February, 2, 2021 Finishing the Race - Jack Brisendine

Psalm 92:2 (NLT) "It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening."

Have you ever found yourself waking up, prepared to jump into action and teeming with anticipation to discover what your day holds? You are excited to find out what life has in store. Perhaps it is a Saturday and you have two days free from the pressures of work. Since you have the whole weekend ahead, you are feeling fresh and excited, ready to seize the day.

But, as the day wore on towards early afternoon, your excitement and expectations start to wane somewhat. You felt less excited and motivated, maybe almost defeated. Your expectations for the day had lost some zeal. Some friends seemed hesitant and distant and asked for a rain check at your suggestion of getting together. You garner a little renewed energy only to find other friends had previous plans and didn't have time to get together, or were out of town. Maybe you switch up to seeking time with family members, but they let you down as they were dealing with auto or illness issues. Perhaps the weather had turned unexpectedly bad and not hospitable for "out and about" time. You seemed to hit a wall at every turn.

By evening you were feeling; washed out, lost, off your game, lonely, lacking in zeal and excitement, feeling defeated, unsure of your motivation, frustrated, disappointed in others or yourself, weary from lost opportunity, questioning your decisions, or even doubting life's purpose and wondering if you expected to much. Darkness begins with what seems like a failed day, or life.

Finish the race set before us

Jesus Christ calls all into His service, and meets our/His service needs through the assistance of the Holy Spirit. This is a sacred calling to those who have accepted Jesus as savior. God has not promised that our Christian walk will be free of troubles, and it isn’t. We live and serve Christ in a sinful world. We should know that difficult times don't provide reason for us letting up in our Christian Race to the finish line.

In the first part of today’s devotion, I discussed a discouraging day from morning to night. It relates the excitement of the morning, and as the day progresses, we find ourselves potentially being dismayed and ready to throw in the towel, so to speak. That one day’s discussion I’ve given as a metaphor for our Christian walk/race, from when we accept Christ, to our mid-life with Christ, and our lives as we approach the end of this physical life and come before the Lord after death. We start out in our Christian walk full of excitement and expectations before the Lord (morning). As we approach midday in our walk, it’s possible to lose zeal as we experience that a sin filled world disappoints. The end of day in my account above suggests as we come near the end of our life, we may feel less excited, almost defeated, and feel like giving up our Christian walk. Sometimes people do walk away from Christ just before the finish line.

We see in the Holy Bible that the Apostle Paul has had difficult times in his service to God. He acknowledges that he is running The Race Christ has set before him, and he is determined to finish strong for Christ. That should be our goal as well.

Acts 20:22-23 (NIV) “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me."

Acts 20:24 (NIV) "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV) "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

What part of the Christian walk are you in; Beginning, Middle, or nearing the Finish Line?

Do you feel like giving up at times and throwing in the towel?

Are you determined to finish for Jesus and stand before God, with the assurance that with the help of the Holy Spirit you gave it your all?

Christians have the help of the Holy Spirit to get them through their race, and into the presence of God victoriously. Let’s all finish this race running strong! Amen

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