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The Olympics never fail to inspire. There we witness the zenith of human striving after good physical goals, triumph, happiness, defeat, disappointment. The picture above is of the 4×10 kilometer men’s relay at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
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Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luger from the small Christian country of Georgia, died on the sliding track at Whistler, British Columbia. He lost control of his sled, and crashed.
May he rest in peace.
That should not have happened. Sports are supposed to be about athleticism and competition, not life and death. Nodar competed for an earthly medal. May our Lord give him an eternal crown of life in heaven.
The Olympics went ahead because they had to, just as life must also go on.
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German speed skater Daniela Anschuetz Thoms raced in the 5000 meter.
Imagine how hard athletes train in order just to compete in the Olympic games. Imagine how hard athletes train to win the gold medal prize. Do we strive that hard for perfection? Do we strive that hard to avoid sin? In the Olympics, one slip can mean the difference between a gold medal and maybe no medal at all.
To sin means to miss the mark of perfection. In the Garden of Eden, Adam committed what many would consider to be a very little sin: he ate fruit he wasn’t supposed to eat. And yet, consider the untold suffering in this world and the next that has resulted from that one “little” sin. The consequences of that “little” sin will reverberate forever.
[Therefore], throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood…
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
[Hebrews 12:1-4, 12].
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It is amazing how fast we forget once the Olympics are over. Most Olympians quickly return to relative obscurity. Do you remember the names of the Americans who won the first U.S. medals in Nordic Combined? Do you know the names of the four American men who won gold in the Bob-Sled breaking a decades long drought?
The very popular Dutch speed skater, Sven Kramer, had just won the 5000 meter race, and was asked by an English speaking reporter if he would state his name, country, and what race he had just won. Sven replied, “Are you stupid?” The elderly reporter responded, “I know. It’s for tape identification purposes.” Sven retorted, “Hell no, I’m not going to do that.”
The picture above is of the Dutch speed skating team pursuit. Can you tell which one is Sven?
Later, Sven was on his way to certain gold in the 10,000 meter when (under the direction of his coach) he made an illegal lane change, and was disqualified. The person who won that race did not skate the fastest time. One “little” mistake can have significant consequences.
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. 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.
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert…
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
[1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:1-5, 11-12].
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The above picture is of the 4×10 kilometer men’s cross-country skiing relay event. Not only do we need to finish the race ourselves, but like a relay race, we need to finish and pass the pure doctrine on to succeeding generations.
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A member of the South Korean short track speed skating team sheds tears. After having apparently won the gold in the relay event, she learned her team was disqualified for having allegedly impeded another skater.
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Another South Korean, Yu-Na Kim, skates in the exhibition gala after having won gold in women’s figure skating. Her routine was designed to express thankfulness and gratitude to everyone involved with the Olympics and all those who helped and supported her.
God wants his Church to be a beautiful and elegant lady, a bride for his Son.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
God wants all people to be members of his Church, and this is a free gift from Jesus.
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An Olympic champion jumps for joy.
Will there be Olympics in heaven? One thing is certain: everything in heaven will be better than Mt. Olympus.
Notes: Photographer credits can be viewed by stopping the cursor over the pictures.