Go for the Gold

Winter Olympics.  Hockey.  Figure skating.  Skiing.  Ice dancing.  Speed skating.  Short track speed skating.  Luge.  Bobsled.  Curling.  Cross country skiing.  Ski jump.  Snowboarding.  Just some of the sports we’ll watch.  There will be gold medals handed out.  New idols will be crowned.  New heroes in the making.

The athletes. They each train in their sport. Working to master the art of athleticism. They each have chosen one sport to excel in. To best the best. To be crowned.  To be awarded the gold medal.

They work hard. Practice religiously. They sacrifice. More than most would even dare.  They stretch themselves.  Going beyond comfort.  Just to be the best.  They may only get one shot at the gold.  They need to make the most of it.

Mistakes will be made.  Mishaps.  Nerves will get the best of some athletes.  Some expected to win will not.  New champions will be crowned.  They will stand tall, right hand over the heart.  Listening.  Listening to their national anthem.  The flag is lowered.  In honor of their win.  In honor of their hard work.  In honor of their sacrifice.  In honor of their gold medal.  All nations will applaud.

They get nervous. They make mistakes. Their muscles stiffen. They suffer injuries. All for the sport.  All for the dream of wearing the gold around their neck.

Some will be cocky.  They just know they’ll earn a spot on the team.  They just know they’ll win the gold.  They may not work as hard as they should, because their self confidence has already crowned them winner.  They could be brought down quickly.  They may miss the goal.  They may fall down the mountain.  There could be someone better.  A new champion in the mix.  Waiting for their moment to shine.

Some are humble.  They do the work.  They’ve put in the hours.  They’ve listened to their coach.  They own the sport.  But they don’t announce it to the world.  They let their work speak for itself.  If it’s their time to shine, they will.  If their skills need more sharpening, they will do the work.  The struggle to grow stronger and perform better is real.  They think they could do more.


I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  Philippians 3:14


We’re all in training. We’re training for a spiritual prize. The top prize.  Heaven.  Heaven is the gold medal we’re training for.  Everyone should want it.  Second place is disastrous.

There is a workout plan that’s available for everyone.  Those who choose to accept it and follow it will receive that top prize.  There won’t be only one gold medal given.  Anyone who is anyone can receive it.

No.  It’s not a participation medal.  The medal must be won.  Fair and square.  Hard work.  Conditioning.  Sacrifice.  Suffering.  Hardships.  Setbacks.  Successes.  Growth.  Rewards.  All are part of the plan.  Given in different measures to each athlete working for the prize.

We’re racing toward eternity.  People.  Whether we know it or not.  Whether we like it or not.  Everyone will come face to face with eternity when they cross the finish line.  At our last breath, we will come face to face with God Himself.  He will judge each and every one of us.

I want that top prize.  I want the gold medal.  I want to spend eternity in heaven.  I hope you do, too.

If you haven’t made the decision to join the race for eternity, this link will tell you how you can join.

So Close to Eternity

Today on Father’s Day, I think of two men.  Two men who never knew each other.    Different values.  Different lifestyles.  Different beliefs.  Different worlds.  They both were fathers.  That appears to be their only common ground.  I don’t know why the first man even comes to mind.  But he does.

I remember when Saddam Hussein was killed.  Some witnesses videotaped his death.  His hanging.  I saw parts of the video on the news.  It was graphic.  It was disturbing.  It was unsettling.  He died.  People wanted confirmation that he was gone.  There it was.  Ugly and haunting.

He seemed so calm in the last moments of his life.  He wasn’t fighting his captors.  He was as a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Quiet.  Reserved.  Defeated.

I wonder if he had been drugged.  I wonder what he was thinking.  When they opened his cell door for the last time, did he know he was going to his death?  Did he know that in just a few short minutes he would be in eternity?  A never-ending place where he would reap the rewards or punishment for his life on earth.  Did he know?  Was he ready to meet his Maker?

If he knew, what was he thinking?  Did he try to make peace with God?  Did he ask forgiveness for the atrocities he had committed?  Did he shake his fist at God and curse him?  Did he believe in God? What were his final thoughts?

It isn’t mine to know.  It isn’t mine to judge.

The Lord knows the thoughts of man.  Psalm 94:11

I remember another man’s death.  I wasn’t with my dad when he breathed his last breath, but my sisters were there.  He had been on hospice for 3 months.  During those final months and days, my dad exhibited peace and contentment.  He knew he was dying.  He knew he was going to heaven.

Some days he would want to hold your hand and tell you that he loved you over and over.  Other days, tears would roll down his face.  At times, he would look up to the corner of the room with a far-off look.  He was seeing a place he had only read and heard about.  Heaven.  He would sometimes see people.  Others who had gone before him.  He would call them by name.

He had said he was waiting for my  mom.  He never wanted her to be alone.  He waited for her.  In those final three months of his life, he portrayed a sacrificial love for the woman he had pledged his life to 60 years earlier.  He kept his vow.  Till death us do part.

His heart was weak.  His body was frail.  His voice was soft.

His love was strong.  His faith was sure.  His eternity was secure.

During his final days, he would reach with outstretched hand to heaven.  Trying to touch it.  Wanting to enter those pearly gates.  As the end drew near, he would lie there with his eyes closed.  No longer speaking.  Not in this world.  Not in the next.  Hovering between two worlds with a smile on his face.  He was seeing heaven.

He had made peace with his life.  He had waited for his beloved to go before him.  He was ready to meet his Maker.

His last words.  So close.  So close.

What Brings Me to Tears

There are certain events and experiences that bring me to tears.  Events that make me proud.  Actions that show respect to power and authority.  Experiences that are personal and meaningful.

I think of a bride.  Walking down the aisle on her father’s arm.  See the white dress.  The bouquet.  The veil.  The vows.  The kiss.  The anticipation of a life together.   The respect of the sanctity of marriage.  My eyes well up with tears.

I hear the national anthem.  The Star Spangled Banner.  I see the flag rise above the crowd.  People stand.  Right hand over their heart.  Pride in our country.  Thankful for freedom.  Respect for the courage of battles fought.   My eyes well up with tears.

I have served on jury duty.  I have been a juror.  People in the court room stand each time the jurors enter and exit the court room.  All conversations and activities cease.  All eyes are on the jury.  The group of twelve who will decide someone’s fate.   They know the power of this group.  They respect the sacrifice the jury is making to perform their civic duty.  The weight of the decision is in their hands.  My eyes well up with tears.

I have driven in a funeral procession.  Loss of a loved one.  Near and dear to my heart. People standing along the street.  They stop and pay respect.  Remove their hats.  Stop mowing their lawn.  Stand still for someone they’ve never met.  Traffic stops and lets the stream of cars interrupt their busy day.  They respect the loss of a loved one.  My eyes well up with tears.

I think of the man who died on the cross.  For me.  For you.  I think of his sacrifice.  He died willingly.  To save every sin everyone born on this earth has ever committed.  So we can enter heaven’s gates. So we can see Him face to face.  His mercy is new every day.  His love and compassion are never ending.  His sacrifice is our eternity.  My eyes well up with tears.

In Christ Alone.