“I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right.” - Billy Graham
My personality profile tells me that I am very results oriented. In other words, I do not like to leave things unfinished. I like to check things off my to-do list. In fact, it bothers me when I cannot finish something. I like finishing things.
The word “finish” is also used a lot in sports with the idea that we want our teams to finish the game strong and win. We want to keep our efforts so high throughout the contest that we finish with excellence.
More importantly, I believe the Lord would have us to finish strong spiritually and with excellence. It sounds good but how do we do that? How can we finish strong spiritually? I have listed below some keys to finishing strong.
- Focus on Who You Must Trust to Finish Strong
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6
I believe we must anchor ourselves in allowing God to complete His work in us. We must settle in our hearts that we cannot finish strong by our own efforts. Instead, we must rely on God totally and allow Him to live through us.
- Focus On Being Faithful
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7
I believe that we must commit ourselves to developing our relationship with the Lord through the study of His Word, prayer, and committing our hearts to Him completely. We must stay faithful to these things.
- Focus on God’s Faithfulness
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
We must know that God is faithful and can be counted on to carry through on what He has promised to us if we are faithful. If we allow Him to live through us and not try to live for ourselves, God will enable us to finish strong.
My heart’s desire is that I will finish strong spiritually and leave for my family a true legacy of faith. Just like Billy Graham said above, “I have read the last page of the Bible” and I know if I commit my life to God it will “all turn out all right.”
Good morning Metrolina family!
We are excited to share the latest issue of our IMPACT Worldview Magazine. We pray that the articles will not only be a blessing to you but also a great tool in aiding you as you are working to instill a Biblical Worldview in your children. Please follow this link and enjoy this spring's edition of “IMPACT”.
“The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple.” 2 Chronicles 36:15
I have never enjoyed wake up calls, especially the really early ones. Many times I will not sleep well in anticipation of the alarm going off early. However, I usually get up when the alarm goes off. On the other hand, I know many people who will ignore the alarm as long as they can and delay getting up.
In life, we get a lot of wake up calls in areas that do not involve getting out of bed in areas such as our health, our finances, and our spiritual walk. I got a wakeup call in 2008 with my health. I was diagnosed early that year with type 2 diabetes and I immediately knew that some things had to change for me to stay healthy. I answered the wakeup call and changed my diet and exercise habits. From that, I lost 45 pounds in one year and have become a runner since and how I feel has changed so much for the better.
God has also used wake up calls spiritually speaking to get my attention over the years. I love the passage in 2 Chronicles 36:15 above because it tells us that God sends us all wakeup calls or warnings because He loves us and has compassion on us. In other words, God loves us so much that He wants to warn us so we can avoid the heartache that comes from not living in accordance with how He would have us live.
The prodigal son in the New Testament had such a wakeup call finally get through to him in Luke 15:17 where it says that “he came to his senses.” Unfortunately, by the time he answered this call he was already in the pigpen. He could have avoided this mess if he had only answered the call earlier. However, he did answer and God changed his life.
What about you and me? Are there alarms going off in our lives right now? Are we sensitive so that we can hear God’s voice about areas of our lives that may not be just right?
According to 2 Chronicles 36:15, God is sending us warnings early so that we can respond before the bottom has to fall out. God wants us to respond to His wakeup call and come running back to His arms. I love a song by Sidewalk Prophets that best illustrates the idea of a prodigal coming home when you answer that wake up call:
“Wherever you are, whatever you did it’s a page in your book, but it isn’t the end your Father will meet you with arms open wide this is where your heart belongs...Come running like a prodigal”
I pray that our hearts would stay sensitive to the voice of God as He seeks to direct us and keep us from heartache because He loves us so.
“Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest. Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.” Proverbs 19:22-23
Our world seems totally focused on looking a certain way. We live in age of makeovers and we are enamored with looking a certain way. Unfortunately, the world’s definition of beauty is all about physical appearances. While there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and trying to make ourselves look better, the problem is when it becomes the sole focus of our lives.
Proverbs 19:22-23 gives us a much different idea of what makes us really attractive. The Bible says there that loyalty makes us attractive. What does the idea of loyalty mean to a Christian? First, I am convinced that it means we are to be loyal to our God. As the commandment says, we should let no other gods come before Him. God should be the preeminent relationship of our lives. He should not have to compete with our careers, our other relationships, our pursuit of things, or anything else for that matter. God should have our hearts completely.
Next, I believe that God calls us to be loyal to our families. Put simply, this means that we should always seek their best and prioritize them above all else after our relationship with God. We should place safeguards in our lives to ensure that we stay loyal to our families. Our spouses and children should never wonder if we love them.
In addition, the quality of loyalty should permeate every aspect of our lives. It should be seen on our job, in our churches, and in the community. Proverbs tells us in verse 19 that this quality makes us attractive. When we live this way, we will earn the trust of others. Better yet, I believe that we will earn the trust of God so that He may use us beyond anything we could have ever imagined.
The passage above goes on to say that living with a loyalty and fear of the Lord will lead to life. This type of lifestyle will lead to an abundant life. An abundant life according to God is one that is filled with His fruits. Fruits such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Moreover, this passage tells us that loyalty and a fear of the Lord will also bring us security and protection. We can live in the security that God loves us and because of our trust in Him we can live with the knowledge that we will spend eternity with Him. We can also experience the peace of knowing that in this world we are secure in Him and that He is watching over us. All of that sounds pretty attractive to me. That is truly a retirement package that is out of this world.
Finally, the world’s idea of beauty and attractiveness will fade with age and time. God’s idea of being attractive in Proverbs 19:22-23 is one that will never fade. It is an attraction that is here to stay.
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom
There have been times in my life like this one and I am sure yours too where we wish we could have known certain things were going to happen so we could have been better prepared. One of those times for me came in 2006 when I learned very suddenly without warning that my dad was very sick and would not live much longer. I would have given anything to have more time to better prepared myself but that was not in the Lord’s timing.
Through that time, I was reminded over and over again that God can be trusted. I also was reminded during those days that my hope and source of strength was God. Through my dad’s sickness and death, I came to trust and love God more than ever before even though I never saw it coming.
We all have these feelings at one time or another in life of wanting to know what is coming but God's Word reminds us that we cannot know everything and that instead we need to learn to trust God and begin to live in the hope that only He can bring. I have come to realize that if my hope is based on earthly treasures and knowledge, then I am going to experience one disappointment after another.
The apostle Paul reminded us in the book of Romans that when we wait on God and live according to His timetable we will have hope.
Romans 5:3-5 declares: "We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
These verses remind me that we are going to experience changes and trials but God is still there loving us along the way and giving us a hope that will never disappoint as the apostle Paul says.
I am convinced that God would have us to daily seek and trust Him. Specifically, I believe that God wants us to call upon Him not only when the bottom falls out but also daily for guidance, for direction, and for hope before we do anything else. David Jeremiah, a great pastor and author, once said that "we pray when there's nothing else we can do, but Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all."
We are never going to see every difficulty ahead of time or be prepared for all uncertainties but we can trust God with our future, our lives, and more importantly with our eternal destiny. I pray that we would all as Corrie Ten Boom said “never be afraid to trust” our great God with what may be just around the corner.