Philippians 1:6 (NLT) 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.
I am certain that God who began a good work in me will continue to work until it is finally finished. When will it be finished, Lord? Will it ever get easier? I do not believe that finishing the race of faith or any race is ever easy…if your intention is to win that is. To run the race intentionally with your eye on the prize for the one who finishes well impacts our commitment to running first and then winning second. Today will be the final Pure Devotion installment from the place it all began. The home in which the Lord laid it on my heart seven years ago to seek Him wholeheartedly in His Word and generate this daily communication in an effort to encourage others to hear the Voice of God. I had no agenda other than to believe that it was what God wanted me to do.
When I moved into this house, I told myself this was it and I was never moving again. Never say never. I have made the same declaration many times while preparing for this transition. I am exhausted. My body aches all over from a week of pushing past my physical limits. Just like this blog, I know that the Lord has divinely destined us to make this change and I am excited. However, it will take a lot of endurance to push myself over the finish line today. By the end of today, all of our belongings including kids and animals will be in a moving truck waiting until we buy our new house tomorrow morning. Looking ahead from the desk chair this morning, I have no idea how we will achieve the monumental task. It’s push time.
What are you believing God for today? Do you have an unmet expectation? Is there something that He has promised you that has not come to pass? Have you considered giving up? Well good, that means you are about to make it to the end. Every twist of fate and turn of faith will lead us to the end of self. The place where our only hope is the Lord so we turn pressing into His Presence once more. Reassure me of Your Word, Lord. Restore my depleted faith, Jesus. Renew my confident hope and blessed assurance that Your Word is true. Your Will prevails. Your Way is achievable.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT) Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.
Finishing has been on my mind a lot lately. With one more drawer to empty and cabinet to clear, it seems like the process of transition is forever. To move from one place to another is exciting until it is time to actually do something about it. The moment that excitement becomes work and anticipation produces personal responsibility, it forces you to evaluate that thing desired to make sure it is work the cost. A thousand times over, I have wanted to throw in the towel and quit. Life doesn’t stop because you are pressing on, it pushes back. It is better to finish than to start. Finishing is the fruit of endurance. It is the ticket into the race that leads to forever. Freedom does not mandate participation but rather offers us all the choice to live for this day or to live for forever. One’s ability to finish produces patience which are always better than pride.
Luke 5:3-9 (NLT) Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.
Jesus stepped into Simon Peter’s boat. I wonder if this the same boat that Peter stepped out of by faith to walk on the water with the Lord. Is this the place from where he ventured out on the wind and waves to follow Jesus? Could be… At any rate, Jesus got on board and began to tell the men what to do. Jesus was born into a carpenter’s family. He was not a fisherman by profession. Nevertheless when Jesus came aboard, He immediately began instructing the fisherman how to fish. Where to find abundance. How to prosper. The men had but one choice – trust and obey God for the promise or remain in the same condition as when they began their journey. Peter obeyed and cast his nets exactly where Jesus indicated and what happened? Abundance. Such an abundance of fish that the nets were began to tear.
Peter is like most of us when presented with a heavenly option. We tend to tell the Lord why it is illogical or impossible never considering that is exactly why He is doing it. To increase our faith and bring His Glory into the world. Endurance is when we take one more step. Do it one more time. Wait one more hour. Finishing will always take us one step further from our comfort zone. It will cause us to do it one more time even though it seems futile. Finishing requires waiting always and without exception.
Psalm 119:86-88 (NLT) All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause. They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments. In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws.
I believe finishing is summed up in the statement, “I refused to abandon Your Commandments.” Jesus is the Word of God in flesh. He is the first finisher thereby which all other victories are secured. (John 19:30) He came to the world and died for my sin so that I could be made righteous again. (Romans 1:16-17) It tells me in Revelation that the Lord will declare once again that it is finished.
Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT) And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
I think if we could see the race of faith as a marathon rather than sprint, it might be a little easier to understand when things do not turn out exactly as planned, bad things happen to good people, or even in our wanderings. The Lord leads us into the wildernesses of life to teach us to love, trust and depend on Him more than ever before. The finish line of faith is forever with the Lord so it is important that we see victory for what it can be here on earth versus what it will be in Heaven. I have found that most often when it comes to earthly victory that no one runs across the finish line with their hands in the air shouting, “We are the champions.” It is usually a crawl, outstretched arm, and one hand that defines my finishing. We are after live everlasting. He promises it will come. We just cannot give up and learn to endure until we meet Him on that day.
I Peter 1:6-8 (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
The only good and perfect thing in our life is Jesus Christ. It is in Him and through the Lord that righteousness opens the windows of Heaven to produce abundance in our life. We must be careful not to stop or slack off in the good and easy times but continue to diligently train for the championship that is coming. Each race shows us how far reaching our faith may or may not be giving me the opportunity to muster up some more and try again. Grace is enough to continually pick us up and get us on our way again. His Plan is perfect for us but doesn’t always feel right at the time. We have His Word to go on and depend on. Those who do will never be driven to disappointment but find the Light of His Love producing His Glory in the good times and bad times of life. He makes good on His Promise to produce good in every detail of our life. He will perfect that which concerns us.
I challenge you today to think about what you may have started or even thought about doing last year for Jesus. Why didn’t you do it? What if the abundance and prosperity you have been praying diligently for is in that next move? What if the famine in your life is simple disobedience righted in repentance? What is that thing that the Lord is pressing us to do to but the change is frightening? Yes, that thing. It’s time to finish the Good Work that God has begun in you and me.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
Today my body is tired. My mind racing. My heart pounding. I am exhausted beyond anything I can remember. Yet, my soul prospers in the Lord. His Faithfulness is overwhelming even when I am overwhelmed. His Goodness that Greatness that I enjoy day by day. I have crawled across many finish lines in life and I am quite certain that there will be many more. I know that through the years more faith has accompanied every finish even when I crawled. With that in mind, I will forge through today again by faith. Telling my mind to hush. My body to rest. My heart to slow down. I will endure for I know that each time I persevere a promise is produced. God is good all the time. He speaks to us every single day. Maybe you just need to move in a little closer to hear.
Jude 1:24-25 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.