Here is a fascinating and true story about working hard to win the prize when volleyball was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1964 Tokyo games.
A Japanese women’s team was chosen to represent their nation for the event. Hirofumi Daimatsu, their coach, put the women through a grueling training program that resembled a Marine boot camp. The six day-a-week training program was quite brutal on the women – both physically and mentally. But Daimatsu promised them two things: those who could not survive would be released from the team, but those who did would win the Olympic gold medal.
The training did pay off and they eventually won the gold. When they stood to receive their medals, every woman was crying. “It was a glorious moment,” said team captain Masae Kasai. “We all cried for two reasons. We had won the gold medal and had fulfilled our expectations and that of the Japanese people. Even more, we cried because this would be our last game together and, even though we had been through so much pain and anguish, it was worth it. I’m sure we would all do it again.”
Even though their journey had been difficult, those women would have gone through it again for the prize of a gold medal.
At times, our spiritual journey is difficult but, in the end, we are promised victory if we keep moving ahead. We must press on. As the Apostle Paul declared in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Imua – straight ahead – for Jesus!
In Joshua 3, Joshua and the nation of Israel are standing on the bank of the Jordan River, getting ready to cross over into the land that the Lord had promised them so many years before. After wandering in the wilderness for forty long years due to unbelief and disobedience, they are finally ready to enter the Promised Land. What a momentous moment! It will absolutely change their lives.
What mixed emotions must they have been feeling as they faced the land across the river? Excitement to finally be able to enter the land the Lord had promised them? Relief to be able to stop wandering in the wilderness? Anxiety and concern over the unknowns that lay before them? Fear regarding the existence of fearsome giants? One thing for certain is that their lives would not be the same after that day.
In Joshua 3:3-5, the Lord gives Joshua and the nation final instructions. 1. Move Forward – from where you are and what is most comfortable – to where the Lord wants you to be. 2. Step Out into New Territory. 3. Consecrate Yourselves. Set yourselves apart from the world and for the Lord.
What the Lord will do will be amazing! Before, the Israelites thought they were like grasshoppers compared to the giants that were the enemy. The first thing that happens is the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, then the miraculous defeat of the fortified city of Jericho. The Lord was leading the way, and the people were able to go forth in victory!
May the same be true of us today. Let’s put all our faith and trust in Jesus and see what miraculous things He will do. Are you ready?
This Sunday, November 12, we will conclude our teaching series, “Faith Strong!” with the promise: “The Lord will do Amazing Things among you!” (Joshua 3:3-5). The prize is worth the struggle. Let’s make the most of every opportunity that we are given. Let’s “Take the Land”! Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am either in the building or online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We Livestream every Sunday at 10:35am to both locations.
Our 2023 Thanksgiving Celebration and Lunch will take place on Sunday, November 19. It’s coming up soon! Turkeys are provided by the church, so bring your favorite side dishes (mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad, dessert, and more) to add to the table. Come with a heart filled with gratitude to the Lord. He deserves all thanks and praise!
Aloha ke Akua!