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End of Season - A Devotion

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Ecclesiastes 7:8 (AMP)
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

It is not how you start but how you finish, if you finish or will you finish that counts. I think of all the things I have tried and given up on in my lifetime that creates a long, line of what-ifs to consider. These can result in regret which ties us to the past unable to successfully move into the future. We serve a redeeming God. If He put it in our heart back then, everything that comes from Him can be found in the future. However, the human heart is fickle and races back and forth uncertain if it is the past that is missed or the future more desired. Some of the best advice my father ever gave me that I have given to our children is never burn your bridges. Keep the door you exit open in case of return. When coming to the end of a season, it is human nature to want to rapidly exit leaving things unfinished to explore what is new. But I believe that the end of a thing is better than the beginning of it. Not because it is my nature, but it is God’s Word. Patience is a virtue and gift of the Holy Spirit that produces endurance in the life of a believer. It is the thing that presses and pushes us across the finish line of faith the many times that we wanted to throw in the towel and exit the course. I am not a patient person. God knows my heart so many times I do not realize a season is ending until right before He moves me. I completely understand why He does that. The Lord knows me too well. Rather than finishing the race and completing the course – I am ready to run to our next venture and escape the hard work of endurance. I am at the end of a season. Are you? Has God put a thought in your heart and mind for a new direction that you just cannot think? Does this thing keep presenting itself to you as an option at every turn? Change is coming, but completion comes first.

Philippians 1:6 (AMP)
And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

The course of a believer’s life is presented in seasons. Each season has a time of preparation, planting, waiting and harvest. Every season has these four points. To avoid one will require a longer stay in that season to reach completion. For example, a farmer can toil the soil and prepare for planting. He can then wait and watch for crops to form. But if he never plants anything there will not be a harvest. It is human nature to look for shortcuts or an easy way out. But God is conditioning us for the long haul of faith. The kind of faith that produces blessings and promises for His Glory in every season. The Lord has promised that He will complete every good work that He has begun in our life. It says that He will perfect and bring it to full completion in us. We must make it a point to finish each season with the intensity that we began even when we are ready to move on. To abandon this season too soon is to forfeit the potential fulfillment and satisfaction found in the Lord when He completes what He has begun in each of us.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (AMP)
Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

It has been about six weeks since I last went to the gym for a workout. Upon my return, I knew that I would not be at the same level of conditioning that I was before I left to care for our son. Toward the end of the elliptical routine, I realized that I was right. The end of the cycle becomes a mental challenge more than a physical one. Every bone, muscle, ligament and most of my major organs scream out to stop this insanity quite sure that I am trying to kill myself. It is at this point that endurance kicks in. Endurance is not a physical attribute but a mental attitude. The one that tells us to keep going when we really want to quit. It pushes past physical discomfort in search of the finish line. Endurance refuses to give up even when our body is past its prime. “Let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us…” This is the end of our season displayed in God’s Word. We have an example. His Name is Jesus Christ. He is our leader and source of faith. He is also the Finisher. He is the One who brings it to full maturity and perfection. This is the goal of each season and the course of our life that our faith is perfected in Christ alone.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (AMP)
In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the first fruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it—to the praise of His glory.

When Jesus finished His Mission here on the earth, He did not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. First, He overcame the world. (John 16:33) He disarmed every power of darkness from its ability to harm us giving us victory in all things. He also gave us His Spirit who produces certain fruits in our life that complete us in Jesus Christ such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) each one a tremendous benefit in our life. The Spirit is our guarantee of potential promises and purpose in every endeavor of this life as it identifies us as Children of the Living God. All we must do is finish what He starts in us. God will never lead you to another season until this one is complete.

Ephesians 1:19-23(AMP)
And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come. And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church], which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

There are times when we see the Lord closing one door so we race to open the next door rather than waiting on Him to do it for us. This is probably why God is so secretive most of the time. We abort the blessings of this season to escape the pressure of completion. In Jesus Christ is fulfillment – God is in the business of complete satisfaction. He does not know settlement and compromise because He deals in fullness. Finish means to bring to an end or completion. This is our God. He finishes all things in our life well.

Ephesians 4:12-13(AMP)
His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

In this season of change and completion, it is important to remember that the Lord leaves nothing undone in our life. Nothing is wasted. Faith is what we are after that becomes confident hope. We must have enough faith to remain in our current season until it is complete before running off to the next one. There are certain things to be found in each season before it is time to move on. The first thing is harvest. This season was meant to produce something in our life. The Kingdom of God works on the principle of sowing and reaping. Have you seen a harvest yet? (James 5:7-8) Harvest is not just a monetary or tangible blessing. You will know when the harvest from this season comes because it will bring you peace. You will be satisfied which will cause you to rest. (Hebrews 4:3) The Lord provides a place of rest for finishers called peace. Finally, there will be joy. Even when it breaks our heart to leave this time behind to embrace the future, it is not without the blessing of joy. (Psalm 126:5-6) It is all part of the process of trusting in, leaning into and relying on the Lord with our entire life. Is the Lord calling for change in your life, too? Is it uncomfortable? Decide to endure to the end and have the blessing of God meant to be your harvest. Even when you are ready to move on, don’t leave your blessing behind in ignorance or haste. Finish this season. Endurance has a prize.

Luke 21:19 (AMP)
By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.

Romans 5:3-4(AMP)
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

Matthew 24:13 (AMP) But he who endures to the end will be saved.

The ultimate goal that we are after is the fulfillment of our salvation which is the completion of our faith. Every season in our life promotes this. We must learn to be finisher and completers of each course in our life. Self-control will keep us from abandoning one season prematurely. To work and never finish does nothing for our soul, it is the source of discouragement because we will never know success or completion. The Lord may be changing your season but He expects you to finish each course for His Glory and Honor because you live under His Name. So finish well, my friend and be complete in Christ. Meanwhile, I will also continue to put one foot in front of the other through this closing door into the one that He is opening!

2 Timothy 4:7 (AMP)
I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.

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