Are You ‘Prepared’?

1 August 16

In just one week, the eyes of the world will be on Rio de Janeiro as the Olympic Games arrive in South America for the first time. More than 10,000 athletes from 206 nations will compete in 28 sports over a 17 day period (from Aug 5-21, 2016).

For the first time in 112 years, golf is once again an Olympic sport, and rugby returns after a 92-year absence. If you are a gymnastics fan, be watching for a new milestone—the 1,000th gymnastics medal will be awarded to some fortunate athlete.

While the athletes are preparing their bodies for their particular sport, the city of Rio de Janeiro has been preparing the venues and infrastructure for an estimated 500,000+ visitors.

For the Olympics there are 32 venues in Rio de Janeiro with the cities of Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo also hosting football matches during the Games.

However, there have been many ‘issues’ that have cropped up since Brazil won the right to stage these Olympics: They have suffered economic problems; there has been political unrest, with their new President being suspended for 180 days; security is a concern (police officers are protesting against unpaid wages/unsatisfactory working conditions; protesters mobbed the torch relay); the Zika virus has been spreading, and some ‘premier’ athletes have opted out; and maybe most importantly, some of the venues may not be completed by the time the Games start.

At this point, virtually all the problems troubling the country seem to be reflected in Rio’s Olympic preparation. Corruption—Prosecutors are investigating a number of construction companies building the Olympic sites, starting with Odebrecht, which is involved in over half the Olympic projects. Zika Virus—The virus has caused some public health officials to call for the Games to be canceled. Lack of money—The Brazilian organizers have had to cut about $500 million from the Olympic budget, affecting aspects of the Games including the opening and closing ceremonies (they’re being pared back) to the athletes’ dorm rooms (which won’t have televisions).

There have been other miscues, too. In April, a bike path that had been built next to the ocean as part of the Games’ infrastructure improvements collapsed, killing two people on the same day the Olympic torch was lit in Greece. More bad news came last month, when the World Anti-Doping Agency suspended the accreditation of a Rio lab that had been renovated, at great expense, to handle drug testing for the Games.

Last month, the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro declared a state of “public calamity”—a declaration usually associated with a natural disaster—essentially acknowledging that the state was bankrupt and would be unable to honor its commitment to the Olympics without help. The federal government stepped in with an emergency $850 million loan, some of which will be used to complete the new rail line (which there are serious questions about whether there will be enough time to properly test the new line before putting it into use).

Five years after Rio de Janeiro became the first South American city to be awarded the Olympics, preparations for the 2016 Games have been damned by a senior International Olympic Committee official as the “worst ever.”

The Games will go on, of course, and for those of us watching on television, it will be a splendid spectacle. Most of the Olympics will take place in a kind of ‘bubble’—divorced from the city’s problems. But after the Games—almost three weeks after they begin—most of us will move on, but the people of Rio will be left to ‘pick up the pieces’.

 

[ NOTE: A much better example of ‘excellent’ preparation is that of “Life Remodeled”—a non-profit in Detroit, Michigan, USA that ‘remodels’ a whole community centered around a local High School. This year is is Denby, and the past two years were Osborn (2015) and Cody (2014). For the past two projects, they prepared to remodel portions of the school, renovate 25 student homes, board up 250 abandoned houses, and over 300 city blocks had blight removed and were ‘beautified’. The thing is, they EXCEEDED all of their goals, and this is done by over 10,000 volunteers in just one week! They definitely know how to successfully execute and ‘prepare’!: Click on the following links for more details on the past two projects:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/remodeling-produces-hope-v199/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/hope-v187/ ].

 

All that being said—though sad that Rio had so many ‘issues’—I am truly amazed by the athletes—and the PREPARATION they have gone through to get to be at this level of ‘mastery’. Some of them have ‘trained’ for decades, and others have “fantasized” about getting to the Olympics since they were adolescents. Even more than that, for some of them this was their third or fourth time back—in that elusive “quest for the gold.”

To even be considered for a place on a team, most world-class athletes spend many hours a week in various aspects of ‘training’. This includes being ‘obsessed’ with what they eat, spending an ‘inordinate’ amount of time on physical fitness, and increasingly these days, putting a greater focus on their psychological ‘makeup’.

