Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Finishing Strong

More than once during the recent Olympics, the world witnessed how the outcome of a competition could suddenly change in the final seconds of a race.  One Example of this was the Men's 4x100-meter freestyle swimming relay.  Although the Americans led through the first three legs of the race, France came from behind at the end to overtake the Americans and win*.

I have recently been reading from 2 Chronicles and Ezra.  Although the reign of a king was not a competition, I noticed as I read how the lives of many of the kings of Judah ended differently than they began. Manasseh did evil during most of his reign but during a difficult time towards the end of his life, "he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers." (2 Chronicles 33:2, 12).  Josiah on the other hand began his reign doing right but then later refused to listen to God which led to his death (2 Chronicles 34:1-35:27). Unfortunately it appears to have happened more often that a good king, due to pride or giving into the pressure of others, made bad choices at the end than the opposite.

In a competition when this reversal occurs, there is a change of winners, but in life when we fail to finish our walk with God, the consequences are much more serious and long lasting.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9 that we are competing for a prize that won't perish.  He continues by saying that he ran in such a way that he wouldn't be disqualified in the end.  Those who are disqualified won't lose the throne or an Olympic medal but will be cast "into the outer darkness, in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:30).  The two most effective ways that we can avoid this disastrous outcome are by staying in God's word daily and frequently communicating with Him through prayer.

We want to hear what He has to say to you this week.  Looking forward to hearing about your reading, triumphs, and struggles to move closer to the finish line.

Next reading: Ezra 4:24-Nehemiah 7:73a; Ps. 29:1-33:11; Prov. 20:26-21:10; I Cor. 3:5-8:13

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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