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Pressing Onward and Upward
By Pastor John

Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13  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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Forgetting what is behind.
Forget both the good and the bad. Do not dwell on either.

Paul had been through much trouble.  In fact, as he wrote this letter, he was in prison in Rome.

2 Corinthians 11:23-28
23 I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

And yet there was no bitterness, no anger.
Paul's faith was still strong

Many today can only see past problems and failures.
    Bitterness at God.
    Unforgiveness toward others.
    Stuck on past failures.

Satan wants people to have bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, discouragement.

Instead of seeing the trouble in the past, Paul saw the Lord's faithfulness.
2 Corinthians 4:8-11
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal
The goal is Christ
Philippians 3:7-11
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 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 and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Our goal must be Jesus Christ as well, who said, "Without me you can do nothing"
   
Marriage
Raising children
Finances
Ministry (SS teacher, etc.)


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