Roger Bannister, who in 1954 became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, trained for about 35 minutes a day. It was noted recently by an Olympic coach that for today’s athletes, “that’s barely considered a warm-up.” These days, athletes train, depending on their ‘specialty’, from 20-60 hours per week! (up to 8.5 hours per day!).

What would motivate someone to this kind of daily, long-term ‘sacrifice’ with a very scant chance of ‘ultimate’ success?

Tom Dolan, a 400M individual medley swimmer that competed in the Sydney 2000 Games, gave his insight about this back then. “This is what I’ve been dreaming about for six years. There’s been a lot of ups and downs…It’s the dream of every athlete to win the gold medal, break the Olympic record, break the world record, and I did it.”

Though not a primary focus, financial rewards can also be a motivator. Another swimmer Michael Phelps, who competed in the last Olympics, was ‘rewarded’ with $8 million for making a bigger ‘splash’ than Mark Spitz did when he won a record seven gold medals at the 1972 Games in Munich. That’s how much only ONE of Phelps’ sponsors, Speedo, paid him for breaking Spitz’s mark ($1M for each gold medal).

But as enticing as that is to anyone, especially the then 19-year-old, Phelps said that his motivation goes well beyond the money. He noted that, “It’s about doing something no one else has done before.”

 

[ This reminds me of the ‘attitude’ Neil Armstrong had after he returned from being the first to step on the moon: “The single thing which makes any man happiest is the realization that he has worked up to the limits of his ability, his capacity. It’s all the better, or course, if this work has contributed to knowledge, or toward moving the human race a little farther forward.”  (A book on the preparations for the trip to the moon is below) ].

 

So, it all comes back to expanding our “limits” with preparation. Phelps’ coach said that, “This is a kid who spends five hours a day in the pool, seven days a week, 365 days a year. He’s even in the pool on Christmas morning. I can’t chase him out. He just loves being in the water. He seems most at peace there.” Wow!…that’s a commitment to preparation!

In the world of competitive sports, many very good and promising athletes will compete for a title and even dream of obtaining the prize. However, relatively few will pay the price of the intense physical training and years of preparation that must take place prior to the competition.

Even with all the preparation and desire for ‘perfection’ in any sport, it is useless unless one has the desire to “complete the course.” In any contest, the important factor is not how many begin the competition, but it’s who finishes the race that wins the ‘prize’.

After all the years that go into the training of a successful athlete, the actual competition or test of endurance, however, is often decided by a matter of only seconds—and it some instances, hundredths of a second.

One of the ‘premier’ events of the Games, the marathon, requires much preparation and endurance. It is said that this event ‘started’ when Pheidippedes, a Greek man, was involved as a ‘soldier’ in a war in 490BC. The Greeks were fighting against the Phoenicians, and it was imperative for the news of this to get back to Athens. Pheidippedes ran the whole way from his home town of Marathon, where the battle had taken place, to Athens, 22km (26 miles) away. He gave them the news of the victory and then dropped dead. Though we don’t know how long it took him to complete the run back then, in the last Olympiad, Italy’s Stefano Baldini withstood the 86 degree heat and a very difficult course to win the Olympic gold medal in a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 55 seconds (I’m thinking that would take me a least most of a day!). But, after all that time and distance, he passed the to-be second place finisher in the very last mile and won by only 34 seconds (a couple hundred meters)!

Though most of us will never participate in an Olympic Games, we all prepare for many things, and being prepared is a good trait to develop. It just so happens to also be the “motto” of an organization that focuses on developing our next ‘generation’—the Boy Scouts. The idea is that all Scouts should prepare themselves to become productive citizens and to ‘serve’ other people. It suggests each Scout be ready in mind and body for any struggle, and to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges might lie ahead—in other words, to be prepared for ‘life’—and to live happily and without regret, knowing that you have done your best.

 

Most of us want to do our best and, therefore, plan ahead for the ‘things’ of life—some of which will, gratefully, never come to pass. We prepare for catastrophic problems by buying all kinds of insurance. We prepare for retirement by investing in stocks, funds, and a 401K. We even prepare for death by buying “life” insurance. But how many people prepare for what’s ‘beyond’ death?

