Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The End Will Be Better Than the Beginning

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

John 7:37-38

Another year of my life is drawing to a close.  It has been an ordinary year of ups and downs, joys and delights with family, friends, and my horse, and with a smattering of trials that crept in and threatened to pull me away from my faith in Jesus Christ.  When the trials came, I have often prayed that God would "restore to me the joy of [His] salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit" (Psalm 51:12).  I may wallow in self-pity for a moment, but He has never failed to do just that.  Restoration by the LORD is a beautiful thing.

I know many who will look back upon the last year as unproductive or unfulfilled, but they are only looking at the surface and what they perceive to be their own accomplishments and efforts, rather than acknowledging their Creator and their own inability to even exist without Him.  They will make New Year resolutions that will not be kept, setting their eyes on unattainable goals, only to fail and be disappointed at next year's end, where they will make new resolutions.  "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' -  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.   Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'  (James 4:13-15)

And so the cycle goes.

I have experienced this myself.  I have looked towards tomorrow with anticipation to self-made plans, only to watch them never materialize.  I have known disappointment far more times than I can count in my nearly 61 years.  I have often wondered why my idea of how my life should be lived never seems to come to fruition; why I can't have the life others lead and the comforts they enjoy.  But then I am reminded that my life is not my own.  I am given a choice to either whine, moan, or covet after what I don't have, or rest in the knowledge that what I do have is what God desires for me and be eternally grateful for it.  He alone knows me and what I am capable of handling.  He alone knows what is best for me.  And what I do have are gifts from Him that are beyond comparison to what so many others lack.  He has upheld me with His strength even in my darkest moments and His daily bounties have been magnificent!

As I look back over the years and the times I found myself in despair or need, God was always present, whether I acknowledged Him then, or not.  As I grew in faith, my thirst for my Savior Jesus Christ compelled me to drink from His bottomless well of providence, mercy, and grace.  And I have returned there every day for renewal, because I know He is the compilation and completion of all that I am.  Without Him, I will die from thirst.  But with Him, my thirst is quenched for all eternity. 
I know with all my heart that the end of my life here on this earth will be far better than its beginning.  I, like all sinners, didn't start out that well.  I stumbled and faltered often and made mistake after mistake.  But the finish line is in view and I know Who it is that is waiting for me there with open arms and the beginning of what life is truly meant to be.

It is my desire for the New Year 2015 that those I know and love who have yet to receive their Savior Jesus Christ will come to Him and drink deeply from the living, eternal waters of life that He is offering you.  Don't resolve to put it off for another day.  Don't think you can plan when, how, and where you will respond for, if you do, you may one day face a locked door:

 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.   For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,  but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.   As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.   But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’   Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.   And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’   But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’   And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.   Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’   But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."  (Matthew 25:1-14)

I pray you will hear and heed His voice.  The day is growing shorter and His return is on the horizon.  Who knows what next year, tomorrow, or even the next moment, will bring?

Jesus is calling,

  "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

For this coming New Year, repent of your sins against a Holy God and resolve to know, trust, and have faith in your Savior Jesus Christ.  May it be so.

Have a blessed and Happy New Year!

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