Training Table — Olympic Recap (Week 1)

Monday

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.” Psalm 57:11 

Above Everything

I really enjoyed watching the Olympics this summer. Since we were traveling on vacation, I could only watch in the evenings, but it was encouraging to see the effort, the patriotism and even hear some of the winners give glory to God.

I was impressed also with the broad range of events and various backgrounds of medalists from the USA. Some were from urban areas. Some were from rural areas. Many won major events, like swimming or track and field, while others won “minor” events like skeet-shooting or fencing. Regardless of background or event, those medalists were honored for their efforts with a ceremony on global TV.

The athletes were given their medals while standing on platforms, with the gold medalists on the highest platform. Often the winners were understandably emotional. To be exalted before the whole world, even for a brief time, would be a moving experience.

Philippians 2:9-11 says that someday every knee will bow and Jesus will be exalted. In Revelation 4 and 5, it says every human as well as angels will exalt the name of Jesus.

When the athletes were exalted on the Olympic medal stands, it showed that they performed better than every other athlete. They were the best. Exalting Jesus means that He is greater than everything else in our lives. He is the best. It’s easy to make Jesus our Savior because we all need forgiveness,  but when we make him our Lord, it means He is greater than everything else in our lives.

Do you exalt Jesus and lift up praise to Him above everything else in your life?

— Stanley A. Tucker, Reader Submitted

Tuesday

“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:26b-27

An Intercessor in Prayer

Aly Raisman had a great routine on the balance beam in the gymnastics individual event finals. But, when the scores were handed down she came in fourth place. Suddenly, there was commotion up in the stands. The U.S. coaches were urging Aly’s coach to file an inquiry to have them look into her score. In a rush, he did just that. Amazingly enough they changed Aly’s standings to a bronze medal. It was shocking but what struck me was that the coaches interceded for Aly. They all worked together on her behalf to enable her to get the credit that was due her. Aly simply stood there and watched them. She had done her routine and now had to wait.

When we have to wait, when we are weak, the Holy Spirit strengthens us and intercedes for us. As we strive to follow God, the Spirit indwells in our hearts and helps us pray properly. It works on our behalf, placing Christ-centered prayers on our hearts that God will answer.

— Pam Timmer, Reader Submitted

Wednesday

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 

Heaven’s Excitement

The Summer Games of the XXX Olympiad held in London, England, was certainly filled with inspiring and memorable moments. Athletes from all nations came together for a common purpose—participation in competitive sport. Different tongues from different countries and yet the language of sports is a common factor. Heaven will have people from all walks of life whose common factor is none other than the acceptance of Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

The play-calling by announcers such as Andres Cantor (soccer), Mike Emrick (water polo), Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines (swimming), among many others, was oftentimes motivating due to the excitement and thrill of the moment (ref. Colossians 3:23).

You know the environment was one of joy and jubilation as relayed to the viewing audience. It was obvious some magnificent feat had occurred through the voice and reaction of the play-callers.

I picture heaven in similar fashion. All of heaven rejoices over the salvation of a soul—a soul whose destination is changed from separation from God to eternal blessings and fellowship with Him.

— Samuel Miles, Reader Submitted

Thursday

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

Winning for Grandma

Four-hundred meter hurdle champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic fell to his knees after his gold medal race in London. He unclipped his race bib and pulled out a picture of his grandmother. He also had “Abuela,” or “Grandmother” in Spanish, written on his spikes.

His grandma had passed away while he was participating in the Beijing Olympics four years before. He had dedicated the London race to her. And, he won it. He kissed the picture and then stood up to celebrate his win. As it began to drizzle outside, he cried.

There is so much power in love. It was a scene that captured viewers and his country. His grandmother meant so much to him, that when she passed away in Beijing, he made a promise that he would win a medal for her in London. Sanchez was deeply impacted by his relationship with his grandmother, and he understood the power of relationships. He was torn up over it.

Ephesians 5:1-2 talks about how understanding God’s love and our place in His love helps us value others the way God values us. It gives us the motivation and desire to be sacrificial, to place others above ourselves.

Like Sanchez, God wants us to see the importance of relationships and look outside our center-of-the-world mentalities. What about you? Would you run a race for someone else? Or do you only run for yourself?

— Pam Timmer, Reader Submitted

Friday

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2

Back to the Fundamentals

My son is a Tim Tebow fan and enjoys watching videos about him. In one of the videos there is a scene where Tim’s dad, Bob, reads this verse out of Proverbs: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” That really had an impact on my son, and we have made it a verse that is repeated often in our home. I’ve never seen Tim Tebow brag about his abilities or popularity. It’s not important to him. He allows everyone else to do the talking.

When we watched Jamaica’s Usain Bolt run with amazing speed and win in London, we were  also impressed with his abilities. However, when he opened his mouth to speak after winning the 4×100 meter relay, I think it took away from his greatness. “Who is No. 1?” he said into the camera. “Who is still a legend? Who is it? Me.”

When it went back to Bob Costas in the studio, Costas cleverly stated, “And as great as he is, I guess it’s hard to have a higher opinion of Usain Bolt than he has of himself so we’ll leave it there.”

I don’t bring up Usain Bolt to judge him because, deep down, I think we all want to brag on ourselves. We all want to be acknowledged for our hard work or accomplishments. It’s a pretty natural desire. But we’re valued in God’s sight, and that’s all that matters. We should allow others to praise us, not do the praising ourselves.

— Pam Timmer, Reader Submitted

Weekender

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

Going Long

Read Matthew 5:3 and meditate on what it says about being poor in spirit. If we have nothing that we gained for ourselves (not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, etc.), then our reliance has to be in God. If we have everything and see what we have as being a result of what we alone have done, then it is easy to become self-reliant and not think about God as much or at all.

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