Some say that there’s nothing beyond death and that they’ll take their chances. Then why prepare for anything in life? Why not just take your chances? Because, more often than not, it pays to prepare.

Whether preparing for retirement that lasts maybe 20 years, or for a career that lasts 40-50 years, it ‘pays’ to be prepared. (A college grad, on average, will make about a million dollars more in income during their career than the high school grad). Without any preparation at all, one would lead a miserable existence. So what type of existence will one lead if one does not PREPARE for his or her ETERNITY? Life lasts maybe 80 years, but “eternity” lasts much, much longer.
So you may be thinking, how should I ‘properly’ prepare for my eternity?

 

Well, when “The Purpose-Driven Life” book first came out, I created a web site that summarizes the book ( http://www.spiritedesign.com/pdl/ ), and some of those concepts presented in it relate to what I am discussing here: Life is preparation for eternity.

God put you on this earth to ‘prepare’ you for what you’re going to do the rest of eternity with Him. This life is not all there is. This life is the “dress rehearsal.” It’s the “warm up lap” around the course before the ‘real’ race begins.

The Bible tells us that, “When this tent we live in, our body here on earth, is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home that He Himself has made which will last forever” [2 Corinthians 5:1].

That sounds great to me, but just as the ‘wise’ athlete makes diligent preparations prior to running in an Olympic final, the same is true in the spiritual ‘race’ God wants us to ‘win’. We will never reach our fullest potential for Him, and ourselves, until we are willing to make the preparations and sacrifices that are necessary for running the ‘race’.

 

In the sporting ‘world’, in order to even qualify as a contestant, one must learn to cast aside anything detrimental to his ‘training’ program. Similarly, in the Bible, the Apostle Paul cites examples of certain ‘pitfalls’—things we must learn to “flee” from. Some are ‘blatant’ sin, while others are simply “weights”—but both, if allowed to continue, will deter our ‘progress’ and eventually prevent us from crossing the finish line victoriously (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews reinforces the concept by saying, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” [Hebrews 12:1]. Thankfully, he doesn’t just leave us ‘hanging’ there wondering how we can do this. In the very next verse, he says, “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” [Hebrews 12:2]. Steely focus without any extra ‘baggage’.

I can just imagine that even if I showed up at a marathon in ultra-light shoes and running shorts (no excess ‘baggage’) and properly focused mentally, I would still ‘poop out’ long before the finish line—because I have not prepared properly for it.

So, if I want to complete a marathon, I must be willing to undergo training. In fact, I must subject myself to a very intensive training program. I would need to be willing to let an experienced runner design a whole training regimen that would seem in many ways irrelevant to the race. Taking my own physique and physical shape into account, he would design exercises carefully calculated to produce pressure and strain on various muscle groups. By ‘cooperating’ with this frustrating and sometimes agonizing training program, I would gradually become ‘hammered’ into shape for a marathon. The biggest reason why I and others are unable to run a marathon is not because they are physically incapable of it, but because we are unwilling to undergo the necessary preparation.

 

This is the same for someone wanting to ‘prepare’ for eternity. The ‘discipline’ of Bible reading and study might be ‘painful’ right now—but its ‘reward’ is “out of this world!”

Again, the writer of Hebrews has some good advice: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” [Hebrews 12:11].

This is kind of the Biblical ‘version’ of the weight-lifter’s motto: “No pain, no gain.” Of course, discipline is not joyful, but sorrowful (it wouldn’t be called “discipline” if it was easy to take). But God wants to use this to transform your character so you can fulfill His purpose for your life—and in my humble opinion, a goal valuable enough to warrant any amount of pain necessary! Just like in any sport, only those who ‘submit’ to the training reap the benefit.

Another related matter is that many people focus on the initial ‘speed’ of their progress, but overlook one far greater factor—one evident in successful athletic competition—to ‘endure’ until the end.

At the beginning of a marathon, runners feel strong and energetic. The gun sounds, and they take off. Sixteen or so miles into that marathon, though, they no longer feel energetic. Blisters begin to rub raw, and it feels like a ‘knife’ has lodged into their side. Their legs turn to ‘mush’, and their muscles ‘scream’ in pain.

