Finish Strong

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

This past week has been spent with my daughter and son-in-law here in Georgia, USA, for our sixth grandson’s birth. Jasper Rose greeted us on Monday when he came into this world, and we have since been enraptured with everything that comes with new life.

I apologize for the few missed days here at the end. I read and meditated on God’s excellent Word, but with the role of ‘go-for’ during birth, I allowed writing to take second place. 

I wanted to write today with just two days in a most forgettable year for some – 2020. The world has been put through its paces with the appearance of the coronavirus. When it reached pandemic stages and captured the global eye, we hunkered down and isolated, staying home. 

We have yet to calculate the damage this has caused. Businesses were shut down, never to reopen. Elderly facilities limited contact with some, isolating them totally from loved ones. Places, where we would gather became ghost towns. Sports venues now play to an empty auditorium. Some died alone and were memorialized, with few in attendance. 

Unable to socially interact, we have been affected. Masks now cover and make our faces expressionless. We don’t talk to each other as we once did because of social distancing. To touch or hug someone is said to now come with great risk. Neighbors who once talked across a fence haven’t seen each other in months.

It has affected us. It has changed us. How we interact is different based on how serious you take the medical mandates given.

It has challenged our routines, schedules, and way of life for many of us. But as a child of God, nothing should have changed… or should it?

Churches have abided by the ‘stay at home’ mandate, and others have not. Some churches have yet to reopen after the initial lockdown. Some have taken the distancing and cleaning seriously after every service, while others have been more cavalier in their approach.

To comment is invite opinions of all kinds based on what source you claim for truth. Daily Manna is not a venue to discuss such matters. I only bring them up as they have been a challenge to all Christendom.

I can only speak to our relationship with the Heavenly Father and what biblical truth I see we need to follow. 

As this pandemic has affected us all, our walk with God has been challenged as well. 

The apostle Paul wrote as instructed by the Holy Spirit to tell us about his missionary journeys. What he encountered and suffered on those journeys must have been astounding to hear retold. 

Paul was guided by more than desire or passion. He was led by the Holy Spirit to places where Christ needed to be shared. Some were receptive; others want to kill him for disrupting their lives.

Nearing the end of his life, he shared our passage with the church at Corinth. He knew there was a path to walk and a plan to follow. We have been given as much from God’s Word. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Once we are saved, God reveals to us the plan He has had for our lives all along. For some, it is a slow reveal as we are obedient, another page turns, and we know a little more. For others, there is something more clearly given to follow.

No matter what happens, God has ensured us that it will come to us personally. Paul took that part very seriously. The Bible reveals to us a God who is not some enigmatic figure, untouchable by the masses. He is a one-on-one, personal, intimate Savior who knows us far better than we know Him.

As this year comes rapidly to a close, have you accomplished all you set out to do?

Do we blame COVID for what has yet to be done? Or do we just use it as an excuse?

With what time remains, how will we finish?

A runner who has given their all will nearly collapse at the end, trying to cross the finish line. Some will finish still standing, feeling they did what they could, and satisfied with the results.

Come January 1st, can you look back satisfied with the year now finished? Are you healthier, wealthier, and wiser? Or have we let some things slip?

I will leave you with a guiding principle we use in our addiction program.

“Small compromises lead to great disasters, or little sins lead to big sins.”

This is based on the following scriptures.

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

This coming year can be life-changing for the worse or, the better. How we finish might be an indicator of how we will start. 

It comes down to a choice. 

What will you choose?

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