For “Scripture Sunday”:
Olympic Glory and Eternal Glory
“Runners strive for temporary glory. The pomp of the ceremonies and the thrill of the world-class competition make the Olympics exciting. If athletes devote themselves so completely for the hope of a medal, what should we do for the eternal prize?
The Olympics are back. It’s been four years since the summer games were held in Beijing. Weren’t they exciting? Do you remember how LaShawn Merritt won the gold medal in the 400 meters or how Christian Cantwell won the silver in the shot put?
No? Well, I don’t either. These two individuals and dozens more like them put their whole life into training for their particular sporting event with the hope of someday competing in the Olympics. LaShawn and Christian not only competed in the Olympics, they actually won medals! Yet most of us don’t even know their names.
The greatest thing in the world?
So here we are again, four years later, at the beginning of the London Olympics. All these athletes are gathering to compete and hoping to actually win a medal. Wouldn’t that just be the greatest thing in the world?
Well, it would be a wonderful achievement; but, no, it wouldn’t be the greatest thing in the world. Just like competitors in previous years, gifted athletes who win medals during the Olympic Games over the next couple of weeks will once again be forgotten by folks like us. We won’t even recognize their names.
As great as the Olympics are, they still are fleeting and temporary. The Bible shows that there is more to life than fleeting, temporary things.
Perishable and imperishable crowns
The apostle Paul wrote about these things, and his words are recorded in the Bible for us to see today.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
So do these verses really relate to us? Are we really working on disciplining our body and bringing it into subjection? To what level does God really expect us to work at this? I think we find our answer in Hebrews 12:4: “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”
That’s pretty intense. That’s talking about Olympic-level striving. Are we there yet?
The Olympians think it’s worth it to expend any and all efforts to win that gold medal. Their lives are devoted to it. Yet soon their accomplishments will fade into distant memories.
What we are striving for is something that is beyond our imagination—and it will not be temporary. Notice how Peter calls our attention to this twice:
- “To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
- “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4).
That crown is worth striving for! It’s worth devoting our lives to it above anything else. It’s worth any sacrifice. Remember Romans 8? Read it again—and again! “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Jesus Christ is coming back to set up the Kingdom of God on this earth, and we can prepare now to assist Him. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).” From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/blog/olympic-glory-and-eternal-glory/ by Ron Kelley - July 27, 2012
Olympic Glory—or Something More? July 6, 2012
“Millions of people around the world will soon be watching televisions and checking the Internet to find out the latest results from the Summer Olympics in London, scheduled to run from July 27 through Aug. 12. For 17 days, over 14,000 of the world’s finest athletes will compete for Olympic glory in 26 different sports.”
Even for those who are not rabid sports fans, the Olympics offer something special. While it’s normal to cheer for one’s national team and to celebrate their victories, it is often the behind-the-scenes stories that make the Olympics so special. Most participants are able to train in state-of-the-art facilities under the finest coaches in the world, but there are always the stories of those who must overcome amazing odds to even participate. The stories of those who must work so hard at overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles can often be the most moving and rewarding, even if they never win a single medal.
While many of the Olympic stories are moving and powerful testimonies to the character of those who have worked so diligently to achieve their dreams, the Olympic story added an ugly chapter 40 years ago, when the Black September organization murdered 11 Israeli athletes in Munich, Germany.
Since then, security issues have become a major aspect of what was once an innocent and joyous celebration of human endeavor. An article in the March 8, 2012, issue of The Guardian stated that security for the London Olympics would cost over 1 billion pounds—that’s $1.6 billion—and involve over 40,000 security personnel. Organizers are preparing to employ over 20,000 private security personnel, in addition to over 15,000 from the military, as well as unpublicized numbers from the police and Britain’s MI5 and MI6 security agencies. A recent article also revealed that six batteries of surface-to-air missiles have been placed all around the Olympic venues. The head of London’s Olympic security said we have reached a sad stalemate—the terrorists keep trying to find a way to create havoc, and we continue to find ways to hold them at bay.