This happens in life, too. We get down the ‘road’, and there’s pain involved. We say, “This hurts too much, I’m going to quit.” But sometimes the race God ‘guides’ us to run is filled with pain. Remember that God didn’t ‘ask’ you just to begin something short-term and stop. He wants you to keep running and be a great ‘finisher’.

At the 1968 Olympics, an hour after the marathon’s winner crossed the finish line, Tanzania’s John Stephen Akhwari limped across the finish line, injured in a fall early in the race. Asked why he didn’t quit, he said, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start this race. My country sent me to finish.”

 

You may ‘succeed’ in the race of life, gain all the material things you want on earth, become the admiration and envy of others, and yet die not a step nearer Heaven—and far away from God.

Jesus asked, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” [Mark 8:36].

We recognize that in every ‘walk’ of life we must run a ‘race’—achievement is by effort. The prize is gained by striving. The student must “scorn delights and live laborious days” if he is to gain the coveted diploma or degree. The artist must practice long to perfect his art. The skill of the craftsman, the ability of the executive, and the capacity of the worker are not gained without effort.

Consider the words of this verse by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“We have not wings, we cannot soar; but we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the lofty summits of our times. The mighty pyramids of stone that wedge-like cleave the desert airs, when nearer seen, and better known, are but gigantic flights of stairs. The distant mountains, that uprear their solid bastions to the skies, are crossed by pathways, that appear as we to higher levels rise. The heights by great men gained and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”

Step-by-step we can make any journey. The Scripture says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired and weary and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…and those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” [Isaiah 40:28-31].

 

So, let me encourage you to honestly accept the ‘challenge’ that the God of the Bible has set before you: to believe that His Son became the “once-for-all” sacrifice for all of your sins; that He wants to help you through this ‘race’ we call “life”; and wants to “prepare a place [in Heaven] for you” to spend the rest of eternity with Him!

This is the promised ‘reward’ for running the ‘race’ successfully—“to get a crown that will last forever” [1 Corinthians 9:25]. There is NOTHING more valuable in this world than this—no other praise, honor, or “crown” compares!

Just like the “kick” of the gold medalist of the last Olympiad’s marathon had at the end of his race, God wants you to be able to ‘sprint’ across life’s ‘finish line’, finishing strong.

I so much want for you to hear these words directed to you from the ‘lips’ of God when you reach Heaven: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” [Matthew 25:23].

Don’t merely observe from the ‘grandstand’; don’t just turn out to jog a couple of ‘laps’ each morning. Prepare diligently—your ETERNAL ‘resting place’ DEPENDS upon it!

 

[Excerpts from: Steve Wilstein; Scott Pitoniak; Gary DeLashmutt;  J.C. Andrews; Graeme Codrington; Craig Brian Larson; Rick Warren]

 

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RECONCILIATION PRAYER TO GOD:
If you would like to ‘give’ your life to Jesus, you can do it right now—right where you are. There’s no magical words to say, you just need to believe in your ‘heart’ that God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, is God in the flesh, rose from the dead, and is alive today—and when He died on the cross, He took your place as your substitute sacrifice for your sins. If you sincerely believe this, then admit you are a sinner, confess your sins, and that you will trust Jesus alone for your salvation, committing your life to His service.

You could say something like the following (in your own words if you would like):

Dear Lord Jesus,
I understand that I am a sinner, and I can’t save myself. I sincerely repent of my sins, and ask You for forgiveness and mercy. I believe that You died on the cross as my substitute, paying my sin debt in full so that I could receive Your forgiveness and have eternal life. I ask You to come into my life right now and become my personal Savior. From this day forward, I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to take control, and guide me be the kind of person you want me to be. Give me a ‘new beginning’, and help me to live for You. Amen.

