Sunday, December 28, 2014

The End


God is getting you ready for that which He already has ready for you.

Habakkuk 2
2 Then the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

Throughout the Bible God calls attention to beginnings and endings. (Genesis – Revelation) At the end of the book of Revelation we read:

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

I am Alpha & Omega Beginning and End, the First and the Last … The scriptures also say that we should:

Hebrews 12:2 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Look to Jesus who is both the Author and the Finisher of our faith …” and that:

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

We are “Made partakers of Christ”, if we keep on holding on to the very first act of our faith, which is the salvation of our soul, unto the very end.

Furthermore we are told that:

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

God knows the end from the beginning and has known from the ancient days the things which are yet to be done …” And, He has decided that when it is all said and done, He is going to end up “pleased” with the outcome.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

For some reason it seems that God has a greater consideration for end of a thing more than the beginning thereof. And He evidently thinks more of those who exhibit patience than of those who are proud and hasty in spirit.

Suffice it to say, God appreciates a good finish.

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.

In fact, Jesus said that He was all about finishing the work of God.

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and he bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
This He did on the Cross of Calvary when He took upon Himself the sins of the world and completed the work of redemption. “It is finished!”

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

The Apostle Paul took this same mind unto himself when after continual physical hardships and overwhelming persecution he declared that he was not going to be moved but would “finish his course with joy” as a testimony to the grace of God. What a testimony it is.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Right near the end of the Apostle Paul’s life he wrote to his son in the faith and told Timothy that he had fought a good fight and “finished his course” and kept the faith which had once been delivered to him in Christ Jesus.

Both heaven and earth, as well as each one of us, appreciate a good finish. We know first impressions are important but we also realize that:

Last impressions are lasting impressions.

At first impression Judas Iscariot was chosen to become an Apostle of the Lamb. (Mark 3:14) Jesus chose Judas along with the other 11 to be with Him and to send him out to preach. However, first impressions can be deceptive … be patient … not every first impression will be the right one.

I don’t mean to be critical, judgmental or insensitive but only stating the fact that the beginning of a thing reveals little if any substance of the outcome of the matter … however … the end speaks for itself just as our text for today declares. (Write the vision down – wait – in the end it will speak) This is just the way of life -

  • Abraham’s promise of being a father of many nations spoke louder at the end than at the beginning.
  • Moses’ declaration that God had sent him as a deliverer spoke louder after they crossed the Red Sea than before.
  • Joseph’s dream spoke louder at 110 than when he first told it at 17
  • David anointing to be King over all Israel spoke louder at the end than at the beginning (BTW – there was a long road in between)
  • Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law spoke louder at the end of her life than when she first made that commitment.
  • The sacrifice of Mary’s alabaster box of fragrant oil speaks louder than it did when she first used it to anoint Jesus.

From Judas to Zacchaeus, from the young rich ruler to those spoken of in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 … last impressions are lasting impressions and finishing well is important. We may never get the new thing right if we do not finish the old thing well. Finishing well may be more important than we first realized.

We have come to the end of another year. 2014 is, for all practical purposes, gone and a new year will soon burst onto the stage.

Some of the most difficult challenges we face in life deal with things which are over – things which have simply come to their end. It is hard with:
  • Things we love
  • Things we have enjoyed
  • Things we have depended on
  • Things we have grown used to

We don’t possess the ability which God possesses. The prophet Isaiah said that God sees the end from the very beginning. (Isaiah 46:10)

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

In order to get a greater understanding of this truth we might look back at the original meaning of this word “better” and employ some of its original synonyms.

Better = more beautiful; pleasing; beneficial; fulfilling; complete; precious; costly; revealing; better understood

Things are better understood at the end than they are at the beginning. At the beginning one cannot see the purpose, intent or impact of a matter as clearly as one might judge it at the end.

The end of a matter reveals more about the matter than does the beginning.

We cannot know what 2015 will bring and if it will be a good year or a bad year, if we will end the year better or worse … it’s only the beginning. However, we do know what 2014 dealt us … but … 2014 is over.

Just because 2014 is gone does not mean it is forgotten, nor should it be. When things end, we must put them in proper perspective. Some things seem to end on their own and yet there are other things are just as over but they haven’t ended yet.

How do you deal with something that’s over? What do you do with those things that are over and need to be ended? How do you end something that’s over so you can start something new?

These are questions are more common than some may realize. Even Jesus faced beginnings and endings in life and ministry. He also felt the pressure to get things right. Seeing that we are at the close of another year and a New Year is about to begin allow me to share 3 simple truths pertaining to ending the old and beginning the new.

  1. Be prepared for things to happen suddenly.
    1. It may be a long time coming but things begin and things end suddenly
    2. For things to truly change something will have to happen suddenly.
    3. Don’t be surprised or thrown off track when things happen suddenly.
    4. There will scarcely be a breath between 2014 & 2015 … Be prepared … things can and often do change suddenly!
  2. We cannot fully embrace the new thing until we completely let go of the old thing.
    1. No man can enjoy either life or death with one foot in the grave and one foot out.
    2. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.”
    3. There is a vast difference between memories and dreams. We must overlook one in order to focus on the other. Whichever one we hold to will control our day and determine our destiny.
  3. Change will happen with or with you.
    1. When you work with God, He prepares you for the new thing which He brings about is His timing.
    2. Don’t be afraid to embrace the new thing and all it brings when you know God brought it.

There is a grace given us by God to bring things, both good and bad, to a successful conclusion and to a final end. God is a God of new beginnings and in order to have a new beginning we must allow the old to end.

This coming week the old year will end and a new year will begin. It will happen suddenly and there will be less than a breath between the two. Along with the new year you will be given an opportunity to change some things in your life as well.

What are some things which need to end in your life? These things can end today and suddenly you can begin a brand new walk with God and a new pathway of life. Next year does not have to be like the last year. However successful change will require your participation.

Today we are going to offer those things in our lives we believe need to change up to God on the altar of prayer. There is no reason for you to carry old things that keep you bound or afraid into your new year. 2015 can bring a sudden change for your life and believe me, you are more prepared than you may realize. you see,

God has already gotten you ready for that which He already had ready for you.

God is bigger than your past, greater than your fears, stronger than your enemies and better than your hopes and dreams. Give Him a chance to show just how wonderful He is and just how much He loves you. Give Him that chance right now … God has written His vision on the tables of your heart and He will also bring it to pass. Can you see that vision? Are you ready to run with it?

God is both Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, He helps you in each new beginning and He guides you through each end. His part is to prepare you and your part is to embrace the sudden change and let the fresh will of God begin in your life. I’m going to run with God in 2015 … how about you?

Altar close …