Technical Note: It has been brought to my attention by several smart phone users that it appears the blog does not update. In all cases, the user had left the window open, and would just click refresh the next day to see if a new blog had posted. The page would refresh, but not show the new blog posts. To correct this, we have added a button at the very top of the page that says “View Most Recent Post”. Please utilize this button to refresh (instead of the normal browser refresh button). This will guarantee that you are seeing the latest posts. Up to this point, God has been very good to me, and I have not missed posting a single day (although some days may be after 8:00pm). If you are still seeing a post from early September, please use the new button to refresh.
Health Update: Still Trucking. Still Waiting.
Thought of the day: It is not how you start, it is how you finish.
Our Sunday School class today covered 1 Samuel 9 and 10. (Note, as I prepare to teach the class each Sunday, I typically use teachings from Skip Heitzig to help me draw conclusions. Most of the points I’m discussing today are from the sermon he gave on these chapters back on 5/8/2002). In these two chapters, God selects Saul to be the King over Israel, and he has Samuel anoint him and establish him as King before the Israeli people. King Saul starts his Kingship very well. He has multiple natural advantages and is given multiple spiritual advantages. The natural advantages King Saul had include:
- His heritage – Chapter 9, Verse 1 tells us that Saul came from a prominent family among the Benjamites.
- Physical Stature – Chapter 9, Verse 2 tells us Saul was a “choice and handsome son”, and that “from his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.”
- He showed he was submissive to authority, even as an adult, by obeying his father in the command to look for the lost goats. He was able to work with others, as he took a servant to help him. He was sensitive and compassionate, which was shown by his concern for his father’s feelings in Verse 5. “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.”
- He was humble. In verse 21, he says to Samuel (paraphrased), “Why would God choose me? My family is the least in the tribe of Benjamin” even though verse 1 made it clear his family had prominence.
The supernatural advantages Saul receives are:
- Chapter 10, Verse 6 – The Holy Spirit indwells within Saul.
- Chapter 10, Verse 7 – It is promised that God will be with Saul.
- Chapter 10, Verse 9 – Saul is given a new heart
- Chapter 10, Verse 26 – God gives Saul a team of valiant men.
- So in summary, Saul received God’s presence, power, and people.
Reading through these lists, it is easy to see that Saul had everything he needed to be successful in his upcoming role as king. However, to the point of my title for the thought for the day… it is not how you start, it is how you finish. For Saul, he did not finish well. What happened?
- In Chapter 13, Saul shows his arrogance
- In Chapter 14, Saul shows his indifference
- In Chapter 15, Saul shows his disobedience
- In Chapter 18, Saul shows his jealousy
- Finally, in Chapter 28, Saul really screws up by seeking a medium to tell him what is going on instead of seeking God.
As you can see, Saul did not end well. Let’s look briefly at Billy Graham? Did he finish well? Considering he continued his ministry and was telling others about Christ all the way to the point of death, I would say, “Yes”, he finished well. He was fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) to the very end. Where are you with your walk in Christ? Are you giving God 100%? Don’t live with regrets from the past. God forgives and forgets. (Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.”). We all start from different places. It doesn’t matter how you start… It matters how you finish.
Dear heavenly Father, I thank You for reminding me today that the sins of my past should not define my future. If we repent, You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We all start at different places. Some of us were saved at a very young age, as our parents took us to Church starting 9 months before we were born. Others of us may not have come to realize our need for Jesus’ redemptive blood until middle age. Regardless, it is not how we started, it is how we finish. I pray that You would help us to lead a life that fulfills the great commission to the point of death. Help us to finish well. Amen.