Finish Your Course With Joy


King James Bible StudyAnd when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Mark 8:34

Date: Thursday, December 12, 2019
Chapters: Acts 20-22
Message: Finish Your Course With Joy

Hello My Friend,

There have been a lot of references about fate lately, I guess that may have to do with the Christmas season. It seems as though people want to believe that special miracles happen during Christmas that would never take place any other time of the year. I suppose that may seem to be the case since this is the time of year that people are prone to reevaluate their lives, sort of have their own Christmas Carol moment. A lot of people really have a hard time believing in fate, they refuse to believe that their future is already laid out for them. As, saved, born again Christians, we do not rely on fate, we rely on faith, for it is our faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ, that we know that our fate lies in His hands. And since our fate lies with Jesus, we can finish our course with joy. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2.

and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” There are two things that are certain in this life while we are still breathing in the flesh that God gave us, and they are life and death. There is one thing that is certain after this life, and it is that our soul will spend an eternity somewhere. For those of us who, by the mercies of God, have found Jesus Christ, and made Him our Saviour, our eternity lies with Jesus. Amen! Now, everything else that we go through really has nothing to do with fate, but with the choices we make. Yes, if we choose to walk through water that has a live wire in it and get electrocuted then that is our own stupidity. Now, God will take that stupidity and turn things around so that we can make better choices. Paul was a Jew before he got saved, and started preaching Jesus. Now, after serving Christ for some time, he was convinced that he was called to go to Jerusalem to die there, just as Jesus did. While on his way there he stops in Troas, speaking to the people, he even goes as far as saying that the Holy Spirit is telling him that we was going to get captured if he goes there. Nevertheless, he made a choice, and he was sticking to that choice.

And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” – Acts 20:22-25,28-32.

so that I might finish my course with joy,” You see, we may not always make the right choices, in fact, we make quite a few wrong choices since we are born. It is not really making wrong choices that count, it is how we allow God to guide us after we make them that count. We know that cannot avoid death, unless Jesus returns soon, but what we can do is finish our course with joy knowing that even when we make wrong choices, we will still be with Jesus. Amen! “Therefore watch, and remember,” The wolves will come after us, if only for our faith, which is why we need to be on constant guard. When we make wrong choices, we let our guard down, and that is how it is so easy for Satan to come in and talk us into believing that God is done with us. Well, God is not done with us, we do have a course to finish, and it will not end until we complete it. Amen! Now, as Paul continues on his journey to Jerusalem he spends some time in Tyre, it was there that several people warned him not to go to Jerusalem, as well as in Caesarea, when he visited with Philip and his family.

Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” – Acts 21:3-5,8,11-14.

who said to Paul through the Spirit,” Something incredible happens when we receive Christ as our Saviour, we have the Holy Spirit in us that helps us make the right choices. And while the Holy Spirit is our guide, and will help direct us to making the right choices, sometimes we still have the knack for going against them anyway. Even good intentions can lead to consequences if we make those choices out of God’s will. “The will of the Lord be done.” It does not have to be something sinful to take us out of the will of God, it is often our own reasoning that does. Paul truly thought he was to be captured and die in Jerusalem. Sometimes our heart blocks the Holy Spirit from allowing Him to get through to us, it seems so right, and all the signs point that it is from God, but it is not. Then God sends others to show us that we need to listen, but even then we think it is just Satan, and keep moving forward with our plan. Keep in mind that these are acts of the devil, if he can get us away from God’s will by any means, especially when it looks like it is something from God, then he will do it. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” – II Corinthians 11:13-15.

You see, after they did everything they could to warn Paul that God did not want him to go to Jerusalem, he persisted, and that is when God said, “Okay, go ahead and do it your way.” Paul arrives in Jerusalem, and at first, he was welcomed, but something happened, the saved Jews, who insisted that the Law of Moses still be instituted, urge him to be an example by following the Law concerning purification, and he went along with it.

What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,” – Acts 21:22-27.

to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification,” This was ceremonial law. Do you see the error here? Jesus purifies us with His blood the second we receive Him as our Saviour, there is no need to shave heads, circumcise, or walk in the customs of ceremonial law to be reconciled with God. And by the way, we respect and keep God’s commands through our faith, not obligation, and there is no need for an offering, Jesus is the one and only offering we need. We may not always make the right choices, but that does not mean God will not make use of them. Now, that Paul is captured, God would use this to His advantage, it would be a perfect time to preach the Gospel. The best way we can tell people about Jesus is to give our own testimony. Paul tells the people how he got saved.

And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” – Acts 22:22-29.

But I was free born.” Jesus set us free from bondage to the Law, we are not bound by any laws concerning our salvation apart from accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour. God would now use this time, and we will see this later, to send Paul to Rome, where he was actually supposed have been going in the first place (Romans 15). Think about it, why do so many people hate Christmas? Is it the fact that it celebrates the birth of the man that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life? Or perhaps is it something else, perhaps they see their future, and it is not bright. Well, let me tell you, our future is laid out for us, but we have a choice in the matter. There is not one soul that Jesus did not come here to die for, He died for all, but He will only save those who believe in Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:16-18.

Today’s Prayer: Jesus, You chose me, I did not choose You, but You chose me, all because I knew where my fate would be had I not received You as my Saviour. Although I try to make the right choices, and even remember times where You have warned me not to do something, I still made them. You did not push me to the side, You used those choices to help me get back in Your will. Lord, lead me and guide me, help me to listen to Your Spirit in me at all times, and to understand when You are simply trying to tell me that I need to stop what I am persistent in my own will to do because it will hurt me. I know I can do and endure all things through You as I prepare, and finish my course with joy. I love You Lord and pray this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.

God Bless You, I am praying for you,


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