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The Finish Line

Philippians 3:14, “I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.”

There is a small town in Wisconsin that has an annual race along a small part of Lake Superior lined with small pine trees. It is held in the winter when the ice marks a mile long stretch great for sleds and dog teams.

The race is set up for children and spectators can stand on a slope that overlooks the entire course. For this particular race the boys all lined up with their sleds and team of dogs. The boys were of all age range and had big sleds. Then there was this little 5-year-old who pulled up to the race with his small sled and his one dog.

As the race began the bigger boys and their teams immediately took off. No one thought the little boy had a chance to win against the bigger boys and dogs, but he just kept mushing along happy to be part of the race.

A little while into the race it became obvious who the two leaders were, the two coming up on each other. As these leads came next to each other the dogs began to growl at each other. The boys didn't have much control as the dogs began quite a ruckus snarling and fighting each other. Before long as each boy and their sleds caught up to them, all the dogs began to participate in this entanglement of trouble. As they were trying to straighten out the mess the small boy just kept his focus on the course with his little dog and to everyone’s surprise, he crossed the finish line first. This was because he chose to stay focused on the goal of the finish line and didn't let the distraction of the chaos of the dogs steer him off the course.

Although we live here in this crazy world we have one goal in front of us, heaven. Our prize is a home in heaven with Jesus who is preparing a place for us. Whether frontrunners or the small one in the end we need to heed Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.” We need to stay the course and keep focused on the prize before us.

The problem we run into is getting caught up in the world and getting distracted. When things don't necessarily go our way, we often kick up our heels and begin grumbling. We let others take our focus off the finish line and maybe even begin to “snarl” or “fight” and then get caught up in things distracting us from God.

Yes, there are going to be those moments we get frustrated or distracted where things don't work out like we hoped. But in those moments, we need to keep our eyes heavenward and trust God's plans are better than what is happening at the moment and how He is allowing things to unfold is for the best for all involved. He sees the entire picture of the entire course ahead of us and knows the best way to navigate us through. We just need to stay the course and let go of the growls and snarls and we will cross the finish line with Jesus in the lead.

Could you look back on your life and say, “Up to this point, I have finished my race with joy”? If you can’t say that, then make a change while you can. Don’t allow the snarls of this world take you with them when things aren’t working out at you thought or wanted and steal the joy from your life and lead you away from trusting God’s hand in taking care of you. If today was your last day, what a tragedy it would be if you didn’t do something to make the appropriate changes.

The true prize is to know God intimately and be His friend.

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Lord, help me to keep my eyes on what is important and lasting.

God’s word provides an answer to many of life’s burning questions. The bible can be trusted for guidance. Whenever I am in doubt about a particular aspect of my Christian journey, I ask God to show me the answer in his word. And he does!

Bible study helps us to gain a better understanding of who God is and his role in our lives. The more you read and evaluate the gospel and God’s plan of salvation is the more you long to be closer to your Saviour. The things of the world literally fade away and your bad habits and desires seem to melt away. I’m not making this up, God’s word has that kind of power!

So let's dig in and continue our study with 2 Thessalonians chapter 2

Study 2, 2 Thessalonians chapter 2-

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