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was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory." (John 1:14)

Winning the Triathlon

 

2 Tim 4:8

8 And now the prize awaits me — the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return. NLT

 

I get excited when I read this verse.

For two reasons.

 

1.      Because Paul is about to face the executioner but some how in his thoughts he has managed to over look that. Does he see him only as the one who will escort him to the crowning platform where the flowers will be hung about his neck and the award will be passed to him.

2.      And secondly because the verse has something hidden within its small lines that often does not receive the recognition that it should. Paul says loud and clear it is not for me only. The prize is not just for me.

I don’t know if you see yourself in a triathlon or not but I do. I like to hit the floor running every morning and fight the good fight of faith every day and constantly be on the march to keep the faith.

This concept has far too little air time.

This is something that we all need to be thinking about all the time.

Jesus talked about it as a center motivation for our lives.

 

Matt 6:20-21

20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.  21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.  NLT

 

Abraham was motivated by it.

 

Heb 11:8

8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. NLT

 

David seems to be motivated this way as well.

 

1 Sam 17:25-26

And have you heard about the huge reward the king has offered to anyone who kills him? The king will give him one of his daughters for a wife, and his whole family will be exempted from paying taxes!"

26 David talked to some others standing there to verify the report. "What will a man get for killing this Philistine and putting an end to his abuse of Israel? NLT

 

And Saint Paul writes in Philippians

 

Phil 3:13-14

 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.   NLT

 

I love what the writer of Hebrews says in this regard.

Heb 6:10

10 For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians, as you still do.NLT

 

The way I see it is that 19th of January when I gasped my first breath and cried that first cry a big hour glass was turned over in heaven, a stop watch was clicked and the race was started.  I do not know where I am in that race but I know that the clock ticks every second as important and the sands of the hour glass fall daily and my life is being played out in a race to reach my full potential and finish my course and complete the plan laid down for me.

And every moment I try to save for me I loose and every moment I give to God I win.

 

Matt 10:39

39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.

NLT

 

We know from watching the Olympics that races are lost in hundreds of a second and we know from watching fights that rounds are won or lost often based on a single swing.

Look at these tremendous lines

 

1 Cor 9:24-27

24 Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. 25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches.   27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.  NLT

 

When I walk through this building on Monday morning it is not the walls that I see. I see the purpose of God for me for the day. And when I get in my truck and head for Miramichi it is not the road I see. I see a highway prepared for me by God that leads to fulfillment and purpose. 

 

If there is anything that will be lamented in heaven it will be; oh if only I wouldn’t have gotten my own way.

 

Do you ever stop and think what the first moment in heaven will be like. Can you picture stepping through that golden gate and hearing that big band strike its first tune as the national anthem of the kingdom of God begins to sound and you are ushered to the stand before God that righteous judge. Beside you on that big flag pole the standard of the lion of the tribe of Judah is raised and the crown is brought in.

While people are gathered around a hospital bed with looks of dismay on their faces and tears filling their eyes you have joined the celebration of accomplishment of a life finished here on earth.

I don’t know for sure how Saint Paul died. Maybe the last thing he saw on this earth was the sun reflecting from an executioners ax and the last thing on this earth he heard was the thud of that ax hitting his body. But I know that faster than scenes change on your TV screen his next one was the face of Christ and the joy of multiple thousands welcoming him home.

Someone wrote

 

Heb 12:1-2

12:1 Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.

2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. TLB

 

Does that huge crowd turn from the watching the race to the awards ceremony. In every other race they do I suspect they do here as well.

Did the sound of the executioners ax in Paul’s natural ear turn into the roar of applause from the grandstands of heaven as he crosses the finish line with joy.

I see that old man lead from a dark cold prison cell to the executioners block and humbly kneel there. And faster than the speed of light I see a young athlete running around the big track in heaven with a flag held high as he runs his triumphant victory celebration while the grandstands erupt with shouts of victory

From the multiple thousands of heroes of faith.

If you ever get even a glimpse of what happens on channel 1 you will forget all about living for channel 2.

What race are you in today. Is it what we refer to as the rat race. I don’t know what the prize for that is. Or are you in the triathlon of faith.

The prize for that cannot be understood with the human mind.

 

1 Cor 2:8-10

 9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared

for those who love him."  

10 But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by his Spirit, and his Spirit searches out everything and shows us even God's deep secrets. NLT

 

Amen, God Bless You & Your Family

Pastor John Stewart

 

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