December 31


Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified.



What is Paul suggesting he could be disqualified from? What is the prize he is disciplining himself for?


I love to watch the Olympic Games. The stories of the athletes are inspiring. These athletes are so dedicated to their goal of winning a medal in the games that they are intensely self-disciplined. Many are on strict diet and exercise regimens to keep their bodies in top shape. They spend hours training and practicing. They set priorities and set other interests aside for the time being. They have to say no to things that get in the way of their training to reach their goal.


What if Christians had this same level of self-control and devotion to their spiritual lives? What if we didn’t hit snooze on the alarm clock but remained dedicated to time spent with the Lord in the morning? What if Sunday school was a greater priority for our children than their sports and activities? What if we spent more time reading the Word than scrolling on social media or flipping channels on TV? What if we sacrificially gave our time to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ?


Now, those are just examples. This isn’t about legalism! All of those spiritual disciplines are extremely important! But they do not save you. Not doing enough of those things doesn’t revoke your salvation either. Salvation is not the prize Paul was training for; he already had that!


Remember, Olympic athletes have to be citizens or nationals of the country they are representing before they are qualified to compete in the games. If they break any of the Olympic rules, they are disqualified from competing for the prize, but they don’t lose their citizenship.


Likewise, when we accept God’s grace through faith in Jesus and His work on the cross, we become citizens of His Kingdom and obtain our salvation. This is citizenship that we can not lose. Paul knows his salvation is secure, but he is not wanting to become disqualified from an imperishable reward that awaits him in eternity. Paul exercises self-control and discipline in his life because he is fully committed to the goal of future, eternal rewards rather than temporary, worldly rewards. He is all about the long-term game.


Friends, are you exercising self-control and self-discipline? Are you living for the here and now, or do you have long-term Kingdom goals that lead to eternal rewards?



Jesus, help me live with self-control and self-discipline. Keep my eyes focused on your eternal kingdom and the everlasting rewards that You have promised to those who remain faithful and committed to serving You. Amen.


~ Pastor Nat Crawford



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My prayer is I take 2021 in four segments of three in looking forward to the prize of the high calling of G-d in Christ Jesus.
Help me Lord to acquire Your discipline so I may become a better servant of Jesus for the good of others, Amen.
Great questions, Michael. Thank you @Joey for posting that past message. Salvation is our main gift. We didn't earn it. We didn't buy it. It's a gift we can receive or reject. Once received, we can't (and won't) give it back. We will receive rewards in heaven based on our actions here. You see, those who are separate from God will experience judgment and condemnation. For those found in the Lamb's book of life, we experience a review and reward based on our actions. These are the "good works" that Paul talks about in Ephesians 2. It is true as Christians we will still struggle with sin. Paul did. Peter did. I do. We all do. But we are no longer slaves to sin. I hope this helps!
My long term goal is to continue working towards world wide peace one word at a time until people finally realize this is our home and if it is destroyed we all will parish therefore we should do unto others as you have them do unto you.
Thank you Pastor Nate. I really love that analogy of citizenship well said. We truly are secure in the love of Christ. Paul says we are to fix our eyes on the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13
Michael here is the link to help you from Pastor Nat. I Pray it helps You not be a "slave" to questioning but instead leads You to understanding in Jesus nameAmen https://www.gotandem.online/daily-bible-teaching For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13 In this verse, we find a tender reminder that the Lord is always with us and we do not have to be afraid in any circumstances. Whatever we are facing today, the Lord is right next to us and will help us see it to the end. As we look ahead to the new year, we can remember that the Lord will be with us every single moment of the next 366 days of 2021. Galatians 2:20 “Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” “Each of us has received gifts that we could not provide for ourselves, gifts from our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, including redemption through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. … “Every time we use, benefit from, or even think of these gifts, we ought to consider the sacrifice, generosity, and compassion of the givers. Reverence for the givers does more than just make us grateful. Reflecting on Their gifts can and should transform us.”
Michael I'm dad to hear you question but it as well great you do. In that open your Bible there you will read what Jesus tells us about our goals and rewards where moths and thieves do not eat or steal. That if you seek what is of the world and not if God you will miss all the rewards that were meant for You! Brother as well read down at the prayers below that may as well help you to better "understand" what your lacking. Further in Jesus name seek counsel from a Bible teacher, priests, pastor, even Pastor Nat here he is happy to help if you ask In that pray ask Jesus to help you grow in His word to understand what you do not. Jesus will never fail You. May God help you see through His eyes to help you draw neaier to Him. In Jesus Mighty name Amen
Look up crowns in your bible concordance. I’m definitely not a bible scholar, I’m new at this too and it takes time to learn but there are different crowns for different achievements. Do you want to stand before the Lord and have just “squeaked by”? When you give your life to Him you are His and receive salvation but the rewards will be greater for those who strive to obey His commandments and live a life that is filled with love and sacrifice for others!
If our salvation is secure, then how does sin fit in, and why do we need Kingdom goals if our eternal reward is already a given? I just do not understand this.
Dear Jesus, keep my eyes focused on your eternal kingdom. You are so faithful, help me to remain faithful and committed to serving "You." Amen
That was beautiful; thank you and God Bless! Happy New Year!
Very helpful. Amen
Father, I have and still am working on forgiveness. I have let go and repented for those I've hurt and those who've hurt me. Because I do not want to hold on to things that bring me pain or bring me down. I am moving forward, staying focused on the ultimate and grand prize. I need Your help Father, with forgetting. Help me Father. I want to follow in Your Son's way of forgiveness. With You I am able. I thank You and pray this in the Mighty name of Christ Jesus, Amen.
Thank you for this!
Thank you, Lord, for all you have and continue to do in my life and our lives. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Good message!!! It is hard for us humans to conceptualize the notion of “forever” or “eternity.” And so, admittedly, it is very challenging for us to stay focused and uniquely dedicated in service to our Savior - as Paul urges. Yes, we stray. But, thankfully our Lord tells us that He fully understands our human shortcomings and provides an unbound measure of grace, forgiveness, and discipline, if we simply make Him the center of our lives. If we believe in Jesus the Son, we are granted citizenship to The Father’s Kingdom and House. May we all do better in 2021 as citizens of Heaven and maintain a focus on eternal life.... Peace, friends!
A simple yet encouraging message to remember that God is the one who we must keep our eyes on. Seek Him always.
Running a great race, have the benefits a price.
A simple explanation with encouraging words. Happy New Year!! 🎆 Our goal must be to keep our eyes upon Jesus.
The goal of rewards in heaven where moth does not eat and thief does not steal is very special. It often is overlooked because of worldly pleasures. Lord help me to keep my eyes on you and your kingdom. Your rewards are greater than all things on earth. Help me to strive for what is everlasting glorifying you. Amen
Glory be to God. Truth...Amen, by the grace and help of God.
Thank you for this. It is my prayer in my daily walk to remain focused., to stay the course. I want the reward. Amen
Thank you for reminding me about self-control, and self- descipline, which I am lacking.