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August 25, 2016, 12:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey...September 2016

   The RIO OLYMPICS captured our time and attention around the world for two weeks. We saw the best of the best of athletes. We saw great sportsmanship and sometimes, not so great. We watched mostly young people stand, tears in their eyes, medals around their necks, as they listened to their national anthems while proudly facing/saluting their flags. It was refreshing to see young people who truly are patriotic—proud to represent their countries—and who display an ethic of discipline and hard work not normally seen on daily newscasts. They were “unofficial” ambassadors, representing their country’s best!

   Watching the huge variety of athletic disciplines being performed almost to perfection, it occurred to me how we, as ambassadors for Christ, should be even more disciplined, striving faithfully to represent Him well to the world. But, do we??? Undoubtedly all of the Olympic athletes experience not only disappointments in their lives or performances, but sometimes also great setbacks caused by injuries or even politics outside their control. But they seldom quit training or trying, and they always keep their eyes on the goal, no matter how demanding or expensive it gets! Otherwise, they would not be Olympians.

   How often do Christians give up or complain (even to God) or think life is not “fair” when things happen that are painful, sad, seemingly unjust, challenging, disappointing, or imperfect? Yet, we have every reason to react otherwise. Each believer is permanently indwelled by the power of the Holy Spirit, so we are not powerless. But, we often take our eyes off the goal and let life trip us up, much like a runner kicking over a hurdle. We need to get back up and stay in the race, as Paul so aptly described for us in Philippians 3:10-15 (HCSB):

10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…12 Not that I have already reached the goal…but I make every effort to take hold of it…13 …one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15…all who are mature should think this way…

Marsha Cook


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