Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Will You Win a Gold Medal in Heaven?

I loved watching the Olympic events in London. Imagine how thrilling it would be to win a gold medal and be called the greatest athlete in the world. As they were being awarded the medals, I actually pictured myself wearing one of the gold medals and showing it off to everyone. It was great! (although it was only in my mind)

But to win that medal, they had to go through rigorous training. Some of those athletes trained for four years to run a 10-second race! What motivates them to train so hard for something that will be over so quickly? They are all trying to win a gold medal. Michael Phelps said the reason he didn’t win a medal in his first event was because he only trained hard for two years instead of four.

In Paul’s day, the Isthmian games in Corinth were like the Olympics today. Paul refers to these games when he says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 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.” (1 Cor. 9:24-25 NIV)

Paul uses an earthly event to demonstrate a truth about heaven. When this life is over, God will award His “gold medals” to His followers who have faithfully lived for Him. Judgment Day for the believer is a day of rewards, where He will repay us for all the offerings we gave during our lifetime and our sacrificial service to further His kingdom. These rewards will be far better than any Olympic gold medal and will last forever. Unfortunately, some people will make it into heaven but will have no rewards because they never did anything for the Lord (see 1 Cor. 3:12-15).

We need to be as determined to win these eternal rewards as an athlete is to win a gold medal. Jesus said to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20). To read more about how your life on earth will determine what you are doing in heaven, read my book Making Today Count for Eternity. (You can order a used copy for one cent plus shipping)

Follow me on Twitter @KentCrockett   

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Have You Lost Your Fire?

When you cook outside on a grill, you’ll pile all the charcoals together to set them on fire. You do that because it’s easier for the fire to spread when all the charcoals are connected together. The fire flames up when all the coals are burning as one.  

But if you take one charcoal from the pile and set it off by itself, the coal will cool off. It’s the same charcoal. It’s the same fire. But it dies out because it is no longer connected to the other burning coals. 

That pile of charcoals is a picture of being in fellowship with other believers. When you gather together in small groups for Bible Study, prayer, and fellowship, everyone gets spiritually encouraged. You catch the fire and excitement of others. But when you withdraw from fellowship, it is like pulling that charcoal off the fire and setting it off by itself. You lose your fire and cool off. You get discouraged, which often leads to depression.

However, if you will take that the charcoal that has cooled off and put it back with the other hot coals, it will catch back on fire again.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” If you have pulled yourself away from Christian fellowship, put yourself back in the pile of burning coals. You will be surprised how quickly you’ll catch on fire again.

Follow me on Twitter @KentCrockett