God Will Finish What You Started

“At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” – Luke 2:25-26. 

In each of our lives, God has begun a work. A good work. And the work involves more than we know. We see our unfinished projects, goals, and assignments. But the underlying work also includes our transformation, our love for others, and our love for God. Even when we don’t see progress, God is busy behind the scenes. He not only has the will to make it happen, but He also has the power to do it. 

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been or how impossible it looks. Your mind may tell you it’s too late. You missed too many opportunities. It’s never going to happen. Don’t discount the process just because you can’t yet see the results. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. God will bring His plan to pass.

In Luke 2 we read about a man named Simeon. In Verse 26, the Holy Spirit revealed to him that “…he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.“ That probably seemed far-fetched, but you could imagine Simeon believing that God would fulfill His promise. You can imagine him waking every day believing and expecting God to keep His promise. 

Simeon didn’t see any sign of the Messiah for years. You have to wonder if Simeon became concerned that he had heard God wrong.  But many years later, he saw Christ born. The promise came to fulfillment.   

What God starts, He will finish. People can’t stop it. Circumstances can’t stop it. Medical problems can’t stop it. God is going to complete your incompletions. 

Remember you will always be a work in progress. Day by day God is committed to working in your life to make you more and more like Jesus. Lean into Him on the hard and good days. Read your Bible daily and pray. We can all cling to the truth found in Philippians 1:6. Here the Apostle Paul reminds us to confidently hold onto the promise that God will not only continue but finish the transformational work He has begun in us. Even though this may not be a present reality, we can trust in God who keeps His promises.  

God will finish what he started in your life.

Discussion Questions

  1. Does the fact that God will complete what He started encourage you?
  2. How will this knowledge help you to make changes in your life that you realize should be made?

A Matter Of Time

“And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.” – Genesis 17:15-19.

In Genesis 17, God promises Abraham he would have so many descendants that they’d be too numerous to count through a son born to him by Sarah. (Genesis 15:5 and Genesis 17:16). First, it didn’t seem logical. Sarah and Abraham were old. Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100 when Isaac was born. Then it wasn’t very timely, at least from Abraham’s perspective. God made the promise approximately 20 years before Abraham and Sarah had Isaac. And it certainly was not without challenges. Abraham and Sarah had tried to “help” God keep his promises by finding a solution. Abraham slept with Sarah’s servant Hagar and had a son.

Regardless of logic, time or interference, God kept his promise—exactly as He promised.

Have you ever been praying and waiting and praying some more? It’s easy to get stuck when we look at our circumstances and the calendar. Time passes and God has not “fixed” it yet. Have you ever got to the point where you assume the answer is no and develop your own solution as Abraham and Sarah did? The fact of the matter is that God’s timetable is a whole lot different than our timetable. Yet we know that God is God. He keeps His promises. We can trust Him. We can rest in the assurance that God keeps His promise and He keeps them in His time, exactly as He promised. Unfortunately, it is rarely (should I say never) in our time. While I’m still waiting, however,  I can hang on to the fact that in God’s perfect time, He will keep His promise.

Psalm 91:14-16 says, “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Genesis 15:1-3. As this chapter opens, Abraham expresses his frustration to God that he doesn’t have an heir. What needs do you have that have yet to be fulfilled?
  2. Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness (v. 6). Do you believe that God is true to His word? In what ways does this affect how you trust Him with the details of your life?
  3. Read Genesis 15:8. Abraham asks for confirmation and God responds with a ceremony affirming His commitment to Abraham. How has God confirmed or demonstrated His faithfulness to you?
  4. Pray and ask God for the faith to wait, trusting God and His plan.

I Left My Patience In My Other Suit

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)

In my mind, one of the most important passages in the Scriptures is 1st Corinthians 13. It is the love chapter often read at weddings. In 1 Corinthians 13:4, we read the profound and powerful words: “Love is patient.”

What does that mean to us today?  Most would agree that love should be patient, but does that mean we should be tranquil or peaceful? Or does it mean we should be long-suffering? Does it mean that when the heat gets turned up around us or within us–we should just take it without giving up or losing it?

When we think about patience we have to think about God himself. God isn’t patient because we deserve it. He’s patient because it’s who He is. He doesn’t lose patience with those He loves, since patience is His very nature. Peter assures us the Lord is “patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).  A couple verses later, Peter says it straight out: “our Lord’s patience means salvation” (2 Peter 3:15).

When we are patient in an impatient world, we show people the One who is patient with us. When was the last time you had to be patient with someone? Our culture isn’t exactly keen on patience. We want what we want now, not later. It would be difficult to wait in line without a smartphone to accompany us. Being patient while waiting in line is one thing, but being patient with another person is sometimes even harder, especially when somebody causes delays or raises our blood pressure. Being patient with others can be the hardest time to have patience.

Read the parable in Matthew 18:21-35. This is a story Jesus told his disciples about two servants who both had debts. The first servant owed his master an exorbitant amount of money; so high a payment that he likely could work his entire life and never fully make the payment. He asked his master to be patient with him, and the master, being good and forgiving, forgave the servant of the entire amount. Can you imagine how the servant must have felt? Instead of relieved and grateful, it looks like this servant turned to greed next. He went to his friend and asked for the friend to repay his (very small) debt. Instead of showing patience to another, he showed extreme impatience! The story highlights the contrast of the two responses, and makes clear how God intends for us to respond to His great patience.

If you want patience then ask God for it. Because when we’re patient, we’re more like Him. The apostle James writes that the testing of our faith produces patience, and patience perfects us and makes us complete so that we lack nothing (James 1:2-4).

Discussion Question:

  1. In your relationships, are you patient? Do you love others?
  2. Consider your relationship with your kids. Do you find yourself patient with your children when they disobey?
  3. Are you losing your temper when things don’t go your way? Can you handle adversity with patience?
  4. Are you patient with God’s timing?
  5. Pray and ask God for patience in all your dealings this week.