 

RESOURCES:

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The Science of Sports: Winning in the Olympics
By: Scientific American Editors

The Olympics are the world’s most prestigious stage for athletic competition. Fans both casual and hardcore tune in religiously every few years to watch as men and women push themselves to the limits of human performance. But what makes a champion? Is it genetics? Hours of training? A psychological advantage? Of all the athletes who dedicate their lives – and bodies – to achieving that perfect moment of triumph, why will one person or team win out over another? Science has some compelling answers, and in this book, The Science of Sports: Winning in the Olympics, Scientific American explores this topic from various angles. Beginning with Section 1: The Psychology of Winning, the book opens with a look inside the mind of an elite athlete and tackles questions of how to face a rivalry or maintain a positive attitude in the face of defeat. Other sections discuss the sticky issues surrounding genetic advantages and physical prowess, drugs and doping, injury and recovery, and – finally – the latest scientific advice for the rest of us mere mortals to be fit and healthy. You’ll find both inspiration and answers in this indispensable book from the editors of Scientific American, the leading authority on science, technology and innovation.

https://www.amazon.com/Science-Sports-Winning-Olympics-ebook/dp/B008L0B9LA/

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Countdown to a Moon Launch: Preparing Apollo for Its Historic Journey
By: Jonathan H. Ward

Thousands of workers labored at Kennedy Space Center around the clock, seven days a week, for half a year to prepare a mission for the liftoff of Apollo 11. This is the story of what went on during those hectic six months.

Countdown to a Moon Launch provides an in-depth look at the carefully choreographed workflow for an Apollo mission at KSC. Using the Apollo 11 mission as an example, readers will learn what went on day by day to transform partially completed stages and crates of parts into a ready-to-fly Saturn V. Firsthand accounts of launch pad accidents, near misses, suspected sabotage, and last-minute changes to hardware are told by more than 70 NASA employees and its contractors. A companion to Rocket Ranch, it includes many diagrams and photographs, some never before published, to illustrate all aspects of the process. NASA’s groundbreaking use of computers for testing and advanced management techniques are also covered in detail.

This book will demystify the question of how NASA could build and launch Apollo missions using 1960s technology. You’ll discover that there was no magic involved – just an abundance of discipline, willpower, and creativity.

https://www.amazon.com/Countdown-Moon-Launch-Preparing-Historic-ebook/dp/B0116JZQ02/

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Preparation for Eternity with God
By: Rick Streight

Our time is short on this earth. Jesus will soon be returning to take His children home … but are we ready? There are preparations we can make. The book you are holding is a story about fighting the good fight of faith and conquering it with Christ’s help. God’s Word says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) The Bible also says, “The truth shall make you free … ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32,36)

Author Rick Streight speaks heart–to-heart with the reader about the realities of the Christian journey and the reward that is waiting for us. He also speaks about the dangers that surround us, the temptations we often struggle with, and how to overcome sin through Christ.

He asks a major question: “Why hasn’t Jesus come yet ?” This book answers that important question.

Are you spiritually homesick? God has made a plan that we may have “… boldness in the day of Judgment.” (1 John 4:17) Jesus depended totally on His Father for wisdom and power. If we depend on Jesus, we can receive that same power to live the Christian life maturely, with no short cuts—that’s God’s way! This book also provides answers as to how we can hasten Jesus’s second coming.

May we all prepare ourselves for “the day of the Lord” through in-depth study of His Word with much prayer. Ask God, “How do I apply these things I am learning to my life?”

https://www.amazon.com/Preparation-Eternity-God-Rick-Streight-ebook/dp/B00IM1TUSM/

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Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying and Eternal Life
By: Gary Black, Jr.

In his acclaimed books, renowned writer, speaker, and philosophy professor Dallas Willard explored the nature of Christian life in God’s Kingdom. Yet one topic remained undisclosed: Willard’s understanding of heaven and eternal life. In the months before his death, Willard engaged in moving and insightful conversations about the meaning of life and the life to come with close friend and theologian Gary Black Jr. These inspiring dialogues were steeped in biblical theology as well as practical wisdom grounded in the here-and-now.

In Preparing for Heaven Black reveals not only Willard’s profound and liberating vision of life after death, he also deftly unpacks the implications these realities hold for our lives today. Black shows how Willard understood our mortal lives as preparation for what comes next—that death is not the end of one life and the beginning of another, but rather a transition through which we continue the transformational work begun on Earth. Informative, challenging, and poignant, Willard and Black’s conversations and insights challenge us to reconsider our beliefs—that perhaps the line separating the afterlife from this life is not as absolute as we think, and that there is work to be done both now and in the glorious life to come. As a result we will find that our faith is more vibrant—and eternal—than we have dared to imagine.

https://www.amazon.com/Preparing-Heaven-Dallas-Willard-Eternal-ebook/dp/B00QFOG8E2/

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Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life
By: Billy Graham

While his earthly vision dims, the glory of heaven is illuminated as Billy Graham, the beloved evangelist, shares from his past, and his present, the reality of eternity.

