I was glued to my TV this Summer watching the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. I couldn’t help form rooting for and cheering on the athletes from the United States while listening to the chants “USA, USA, USA!”
121 medals were handed out to America’s athletes, more than any other country in the world! The results seemed obvious: “WE ARE THE GREATEST”!
In a recent Newsweek article, it was said that “Muhammad Ali was not only a boxing champion, he was a championship talker.”
The following are some quotations from Ali who died this year, at the age of 74:
- “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
- “It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat up people.”
- “At home I am a nice guy but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.” [Footnote [i] ]
So are we really the “Greatest” nation, is your country the “Greatest,” or are we like Ali, just talkers?
WHAT’S IN A NATION? – SCRIPTURE READING – Jeremiah 8:20:
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” (NIV Bible)
What NATION then, do you consider to be the greatest IN YOUR LIFE today?
You may say USA or Israel or even China. Whatever your answer, I would say that you’re mistaken. Why? Because there are “nations” that have a much greater effect on our everyday lives.
This is dangerous ground! How many victories have been lost…due to dangerous DELAYS.
I think it’s ironic that we wouldn’t think twice missing our own graduation, our wedding, a banquet in our honor, a meeting where we are to get a promotion. BUT so many keep questioning the idea of getting SAVED!
I’m not talking about a temporary thrill, one fleeting moment, or a highlight in life. I’m talking about a CHANGE in our ETERNAL destination.
We are creatures of habit–whether for good or bad. Too many times, our HABIT is to keep putting off things until it’s too late–leading to lost opportunities.
LOST OPPORTUNITIES in Scripture –
- Hebrews 12:15-17 – Esau sought repentance too late!
- Matthew 25:10 – The Foolish Virgins waited too late to acquire the oil!
- Matthew 26:40-46 – The Disciples missed the prayer meeting in Gethsemane because of sleepiness and unconcern!
- John 20:19, 24 – Thomas doubted all the more because he didn’t make it to the meeting to personally see the resurrected Christ.
Then there’s the story of, good ol’e Felix. Felix is an example of one who procrastinated too long.
Acts 24:25 (Amplified Bible):
But as he [Paul] continued to argue about uprightness, purity of life (the control of passions), and the judgment to come, FELIX became alarmed and terrified and said, “Go away for the present; when I have a convenient opportunity, I will send for you.”
As far as we know, Felix never found that place of REPENTANCE, and most likely, resides in the pits of hell to this day because of one lost opportunity.
The next nation to look at, is ImagiNATION –
I love the way the New American Standard and the King James Version of the Bible reads in 2 Corinthians 10:5:
 “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
The English Standard Version (ESV) says, “lofty opinions” and the New English Translation (NET). “arrogant obstacles.” In either case, I think you get the idea.
Our IMAGINATIONS can run wild at times, so much so, that some people lose touch with reality.
Mark 7:21 puts it this way: “For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come base and wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery.”
The devil wants you to live in a make believe world where he can control you, causing you to believe things that are not always true.
Schools of higher learning in many nations are the centers for spiritual warfare: theory of evolution, secular humanism, existentialism, false religions that capture young men and women’s thoughts and imagiNATIONS.
And here’s another “nation” to think about: DetermiNATION –
Here is a “nation” we should all want to visit, the stand up and root for kind!
Life can throw us a lot of curve balls and a lot of hardballs. I played a lot of organized baseball growing up, so I had to use the metaphor.
Sometimes, we just want to throw in the towel and give up when things get tough. We feel that it is too hard and we are too weak to carry on.
So many times over the years I have faced those “tough” times. Most of my working years were spent in the construction industry. When things were “booming”, employment was a surety. When Union Strikes came into play…unemployment usually followed.
I remember the first year of marriage and my wife and I saying to each other, “You know, I don’t understand why people say the first year of marriage can be so tough financially. We’ve got plenty!” Although at the time, I was working nights at a large grocery chain and didn’t have a clue that a “hardball” was about to hit me between the eyes. Six months after the wedding ceremony and with a baby on the way, we found ourselves UNEMPLOYED.
In the 60’s, being unemployed meant standing in line to get your unemployment check every week. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, disheartened, that I was in this situation. The head of the household responsibility was almost more than I could handle.
But I was DETERMINED!
So many times it just requires hanging in there a little longer or trying just a little harder. When I found myself without a job…finding employment became my new job!
Matthew 10:22 (MSG):
“…But don’t quit. Don’t cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It’s not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors!”
Although the verse in Matthew pertains to the persecution for being a Christian, the principle still applies when life situations get tough.
James 1:12 (AMP):
 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”
Many a WAR has been won due to the ties with this country. We must be DETERMINED to make HEAVEN our home.
“IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE”
MONK (TV Series) was an American comedy-drama detective mystery television series that ran from 2002-2009. It’s lead character, was an eponymous character by the name of Adrian Monk. [ footnote [ii] ]
The theme song, “It’s A Jungle Out There,” I and my wife would sing along with every week. It was written by Randy Newman and the lyrics started out with…
“It’s a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care
WELL I DO…”
There are real enemies out there in the “jungle” that want to rob you of your SALVATION, but 90 percent of the battle is in that DETERMINATION!!
In my viewpoint, procrastiNATION, imagiNATION, and determiNATION, these three are the Greatest ‘NATIONS” that exist in our lives today. Being able to deal with each of them will determine our Spiritual Victory.
Footnotes & Credits –
Footnote [i]: “I am the greatest”: Muhammad Ali in his own words by Reuters on 6/4/16 at 10:31 AM.
Footnote [ii] : MONK- Wikipedia.
PHOTOS: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted in the text.