Finishing Strong


As we approach the end of another year, it is normal to look back and analyze how things went the past twelve months. You may look back and say to yourself, “This was a good year.” But, there are many who will look back upon this year and think, “I will not be sorry to see this year go.”

I don’t know what type of year you have had. I have come to this point on the calendar a few times and wasn’t sorry to see the old year pass. There are reasons that make up a “bad year.” Sometimes, things happen that are truly out of your control that cause a year to be a bad one. Other times, we make bad decisions that lead to circumstances that are less than pleasant.

As you look back over 2016, please think about what I’m going to share with you today. My hope is that it will give you back your life and bring you peace.

  1. It’s never too late to do the right thing.

Often, the past mocks us by saying that too much bad has happened and therefore, our future is set in stone – it is too big of a mess to be fixed. Once accepted, this type of thinking leads to hopelessness. It brings “life paralysis” – meaning that we believe that there is nothing that can be done to change the past. Well, it is true that the past cannot be changed but:

The past can be redeemed!

Redemption takes the bad of the past and makes it serve a higher purpose.

Remember, crap is fertilizer and something beautiful may emerge from it.

Until redemption occurs, the bad of the past has no redeeming quality. But, once you decide that you are going to change the way that you walk, the past begins to take on a new meaning and begins to be used to speak hope and life to those around you who may have a bad past themselves.

If you have actions in the past that have caused you trouble, you have two choices:

A. You can continue to “shoot yourself in the foot” and the past will become a destiny.

B. You can choose to do the right thing and your life takes on a new path – one with a different destiny – one that catches the attention of those around you.

How badly do you want to see change? Badly enough to take another pathway by making a new decision? A changed life begins not with an eraser to erase bad decisions but with one critical choice to try something new. You make the choice, God will do the changing and redeeming!

2. Live in the moment.

This is an essential for maturity. Most of us have had some bad things happen in the past. It is very tempting to get “stuck” emotionally and spiritually at the place that the bad occurred. There is a time for grieving and reflection, but nothing redeemable comes from getting stuck in negative thinking and destructive behavior. I know that there are precious things that can suddenly disappear causing a dramatic change in life. A key to successful living – living that honors what you’ve lost and uses it for good is found in being able to find value in what has been left behind.

You are here. To see no value in that causes loss to overcome a belief that says, “Death, where is your victory?” How do you honor the precious value of what was lost if you give up? There are many things of value in life – you are one of those things. Please don’t rob us of the value we receive from you by neglecting to see that fact.

3. Today is your tool to bring a new beginning.

If you throw today away, you lose an opportunity given to you by God. To find a life that is worth living, you must find the strength to use today and all the potential that is wrapped inside of it!

Today begins a journey to a new life. As a matter of fact, a new life begins not in the future when everything is “fixed” but it begins today with a decision to do something different. Take it from someone who used to waste today through lamenting the past – today is the third best friend you have. Your best friend is Jesus. Your second best friend is you. You take those two friends – let them work together for change and redemption and they will use your third best friend – today as a tool to bring a new life!

As you face the end of this year, remember:

A strong finish becomes a new beginning!

Being “sick and tired” of how things are going can be a good thing if you use the power of the right choice in this moment to bring a change in the course of your life today. Your future looks brighter than you can imagine!

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart!”

God be with you and turn your mourning into dancing and your losses into treasures of redemption!

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