Although the Olympic Games in Toyoko felt different this year with the COVID restrictions, lack of fans, and the tape delays, it still offered some exciting photo finishes, world records broken, and real-life lessons.
Sifian Hassan, a Netherlands female long-distance runner, displayed incredible determination and perseverance in the 1500-meter heat. With one lap to go, a runner ahead of her tripped, creating a domino effect. Hassan tried and failed to jump over the fallen runner and then fell down herself.
Undeterred, she got back up and resumed the race, although she was now in last place. But one by one she began passing the other runners. On the final straightaway, she passed five of the fastest runners in the world, winning the heat to finish first.
“Believe me, it was horrible, but sometimes I think bad things happen for good,” Hassan said. “When I fell down I said to myself, Okay, life doesn’t always go the way that you want.”
In the final of the 1500, Hassan won the bronze. She then won the gold in both the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters.
The apostle Paul often compared the Christian life to a race. He said that he wasn’t running aimlessly, but with purpose in every step, in order to receive the eternal reward (1 Cor. 9:24-27). From a Roman prison, Paul wrote that he was still running…pressing on to win the heavenly prize (Phil. 3:13-14). Then as he rounded life’s final turn, he could confidently say, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
Like the Olympics, our Christian race will probably involve some missteps. Some stumbles. Some falls. Yet, think of God’s greats enshrined in “Faith’s Hall of Fame” who also suffered some falls.
- Abraham lied.
- Jacob deceived.
- The Patriarchs envied.
- Moses doubted.
- David lusted.
- Elijah got depressed.
- Peter denied.
- James and John sought prominence.
- The apostles argued.
- And Thomas doubted.
The list could continue of others who suffered a fall from grace, who failed to live up to their calling, and who stumbled in some way.
The list could also include my name. And yours. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
Some falls are more devastating than others. Harder to overcome. And fraught with life-altering consequences. But we can all get up and resume the race. Your fall may have been caused by someone else’s negligence, fall, or failure. But you have a choice. Stay down. Or get up and resume running.
Know this. Your falls don’t have to be final. And your failures don’t have to be fatal.
Keep on running.
And finish the race. Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
In a recent study of so-called “born again Christians” in the US between the ages of 18 and 39, more than 60% said they believed “that Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus are all valid paths to salvation.”
The same study found that over 30% believed that “Jesus sinned just like other people when He lived on Earth or aren’t sure.”
The study detailed a “striking decline” in evangelical circles regarding religious beliefs and practices in just the past 10 years. This includes a Biblical understanding of the nature of God, the accuracy of the Bible, the reality of Satan, and objective morality.
They cited a “startling degradation” of a basic “Biblical world view” among professed “Christians” in the past 10 years. Not surprisingly, the drop-off has been greater among the general population.
Kerby Anderson, president of Probe Ministries, attributes the decline to the “continual and growing influence of media.”
Anderson further suggests that church leaders are just assuming that their members have a Biblical worldview and are failing to teach and preach basic Biblical doctrines.
Knowing the majority of our reader base, you may be thinking, “Well, that’s not a problem among us.” However, we may be surprised, especially among the under 40 age group.
In recent years, we have seen young people from that demographic reject the Christian beliefs taught by their parents, leave the church, and renounce fundamental Bible teaching. Many have turned to an ecumenism that is less restrictive and satisfies their personal wants, wishes, and desires.
While it is true that some will fall away from the faith regardless of how well-grounded they once were by solid, sound, Bible teaching both at home and in the local church, isn’t it fair to ask, “Are we emphasizing Bible basics to a young generation?’ Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
— o —
Researchers evaluated more than 5,800 foods and their impact on human health and the environment. Among their discoveries: eating a serving of nuts could add twenty-six minutes to your lifespan. However, eating a single hot dog could cost you thirty-six minutes of life.
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” THEODORE ROOSEVELT
He is a God who heals. He heals hurt bodies, troubled minds, aching hearts, messed-up lives, and difficult relationships. Sarah Young
Put the Lord first and foremost in your life. Dan Shock
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. JAMES BALDWIN
Ideals are like the stars: we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them. CARL SCHURZ
Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own. CHARLES DE GAULLE
No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined. Henry Emerson Fosdick
Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible. DORIS LESSING
More time is wasted when we fail to take the time to listen to others, but just assume we know everything we need to know about them. Dwight Short
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY