Being Confident of This Very Thing

Being Confident of This Very Thing

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…

Walking into church, he stopped me to greet me along the way. “Hey, I have been reading your stuff and you should write a book!” Awkwardly, I laughed and thanked him for the kind words of encouragement making my way to a seat. Immediately, flushed I couldn’t help but think of how many books started and stopped in the files on my computer all the way back to the first time I thought about it. Just out of high school and the beginning of college, I worked in the preschool ministry of a large church. Putting together packets for the upcoming Sunday, the thought occurred to me that it would be neat to write curriculum for the teachers and volunteers to use with the children. It wouldn’t be long after that I would wander off in the wilderness for quite some time.

I assumed after living apart from the Lord for many years that the possibility of purpose in my life was over. To live for Jesus is a privilege considering my misuse and abuse of His Love and Grace all those years ago, why would God still want to use me? How could there be an ounce of purpose left and not drained by impatience and impulsivity over the years? I am thankful that Lord still loves me, hears me, speaks to me, and blesses me like He does. Religion bases God’s Promise, Purpose and Prosperity on our own ability which is not how it works at all. Relationship gives me full access to God’s Plan for my life. The same plan written beforehand. “And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

Being confident of this very thing… Are you confident today? Confidence is a quality born of absolute trust. The enemy works every day to keep us from building trust and confidence in the Word of God for our life. He wants us to believe that our inability to perform will somehow change or eliminate God’s Power, Purpose and Potential in our life. That is a lie. There is simply no truth to it. If God knew our end from the beginning, then He had to know exactly how many times that I would fail, fall short, walk away and give up before finding my way back home.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it… The good thing in me working its way out is all God and not me. He doesn’t take bits and pieces of my life for His Good. No, the Word of God explicitly states that “and we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God.” The only prerequisite to God’s Power fully working in our life is to love Him. Do you love God today? I do, too!

Until the day of Jesus Christ… This is probably the hardest part to figure out. The Good Work in us that God is working out through us is a complete work meaning it begins at birth and ends in Eternity. Salvation is always God’s Primary Objective in our life. The first work is the finished work that leads to God’s Grace, Goodness and Glory in our life. All the other details fall into place accordingly. Those who endure to the end will be saved. Therefore…

Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

Do not despise small beginnings. We put too much pressure on ourselves to work God’s Plan for our life. The real work is submission. To humble our life before Jesus Christ, surrendering our way for Him to do what He will in us and through us. We do not really “do” anything other than submit and surrender our life for His Work. God does the rest using His Word, His Spirit and His Love to mold us and shape us into new creations and masterpieces just like He promised. The Lord rejoices at the beginning of this work. The moment that we give our whole heart to His Plan and embrace the future and hope set before us. But be forewarned…

Isaiah 55:9-12 (NKJV) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God doesn’t do things like we do things. His Thoughts and Ways are much higher than ours. His Perspective far greater than our current comfort and convenience or even discomfort and inconvenience. God’s Plan is not influenced in any way, shape or form by us. It is always working in us and through us for complete reconciliation and restoration whether we decide to receive it or not. His Word is seed. God’s Word is not barren – it is full of uncompromised potential for our life. Once planted deep in the folds of our heart, it will grow. His Power is in that seed and it is the very thing that leads to fulfillment. The only part I play in the whole plan is to humbly accept God’s Word (Jesus) in my heart and allow His Spirit to sow His Word in my heart to produce God Fruit in my life. It is all Him – I must decrease allowing Christ to increase in my life. It will happen. I must be patient and wait for it trusting the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NKJV) The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

We must not give in to impatience. Patience is a product of the Holy Spirit who produces longsuffering in us. (Galatians 5:22) We must learn to give God time to do what He has promised. What do I do in the meantime? Walk by faith not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Walk worthy of your calling with which you were called. Walk humbly. Walk in gentleness and with longsuffering (patience). Love one another. (Ephesians 4:1-2) God is completing His Work in you. He promised not to quit, give up, give in or walk away no matter what you choose to do along the way. He is still working His Plan, Purpose, Future and Hope all around you. Like the father of the prodigal, the Lord waits and watches for our return. He celebrates our arrival. He embraces us. Fully restores us. Nothing changed at home – it changes in us.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I will write a book one day. I am confident not in my ability but the fact that the Lord has called me to do so. I will wait for Him to give me the words to complete it. I will carefully transcribe whatever He says. In the meantime, I must put aside every weight and sin that easily ensnares me such as the lie of the enemy that requires immediate gratification and insists on shortcuts marked by impatience. As I continue to sow my life into Christ and accept new seed of His Word in a soft heart, every good thing that He has ordained for my life will come to pass in His Timing which makes everything beautiful. I have no performance pressure other than to daily surrender and submit my life to Jesus and His Spirit working in me. Jesus is not only the Author of my faith but He is the Finisher. He will complete in me the good work that He began. Amen and Selah.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

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Faithful Finish

Faithful Finish

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.