We all hope the security measures will be enough to prevent another senseless tragedy; but we also know that security measures, no matter how effective, are not a solution to a problem that springs from the human heart. The good news is, there is a solution, and you can be a part of it. The gospel message, revealed in the pages of the Bible, promises a way in which every human heart—including yours and mine—can be changed. And it also points to a day when terrorism, and the hatred which lies at its origin, will be a distant memory of the past.
When this year’s Summer Games are over, will they amount to nothing more than a passing entertainment to occupy our minds for a few days? Or can the stories of courage and commitment to excel in physical endeavors serve as an inspiration to us to take on the even greater challenge of living life as Jesus Christ would have us live? The reward is far greater than Olympic gold. For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m David Johnson.” From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/speaking-of/olympic-gloryor-something-more/
Finishing the Race
“In 1968 the Summer Olympics were held in Mexico City. This was the first Olympiad held in a Spanish speaking country, the only one held in Latin America and the first to broadcast the closing ceremonies in color. The high altitude of the city caused many athletes to struggle in their efforts, and while there were many memorable events during this Olympic event these are a few of the most notable: while receiving their medals, Tommie Smith and John Carlos infamously raised their fists and lowered their head during the playing of the American anthem; Bob Beamon set a world record in the long jump of 8.9 meters (29.199 feet) – a record that stood for twenty-three years; Dick Fosbury won the high jump with his now-famous “fosbury flop,” which has since become the event standard.
Another notable athlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics was marathon runner John Stephen Ahkwari of Tanzania—a runner you have probably never heard of. John Stephen finished last in the marathon event at 3:25:27—about an hour after the first runner crossed the finish line with a time of 2:20:26. During the race at about the eighteen mile marker, tired from the run and altitude, John Stephen fell seriously cutting his knee and leg. Rather than quit, he allowed his knee and leg to be bandaged – and then he painfully resumed the race. He would run for a short distance, and then walk when the pain was too much, and then run again – repeating this cycle over and over. The marathon event was late in the day and the runners all finished before dark—except John Stephen. When he finally arrived through the dark at the stadium the few spectators there were getting seating for the next event. They couldn’t help but notice John Stephen as he limped-ran his final laps of the race in the stadium—and they began to applaud him as they realized that even though he was the last runner he was determined to finish the race. He was the last of 57 runners in that marathon event in the 1968 Olympics, but he finished the race set before him. There were 74 who started but never finished.
After John Stephen finished running and received medical care, he was asked, “Why did you keep going?” His simple response was, “You don’t understand. My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start a race, they sent me to finish it.” To spiritualize the thought, God has not called us to start the race of salvation, but to finish it. Our race is about staying the course, yielding to God, growing in His character and crossing the finish line no matter what happens before that. Organized sports is one of those arenas of life that can hold great lessons for a Christian. The apostle Paul wrote in Hebrews 12:1See All... that we are to “…run with patience….” He expanded this thought in Philippians 3:14 encouraging us to keep pressing toward the mark of God’s calling, and reminding us that while we can experience hindrances from others, only we can make the final decision as to whether we give up or continue (Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? See All...).
Any Olympic race is but a temporary achievement. We can draw great lessons from those achievements at times, but it is more important to remember the imperishable crown we are racing for. “ Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it…. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown…. I discipline my body and bring it into subjection lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified ,”
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27  Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.See All...).
Rather, let us be like the true faithful down through time, who can say “… I have finished the race, I have kept the faith ,” (2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
See All...). From: http://www.ucg.org/blog/finishing-race/
“Society puts great emphasis on how we look. In reality, though, outward appearance is both important and unimportant. Read on to see what I mean.
We live in a world where things get more complex every day. One thing that complicates life is our approach to outward appearance. We have been taught that it isn’t as serious as it appears to be. Yet in some aspects, we might consider outward appearance to be something we should work on. So, it is both important and unimportant. But why and how?
Why outward appearance is NOT important
Advertisements for weight loss and new fashion crazes are everywhere; and undeniably, we go after these things in order to look better. It’s as if it’s the only thing that matters. But the Bible reminds us to think twice about these approaches to outward appearance rather than to try to fit into society’s trends of beauty.
I was working on this article when I watched a local television program about some twins who were different in one thing: their appearance. The more “beautiful” one was admired and loved by everybody, while the other was hated and disparaged—even by their own mother.
