Five Steps To Finishing Strong

Five Steps To Finishing Strong

Maybe like me, you’re old enough to remember the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. I’ll never forget watching a British runner named Derek Redmond run the 400 meters. Redmond had a history of injuries that kept him from being the best in the world. 

In 1992 everything seemed to be coming together for Redmond at last. Derek was running well. In the first round of qualifying, he recorded the fastest time. He won his quarterfinal heat. 

As he settled into the starting blocks for the start of his semifinal race, Derek Redmond’s thoughts turned to his father, Jim. His dad had always supported Derek. 

In this race, Derek got off to a clean start. He was running smoothly. Suddenly, about 150 meters into the race, his right hamstring muscle tore. In pain, he fell to the ground.

The stretcher-bearers are running towards him. Derek wanted to finish the race. He somehow managed to get up and began moving awkwardly forward despite the pain he felt.

His father, Jim, ran out of the grandstands.  He joined his son on the track. Dad joined with son, hand in hand, arm in arm, and with Derek sobbing from disappointment and pain, they continued.

As they neared the finish, the father let his son go, and Derek Redmond completed the course on his own. The crowd of 65,000 roared their approval and gave him a standing ovation.

Our Heavenly Father is there for us as Believers. He will pick us up and move with us hand in hand, arm in arm, and even pick us up and carry us to the finish line. All we have to do is rely on Christ, and we can finish strong. 

This article has five steps to finishing the race known as life strong.

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24 ESV

Five Steps to Finishing Strong

Step #1 – Remove All Distractions

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” – Hebrews 12:1b ESV

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Step #2 – Remember the Reason

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV

“as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV

Step #3 – Renew Myself Daily

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” – Psalm 94:19 ESV

Step #4 – Resist Discouragement

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 ESV

Two Basic Principles of Life

1. You Will Get Discouraged
2. You Will Get Over It

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

Step #5 – Rely on Christ

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 ESV

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalms 34:4 ESV

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” – Psalms 34:7 ESV

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6 ESV

Remember, Our Heavenly Father is there for us as Believers. He will pick us up and move with us hand in hand, arm in arm, and even pick us up and carry us to the finish line. All we have to do is rely on Christ, and we can finish strong. 


Image Source: Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay

How to Hang On

How to Hang On

23.1 My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. The day of the week was Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved mouthing I love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her two of my adult children, and my wife’s sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info.

I then read Psalm 23 to my wife, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

Around 7:30 AM, I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house, checking on the situation. She had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home as soon as possible to say any final goodbyes.

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived, I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours, she had moved much closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away at 3:54 pm on April 12, 2018. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus’ loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, sisters, and friends when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

23.2 Hang On

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God. Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.

23.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

23.4 What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are Biblical principles that explain the verse. These seven principles give the Biblical alternative of how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

  • Principle One: I must not forget God loves me. Don’t lose heart!

2 Corinthians 4:1(KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember, our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace provides us with the power to start over.

Romans 8:37 (KJV), “Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

  • Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

  • Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

  • Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

  • Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

  • Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

  • Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember, you cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

23.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to You.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask Your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to be fixed on the unseen.

23.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you? 
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved ones. If so, ask God’s forgiveness. 
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help. 

23.7 Takeaway

Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by Zdeněk Chalupský from Pixabay 2017.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

Finish Strong

23 Finish Strong

23.1 My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. It was a Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved mouthing I love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her that two of my adult children and my wife’s two sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info.

I then read Psalm 23 to my wife, Miss Benita, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

At 7:30 AM I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house checking on the situation. The supervisor had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home to say any final goodbyes.

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived, I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours she had moved closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away the next afternoon at 3:54 pm. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus’ loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, and sisters when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

23.2 Hang On

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God. Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.

23.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

23.4 What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are Biblical principles that explain the verses. These seven principles give the Biblical alternative of how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Principle One: I must not forget God loves me. Don’t lose heart!

2 Corinthians 4:1(KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10(KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace provides us with the power to start over.

Romans 8:37 (KJV), “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember, you cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

23.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to you.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to look on the unseen.

23.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you?
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved ones. If so, ask God’s forgiveness.
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler please complete the “Email Sign-up”  found in the far left column of the blog.

Keep On Hanging On

Hang On

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually.

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God.

My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. It was a Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved to mouth love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a hospice critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her my adult son, adult daughter, and my wife’s sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info. 

I then read Psalm 23 to Miss Benita, my wife, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

Around 7:30 AM I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house checking on the situation. She had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home to say any final goodbyes. 

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours she had moved closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away at 3:54 pm on April 12, 2018. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, and sisters when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 King James Version (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are seven Biblical principles that explain the verse. These principles give the Biblical alternative of how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Principle One: I must not forget God loves me. Don’t lose heart! 

2 Corinthians 4:1 (KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace gives us the power to start over.

Romans 8:37(KJV), “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember — You cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal. 

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to you.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to be fixed on the unseen.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you?
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved one. If so, ask God’s forgiveness.
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.