Pressing on, pt. 4 (the final episode)

Have you ever been relieved to be done with something? Finished with a project? Completed the assignment?

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There are some days that I feel like I want to be done. Done with earth. Done with this life.

I want heaven.

I like how Paul ended this section, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14

More specifically, three words, “called me heavenward”. 

{insert your own picture of heaven because Google is way too diverse}

This life will be over at some point. By death or by rapture, it all ends. Are you called heavenward? Do you have a spot saved? 

Because the apostle had a new life in Christ, he was able to be confident about the after-life. In verse 9 of chapter 3, gives the gospel in short order, “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

You and I can be assured of heaven. Read that again and let it sink in. 

BUT, we don’t stop running until we get there.

That is what these verses are speaking of. We cannot, under any circumstances, put confidence in our own flesh. We will fail.

But in Christ, he will help us back up when we fall. I don’t care if you fall a thousand times. Just be sure to get back up a thousand and one times.

I have a friend that still deals with anger.

Another with depression.

I follow a blogger who dealt with eating disorders.

Some people work too much.

Pornography is my battle.

But we keep getting back up. Why?

Because I am a new creation in Christ and I have a mansion in heaven with my name on the door frame! 

Walk with Jesus through your day. He will be right there every step.



Thanks for reading my blog. Every time I write, I challenge myself. I hope that you are also encouraged or challenged in following Jesus.

I am taking the month of July off. My family and I are moving into a new house near the end of the month and so I have packing to do. There is a portable storage unit in my driveway and my house is full of boxes! 

Along with all things moving, I am also taking this time to work on some new material for this post. There are stirrings in my mind and heart but I need to give God time to solidify things.

Thank you again and you will hear from me in August!

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Pressing on, pt. 3

As it turns out, all the June posts have been about Philippians 3:12-14. First, here are these verses. 

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, 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, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Last week I wrote about God not letting go of us.

The week before was about going all out for God.

The first week encouraged us not to quit.

Today, let’s look at the goal. The word goal is used twice in the NIV.

What does it mean?

Although the word goal is used twice, there are two very seperate meanings. 

Verse 12 says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have arrived at my goal…”.

Again, this is the New International Version. Here is that same phrase in a literal sense.

“Not that I already have obtained it or already have been perfected…”

Paul is telling the readers that he is not complete, not yet perfect. God still has to add to Paul’s life what is lacking in order to bring his character to perfection.

The consumation of life has not yet happened. The process is not finished. There are more stages in which Paul (and you and me) must still go through.

Remember those old telescope that pirates would use? They would have to pull out each section until the telescope was fully extended. Only then was it fully functional.

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The second time the word goal is used is verse 14.

This one is more concrete. Think of the tape at the end of a race. That is the goal. You can see it so you can run to it.

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So we have one English word and two different Greek meanings.

One marks a point, the other a process.

In our lives, we must have both the point and the process. 

The Point – Jesus is the goal. We need to keep our eyes on him.

The Process –  Jesus is the goal. He will help make us what he wants us to be.

I conclude with Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Be encouraged! God bless you!

 

Pressing on, pt. 2

Ever trap a monkey? It is a simple process. You set out a cage and put bananas in it. Then lock the cage. Once the monkey sees the banana, he will reach through the cage and take hold of the banana. At this point, a person could walk up and capture the monkey.

Why? Because the monkey is still holding on to the banana. He won’t let go of the prize!

Even when danger is near, the monkey still values the banana enough that he won’t let go.

He won’t let go, ever.


 

This is a multi-part post on Phil. 3:12-14. Click here for part 1. 

Today is about verse 12. I have been pondering it all week. 

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

The first half is easy to understand. Paul has not achieved perfection. He still has room to grow. I get that. In fact, it is way too easy sometimes to realize that I have a long way to go to get to the goal. But the second half of the verse is more complicated.

“But I press on…” Paul keeps pressing on so I must do the same.

“to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Now hold on!

What does that even mean!?!?

Remember the monkey? The banana was valued so much by the monkey that he would be willing to be captured or even killed because he wanted the banana so bad. 

He loved the banana.

God loves us so much that He was willing to do anything that have us. He even let His son go to the cross and die. All because He did not want to let go of us.

Back to Phil. 3. “which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

When he took hold of me…

He took my sin away.

He forgave me.

He gave me purpose.

He now has plans for me.

His Holy Spirit now resides in me.

I became a new creation.

I can now share my life with Him.

Think about that for your life. 

How would you finish this sentence?

When Jesus took hold of my life, he…?

 

Pressing on, pt. 1

Sports purist. That is the title I have given to myself. Because I live in Green Bay, most would assume that I am a Packers fan. But then I tell them I moved from Minnesota. Their face kinda squirms and they ask, “So does that mean you are a Vikings fan?!?!” 

Their tone implies I have done something horribly wrong. How could I cheer for another team. Then, I begin to explain that I am a sports purist.

It does not matter the sport, the team, the player, the gender, or the age. If I see a person going flat out to make the play or win the game, that makes me happy. This is the reason that I would rather just watch the Top 10 Plays of the Week on ESPN. They have the best plays of all the sports! Pete Rose, pictured here, shows what I am talking about.

Pete Rose and Roy Staiger

Pete Rose

Although his career was tainted because of his gambling issues, he still remains a great example of giving it all.


Paul writes in Philippians 3:13, “Brothers and sisters, 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,”

There was a sense of purpose. Paul said that he did not have it yet. He was reaching, striving, straining for it. He was going flat out. Fill tilt.

I love that about Paul. He is the kind of person that I would watch. I am sports purist and Paul would certainly, without a doubt, make any top 10 list.

Are you going all out? Full tilt, not looking back but reaching for the goal that God has put before you? God can and will give you the power to get there. Just keep pressing on!

Quitting?

Ever want to quit?

Feel like throwing in the towel?

Too difficult to continue?

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I answered yes to these three questions this week.

But there is something that just won’t let go.

And I thank God Almighty for never letting me go.


I was drawn to Philippians 3. Paul writes a few verses about perseverance. He says that he strives. He will press on. There is a goal and he wants to get it.

I had to read it about 4 or 5 times before it started to sink in.

Next week I will unfold it more but here is the nugget for today.

Life is bigger than you or me. There is always more to what we are experiencing at the moment. There is purpose and even destiny. God knows.

I leave you with a quote from Doc Brown. If you are not sure who that person is, just watch one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future. 

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So until next week, press on!