As I watched the story, I realized that this world pays too much attention to what people look like on the outside rather than on the inside. The Bible tells us that God does care about our inward beauty. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’”.
Outward appearance passes
If we put our hope in outward appearance, we will fail in the end. Good looks fade with age. Many beauty queens of years gone by are now old and no longer famous.
The Bible even advises us in Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” You see, the key is to fear the Lord rather than to cherish beauty so much.
You are His masterpiece
God really cares about you. You are a masterpiece of His creation. Psalm 139:14 reveals, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” We are even made after His own image (Genesis 1:27).
So, the next time you look in the mirror, don’t forget to remind yourself that what you are seeing is one of the most beautiful things God created.
Why outward appearance is important
As Christians, it is very hard for us not to give in to what the world wants us to look like. We don’t want to be noticed and considered an oddity.
Though outward appearance doesn’t really matter, we should be reminded that it identifies us as God’s children. Our clothing, for example, must be modest and decent. One sample verse about proper attire is found in Exodus 28:40 where we read that tunics, sashes and hats were given to Aaron’s sons for glory and beauty.
How we look on the outside must conform to scriptural guidelines. This signifies our humility before God. Once we surrender ourselves, we become eager to learn more about God and His ways. This will eventually change not just our wrong approach to outward appearance, but our nature and character as well. And once these things have changed, we become the Christians we are expected to be.
Responsible approach to outward appearance
Don’t believe the myth that beauty only comes on the outside. Real beauty is what you believe in, what you do and what you are. Yes, it is important to look as nice as possible, especially in going to church services and presenting yourself before the Lord. However, God does not want us to be more focused on appearance than we are on Him, because it takes our eyes and hearts away from Him. All it takes is a responsible approach to outward appearance.” From: http://cogwa.org/teen-blog/entry/what-should-our-approach-to-outward-appearance-be
The Most Unhappy of Pleasures: This Is Your Brain on Sugar By Robert H. Lustig
“By all estimates, obese people are not happy. The question is whether their unhappiness is a cause or a result of their obesity. At this point we can't say for sure, but both could be right.
The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. --Isaiah 3:9
The Bible teaches us that pleasure doesn't pay. If you don't destroy yourself, then God will do it for you. Four thousand years later and the rules are still the same. The only thing that's changed is the vehicle.
When did the world become so obsessed with pleasure? Scripture argues that the goal of a righteous life is happiness, not pleasure. The Declaration of Independence affords us the right to "the pursuit of happiness," not pleasure. But pleasure has taken center stage in virtually all human pursuits. Delayed gratification is so 20th century.
Yet we are, by all accounts, not happy. You may have heard of the gross national happiness index, an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more psychological terms. Despite the fact that the United States has the highest gross domestic product, we score 44th on the happiness index.
Who's #1? Denmark. The home of Hamlet, the most unhappy character in all of literature, the country that was overrun by the Nazis, where they freeze half the year, where they nurse one Carlsberg all night and eat rice because they can't afford a steak. Money can't buy happiness. But it sure can buy some pleasure.
But long-term stimulation of the pleasure center drives the process of addiction. Rich people are addicted to money, power, gambling; middle-class people are addicted to cocaine, amphetamine, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heroin. The poor, well, all they've got is sugar.
Pleasure is exciting. Happiness is transcendent. More importantly, pleasure is dopamine. And happiness is serotonin.
So what is the key to happiness? Roko Belic's recent indie movie Happy traces the roots of happiness through the slums of India to the deserts of Namibia to the streets of Okinawa. And food isn't mentioned once. Rather, the ties that bind are family, community, and doing something to make the world a better place. I think back to World War II, when Denmark saved the Jews by smuggling them to Sweden.
In Judaism, it's called tikkun olam. Healing the world. Just what the Bible teaches. Now there's a reason to be happy.” Excerpts from complete article: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/the-most-unhappy-of-pleasures-this-is-your-brain-on-sugar/253341/#
“Ben Franklin said, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Sleep is something that we cannot do without. Some people have had terrible problems getting a good night’s sleep, and only heavy sedation seems to help. Our brain and body crave rest from time to time. We live such busy lives that we tend to cram in more activities than we should. To sleep soundly and be fully rested is a blessing.
