Sunday, November 11, 2012

Finish Strong!

"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24, NKJV

Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of people who start out strong, but don’t finish strong? In this verse God is reminding us that there are a lot of things, situations, conflicts, even people that try to “move us” off course. But God designed us to finish our races and do it with joy so that our lives are a testament of the gospel of the grace of God. So, today I want to share with you 8 things that have helped me to stay focused on my race. I hope you find them helpful. By the way, these are not necessarily in order, because whichever one is needed at the time—is the most important at the time:

(1) Be Led by the Holy Spirit

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14, NKJV

Jesus told us that He wouldn’t leave us alone but that He would send another just like Him. So, don’t forget that the role of the Holy Spirit is to help guide us through every decision we make. He won’t shout at you, but He will nudge you when you need it. I’ve been living off the Holy Spirit’s nudging for 30 years.

(2) Pray Always

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV

Wow, a pretty small sentence with an extremely powerful message. God wants us to know that He is always there, ready to hear, and ready to respond, if we’ll pray—about everything. And when you’re done, pray more.

(3) Read The Word

“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4, NKJV

The Bible is God’s primary method of communication, so if we want to hear from Him on a regular basis, then we need to read the Bible on a regular basis. We need to get His Word off those pages and into our hearts. It’s not just going to happen…so come on, crack the book and read it! It won’t read itself.

(4) Walk by Faith

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7, NKJV

There are lots of things in life that can distract us from finishing our races. So we need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and learn to trust in what we believe more than in what we see. Circumstances can shout you down, emotions can drag you down, but living by faith can’t keep you down!

(5) Live For An Audience of One

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  Colossians 3:23, NKJV

Have you figured out yet that people are fickle? One day they are with you and the next they are gone…bye-bye, see you, don’t want to be you. Or else they love you one day and despise you the next. So no matter what you do, remember to always live for an audience of One. Because on the last day of your life you will stand alone in front of Him, and Him alone…so we might as well be living for Him now.

(6) Focus on the Family

“…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15, NKJV

Time spent with your family is never wasted time. People come and go in life, but you’ll always have family. As we reflect on 20 years of ministry our greatest fruit are the four kids that God allowed us to raise here at home. So, don’t build your business or your ministry on the backs of your spouse or your kids. You can reach for the stars, but always keep one hand at home.

(7) Walk in Love

“Love never fails….” 1 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV

Jesus told us that a fulfilled life is one that’s built on loving God and loving people. I don’t know about you, but I’ve failed in a lot of ways. But love never fails, it bears all things, it believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. So, when all else fails, love God with all your heart, and turn around and choose to love the people that God has placed in your world. Because love works, love wins!

(8) Stay In Your Lane

“…But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12, NKJV

Every sprinter knows that if they run outside of their assigned lane they will be disqualified. But don’t we do that all the time? We’re always comparing ourselves to other people, and then we get our eyes on who we aren’t rather than who we are…on the gifts we don’t have rather than on the ones we do. God made every one of us different for a reason, so let’s celebrate our uniqueness, stay in our lanes and finish strong!

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