The Finishers

The Finishers

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I have a good friend who is a runner. This is not a shared common interest. If you see me running, you should probably run too as something must be chasing me. When our son was sick, many people reached out to us in a variety of ways. My friend found a bracelet honoring our son’s cancer battle and committed every marathon to him. It was a race of faith and each footstep she made symbolic. She won many of the competitions finishing well above her class in most. I believe it was the Team Unconquered spirit that gave her such strength not in her body but her spirit and soul. Each time she finished well was a heartfelt reminder that God has promised our son would finish this race, too.

My friend would run for another woman battled the same wretched foe. Her outcome would be different as she leapt into the Arms of Jesus to finish her course. Another course with a different ending but the same Great God. Just recently I was devastated to learn that now my friend who has faithfully run the race of faith with us is now running it on her own. She has been diagnosed with cancer. How can this be? Someone who unselfishly and unrelenting in her faith offering encouragement to others now must fight the same war.

2 Timothy 2:4-6 (NIV)  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

Life is full of attachments and entanglements. Things that attach themselves to us and those things which cause us to stumble and fall. We are all running a race of faith. It doesn’t matter if you are a runner, walker and crawler. In every marathon, all the runners are similar in appearance. Shoulder to shoulder, most begin strong running together in a pact with no clear cut winner or loser just participants on a crowded road. After the first few minutes, the group thins and become a string of runners. Each one a little more defined by experience and endurance. As the journey continues some will stop, give up or fall away. The runner who has conditioned their body against the elements, nourished their bones and muscles with proper food and water, rested prior to the race, and trained for it – those are the ones who cross the finish line. Some will run across with their arms in the air, others will walk to the line collapsing on the other side, and then some will literally crawl or be carried to the end. It doesn’t really matter how you start, but your life is contingent on how you finish this race called faith.

We must not get tied up in civilian affairs. This world is ruled by darkness and influenced by the enemy of our soul. It is his dominion. It is his domain. Our mission is the great commission. We cannot and will not change the world. We are not called to do so. We have been commissioned with a direct order by Jesus who has all power and authority over heaven and earth granted by God to do just one thing – go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) If it was our mission to take over the world, why would we be instructed to respect all authority even governmental who have effectively cut God out of every public platform possible? (Romans 13) Our focus must be on the one, the sheep that is lost. The Lord desires the souls to build His Kingdom. We are not of this world and must conform to the rules of engagement set forth by Jesus.

I believe as my athletic friend ran each race honoring our son, her feet pressed in seeds of faith for this season of life. This time the good fight of faith will be fought by her. She will have what she needs because she will reap what she has sown. What kind of provisions are you planting today for tomorrow’s battle? Will you have what you need to finish the race? Faith is compared to a mustard seed. A seed of faith cannot grow until planted. We must learn to sow seeds as we go rather than checking a barren field for a crop not yet planted.

Isaiah 35:8-10 (NIV) And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

The way of holiness is the narrow road talked about in Matthew 7:13-14 because few will ever find their way there. It is just too hard to let go of reality to take hold of faith. I think that is why is compared to roles like soldier, athlete and farmers. All of these people sacrifice. They give their all. Giving up time, talent and treasure (resources) to pursue something more, bigger and greater than themselves. I believe such a sacrifice is need to fight and win the good fight of faith. Life without limits comes when we breakdown the strongholds of fear, pain and doubt to be overcome with faith that moves mountains, heals bodies and prospers our life. There are various stages to every race. Strong beginnings, waning and whining midway but then we can vaguely see the end in sight. It is at that moment giving up is no longer an option and hope rises within us. Love, joy and peace are the fulfillment of hope. It is a place of right standing with Jesus that removes every barrier from our life. It is time to unload those things that are keeping us from finishing the race.

Matthew 19:21-26 (NIV) Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

An impossible life begins and ends in Jesus Christ. He is the author and finisher of faith in our life. He is the beginning and end of all things. Those who choose to live by faith pursuing a relationship with Jesus will come to the end of themselves at some point. A moment in time when you must lay down your life for what you believe. It will change your commitment, confession and conviction until it is all or nothing. You must believe to be saved. Jesus Christ must be the foundational thought in all your thinking to know that you will finish the race and win the war for your life. The rich young man came to Jesus for validation of faith. He was a religious person who knew all the dos and don’ts set forth by God. He worked hard to follow all the commandments…that is until it all came down to the one that mattered the most. “Go, sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.” We are good with stay, hoard our stuff, and pray for the poor but what is this give it all away stuff? My life is worth nothing until I give it all away. Nothing is possible but I remain subject to all the impossibilities until Christ becomes my beginning and end with everything wrapped up in the middle. For me to live is Christ and die is gain. He must increase and I must decrease. We read the words. We carefully repeat them. Until we live them, they are lip service that will not open doors, break chains or add to the Kingdom beginning with me.

