Earning The Medal

Like so many, I am an avid tennis fan.  I can’t play worth beans.  When I’ve tried playing, I have no control of the ball to the point that when I hit it, it goes way past the opponent and on and on and on.  Consequently, no one wants to play with me as they get tired of chasing the ball.  I get tired of hitting it to nowhere, too.  Even so, my own lack of ability has not ruined my love of the game.  It’s Wimbledon finals this week and I have had my eyes glued to the matches as each player tries their best to be one of the last two standing, playing for the final prize.

Throughout these past two weeks, as the matches have been played, the journalists would report various stories about the players.  One thing that is obvious, with no exceptions for any player, is their preparation for this event.  They pay attention to their diet, their sleep, their physical training, and their practice.  Without preparation today, there would be no hope of the final prize tomorrow.

It came to me that this is the same principal in our spiritual worlds.  Our Heavenly Father has made a plan for each of us to follow.  He has given us guidelines for our daily preparation in His love letter to us — His Holy Word.  Once we choose to receive Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us to give us every tool we need to grow stronger each day.  We are given spiritual insight and understanding to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.”  (Philippians 3:14). This does not mean that we work for our eternal destiny.  Salvation is a gift, that when received, will never be taken away.  That’s the promise.  However, we will receive rewards for all we do in Jesus’ name.

Are rewards that important?  Isn’t the main thing just being in heaven for eternity?  Well, that depends on one’s eternal perspective.  You see, the Bible teaches us that a time will come when we will all see Jesus face to face.  At that time, our understanding will be complete.  In other words, we will fully understand just what Jesus has done for us and gone through in order to give us the gift of eternal life with Him.  When we have that realisation, we will take those rewards given to us, and we will cast them at His feet in our love and gratitude.

I once saw an athlete who won her race and received the medal.  Joyfully, this athlete then stepped into the crowd and placed the medal in the hands of her parents.  She said it was her parents who encouraged and supported her in all her training.  It will be the same with us.  Imagine that you won your gift of eternal life with Jesus, but did nothing on earth to show your love for Him; nothing to earn any rewards.  You have nothing to give back.  Imagine.




Because Of The Water

I visited my sister the other day, and she gave me a bouquet of red tulips. I gently laid them on the back seat of my car to take home. However, on the way I stopped somewhere for several hours. When I finally got home, and picked up my tulips, they did not appear very healthy. Taking them from the paper they were wrapped in, every tulip fell limp, literally hanging toward the floor.

My first sad thought was that I would have to simply throw them away; but they were a gift. I didn’t want to throw them away; therefore, with that thought in mind, I filled a vase with water and placed the tulips inside. The floppy stems bent all the way over causing the tulip heads to lay on the table. It was a very sad and sorry sight indeed. Nonetheless, I left them there.

The next morning when I walked into the kitchen to get my anticipated mug of coffee, I glanced in the living room, and then did a quick several steps back. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the sight before me! Every tulip in the vase was standing to attention, like soldiers ready for a marching parade! Unreserved joy pulsated in my veins and stretched a smile across my lips! I heard myself laugh out loud and audibly say, “I thought you were dead!” As if in answer, each tulip proudly remained tall and straight.

A smile stayed on my face for a long time after the, tulip gone from death to life, discovery. That’s when thoughts about the water stirred in my mind. The tulips could only be alive because of the water in the vase. They drank all night, and as the water rose in their stems, signs of glorious life appeared.

I thought of the conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well. He said to her in John 4:14, “The water I give takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within, giving eternal life.” To those of us who have taken God’s gift of salvation, by receiving God’s love and forgiveness, only available to us because of Jesus paying the penalty for sin in our place; well, we too, were lifeless, perhaps nearly dying from our own attempts to give meaning to our lives. Then, along came Jesus, offering to us spiritual water from the well of His own life; water that would never dry up.

If there is anyone reading this who is searching for meaning in life; anyone who is feeling life just isn’t worth living anymore; anyone who is caught in an unbearable situation and can see no way out; then, take heart and take Jesus. Only He can give you a living drink of water that will heal your wounds and give you hope through all your days. Then, when life on this earth is over, it is only because we drank of His living water, that we have assurance of life in heaven for eternity. In that place, there will be no more tears or death or sorrow. It’s a beautiful place, and it’s available to all through receiving Jesus Christ.

Here is a glimpse of what awaits us who know Him. It’s recorded in Revelation 22:1-6
“And the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will anything be cursed. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there — no need for lamp or sun — for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. Then the angel said to me, ‘The Lord God, who tells his prophets what the future holds, has sent his angel to tell you what will happen soon.'”

If you don’t know Jesus, it’s not too late. Call to Him now. Ask His forgiveness and He will forgive all. He will fill you with living water from which springs eternal life. Why wait? It’s a treasure chest waiting to be opened, but only you can take what is offered. I pray with the sending of this blog, that if you don’t personally know Jesus, that today you will drink of the water He is offering to you — and begin a new life!