II Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Toward the end of Paul’s life, he had the time to reflect on the life that he lived.  Paul’s life was one that started out all wrong and finished all right.  From killing Christians to bring them to Christ, Paul had gone through transformations and revelations in his life.  His life was truly not a sprint but a marathon.  The same goes for us.  Our lives are marathons as well.  Our lives last as long as we have life.  Then there is death.

The time of our depature could be near.  We do not know when we will die.  No indication is given from God.  Paul understood this as well.  Paul knew that he was about to be executed for his faith in Jesus but he did not know when his death would be.  God had a plan for Paul’s life, even in his end days.  Paul knew that he was a drink offering, an offering that was offered to God to honor God and give glory to God.  Paul was used by God, even from prison awaiting death.  Paul’s ministry continued even from his writings in confinement.

Paul fought hard for Christ after his transformation on the Damascus road.  His ministry took him on several different journeys across the world.  He saw many nations and travelled far more than a lot of the people of the time.  In his journeys, he was able to preach God’s message to several places that were firm believers in gods that were not the True God.  Paul’s faith in God was tested at every turn and he kept his faith in God throughout the struggles and persecution.  Paul professed his faith to get God’s good news out there.

Paul was also eagerly waiting for the prize at the end of the race.  The prize of the crown of righteousness.  Eternal life with God is at the end of the race for those who are faithful to Him.  Paul knew this and in knowing this, Paul was ready to die for Christ.  Yes, ready to die for the God that he preached about.  We all can look forward to this same prize based on our faith in God.  Paul welcomed death as his end becuase he knew that this death was the start of life.  Life with God.

Each person is entered into the race called life.  Life can take many twists and turns.  Life can be fun and life can get you down.  At the end of life, there is death.  When entering death, there are two options for where your soul will go.  The body goes into the ground but the spirit can live with God or live with Satan.  Based on a confession of faith and belief in God, the soul goes to live with God in Heaven for all eternity.  Eternal rest and comfort from all the pain of this world.  The choice of Satan leads to more torment and pain for eternity.  When given this choice, the option to choose is clear.  Choose eternal life.  Choose God.

At the end our lives, we should all want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  We should want to make God our Father proud of the life that we have lived.  Not to be prideful in what we have done, but in what God has done for us.  In living a life for God, we make Him happy.  God wants His people to want to live for Him.  Not everyone does but God already knew this.  That is why there is a choice.  Free will.  Choose God or don’t.  No middle ground.

So what is your choice?  Choose to serve an eternal God that promises rest at the end of life or choose Satan, who promises eternal torment and pain.  For me, the choice is clear.  I pray that the choice is clear for you as well.  God wants His creation to come to Him.  He wants us to live with Him forever.  Let us boldly declare God and take our prize that is at the end of life’s race.  First prize that is eternal life.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this gift called life.  Life to spend serving You.  Thank You also for giving us eternal life.  Eternal life that can be spent with You in Heaven.  The choice is ours.  I pray that Your creation chooses You and the gift that You offer.  I choose this path for my life and the life of my family.  I choose You, God.  You are my God and I am Your vessel that can be used for Your honor and Your glory.  I pray for a hurting world that needs You.  Let this message reach the world and Your creation come to know You better.

In Your gift-giving name we love and pray,

Amen

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