I Timothy 6:11-16 (NIV) But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

My friend will win her race. She is a finisher. The one who has put the time into training body, mind, soul and spirit. She has laid down her life for others. It is in that moment that we lay down our life for a friend (John 15:13) or maybe even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44-45) that God’s Love can reach the innermost parts of our life and perfect those things which concern us. (Psalm 138:8) Faith expands the capacity of our existence to receive that which we hope for. Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing. By faith, we have a wonderful opportunity to live a limitless life. It is time to step down from soapboxes and move away from politics to enter the race of faith also called the Highway to Holiness. Abandoning anger and offering forgiveness making our light (the Light of God’s Love) to shine brightly in the darkness. It is time to run the race of faith to the finish rather than throwing the towel in when the Lord doesn’t do it our way, the journey seems to long or things get uncomfortable. If we would just collect all the broken and fragmented pieces of our heart and life thrusting them into the Hands of Jesus, He will make a beautiful life from that which was broken. He will fill our voids with His Presence. He will bind our wounds and heal our hearts. No longer slaves to sin or bound to the past – we will finish the race of faith with the victor’s crown as promised. Thank you Jesus that you have not placed limitations on my life but given me the power to live without limits.

I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Let’s Finish

Let's Finish

2 Corinthians 8:10-11 (NLT)

Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.

 

Life is full of starts and finishes. We begin things all the time that never are completed. I am guilty as charged. There are many projects throughout my house that I began with good intentions but have not got around to putting on the finishing touches. A few months ago, I painted our youngest daughter’s room. I purchased gray paint at a discount hoping it would work for her modern tastes but it was too dark so I proceeded to mix it with white until we were certain that it was the perfect shade. Well, not so much. It is still too dark but my stubbornness to use the treasured bargain would not allow me to just go have the paint store mix the shade she liked and bite the bullet to buy it. So I have not finished painting over the medium gray with the lighter one she desires. In an attempt to make it more feminine, I grabbed some cool glitter paint that we applied to an accent wall. Now not only must I repaint the room, but find the time to scrape off the glitter affixed to one wall. I have to finish the task. I want to finish it. I love to paint and change up their rooms. But I am kicking myself because I really have put myself in a predicament because of my stubborn, bargain-hunting nature. So for now, the pictures are off the wall. The desk has no chair. There are many details left undone until summer comes in a couple weeks and I can paint again.

What’s the big deal about my undone project? Well, there really isn’t one other than the fact it is one more thing that I need to buckle down and finish in a long list of needs, wants and desires. God put purpose in the heart of mankind. Eternity is our purpose and is attained in our daily life as we finish those things that are our destiny. Painting is not my purpose in life but making our children happy is one of them. The Word of God says, “It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago.” Paul was talking about giving, but this could relate to just about anything in our life. Our relationship to Jesus Christ is based on love. He first loved us. We love Him now. Love is a commitment. When we love someone, we are to honor that commitment with our life. It is represented in everything we do. God is a completer. Jesus is a finisher. It is our purpose to be one, too.

“Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now.” I am in the process of finishing something that I began more than seven years ago. It has been a long hard process of self-discovery that the Lord has used to mold and shape me as a person. My season in my current position is ending. I know it is God’s Will. It would be easy to just check out and walk away. Eagerness and excitement are in the beginning, but not the long haul. We are anxious to start that new thing finding exhilaration at first that soon becomes monotony. Over the years, the Lord teaches the value of commitment and matures us but when we see the finish line everything changes. Most of the time, people will cut bait and run but I believe that it is more important how we finish than if we ever started in the first place. The Bible says that the one who endures to the end will be saved. Jesus said that so does it mean that we are born to finish our tasks and complete all missions. Friend, I believe that’s exactly what it means.

John 4:34-35 (NLT)

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”

 

Okay, maybe I am reading too deeply here or seeing something that is not there but I don’t think so. Jesus said that His Nourishment came from doing the Will of God AND finishing His Work. Got it. I believe that is true. Prosperity on all levels is an inside process that forces its way outside manifesting in our life. Without divine purpose, there is no blessing. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has plan for our life that is good with a future and hope. All I must do to have it is seek the Lord wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) I am not a preacher or missionary so how do I do the Will of God. I do it by seeking the Lord wholeheartedly in EVERYTHING that I do. I honor the Lord by finishing everything that I start because I love Him, trust Him and I am committed to fulfilling His Purpose in my life. Faith and confident hope are evidenced in my willingness and ability to see things through not necessarily knowing the outcome but by trusting the Lord for the harvest.

God will finish every single “work” that He has begun in you. (Philippians 1:6) Every good work that you begin has the potential to be finished by you because it is God’s Will for our life to finish. That is where the prize awaits at the finish line. To all my frustrated friends, what if the only reason that you have not experienced God’s Glory in your life is because you failed to take the last step over the finish line? John 4:35 goes on to say, “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for the harvest.” Are you getting the picture yet? We get so wrapped up in doing that we fail to see that God has already provided the blessing associated with obedience and calls it a prize. We just have to do the Will of God which is seek Him wholeheartedly. It is provided by His Grace not one’s ability to perform. So do good, do your best for the Lord in all things, and you will receive the prize because it has already been provided.