Although Billy Graham may no longer preach from the stadiums of the world, in this book you will sense his heart still beats strong with the resounding assurance that he will spend eternity with Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. In Where I Am, Mr. Graham invites and strongly encourages all of us to contemplate our eternal hope.

When asked, “Where is Heaven?” Mr. Graham has wisely replied, “Heaven is where Jesus Christ is, and I’m going to Him soon.”

The greatest promise ever given to the human race came from the lips of our Redeemer when Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1–3). Just after his ninety-fifth birthday, Mr. Graham proclaimed with resolve, “When I die, tell others that I’ve gone to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—that’s where I am.”

As our nation and world travail in the midst of political, economic, and cultural uncertainties, we can find comfort in the hope that comes from the unchanging truth of God’s Word. Whether talking with a US president, a world leader, or the common man or being interviewed on network television, Billy Graham has always begun his answers with “The Bible says…”

In Where I Am, Mr. Graham shares what the Bible has to say about eternity from all of its sixty-six books; messages of truth, warning, love, and the certainty of the future, all gleaned by a man who would like to be remembered solely as a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Each short chapter examines the reality that each of us chooses where to spend life after death: Heaven or Hell. From the Old Testament writer who composed “Show me Your ways, O Lord” (Psalm 25:4) to the New Testament writer who penned the words of Jesus, “Whoever believes in [Me] should not perish” (John 3:16), there is hope for anyone who puts his or her faith and trust in the One who gives us the promise, “Where I am, there you may be also” (14:3).

https://www.amazon.com/Where-Am-Heaven-Eternity-Beyond-ebook/dp/B00ZRP75NS/

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A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven
By: Dan Schaeffer

God never meant heaven to be a vague hope, but the passion and purpose of your present life. He wants to prepare you for the better country! In these pages you will discover the thing you’ve always wanted; the world you’ve longed for; the life you were meant to live; the goal you were meant to pursue. “One of the most important reasons for writing this book, to me, was to help Christians who have bought into the ‘you only go around once’ idea that this life is our only chance to accomplish anything significant,” author Dan Schaeffer explains. You’ll explore topics such as: misconceptions about heaven, what the new heavens and new earth will be like, what happens when you die, what life in heaven will be like, and how to prepare for your future in heaven. Many Christians view this life as their only chance to fulfill their ambitions, to be “all they can be.” A healthy understanding of what the Bible teaches about heaven enables you to let go of many earthly ambitions and the regrets that often accompany them.

https://www.amazon.com/Better-Country-Preparing-Heaven-ebook/dp/B00JXU6X2M/

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Place Called Heaven
By: E. M. Bounds

Christ has gone to prepare a place for you in heaven! Examining the Scriptures that pertain to heaven, E. M. Bounds reveals how you can look forward to receiving your crown of glory, reigning with Christ forever, and reuniting with your loved ones. Get a taste of heaven here on earth, learn a true Christian attitude toward eternity, and discover how to lay up treasures for your eternal home. You can know that you are heaven-bound!

https://www.amazon.com/Place-Called-Heaven-E-Bounds-ebook/dp/B00JRGQ0NY/

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Heaven
by Randy Alcorn

What will heaven be like? Randy Alcorn presents a thoroughly biblical answer, based on years of careful study, presented in an engaging, reader-friendly style. His conclusions will surprise readers and stretch their thinking about this important subject. Heaven will inspire readers to long for heaven while they’re living on earth.

https://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Randy-Alcorn/dp/0842379428/

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about what it means to“believe,” visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d1_1of10.html ].