The Bible cautions us about too much sleep and laziness. It also tells us that a sweet sleep is a blessing (Proverbs 3:24) and that the sleep of a laboring man is sweet (Ecclesiastes 5:12). The way to get enough sleep and to sleep well is to develop good habits. Getting to bed and rising about the same time each day is what was taught long ago and still is in places. Our brain functions well when we have some routine and habits. We sleep better, so it is true that early to bed is a good routine.”
On This Day:
Prince Charles marries Lady Diana, Jul 29, 1981:
“Nearly one billion television viewers in 74 countries tune in to witness the marriage of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Married in a grand ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in the presence of 2,650 guests, the couple's romance was for the moment the envy of the world. Their first child, Prince William, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Harry, in 1984.
Before long, however, the fairy-tale couple grew apart, an experience that was particularly painful under the ubiquitous eyes of the world's tabloid media. Diana and Charles announced a separation in 1992, though they continued to carry out their royal duties. In August 1996, two months after Queen Elizabeth II urged the couple to divorce, the prince and princess reached a final agreement. In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of "princess," Diana agreed to relinquish the title of "Her Royal Highness" and any future claims to the British throne.
In the year following the divorce, the popular princess seemed well on her way of achieving her dream of becoming "a queen in people's hearts," but on August 31, 1997, she was killed with her companion Dodi Fayed in a car accident in Paris. Tests conducted by French police indicated that the driver, who also died in the crash, was intoxicated and likely caused the accident while trying to escape the paparazzi photographers who consistently tailed Diana during any public outing.
On April 9, 2005, Prince Charles wed his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, in a private civil ceremony. The ceremony had originally been planned for April 8, but had to be rescheduled so as not to conflict with the funeral of Pope John Paul II. After the civil ceremony, which the queen did not attend, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams blessed the union on behalf of the Church of England in a separate blessing ceremony. An estimated 750 guests attended the event, which was held at St. George's Chapel in Windsor and was attended by both of Charles' parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
Though Camilla technically became the Princess of Wales with the marriage, she has announced her preference for the title Duchess of Cornwall, in deference to the beloved late princess. Should Charles become king, she will become Queen Camilla, though she has already announced her intention to use the title Princess Consort, most likely in response to public opinion polls showing resistance to the idea of a Queen Camilla.”
The program on WGN this morning: The Power of the Word
“By following God and His Word you can unlock amazing mysteries hidden in past ages that may seem beyond your imagination.
Watch this program, read the transcript & request the free Bible Study aid booklet "You Can Understand the Bible" at http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/christian-living/power-word”
When I arose, ‘brat-dog’ Caesar heard me, and was barking to go outside, (or for some attention). So I took all 5 of Mindi’s dogs out in the back yard in my robe. I don’t let anyone else’s dogs go outside by themselves, as I need to know where they are every minute. Old Punkie seems to be more lively since I cut off all that matted hair. My Misty is more civilized, she usually sleeps in, and waits to go outside until after I have had my coffee.
During our Saturday morning phone call with my daughter, I served all 6 dogs, and the cat, their breakfasts, when we were through talking, I got ready for church. I was ready early, so I drove Misty in the Puddle Jumper for her walk down in Jay’s. He saw me, and said that as I was ready he would hurry up, take his shower, and go early to church for the Bible Study. So I brought Misty back here, so I could take Mindi’s dogs out again, get them settled back in the grooming room, and I went back in the van to get Jay. Ray came over and said that if I wanted to stay for the pot-luck at church he would let all the dogs out for me, if I were detained. That was so nice of him. But I knew that unless something dire happened, they would be OK until I returned. Booger wouldn’t have gone out for him anyway, he is skittish around strangers.
Jay enjoyed the Bible Study which was Lesson 6 about ‘Comfort Concerning the Dead’ with key texts 1 Thess 4:13-18. Some humor was injected into it by the elder conducting it.
After the singing, the sermon was “He Who Loses His Life Shall Find It’. One example was about Lot’s wife. She turned around looking back at her house, belongings and her daughters, who had chosen not go with them. She was not committed to putting God first in her life, above her husband, children or ‘stuff’, which we are all supposed to do.
Jay even stayed for the potluck, and he says he enjoyed the day.