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.

 

The world does not dictate my outcomes. Do you believe that today? I do. The world does not decide if I am a success or failure. The only thing that matters at the end of each day is that I make it through with my faith in God intact and confident hope. I must remain faithful to the Lord in every task. Why? People are associated with the things that we do in life. God loves people and our mission field is where we work, the places we go and the way what we do impacts other people for the Kingdom of God. We want to be found righteous when we meet Jesus nothing else will get us into Heaven. This requires training.

I Corinthians 9:25-27 (NLT)

All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

 

We must become disciplined when it comes to finishing those things that we start in life. Not just crawling over the finish line, but running the race of faith with a new level of commitment that allows us to finish with the eagerness and excitement that we had in the beginning. I must run with purpose in every step. This is tough when I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders so I must learn when I need to drop a few pounds and release my burden to the Lord.

I have decided that I am going to run/walk my first 5K in October. I have often said that I am not a runner. I want to be a runner but my body and I are at odds. Over the last couple of years, I have been working out and spending a great deal of time on the elliptical at the gym. I am finding that my endurance is better and I am able to run longer distances without passing out. I want to cross the finish line of a 5K race just to prove that I am a runner or at least can run. I must continue to work on my endurance and “train’ I use the term lightly for my real running buddies. It is a personal goal that I believe God is honoring in my heart. I must train my body. I must discipline my heart and mind to get on board to meet this goal. I must live intentionally for that purpose of completing this desire. I am a runner hiding in a walker’s body. I am a finisher who just needs to take one more step. I am complete in the Eyes of Christ so I must see myself that way, too.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT) Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.

 

Today, I will turn in my resignation to a job that I love. I know that my season in this workplace is ending and God has opened a new door. I am ready to step through but before I do I must finish the things that I have started here. I will talk to my administration. I will make a list of the tasks that I need to complete before I officially leave my position. I could write a volume of reasons why I am going now but there is no point because the only real valid one is that the Lord released me into my next season. Otherwise, I would have kept pressing on in this one. There are many things that I will not be able to complete as I would like to before I go and that really chafes my pride. As I read the wisdom of Solomon, I embrace it. Finishing is better than starting. I understand. Patience is better than pride. This is probably the hardest thing for us as humans to grasp and execute in our life. The Lord establishes the starts and finishes in our life according to His Plan for us not our own goals and aspirations. He is marking out His Will and Way that is the very best. I must be committed to finishing today the race of faith not my own person satisfaction. I will run the race of faith leaving my pride behind. I want what the Lord has for me which is secure by the position that His Grace has afforded me called righteousness and not anything I am capable of doing. I run for the eternal prize which always means finishing that which we start. So what are we waiting for today, let’s finish!

Acts 20:24 (NLT)
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Finishing Well – A Devotion

Finishing Well

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.

 

As the New Year approaches, the Lord has been speaking to my heart. In worship yesterday, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Looking down the pew at my cancer-free son and newly married daughter, we accomplished what we set out to do in 2014. We pulled it off by the Love, Grace, Mercy and Power of our Living God. Running the race of faith is like any other physical endeavor that can make us spiritually tired, exhausted, overwrought and even empty. But it is such times that God presses us out so that we can be filled with more of Him. I love the results but hate the process. Turning pride to humility can look a lot like grinding wheat to make flour as it is crushed under a millstone. It was in that place of worship as our new son-in-law sang and led others into the Presence of God that I dared to even hope of what was to come in the next year. This is not my usual stance but this has not been an ordinary journey. The last few years have taken me to the end of myself. It has given way to a process although painful, it is producing an inward change that will be worth it if I finish…

Like most people, I set goals for the coming year but this time around they seem a bit drastic. The Lord is calling me to simplify my life. What a relief? As my teenage daughter loves to say, “Plot twist!” Not exactly. It has produced an ant-like mentality somewhat obsessed with the new season attempting to do it and get ready now. We have a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. Lost in cluttered closets and surplus of unnecessary things that I have been hoarding away for years. Why? Good question. My husband asked me last night as I feverishly began removing clothes and shoes from my closet. All of my clothes were purchased at a discount but do I really need so much. Embarrassing I will admit that I own pants from size 2 to 10. Yet I have remained the same size for more than a year now. There is probably a lot of mental and emotional baggage attached to my keeping things like that. Look at my pantry, just before Christmas I started just making what I had for dinner during our break from work and routine. I cooked for over a week planning menus on what I already had in my pantry. Are you seeing my dilemma? We get lost every day in cluttered houses, offices, minds, relationships and more. Starting so many things, but never finishing anything because we become distracted. Standing in my closet last night, I was overwhelmed at God’s Provision in my life in clothing alone. I wonder how many other areas of my life that I have everything I need yet struggle because I failed to finish the last faith mission. God is calling us to finish well. It is with a promise and purpose attached if we only would have the patience to make it to the end and endure.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT) Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.