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v210) for AUGUST 2016
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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PRAYER IS PREPARATION

Prayer is an agreement between God,
Our Saviour and me and you
It’s assurances and promises
Of which we know God Will Be True,

It’s the offer of Our Loving God
In Jesus Christ here today
To Keep In Touch With Him
And have our needs met every day,

It’s that promise that whenever we call
In Jesus’ Name, any time of night or day
He will hear in Loving Grace and Kindness
And Send The Answers, on the way,

So keep prayer, with you as an important part
Of your life to be
Keep In Touch With God, In Jesus’ Name
Preparation For Eternity.
[ Richard Dottery ]

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RUN THE RACE
A puppet skit (Ronnie and Don)

R: What are you reading?
D: I’m reading from the Bible, Hebrews 12:1-2, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
R: Well I’m ready to run.
D: Run what?
R: Run with Percy.
D: Percy who?
R: Percy Verance.
D: Oh Ronnie, “perseverance” isn’t a person. It means to keep going when things are hard or difficult.
R: Well they’re hard at the moment. I’ve been training twice a day for the last week…and I’m also on a high fiber diet! I’m getting ready for the next Olympics. I just haven’t figured out which event I should enter.
D: Ronny you can’t just compete in the Olympics after training for one week. Athletes train for months or years on end.
R: Is that painful? …on your end?
D: Did you realize there is only one difference between “go for gold!” and “go for God!”
R: No “l”
D: It makes all the difference who you put first in your life. Gold or God.
R: …and running with Percy.
D: That’s right. Who knows maybe one day there might be a “puppet Olympics” and you could be in it.
R: If I keep on training…I might even carry the torch.
D: (aside) You could just use your nose. {Ronny has a bright red nose}
R: You can talk. Well I’ve got to run…can I say that?
D: Would you like to join us in saying “The Peace” with us today.
R: Like passing the torch?
D: OK Ron—“Go for God…and also with you!”
[ Don Stott, http://www.Eliab.com ].

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WINNING
A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash.

At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry.

The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back—Every one of them.

One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said: “This will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.
Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.  People who were there are still telling the story.

Why?  Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.
[ Unknown ]

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I’LL PREPARE FOR YOU
Parody of “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts

So Jesus told his disciples
“We’re gonna go away.
Where I go you know,
They all crowd please explain”
He said “You’ve all been stuck in 2nd grade
If you haven’t seen the way, the truth, the life,
it’s here in your face but

I’ll prepare for you
prepare a place up above
I’ll prepare for you
‘Cuz I’ve been there before
I’ll prepare for you
prepare for me too

I’ll send another friend
to help you on your way
you learn from him you’ll go far
please don’t be afraid
“Father help me do the things I did”
“But you will do even greater works then that if you believe and

I’ll prepare for you
prepare a place up above
I’ll prepare for you
‘cuz I’ve been there before
I’ll prepare for you
so prepare for me too

The world could never know Him
The world could not receive Him
so you’re the only ones who know
what it’s like to know Him
become a place in their plan
He’ll come to live inside you
so when all of this happens
you will know the words I say were true

(BRIDGE)

seems like you’ve all been stuck in 2nd grade
when you haven’t seen the way, the truth, and the life
it’s here in your face but

I’ll prepare for you
prepare a place up above
I’ll prepare for you
‘cuz I’ve been there before
I’ll prepare for you
so prepare for me too

I’ll prepare for you(X3)
so prepare for me too

[ ApologetiX -“Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4nXGYGzc5s

*****************************
A man won his country’s first-ever gold medal at the Olympics. He was so proud, that he had it ‘bronzed’!
[ Anon. ]

*****************************
The famous Olympic skier Picabo Street is not just an athlete, she is a nurse. She currently works at the Intensive Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital.

She is not permitted to answer the telephone, however, as it caused simply too much confusion—when she would answer the phone she would say, “Picabo, ICU.”
[ Unknown ]

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*****************************
DEEP THOUGHT:

“As the Summer Olympics end, I think of a champion wrestler who keeps a poster on the wall of his basement where he works out with weights. It shows a man straining to lift a weight, sweat fairly bursting from a grimacing face, veins bulging on his neck. The captions boasts a old proverb: “There are two kinds of pain: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. The pain of discipline weighs only a few ounces; the pain of regret weighs a ton.”
[ Jim Rohn ]

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I hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“…In a race all the runners take part in it, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline; he does so in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever.”
[1 Corinthians 9:24-25].

“These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.”
[ 1 Peter 1:7 ].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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