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Friday, February 1, 2008

Deer and cat (Photo by Marilyn Thornbery)
This photo was taken by Marilyn Thornbery of Kiowa, Colorado.  It looks like a scene out of northern Pennsylvania, where we lived for nearly sixteen years.  We had bear on our back deck and twice our dog got in a tussle with porcupines.  But we never had deer come up to our window like this!  It appears the deer may be even more curious than the cat!

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"Press On"

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus"  (Philippians 3:14).

SuperBowl XLII venueHere in America our national sports interest turns to football throughout the fall and early winter culminating in the "Super Bowl" this weekend.  This year since one of the teams is undefeated this game has a special intrigue. Over one billion people worldwide are expected to watch it.  Still, today's illustration may not connect with non-football fans or international readers though it has an important spiritual application. Please read on.

A successful football season  is a series of steps with the ultimate goal of qualifying for and winning the Super Bowl. This is true of many sports seasons. In individual games throughout the season its getting yardage, first downs, scores, and the game win; then winning the playoffs, league championship and finally the Super Bowl.

There is a similar pattern in the Christian life.  The Christian's ultimate goal, analagous to the Super Bowl, is "to win the prize" which is reaching heaven.  In the daily text the Apostle Paul writes, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  This victory is absolutely assured by the grace of God for those who faithfully believe and follow Jesus Christ. 

First down
Yet reaching this goal is a long series of "spiritual first downs."  In football the first down is an incremental step normally taken to reach the goal. In life "first downs" are the incremental overcomings that comprise the daily business of life. 

Sometimes we get sacked, sometimes we may even get piled onto.  We need to get up and press on.  (Many years ago I shared this concept in our church in New England and Joyce, a woman who had grown up in church shared of a song she recalled from the fifties with a line that sure brings a smile.  "Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goal post of life.")


Some of you are down today.  Circumstances of life have sacked you.  The forces of the adversary may have even piled on you.  In fact as I type this I have some specific friends in mind.

Get up and press on!  Paul wrote our daily verse from prison.  He sure knew from personal experience what it meant to be sacked and even piled on (read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33).  But in his last letter he confidently wrote, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2 Timothy 4:18).

Stay faithful today and keep pressing on! The victory is ours and the greatest prize is yet to come.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Father, You bless those who revere Your name and delight in Your commands.  In the midst of inner turmoil or outer conflict I will not be shaken for my heart remains steadfast trusting in You and Your overall plan for my life.  I want to remain firmly grounded as I overcome the daily obstacles common to all who live on earth.  Help me to learn the valuable lessons along the way as I press on toward the goal for which You have called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Deer and cat
This morning we had freezing rain which resulted in some tree  branches being coated with ice.  This is a dogwood tree in our front yard.

PS: In the course of my preparation today I came across this page, which explains something I had been curious about.

A free tip from Daily Encouragement! Aunt Annie's, the pretzel company, is headquartered right here in Lancaster County. They're celebrating their 20th anniversary and are giving away free pretzels tomorrow Feb. 2 from 10 AM to 4 PM.  I expect that you may have a pretty long line to wait in!  Maybe you'll start up a new friendship with a fellow pretzel lover.  See here.  (No I am not commissioned by Aunt Annies, but I do like their pretzels!) Many of you may not be aware that Annie Beiler (Aunt Annie), who founded the company as a single pretzel stand here in our area, is a committed Christian.

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"Press On"  (Video)  We both really enjoy this powerful song by Selah.

"Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goalposts Of Life"  (Audio) This is the song Joyce shared with me in New England. Here are the lyrics. Get ready to smile!  The drop kick is so unusual many younger football fans may not have even heard of it but is still legal in the NFL.

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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