I want God to complete the good work that He has begun in my life through my relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. No, I really want it enough to commit my life to having it. By doing so, I have entered a covenant promise that requires my constant connection to Christ as the Source for my life. The problem is that life with Jesus is so much better than anything that we ever imagined, a little goes a long way. We make a few changes and allow the Lord to transform a part of our life and decide that is more than enough to get us through this life stepping into Eternity. But what God has a better life for you right now? What if the only thing stopping you is that you keep starting over again and again? We get lost in the baggage of our life. The process of prosperity (beginning with our soul) is a complete and total plan. You must not only start it but finish it to have what the Lord promised. Total contentment and complete satisfaction will never be about what we have or do not have but exclusively in finishing what the Lord has started in our life to claim the prize that He has waiting for us. God planned goodness for our life that is better than anything that we will ever come up with. We must make room in our life to receive it by removing those things which take His Place. It is time to finish but do you have the patience to do so?

Luke 14:26-29 (NLT)

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

 

Why waste our life running half-heartedly after God? I mean really what’s the point. Life will be what we make of it anyway because anything less than God’s Best is not His Will for your life. His Blessings are an inheritance which means that they are already provided and marked for you. You cannot change God’s Mind or make Him do more or less. He has perfected everything concerning you and me in His Will and according to His Timing. We just need to be patient. But unfortunately – most people give up on God because they never counted the cost of discipleship in the first place. You will never be fully committed to finish the race of faith unless you know what it is going to cost you. Everything my friend, following Jesus is all or nothing. Jesus is your Savior or He is not.  Jesus is your Lord or He is not. I am not talking about making mistakes in our walk with Christ. If you want to finish the course – you must have faith.

Romans 1:17 (NLT)

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

 

So I am standing at a crossroads of sorts today, kind of scratching my head and looking around. We made it through 2014 with only a few days remaining. We made it. All of us. This in and of itself is a miracle credited to the Glory of God and His Great Love. We accomplished all that “we” set out to do. But now as I stand here, I know in my heart that God did not bring us through just to squeak by. He is prospering us from the inside to the outside. This is accomplished from “start TO finish” by faith! My life is found in my faith in God. So maybe it looks to the world like we are done and made it and should be thankful – We are, we did and we are very thankful. But God is telling me in my heart that there is more to this story than meets the eye and keep going… But God I am tired. Keep going. Lord, I am weak. I know but you are almost there. Haven’t we finished Jesus? Almost now you must finish for the prize! When we are happy to get by it is by faith and endurance that we thrive!

John 19:30 (NLT)

When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

 

When Jesus said, “It is finished” on the Cross. He released His Spirit. He walked right into hell and grabbed the keys to the grave. He walked right out of the tomb and gave all that power to us. He lives in us now. See we couldn’t see that part. We didn’t go in the grave with Him, descend into hell beside Him or come up out of that tomb three days later. Each one of us must encounter the Lord for ourselves now that He is risen and alive. He is handing us our life back. Just as he tried to tempt Jesus, the enemy takes every given opportunity to make us give up, quit and walk away from the race of faith. (Luke 4:1-13) The devil will always without fail try to get us to comprise our completion. We fall for it. Thank you God for your Grace! Jesus finished the race on the Cross. That may not seem much more to you than a gruesome picture of a man battered beyond recognition dying nailed barbarically to an old rugged cross. He released His Spirit in that moment along with every ounce of power that He possessed and made it our inheritance. It is our prize. This was the moment when completion became possible in our life. It is the time when prosperity became our promise.

Zechariah 8:6-13 (NLT)

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task! Ever since the laying of the foundation of the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, you have heard what the prophets have been saying about completing the building. Before the work on the Temple began, there were no jobs and no money to hire people or animals. No traveler was safe from the enemy, for there were enemies on all sides. I had turned everyone against each other. But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!”

 

God is working on the inside of each one who has given our life to Him. He can only work on those parts that are surrendered in total faith and trust. This is the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Faith makes everything possible in our life. This renovation will not be complete until Jesus comes back. There will be some good days and challenging ones as we strive to remain committed to the process of faith. (Romans 5:1-5) To have faith requires us to surrender our heart, mind and body to this process by which more faith is found and secured into confident hope. So today, God has given me some encouragement in these verses when I look at my life as a rebuilding or renovation. 1) It may seem impossible…for now. With God all things are possible to those who believe. 2) God is faithful. Standing in my closet knee deep in clothing I was completely blown away by the abundance of God in my closet alone. 3) Be strong. Strength in God is manifested in my weakness. When I am weak, He becomes my strength. 4) Finish the task. There are some things that I set out to do in 2014 that I must not abandon because it was the Lord who laid them on my heart. He has given me some clear objectives for the coming year that I must be committed to. I need endurance which is a quality produced in the testing of my faith. So be it… 5) The Lord has planted seeds of prosperity throughout these last few years that will die on the vine and in the field if I do not continue to walk by faith. I will abandon my blessing if I give up now. I will forfeit my prize. And finally 6) I will become a “source of blessing.” This is called abundance my friend.

