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Friday, April 8, 2022

Philippians 3:14

"Pressing On"

Message summary: Keep faithful in your journey today. Keep pressing on!

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“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources
When we’ve given our all

Once Brooksyne showed me a piece of jewelry that stated, “It’s all about the journey not the destination”. She observed, “Isn’t this the way so many live their lives?” Indeed so many live their lives giving little to no thought about their final destination. In fact a purely secular viewpoint would be, “You live, then you die, that’s all there is.”

GPSBut viewing our journey with the goal of having our spiritual gps set to heaven will greatly affect the perspective of our life’s journey that leads to our final destination. Today let us consider a Biblical truth which is of first importance; preparing for the afterlife is our final but never-ending destination.

The Christian life is like a long journey and today’s Scripture portion teaches several key components to living this spiritual journey. The apostle Paul is writing to the Philippians (and through the Scriptures to each of us).

Paul begins the verse, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” In the context he has just stated his desire to attain to the resurrection of the dead (v.11). It seems he is focusing on a destination outlook.

This spiritual journey begins when we receive Christ Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and place our faith in Him and His plan for our lives. The earthly journey concludes at our death (or at the rapture for those living at the time of Christ’s return). It’s a long, sometimes grueling, journey here below since the cloud of sin impacts the entire human race, even those who are the redeemed. As the old hymn expresses and many of us have experienced, we will go “through many dangers, toils and snares”.*

But one thing I do. This describes Paul’s singular focus. He breaks down this singular focus to several components:

"Forgetting what is behind" Now certainly we remember our past, memories that are both pleasant and pain-filled. As people age most experience short term memory loss but for the most part, apart from a serious disease or brain injury, they remember long-term. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes that, “Forgetting did not mean obliterating the memory of the past (Paul has just recalled some of these things in 3:5-7), but rather a conscious refusal to let them absorb his attention and impede his progress.”

“And straining toward what is ahead.” “Straining” conveys the intensity required in running this race. Visualize a runner seeking to lengthen his stride and thrusting his body forward with each step.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” “Press on” powerfully communicates the perseverance and steadfastness required for staying faithful and finishing well in this lifelong journey to reach life's ultimate goal.

Fellow followers of Christ, today we do well to memorize these words of the great Apostle. How are you doing in your journey? Do you have the focused attention that Paul is describing? Or to ask it another way – What is your primary focus in life? What drives you? Where do you invest your time, energy, and talent? Paul said, “This one thing I do". For me that is very convicting!

One day we can say as Paul did late in life in his final letter, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Keep faithful in your journey today. Keep pressing on!

In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we find life’s journey to be enjoyable and entertaining in the straight stretches of life where we travel most of the time. Other times we learn to navigate life’s twists and turns, and must exercise steady endurance as we press on through the cavernous potholes that usually appear without notice. Through it all we keep our eyes on the goal of our faith, straining toward what lies ahead, the prize for which You have called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. We can press on, even when circumstances are grim, because our strength comes from You. As the Apostle Paul wrote, When I am weak, then I am strong. In our weakness You become our strength. You are the light that breaks through our gloom and guides our every footstep. We will fight the good fight, we will finish the race, and we will keep the faith as we remain faithful in our walk with You. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.

* “Many dangers, toils and snares”: Each day we consider those who are facing great hardships. Some deal with situations making international news such as the downing of an airplane, or at least 50 victims who were killed in rocket attack on a Ukraine train station. Others are more localized such as events that happen in our region, although we may not personally know the people involved. But sometimes it may affect us or we can sympathize in a very special way.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Press On"  Video   Selah 

"Marching On"  Video   Free Presbyterian Church, Magherafelt, Northern Ireland.

"One Day (When We All Get To Heaven)"  Video  Matt Redman

Young men working at JK
This morning I visited with these three young men, ages 19, 20 and 21, at JK Mechanical. What a blessing to speak for a few minutes with these men who are working hard and being responsible and productive in a field we all benefit from. Two of them are graduates of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, a premier, residential, two-year, accredited technical college that prepares students for skilled employment. I told them to share this photo with their parents and teachers who are to be commended for doing a good job!

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Stephen & Brooksyne

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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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