Friday, August 8, 2008

The Olympics & Running the Race

Today starts the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing China. The best of the best athletes from around the world will gather to compete for their country. Many words could be used to describe these athletes, but I think one of the best would be perseverance.

A prime example of this perseverance was shown in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Derek Redmond, who had previously shattered the British record for the 400 meter, was there in hopes to win a medal. He started well around the track. And then it happened. His hamstring popped, dropping him to the ground.

He fell to the ground in obvious pain. But after a few minutes he pulled himself up. Everyone else had finished the race, yet he struggled to his feet, and began hopping toward the finish line. His father was watching from the grandstands. Seeing his son fall, he jumped over the fence and ran to his son. And there arm and arm, he helped his son finish the face.

We have a relationship with our heavenly father just like that. We are running the race of our lives. The race away from the devil. The race toward righteousness. Away from sin and toward glory. But often we come up short. We fall. We try to get up. We face pain and disappointment.

And we have a heavenly father who will jump out of the stands, to help us finish the race. Persevere, and run the good race. And when you fall, look to the Father.

Here is the actual video of that race.

To read more on this exciting true story of Derek Redmond, click here.

Acts 20:24 -- However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

2 Timothy 4:7 -- I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Hebrews 12:1 -- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Awards and Rewards

I've been nominated for an award! I'd like to thank the Academy....

No - seriously...a big thank you to Tammy at Not My Story But God's who thinks my blog is award-worthy. That is so awesome. More important than the award however, is the fact that Tammy thinks that I am helping people stay connected to God. Thank you Tammy!

I think everyone loves positive reinforcement, praise, awards and rewards. We like to know we are appreciated for our efforts. That should not be the reason why we are doing what we're doing, but I do think it is normal to want to be appreciated. In fact, I believe that it is a felt need. And you know God meets all of our needs.

The bible is filled with references to God rewarding us according to what we have done. So as I (figuratively) stand here holding my "Brillante Weblog Award," I can't help but focus on the future when I stand in heaven receiving a Crown of Life.

I thanked Tammy, the giver of the Weblog Award when I received it. Academy Award winners thank the Academy. When I receive the Crown of Life, and the rewards for what I have done on earth in heaven, I will be on my knees thanking God for all he has done for me.

And wondering why He is giving me a reward.

Why isn't He the one receiving one?

2 Timothy 4:8 -- Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Psalm 62:11,12 - - One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.

Matthew 16:27 -- For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The GIRL in the Plastic Bubble

"The Boy in the Plastic Bubble is arguably one of the most influential and best-remembered made-for-TV movies of the 1970s" says Wikipedia. It starred John Travolta as a boy with an improperly functioning immune system, so that unfiltered air might kill him. So he is forced to live out his life in a "bubble," which was actually more like an astronaut's suit.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the girl in the plastic bubble. I live in my tight woven little world with like minded people. I'm so happy in my bubble. "Everyone" else is a Christian. We are all like minded, "good" people who love God and do our best. It is a wonderful bubble.

I step outside of my bubble into the unfiltered world and this is what I see. A 14 year old boy who feels sexually harassed by a gay 15 yr old boy murders him. A transgendered "man" gives birth to a child. And even in my own local paper the obituary of a 16 month old baby boy who is survived by his "loving mother." On the front page of the same section is her photo as she is charged in his death.

I need protection from that unfiltered world, just as the "boy in the plastic bubble" did. And while he looked like an alien in his bubble suit, I feel like an alien without one. But at the end of movie, the boy (now older) decides to see if his immunity is built up. He steps outside of his house unprotected, no bubble, and rides off with his girlfriend on her horse.

The bible is clear that we don't need a bubble for protection either. What we need is God's armor, "so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground."

So today I am praying for the world, that I might help show God's light in the darkness. And I especially pray that you and I, our families, and our children may be covered by God's armor. Because I think the day of evil has arrived.

Psalm 39:12 -- Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were.

Ephesians 6:13-18 - - Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

1 John 5:19 -- We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.