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Who doesn’t want to be perfect and complete needing nothing? What if we are halfway there but do not know it? How could that happen? My family gave me a very nice camera for Christmas one that I had secretly wanted for the last several years. When I opened the box to use it on Christmas Day, I found that I didn’t have the memory card that I needed so I put it back in the box until I could get one. Well, last night cleaning out the clutter of too many clothes and too much stuff, I found three! What if God’s Provision for our life is buried in the clutter we surround ourselves for comfort and control? What if we decided to remove it from our homes, hearts and lives today? What would we find? Faith is a race to the finish. It is not complete until the end. I wonder if when we get there we will find that nothing else really mattered other than what we did for Jesus? Like loving our family and others more than ourselves. I will be simplifying my life in 2015. Making room for more Jesus and less stuff. It’s time to prosper what we planted but I need to clear and consecrate space in my Temple. My life is my worship place. It is my responsibility to surrender it all to Him. It will take a whole lot of patience to get this job done. If God calling you to finish today? Is your inclination to have a new start? His Will for you (yes you) is to be fully developed, perfect, complete and lacking nothing. I want that life, too. God is calling us to finish well today. Jesus gave us everything that we need to do so. His Spirit is in us ready to renew, restore and revive us again. What are you waiting for? Finish well.

2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

The End – A Devotion

The End

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NKJV)

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

 

The big day is finally here. It is our daughter’s wedding day! I am exhausted but far beyond overwhelmed. Overwhelmed came and went about three days of go and now it is all systems go to the finish line. During the rehearsal dinner for our daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law, the years passed like pages being flipped in the wind. Our children grew up right in front of our eyes. The days of sleepless nights and constant nurturing are gone as we now have three adults, one teenager and a baby girl on the verge of the same. All as tall as their mama or taller have become wonderful and intelligent people despite my many shortcomings and countless mistakes. God is indeed good! The word for the day is “completion”. I had forgotten in the midst of the flurry of activity that God is completing some things in my life that I was unaware of because they are part of His Plan and not my own.

Several months ago when facing a bone marrow transplant for our son and upcoming nuptials of our daughter mixed with family, work and life in general, it became my goal to make it to this day. To sit on the front row in little white chairs facing a pergola overlooking a beautiful lake with majestic oak trees at my daughter the radiant bride surrounded by ALL of her siblings. Of course, her groom along with other family and friends, too. But in that moment, it would be the realization that we made it through this year. We endured. God was faithful. We made it through to finish this race. Well, that day is here. It is a day of completion. The end of one chapter giving way to the next. The end of a thing is better than its beginning. How many times do we start things but never finish. Wasted time and effort that comes to nothing but broken dreams and disappointments. God created us to be finishers. He made us for the end and not the beginning. Our future is in forever.

 

James 1:12 (NKJV)

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

 

I have been tempted many times to give up on my faith throughout my lifetime. We have faced so many fiery trials this year that I have become accustomed to the heat and find comfort in God’s Kitchen. When things are quiet, I become concerned. I must force myself to rest in the eye of life’s storms to conserve energy, renew faith and restore hope in the down time. I want to be approved by God and that means making it to the end of each trial with faith. I must strive to hold on to hope even when life tells me that it is hopeless. I do not do this for now but for the end. The Crown of Life is the prize that I am after but many times I forget. It is a prize claim after this life is over. We must cross into forever to fully take hold of it. We fight for life but is it this life?

 

Luke 14:28-30 (NKJV)

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?

 

When I had my children, I never imagined this day would come. Some days as an exhausted young mother with a household of children, I didn’t think we would ever reach a time when the house would grow silent. It makes me sad. But I thought winning would be a victorious occasion full of celebration and joy, life is what you make it. The end of something may be painful, sad, or even unexpected. Other times, it may be surprising as we did not count the cost or see the value in each moment. But as I look at my daughter today, all I see is God’s Faithfulness. I prayed from the time she was born that she would only have eyes for the one who God made for her. He did that. She did. She is a godly woman fully competent to step out on her own even though my inclination is to pull her tight and hold her closely guarded for the rest of her life. But that is not God’s Plan for her or the future and hope that He promised. She must make her way through life and learn to endure. She must find her faith, cultivate it and hold tight to the confident hope that comes from it so she will make it to the end and finish the race of faith. This is the end. It is a good thing. I just need to learn to count the cost first so that finishing becomes my focus rather than maintaining comfort in the fiery trials.

