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28/07/2021 03:00 - 29/07/2021 02:00

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” - Mathew 5:24 (NIV). 

The Olympics are ever fascinating to watch. Over 10,000 athletes from around the world converge at one point in time to race and determine the best of their generation in one of the 400 events. Usually, this comes after years of hard training to capture the Olympic glory. One of the perennial sight of any Olympics is to see the rapturous joy of one who happens to win. But then there is also that pain quite obvious to the one who loses. Some break out in uncontrollable tears, and have to be comforted.

Incidentally, in his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul alluded to what makes a great Olympian. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (I Cor 9:24). Here, Paul, is reminding us never lose sight of the fact that in the Christian life, we are in a race, eagerly expecting a prize, at the end of our earthly journey.

Paul gives us a number of tips quite useful to win this race. First, he points out the importance of discipline. “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (vv 25). One cannot expect to win an Olympic medal if they did not devote time to training for their event. This training often involves long and lonely moments in solicitude, but with the hope that years of struggle and self-sacrifice will bear fruits.

Likewise, to be productive the Christian life also involves those quiet and lonely moments of study and reflection, alone with God, which all flowers later in life culminating with the prize of eternal life.

Another equally deserving tip is focus. “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air” (vv 27). Today, one thing we can count on is there is no short of distractions. Our lives are ever increasingly faced with an invasion of all manner of tempting interests, some which once one get locked into, absorb us to a point of addiction.

Here, it could be social media or gambling; but everyone knows that new lure which takes all his time. To win the Christian race, one must be careful to sort out what matters and focus on the real stuff, perhaps best pointed out elsewhere by Paul, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col 3:2).

Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, just like an athlete who trains to compete in a race, for the glory of a prize, I pray that you help me focus, train and discipline my life, for the ultimate prize of eternal life, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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    "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands” (Acts 17:24)

    When in his missionary journey the Apostle Paul ventured into the city of Athens he was struck by two things. First, the Athenians spent most of the day doing nothing but talking about the latest ideas (Acts 17:21). In spite of that they could not figure out who the great God is and his plan for their salvation.

    Secondly, Paul noticed Athens was filled with temples and statutes all over. In fact he came across one altar marked with an inscription to an “unknown god” (verse 23). The Athenians were a very religious people, searching God but with no idea of his plans for salvation through Jesus.
    The experience of Paul travelling through Athens could be the same with any of us visiting our modern cities. It is easy to find folks arguing about where truth can be found on social media almost all day. And then also one can find temples of all nature rising across the city. This is usually where they have assigned and restricted God as folks go about their lives.

    One thing Paul reminded the Athenians is that in spite of all their great arguments and temples the truth was actually not far from them. “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundary of their lands. God did this so that they should seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any of us” (Acts 17:27-28).

    Today, you may find yourself in a situation similar to that of the Athenians, where you are searching for the truth, yet it is so close to you. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).

    Prayer for today: Lord Father in heaven, today I pray in the blessed name of Jesus, to know and share the truth of your salvation like Paul did for you are not far from any who truly desires to know you, this I pray in Jesus’ name!