Monday, 24 February 2014

TFTD Feb 25th"EVERY ATHLETE EXERCISES SELF CONTROL" Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings - Feb 25th

Exodus 38 - we read of the pillar "chapiters" (heads) which were "filleted" together.

The Heb for "filleted" means to cling, to join, to love. These chapiters were the connecting rods which linked each pillar to the next one to hold up the curtain which made the tabernacle court.

The Heb is also used:
"YAHWEH did not set his LOVE upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people" (Deut 7:7)

This reminds us that we have been chosen not because of what we have done, but by Gods love for what we can become under His hand.

Paul's words amplify our position, called out in love to be bound together in love a spiritual house:

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God...In whom (Christ) all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph 2:19-22)

"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph 4:15-16)

May we be speaking the truth in love, and growing to edify the body in love. Amen.


“EVERY ATHLETE EXERCISES SELF CONTROL”  

     We have caught glimpses of the Winter Olympics in Russia on TV.  We marveled at what incredible fitness the athletes obviously achieved as they skied twisting and turning up hills and then down them.  In the case of the 30 km marathon, they went non-stop for over an hour. What intensity of training was obviously involved; how intensely did they ‘push’ their bodies in striving to achieve a national honour.
     Our reading today in 1 Corinthians ch. 9 provoked these reflections.  Paul asks the question (v.24) “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete ,but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
     How far beyond any present experience (or our imagining) is that which is “imperishable”!  Paul then describes his approach to this, a description of his attitude that should, no, must make us meditate within ourselves.
     Paul writes, “So I do not run aimlessly … But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (v.26)  Self-discipline is the ultimate challenge!  We usually can accept discipline when others are applying it to us for a good purpose that is clearly evident – but spiritual discipline requires clearness of vision in our minds – including a vision of what disqualification means!   Yet we must serve our Lord because our love for him is genuine – fully appreciating the spiritual joy that we hold in our hearts!   
     These days, with so few being willing to listen – or read – we might give up on being a light shining in a dark place!  But the darker it is – the more evident its’ light is going to be!  Or is the darkness so thick and intense it is smothering it?
     There is a marvelous Proverb we should hold up as a guiding principle for our thoughts.  “But the path of the righteous is like the light of the dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” [4 v.18]