 

John 19:28-30 (NKJV)

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 

The fact that all of our children are present today is a blessing that many may overlook. Going into this year, we knew our son would require a bone marrow transplant to save his life from recurrent cancer. There were no guarantees. So like a baseball player at bat, I pointed to the fence as our future. It looked a lot like today. In fact, it is today. Well past the 100-day mark of completion that the doctor’s look, he is with us looking good and feeling good other than the stuffy tux and pink bow time that he must don today. When Jesus died on the Cross, He said that is was finished. Just three words that changed my whole life, as well as the life of all who call Him Savior and Lord. We must strive to finish what we start to enjoy the benefits of the end even when the ending is quiet, not what we expected or as silent as a turning page. His Spirit is alive and well in us. We have a future and hope. It was given in a moment of pain and suffering. The disciples couldn’t believe how things were ending. How could any of this result in ruling and reigning forever with Jesus? Well, it does my friend. Faith is what we do not see but yet believe.

 

Matthew 24:12-14 (NKJV)

And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

No matter what you are facing today, the end is coming. You just have to make it to the end to be saved, healed, set free, delivered, blessed, or to prosper. Whatever God has promised you is at the end of the road you are traveling. It is called the Highway to Holiness. It is not a busy street because most people give up before they ever get going. But not you. You have too much to lose so count the cost today. Add up the Promises of God and that which you hope for to determine if it is worth the time, energy and yes, even sacrifice that genuine faith and confident hope require.

 

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

 

Find joy in the trials that you are facing by setting your sights on the end. It may not be a dramatic finish, but a win is a win. You will have to be patient which may be a stretch. But when patience is allowed to do its perfecting work in you, you will be complete lacking no good thing. Joy and peace are the byproducts of patience endurance and well worth the price.

 

Hebrews 13:20-21 (NKJV)

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

Thank you Lord for reminding me that this is a beautiful ending to an amazing chapter in my life. You have done everything that I asked to perfection, today I bless Your Name. I call you faithful. I call you worthy. I call you amazing. As the chapter of this book called life turns into another chapter, I will continue to surrender my life to the Good Work you began when you saved me. I will fight the good fight. I will finish the race. I will cling to my faith! Thank you for another happy ending!

 

2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV)

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

I Am Done – A Devotion

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

 

Oh the many days that I am ready to throw in the towel and say, “I am done!” One thing did not bring me to this point of sheer frustration, but it is usually “one thing” that topples over the highly piled apple cart of life. Lord, some days it is just too much this thing called faith and the goal of completion. When Jesus said, “It is finished” I thought it was done but it only seems to be the beginning. My journey to the altar was long but once I “arrived” surely there would be better days ahead. Yet trouble remains and the tests keep coming my way. How can I consider it a great joy when there is still sorrow and despair? My faith is being tested for a purpose though it seems elusive today. Endurance needs a chance to grow to make Eternity some day. Lord, plant me in this place and let faith grow until is fully developed and rather than giving up in exasperation may I find peace in the process that leads to perfection even on the days when I feel that I am done!

 

To be finished is a process and not one to be taken lightly. The word itself means to be complete or perfected in all details which I am surely not. The Word of God says it is to be complete and needing nothing. Boy, do I have a long way to go. Not in the physical blessings of life, but rather the fruit of the Spirit God is growing in my soul to produce a harvest of faith that will satisfy every longing and fulfill my purpose. God is polishing me to the highest degree of excellence through a process called refinement. He is equipping me to be highly skilled and accomplished. I will not be finished until God can use me completely. He called me to overcome and it is then that I will be complete. But until then I must put aside every weight that moves me off course, and choose to wait until God’s says that I am done, complete and lacking nothing.

 

James 1:12-14 (NLT)

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.

 

The process of refinement is probably the hardest thing for Children of God to recognize, understand and endure. Though it seems contradictory to God’s Nature, understand God waits to bless those who endure testing and temptation. He does not tempt you. He empowers you to make it through the test and temptation through His Mercy, Strength and Grace. It is up to God’s People to choose faith in the midst of each fiery test that comes our way. To remain firmly grounded trusting the Lord to see us through to the other side rather than jumping out of the heat of the fire and returning to our old ways and our old life. The “crown of life” and all the Promises of God are on the other side of each trial along with the Precious Promises of God for your life. There is pain in the process as God prunes and removes those little imperfections keeping us from knowing Him more and entering His Kingdom to experience its riches.

