Enduring for the Prize

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a famous actor, businessman, politician, and former professional bodybuilder.

He grew up in Austria in humble circumstances and in his teens committed himself to bodybuilding – and to be the best bodybuilder.

At age 20 he won the Mr. Universe title.

Arnold would train six days a week, twice a day when preparing for a contest.  Moreover, he would also train each muscle group three times a week. 

It was rumoured that Arnold would need to train with at least three different training partners because no one could keep up with him.

He is a magnificent example of commitment, dedication, hard work, single-mindedness and enduring hardship for the sake of the prize – and he won the prize.

The Apostle Paul knew that for Christians there is an even greater, grander, eternal prize that motivates them. He knew that we, as Christians, must answer to Jesus and either receive reward or rebuke.

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Making sense of our suffering

What has been your most difficult trial in the last couple of years?

Sickness, strained relationships, persecution, isolation, financial difficulties, family problems?

Today, as all through the ages, people have different responses to trials, suffering and hardship.

They may think, “God obviously doesn’t care about me.”

Or, “God has deserted and abandoned me.”

Or, “I must have done something wrong and God is punishing me.”

Or, “Christianity is just a farce.  If God really did love me this would not be happening.”

The Christians, to whom the Apostle Peter wrote the letter we know as “1 Peter”, were also suffering and facing many trials.

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Gospel ministry probably isn’t for you

Last words are important.

It’s a common and good practice to have a Last Will and Testament where you express how, after your death, you want your assets to be distributed and any other instructions that are important to you.

It was surprising when a Manhattan woman who died in 2015 left R1.4 million to her 32 cockatiels, her cat and her dog, along with specific instructions on how her beloved birds should be fed – which included popcorn.

However, that’s small-fry compared to a German-Shepherd named Gunther (a dog!), who was bequeathed R1.2 billion from his owner, a countess, when she died in 1991.

Your last words can tell a lot about you, your priorities and your concerns.

Continue reading Gospel ministry probably isn’t for you