So, You Want to Move Forward

Whether running a race or fighting a fight, you should still be in it to win it.

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Acts 12:25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

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A famed race car driver once said, “To finish first, you must first finish.”  It is such a simple statement, and yet absolutely profound.  I cannot tell how many people I have met in my seven decades of life who want to win, who want to finish first, who give little if any consideration to simply finishing.  With that thought in mind, take note of our Text for Today once again.  We see that Barnabas and Saul returned from Jeru-salem AFTER they had fulfilled their ministry.  They did not leave Jerusalem early, prematurely, or before they had finished their ministry.  This seemed to be part of the character of Apostle Paul.  In his second epistle to Timothy, as Paul neared the end of his ministry, he stated that he had “finished his course.”  So, we see it from the early days of his ministry to its conclusion.  What God gave Paul to do, Paul finished before he moved on to the next phase.

So, consider this same pattern as it relates to your own life and ministry.  Are you a finisher, or do you start, perhaps even well, but fail to finish that which you have been assigned?  I am not asking this question of you to anger you, or cause you to be offended, but to provoke true self-examination of the habits of life to which you give yourself.  Please believe that when you stand before the Lord, your works will be judged.  If you are a finisher of what He assigns to you, you will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  You really don’t want to hear the alternative to that statement.

I don’t know what God has called or sent others to do.  I only know for sure that which He has called and sent me to do.  I often hear people say that want the Lord to specify His direction for their life and ministry, but they seem to be unable to find it, or hear from Him.  When someone says that to me, I have  one question for them.  It is a simple one.  “Have you finished doing all the Lord spoke to you the last time you heard specifically from Him?”  In most cases, the truthful answer is “No.”  That brings me to my concluding statement.  If you will clearly hear from the Lord that which He desires you to do next, finish what He last spoke to you.  There are multitudes of people running from place to place seeking the will of God for their life, all the while not having completed the last assignment Father gave them.  That’s not how it works.  Only when you are faithful to your present assignment to its completion can you clearly know your next assignment.  And having folks who do not follow through on your team, in your ministry, and helping in your vision will be a distraction, disappointment, or disability to your ministry.  Even on the cross Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”  When you can say that to Father, you will receive your next assignment.

Manna for Today – Acts 12:20-25; 2 Timothy 4:1-8

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