 

2 Peter 1:4-7 (NLT)

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

 

The process of refinement “burns” away those things that keep us from the “great and precious promises” of God. Promises that enable us to share in His Divine Nature and His Kingdom, by allowing God to grow in you by faith striving for the excellence that He has promised gives the Lord an opportunity to complete us and give us everything that He has promise and sin prohibited. His Grace abounds more and more in this process as He enables us to endure to receive all that the Lord has promised. You are one of an elite group known as the Remnant of Jesus Christ many are called but few are chosen. “I will bring that group through the fire
and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)

 

Romans 1:16-17 (NLT)

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

 

I must never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is empowerment of God for my life even when I blow it completely. God is accomplishing my purpose from start to finish by faith. Faith in the Word of God indicates that righteousness has nothing to do with where I am but everything to do with WHO HE is. I am finished, highly skilled and accomplished by God through Jesus Christ alone. In the middle of life’s testing and struggles, there is comfort in knowing that only my weak faith in His Word, Will and Way are required to maintain righteousness in the Presence of God. Faith gives me life. It is not up to me to make it to the finish line. Just hang on! Endure! Dig deep in my faith until Jesus comes. God has given us His Word and His Spirit to complete the good work that was begun by faith in our life. (John 6:63) Don’t be so hard on yourself on the days that you “feel” like giving up, just don’t do it! On the days that it seems impossible to make it to the end, remind your soul that God’s Grace is sufficient. It is enough! More than enough, it is all that you need. Anything else is something we have added or man has impressed upon us. “So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

 

Romans 8:27-30 (NLT)

And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believersin harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstbornamong many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

 

God has a plan and purpose for your life. It is a good one. He is working every single detail of your life to ensure that it is used completely in your fulfillment. How can we be fulfilled and satisfied when we feel like Paul to be poured out as a liquid offering? (Philippians 2:17) Paul found joy in suffering for the Name of Jesus Christ. As gold and silver are refined, they are melted into a liquid content then poured into a mold once all the impurities have been carefully removed. Is God pouring you out today? It is to fulfill your purpose which is ALWAYS good. He knew you in advance and completely. Who better to fulfill you and satisfy you than the One who knew you first and the One who knows you the best? God has chosen you to share in His Glory including all the Power it holds. But you must first be prepared to receive it. God is preparing you to be a vessel of a treasure so glorious your earthly sin-filled life would come apart in its proximity but as the Righteousness of God through Jesus Christ is allowed to manifest and grow in your life by faith, you gain access to His Glory as He has prepared you to receive it! God has BIG PLANS for your life. Better than you could ever accomplish for yourself. In every situation, it is imperative to remember these two simple truths: God has a plan and purpose for my life. It is ALWAYS good!

 

John 16:31-33 (NLT)

Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

 

Jesus was a Man of His Word. He did not sugarcoat the future for His Followers. There will be many trials and sorrows in this world. No kidding. Why are so many people surprised when these times arrive, it is right there in His Word? When cancer came into our life last year in the moments following confirmation of our son’s diagnosis, a war raged between my soul and mind. Stubbornly, my mind prodded for an explanation of why God would allow it but I refused to ask God why instead choosing to bless the Name of the Lord. It became a stand of faith born of complete indignation that the enemy would come so close to what is most precious in my life. He had no right to be there and claim victory. I wish I could claim this to be some great stand of faith or righteous revelation, but it was not that kind of a proclamation. It was taking a verse just like this that says, “I have overcome the world” and grabbing it, holding it with clenched fists in the midst of salty tears with eyes fixed on the clouds. It was in desperation without accepting the possibility of defeat. God has not called us to endure testing and trials of life all neat and proper, but to take a stand on His Word, rely on His Spirit and endure until the answer arrives. Jesus is our solution. He will not leave us or forsake us and ALL things work together for the GOOD for those who love God. Jesus Christ released us from the consequences of this world including death and the grave. However, until we fully invest our lives in believing this TRUTH and overcoming in every situation, we miss the Glory that God has hidden in this life wrapped in His Precious Promises and Purpose for each child. God will not remove the testing and trials from our life until our faith is fully formed to receive all that He has prepared for us and our faith strong enough to make it into forever with Him!

 

I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

 

Jesus Christ secured victory for every part of your life. Once you enter the New Life offered through Salvation, you have claimed a win for every test performed. As an athlete runs for the prize and not just to finish or a boxer fights to win not merely shadowbox, you were created to be victorious. What is keeping you from the finish line? It is not God as Jesus waits there cheering you on! He has cleared the way and removed all opposition, the only thing holding you back is “YOU”! Run with purpose. Purpose is found in the Word of God and the Spirit of God inside of you takes it to train and instruct you for victory. You will triumph by faith in His Word and His Spirit making every aspect of your life a winning proposition. No longer settling for being done but finishing as the Father intended with victory around every turn, corner and circumstance of your life. You are destined to win!

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.Because of the joyawaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

 

With all of this in mind, I challenge you as I do myself today to make a commitment to completion in your life. When you say that “I am done” it should mean finished as Jesus Christ purposed which is complete lacking nothing. You have many precious promises to claim that have been hidden in the details of your life. No test or trial is without its Eternal reward. God would never allow you to suffer in vain but simply endure these situations and circumstances until victory is yours! Don’t give in and don’t give up! Say today, “I am done settling for less than God’s Best!” Then find your Promise in His Word, grab hold of it, pray over it, toil over it, fast for  it, run for it, don’t let go until it comes to pass in your life! Jesus secured your victory when He said, “It is finished!” Isn’t it time we lived like it?