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The End Is Better

The wise man said, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8) Haven't we all experienced the simple truth of this proverb? It’s nice to travel, but it’s always better to come home. Starting college can be exciting, but it’s good to graduate. Perhaps you like dessert. Then the end of a meal is better than its beginning.

But there is more to this little proverb than meets the eye, and it offers terrific advice to anyone who isn’t sure whether their future is really that bright.

If you find yourself in the doldrums right now, or the way is pretty hard, you might be tempted to wonder why your past appears better than what you’re currently going through. Have you considered these words: “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

We could say that this verse is telling us it’s not wise to dwell on the past, perhaps even live in the past, for good or for bad. Think about it. Would you really want to repeat your freshman year in high school? Were the former days actually better?

Remember that emotional or spiritual struggle? Maybe you had real difficulty with family or friends or neighbors. Maybe you used to wrestle with that temptation that dominated you. Do you really want to go through it again now that you’ve gained the victory by God’s grace?

Paul said he sought to forget those things that were behind him (Philippians 3:13). He knew he had to if he was ever to make progress and move forward. No one ever tried driving forward while staring into the rearview mirror. And we can’t hope to proceed if we constantly dwell, even live, in the past.

No matter how dark the night is, morning always comes. God is faithful. Our trials will pass, but God and His promises will not. Like Paul, forget what lies behind, and press forward to what lies ahead.

God desires for us to live forward-focused lives. If you’ve ever run in a race, it’s impossible to do well when you’re looking at the runners next to you or looking behind. You’ve always got to keep your eyes on the finish line if you’re going to win. You’ve got to always look forward.

The whole Bible is forward looking, not backward looking. Abraham is an example of forward looking. He was looking for a city whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). The ancient faithful welcomed God's promises from a distance. They didn’t think about the country they came from. They didn’t put down roots.

Paul wrote, “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.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8) The end is better than beginning.

What does it mean to fight the good fight? It literally means, “struggle the good struggle.” The Greek word for struggle is "agon” where we get our English word "agony." It is a "good" struggle. We need to learn this lesson from God's creation.

A man stood watching a wiggling cocoon. After an hour, a split formed on the bottom of the cocoon. After another hour, only half the abdomen of the butterfly was free. Another hour passed, and only half of the butterfly was free. The man watching this process thought the butterfly was stuck. So he got cuticle scissors and freed the butterfly from what appeared to be torture. But you know what happened to that butterfly don’t you? It never took flight. And because it couldn’t fly it died not too long afterwards.

Butterflies need the struggle to stimulate their wings and to make them strong so they can fly. So struggle the good struggle friends. It may not feel good, but it is good for you. And as you wait upon the Lord, He will give you wings like eagles so you can run and not grow weary (Isaiah 40:31). And not only in this world does God want us to fly, but the day is soon coming when we will fly up to meet the Lord in the air to ever be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16) Truly, the end is better than the beginning.

There is one exception to this proverb however. If you don’t follow Christ, if you haven’t repented of your sins or allowed Christ to change your life, the end will be worse, much worse than the beginning. But it’s not too late to make that decision.

If you have done this, if Christ is your Lord and Savior, take encouragement from this proverb. The end is better than the beginning.

Chris Buttery, Senior Pastor

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The Healthy Plate Presents 

“Eggs! They Aren’t All What They’re Cracked Up To Be.” Join us in the Camellia Room Monday, January 28, 2019 @ 7PM to learn how to make vegan deviled eggs. You’ll be glad you came.

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Liberty at Risk

Lincoln Steed, Editor, Liberty Magazine will join us on Sabbath, February 2, 2019. He will be sharing the morning message at 11AM, followed by an afternoon presentation at 2PM entitled, “Climate Change Is More Than Weather.” 

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TV Production & Camera Training

Want to be a part of a ministry that is making a difference in people’s lives? Want to use your talents in God’s work? Then Central's MediaMin is looking for you! Join us for our next training Wednesday, February 6 @ 7PM. 

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Town Hall Meeting

Join Central's pastors in the Camellia Room on Sabbath, February 9 @ 1PM for a town hall style meeting--an opportunity for everyone to talk together about current trends and issues in a relaxed atmosphere. Please note, there will be no potluck.

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Discipleship University

Join us on Sabbath, February 16 @ 2 PM in the Camellia Room as we continue to study the gospels together, along with the combined reading of The Desire of Ages and Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing. Past recordings can be found here.

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Click on the Calendar to find out what else is happening at Central this month - from Sabbath speakers, to events, plus much, much more!

https://zqh.orf.mybluehost.me/saccentral/calendar/

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Church Directory Update

Our new church directory from Lifetouch is finished! Please look for further information about how you can pick up your copy soon. (Copies reserved for participants only.)

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Operation Joash Update #11

We are thrilled to announce the following: Completed! Fountain/Arbor Area & Sanctuary HVAC System. Next Projects: Cradle Roll & Kindergarten Sabbath School classrooms. Start date - February. Click here to support Operation Joash.

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Watch Us On Television!

You can watch Receiving The Word on Sacramento Faith TV, It Is Written TV, Firstlight Broadcasting, on our YouTube channel, or our website. Please let your friends know where they can get timely Bible messages for them and their families.

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Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Ministry Team: Chris Buttery, Senior Pastor; Mike Thompson, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor