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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Ninety-Ninth (Finish Line)

How are you this week? Doing well, I hope. I pray that this weekend is a restful one, during which you have an opportunity to reflect on the good things that happened and focus on your relationship with your loved ones and Yehovah. Also, take a moment to go through the things in your plan for the upcoming week and pray for Him to lead you through them.

If you've read any articles or researched techniques out there to help in successful outcomes for your tasks, one of the ones that comes up is visualization. You think of whatever it is you're going to do and picture yourself doing it flawlessly. It seems to be a pretty popular technique, with professional athletes even employing it as a part of their training regimen.

It makes sense, too. Essentially, you're filling your mind with the positive when very often it's easy to get a little doubt, or a smidgen of negative, that takes hold and grows into a paralyzing fear of failure. In the end, you either succeed or fail. If have that doubt and you fail, you see it as confirmation that you knew all along that was going to happen. If you succeed, you may call it "luck," because you were certain that was not going to be the outcome.

That scenario makes me think of how truth has different "types," as it relates to time. What I mean by that is when we go through something, the facts of what happened are the truth of the past. It cannot change, and we know it is truth because we experienced it. In the present, the truth is what is happening to us right now. It is truth that you are reading this right now, and you know it is truth because you are actively experiencing it.

The future however, is a different matter. In our visualization example, the visualization of success is the outcome we hope is truth. If it comes to pass, then you did visualize truth. If it doesn't, then it was never the truth. It's the same concept for prophecy. If a false prophet prophesies something that doesn't come to pass, it was never the truth. But we know that whatever comes from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is the truth (John 14:6, 15:26).

We also know that like some athletes do professionally, throughout our lives we are running in a race (Hebrews 12:1). In a physical race, an athlete keeps their focus on the finish line and the hope of winning. In a spiritual race, we also must keep a focus on the finish line, and with faith, the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5). In addition to prayer for the Holy Spirit to guide us through each trial on our way to the finish line, we can visualize scenarios where we can emulate Jesus and successfully overcome.

Our God has blessed us with a visualization of the finish line. It involves crowns, glorified bodies, and a beautiful holy city in a new earth. We run this race to receive a crown that lasts forever (1 Corinthians 9:25). And the Greek word for this crown is stephanos which was the wreath crown given to the victors of ancient Greek games. The thing about those crowns though, is they were made of laurel leaves, and as a result they faded and deteriorated just like wreaths hung during holidays.

It is fitting though, that this was the prize given since as time goes on other athletes train harder and eventually beat the victor. It's almost as if they recognized in ancient Greece the fact that at any given time physical victory is temporary. We are promised different crowns however, ones that are eternal (2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, Revelation 2:10).

We are also promised glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:43-44). When our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, returns we will be transformed into a glorious body just like His (Philippians 3:20-21). And this promise, as you can see, is given multiple times (1 John 3:2).

In these glorified bodies, we will enjoy the new earth with a beautifully adorned new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:10-27). We will also walk with our Jesus and be in the presence of God (Revelation 21:3-4). Now that, is a motivating visualization of success!

We know these prophecies are truth, because they come from Yehovah. We know this is a finish line we can trust and have faith in. These prophecies are as much truth as the historical truth that was prophesied and has already come to pass. Noah had a finish line when God told him to start building the ark. The Israelites had a finish line when God told them He would free them from the Egyptians.

Now, things can take hold in our minds even though we know these promises are from Yehovah. Doubt can creep in, making us question if they are meant for us, or if we did something to prevent us from being able to receive these promises. But keeping the faith is important when these thoughts try to take hold. We can count on the Holy Spirit for the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8), so pray in those times for Him to provide.

When you see those not saved, you wonder how they can miss the truth by so much. You wonder how they don't see the glory and power of God in His creation and know that He exists. Lack of faith.

So run that race, keep the faith, and keep your eye on the finish line. Visualize success at every trial and pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit through them. I personally pray for God to keep myself and my family so we can see Jesus coming in the clouds, and each time I do I picture what I might see when He comes. We know that finish line is the truth, because our God is truth and therefore He does not lie. So, keep that in mind as you go through the week, no matter what Satan tries to throw at you!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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