February 5, 2016
“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. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NIV)
One of our American football teams has a slogan posted in conspicuous places all around their training center. It is simply these three words: “Whatever It Takes!” The meaning: every member of the team pledges, “I will do whatever it takes to win!”
In the verses quoted above Paul is referring to the way Olympic athletes from his time trained and disciplined their bodies. They sacrificed whatever it took in discipline and preparation with one goal in mind: to win.
While they did this to win a prize that does not last, we should train and discipline ourselves that we may win a prize that is eternal. As we run the race of our ministry we should have a strategy and a race plan. When we fight the good fight of faith we should have a fight plan. While we observe the way the athletes train and do whatever it takes to win, we should do whatever it takes to win the real race and fight the real fight for eternity.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to win the race and the fight today?
Dick Woodward, 09 September 2012
March 13, 2015
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God … eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
A dragonfly is a marvel of aerodynamics with two sets of wings that enable it to hover like a helicopter. A dragonfly actually spends the first to fourth years of its existence at the bottom of a body of water. This underwater creature is equipped with two respiratory systems: one that enables it to inhale water through its long narrow body and derive oxygen from the water, as many underwater creatures do; and the second system that one day will equip a dragonfly to breathe air when it enters into its second dimension of life.
When the underwater, first existence of the dragonfly has been fulfilled, it rises to the surface of the water, climbs up on the land, dries its wings in the sun, spreads those two magnificent sets of wings and gloriously begins the second dimension of its existence.
The dragonfly is designed by God to live out its existence in two dimensions. We have that in common with the dragonfly. According to Paul, we, also, are designed by God to exist in two dimensions. God issues us an earthly body to live out our life here on earth, and God is going to issue us a heavenly body that will equip us to live forever in the second, eternal dimension of our providentially planned existence in heaven.
This is why Paul writes these profoundly devotional verses in chapter 4 of Second Corinthians telling us that we should welcome, accept and embrace anything that grows our eternal inward self, preparing us for heaven.
Dick Woodward, 11 October 2011
July 16, 2013
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
To appreciate eternal values we must define these two words. The word “eternal” literally means “that which was, that which is, and that which always shall be.” The word “temporal” relates to that which is temporary.
Jesus made it clear that we have eternal life because we are related to the true God and the One Whom He has sent. They are eternal and we have eternal life because we are related to them. We must also make the observation that the words “eternal life” are referring to a quality of life as well as a quantity of life.
The word “value” also needs to be defined. The dictionaries tell us “a value is that quality of any certain thing by which it is determined by us to be more or less important, useful, profitable and therefore desirable.” When we bring these two concepts together we should realize we are discussing what is more or less important, useful, profitable and therefore desirable in this life and in the life to come.
A second eternal value is that the eternal is a greater value than the temporal. The Apostle Paul wrote: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable (1 Corinthians 15:19 NKJV). Paul so highly valued the eternal he sacrificed his life here for the rewards he was sure awaited him in eternity. If there were no eternal dimension he should be pitied.
Do you value the eternal more than the temporal?