The Ending Is Sure

 

“These words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 22:6 NIV

My friend George Caylor and his wife, JoAnne, once met the late actor Charlton Heston when he visited Lynchburg, Va., where they live. Now George is not one to pass up an opportunity to meet someone like Heston, whose career included lead roles in such movies as The Ten Commandments, El Cid, and Ben Hur, for which he won an Academy Award in 1959.

Heston regaled them with the story of filming the famous chariot race in Ben Hur. Refusing to use a double for the scene, the actor had practiced for months. He was trying desperately to win the race when Director William Wyler drew him aside.

“Chuck,” he said, “the plot has been written! You win! Just stay on the chariot!”

What a reminder for believers!

We, too, often feel as though we’re running a desperate race—and losing.

Jostled about, thrown from one side to the other, bouncing every which way, we try to stay on our feet and maintain control. We take our eyes off the finish line to see what the enemy is up to.

And we do have an enemy—an unseen adversary who does whatever he can to trip us up, sidetrack us, get us to doubt our faith. If we abandon that faith, he’s won.

Have no doubt: This enemy is real, and he means business.

“For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood,” Paul wrote the Ephesian believers, “but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world” (Ephesians 6:12 LB).

Indeed, our adversary prowls around like an insatiable lion, looking for his next meal (1 Peter 5:8). One of his favorite strategies is to get you to take your eyes off the finish line and look in the rearview mirror—at your past. Your sin. Your guilt. Your shame. “How could God ever forgive me for what I’ve done?” you wonder.

Don’t fall for that trick. Your sin, guilt, and shame have been washed away forever by the blood of Jesus. As the saying goes, “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.”

The race may be fierce, but the outcome is certain: You win; the devil loses (Revelation 20:10). If you’re a believer in Jesus (see 1 John 5:1112), your victory was sealed over 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem by none other than God’s own Son.

So if you’re being tossed about in this race called life and it seems as though you’re losing, remember: The plot has already been written! The ending is sure! You win!

All you have to do is stay on the chariot.

When doubt steps up in my life chariot and I try to take over the reins, remind me, Lord, that You are in control. My victory is certain, for You won it for me on Calvary. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on the finish line. Amen.

Read and reflect: Revelation 19­­–22

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God  ©2017

Rest Stops

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there by the water. – Exodus 15:22

Since our daughter settled in South Carolina, seven hundred miles away, my husband and I used to make the twelve-hour drive to visit with her and her family two or three times a year. At our age, long trips are easier to take if we make frequent stops to rest and avoid road weariness.

Thousands of years ago, the Israelites also had a long trip to make. One million men, women, and children left the bondage of Egyptian slavery and trekked across a barren wilderness where there was little to eat or drink, and where they were exposed to rain, wind, sun, and storms, headed for a land flowing with milk and honey. Along the way, they got tired, thirsty, hungry, and discouraged.

But they were on a faith-growing journey, and the One who led them had many lessons to teach them. They failed test after test. Just when they were in the deepest despair and discouragement, hope dwindling and faith faltering, God intervened—with manna from heaven, water from desert rocks, and an oasis with twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees.

I’m sure the weary travelers would have loved to pitch their tents and stay at that oasis the rest of their lives. But eventually they had to move on. The oasis wasn’t their destination.

The Israelites’ journey through the wilderness is a picture of our journey through life. Once the shackles of our bondage to sin are broken, we begin our journey to the Promised Land – Heaven. We, too, struggle through the wilderness, which, just like the Israelites’ journey so long ago, takes up most of the trip. And we, too, encounter oases sprinkled along the way. But we cannot abide in the rest stops. They are there to provide a temporary respite from the difficulties of life, refresh our minds and spirits, and renew our strength.

Sometimes I’d like to find an oasis and move in permanently. But God calls me to venture into the wilderness on a faith-growing journey. And, just like with the Israelites, He will be with me every step of the way.

Thank You, Lord, for the wilderness that stretches my faith and the oases that refresh me and give me the strength to journey on. Amen.

Read and reflect on Exodus 15:22–16:1

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey.