bible, memorizing, and sharing your faith with others. Use this list to replace your other list in daily life, as spending time fulfilling God’s priorities is a method of putting your treasure, which in this case is time, in heaven.

Also, remember that after you have given yourself to God, your life is not yours to take back. It is always His, so when you are making decisions in the future, make them according to God’s will, and not your own. This is much better than serving yourself, as God is the one who has saved you from eternal judgment, and it is Him who will keep you until He comes to take you home.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15

Tabletop Conversation

Some questions just demand to be shared. Last night, one of these questions was asked, and let’s see if you know the answer.

“All of you know that Jesus was physically crucified just outside the city of Jerusalem. However, what is the name of the city which spiritually crucified Him?”

The answer is in Revelation 11:8. It is the same place where the two witnesses will be slain, and will later rise, as Jesus Christ did.

Indy Conference

IMG_7376Despite the current date being almost a month after the conference, the details remain the same. 🙂 We learned a lot, talked a lot, and were encouraged by the fellowship of many new friends.

This year was my fourth year teaching the Children’s Institute. We spent three days of about 8 hours with the kids; we then rejoined our families for an evening session.

While the goal is to teach the children, I always learn a lot, both from the children and the curriculum we teach them from. Children are an excellent example of enthusiasm that all of us should learn from.

The conference ended on Friday, and we spent most of Saturday helping around Verity as well as having some time with Matthew and Libby.

We had planned on staying in Indianapolis until  after Church on Sunday. However, through a couple opportunities that presented themselves, we had a change of plans (to be detailed in the next post). 🙂

 

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