It’s not over yet, so let’s finish strong!

Finish the race

Don’t allow the past to keep you from your future! Don’t allow what others have done in the past to impact your ability to finish strong into the future! Those trying times are events in your life, they are not your life! It won’t be easy, but we can take heart because we’ve heard from Jesus that in this world we will have troubles but we can take heart because He has overcome the world! God has started a good work in us and we can trust that He will bring it to completion! So let’s not lose hope! Let’s not give up! Let’s put our trust in God and allow Him to lead us and guide us through this life, finishing strong! We are still here and so God’s not with us yet! So trust Him, believe Him, and finish strong!

Finish well! Don’t rush it but rather trust in God’s timing! He’s never late, He’s rarely early, He’s just on time! God’s timing is perfect! The path we need to follow is to pursue after Jesus, to build our relationship with Him, and to live out His calling upon our lives!

Finish well – stay on the road Jesus has lead so that we will cross the finish line and hear well done my good and faithful servant!

Turn to Jesus so that You will have the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you, comfort you and direct your path, He will be that still quiet voice to which we can be directed and finish well! Don’t lose focus on spending eternity with God!

Today’s devotional speaks to this topic as follows:

You can finish well. You may have had a bad start in life. You may have messed up along the way. You may have made mistakes. You may have regrets. But you can finish well and that is what matters most.

Some start well but fall. In the recession, many of the companies, that Jim Collins had profiled in his international bestseller Good to Great, fell. Even the ‘mightiest’ of companies can fall.

In his most recent book, How the Mighty Fall, he examines the path towards doom. The first stage of the process begins with ‘hubris born of success’. As with Saul in the Old Testament passage for today, it is arrogance that begins the process by which the mighty fall. Saul started well but did not finish well.

It is more important to finish well than to start well. In the New Testament, Saul (of Tarsus) started off very badly (as a persecutor of Jesus) but he finished well (as the great apostle, Paul).

Jesus, as always, shows us the way. His life was relatively short. He died in his early thirties, yet he finished well. He completed the work the Father gave him to do (John 17:4). This is my ambition in life. I want to complete the work God has given me to do.

How can you make sure you finish well?

–from Day 144: Bible In One Year 2017



How to Finish Well — Day 144: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Proverbs 12:28, Proverbs 13:1-9, John 14, 1 Samuel 14:24-52, 1 Samuel 15


1. Take the long view … Proverbs 12:28-13:9

Today’s devotional calls out this points from our reading…

What does a righteous life look like?

Listen to parental advice

‘A wise child heeds a parent’s instruction’ (13:1). Honouring parents is high on the list of God’s priorities. Family life and good parenting are so important. I recommend The Parenting Book by Nicky and Sila Lee.

Guard your lips

‘Those who guard their lips guard their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin’ (v.3). It is impossible to overestimate the importance of your words and of controlling the tongue.

Work hard

‘The desires of the diligent are fully satisfied’ (v.4). Work is a blessing. Success can be hard work. It requires diligent perseverance. Winston Churchill said, ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.’

Love the truth

‘The righteous hate what is false’ (v.5). We are to hate dishonesty and love the truth. Mark Twain once said, ‘If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.’

Be a person of integrity

‘Righteousness guards the person of integrity’ (v.6). Integrity does not mean being perfect. It means being honest, real and authentic (it is the opposite of hypocrisy). In his book, Integrity, the clinical psychologist Dr Henry Cloud writes that integrity ‘is the key to success. A person with integrity has the – often rare – ability to pull everything together, to make it all happen no matter how challenging the circumstances.’

–from Day 144: Bible In One Year 2017

2. Trust in the legacy of Jesus … John 14:1-31

Are you troubled, distressed, agitated or afraid? Take hold of Jesus’ words…

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

–from John 14

Today’s devotional calls out this points from our reading…

Jesus does not leave you alone but passes on to you an amazing legacy.

Jesus has good plans for your future

Jesus says, ‘There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home… I’m on my way to get your room ready’ (v.2, MSG). In Christ, your long-term future is totally secure.

Jesus is coming back for you

The end of earthly life is not the end. Jesus told his followers, ‘I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’ (v.3). You will be with Jesus forever.

Jesus has opened the way for you to know God

Thomas asks, ‘How can we know the way?’ Jesus replies, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (vv.5–6).

Jesus reveals God for you

Philip says, ‘Lord, show us the Father’ (v.8). Jesus replies, ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’ (v.9). If you want to know what God looks like, look at Jesus.

Jesus will do even greater things through you

Jesus will do even greater miracles through his disciples than he did while he was on earth (v.12).

Jesus will continue to answer your prayers

‘From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do’ (vv.13–14, MSG).

Jesus will never leave you alone

Jesus says, ‘I will not leave you as orphans’ (v.18). He says that he’ll ‘provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth… he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!’ (vv.16–17, MSG).

Jesus will continue to love you

‘Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them’ (v.21b).

Jesus and the Father will make their home with you

Jesus said, ‘Those who love me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ (v.23).

Jesus leaves you with peace

‘Peace I leave with you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’ (v.27). Peace comes from trusting that Jesus is there with us and in us. Jesus is our peace.

How is all this possible? The way in which Jesus passes on his legacy to you is through the Holy Spirit. He will send the Holy Spirit (the paraclete) to live in your heart: ‘The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you’ (v.26, MSG). The Greek word parakletos literally means ‘one called alongside’. It has a multifaceted meaning – counsellor, advocate, comforter, encourager, helper, someone to stand by you, he who is to befriend you. A mother is a paraclete for her child. She takes away the anguish of loneliness. She brings presence, security, peace and communion.

The Holy Spirit now lives in us to give us new strength and new love – so that we, the church, can continue the mission of Jesus to the world.

Jesus had thought it through very carefully and had made a great succession plan!

–from Day 144: Bible In One Year 2017

 

3. Honour the Lord to the end … 1 Samuel 14:24-15:35

God desires obedience over sacrifice! So when God calls you, follow thru till the end! Live a life that will honor God! Live a life that will glorify God! Live a life till the end not turning to the left or the right but walk the narrow path that God has called you to walk so that you can finish the course and finish the race strong and finish the race well!

Today’s devotional speaks to this topic as follows:

Saul started off very well. God had given him great success. In the passage for today, we can learn from Saul’s good example in the early days of his leadership. He headhunted good, ‘brave’ people (14:52) and mobilised them.

However, he did not finish well due to disobedience and arrogance. Partial obedience is still disobedience. Not only did he disobey God but he ‘set up a victory monument in his own honour’ (15:12, MSG). How different this is from Jesus who, as we see in today’s passage, had only one aim in life – to bring glory to his Father (John 14:13).

Samuel tells Saul, ‘When you started out in this, you were nothing – and you knew it. Then God put you at the head of Israel – made you king over Israel… why did you not obey God?… He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around God is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to God’s command, he says No to your kingship’ (1 Samuel 15:17–23, MSG).

Power is so dangerous. It has a strong tendency to corrupt. Success can so easily lead to pride and arrogance. That in turn can lead to idolatry.

–from Day 144: Bible In One Year 2017


The image I selected for today’s post speaks to today’s topic with the following Words of God…Let’s finish the race! Let’s keep the faith!

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

–from 2 Timothy 4

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