Look Forward

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14) 
My husband, Jim, and I enjoy a well-cared-for vegetable garden. We like nothing better than fresh vegetables, and looking at those straight rows of plants gives us a sense of accomplishment. Jim was a truck driver and away from home several days at a time. Thinking that I would help him by cultivating the radishes, I got on the tractor, started it, put it in gear, and headed down the row. Jim had instructed me: “When you cultivate, you must never look back. If you turn to look behind, you throw an ‘S’ in the row.” Forgetting his advice, I looked over my shoulder one time. That’s all it took. When I got to the end of the row, I turned to survey my work. To my dismay, a large section of the radishes was upside down with the roots exposed. No amount of replanting helped. That whole section died. As believers, we may be tempted to look back. But when we focus too much on past failures, we can forget that Jesus has forgiven our sins. Paul gives us a better way: to press forward to the prize that awaits those who follow Jesus Christ and learn from his example. Rather than harming our future path of life by looking back, we can keep our eyes on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2, KJV). 
Dear God, help us not to look back at past failures. May we keep our eyes on Jesus and walk the path that he desires for all believers. Amen. 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. What an analogy, I’ve never looked at in such a way. What truth, if you don’t keep your focus forward and continually look back you start to drift. Life is not meant to be traveled looking back, look forward and be grateful for the past. Allow Him to be the author and finisher of your faith by fixing your eyes on Jesus and look forward. 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 139:23-24

Pressing On

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

As I walked past an outside wall of the office building where I work, I was amazed to see a beautiful flower growing up through a crack between concrete slabs covering the ground. Despite its deprived circumstance, the plant had found a foothold, rooted itself in the dry crevice, and was flourishing. Later, I noticed that an air-conditioning unit located directly above the plant dropped water on it throughout the day. While its surroundings were hostile, the plant received the help it needed from the water above.

Growing in the Christian life can sometimes be difficult, but when we persevere with Christ, barriers are surmountable. Our circumstances may be unfavorable and discouragement may seem like an obstacle. Yet if we press on in our relationship with the Lord, we can flourish like that lone plant. This was the experience of the apostle Paul. Despite the severe hardships and challenges he faced (2 Corinthians 11:23–27), he wouldn’t give up. “I . . . take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me,” he wrote. “ I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling” (Philippians 3:12, 14).

Paul realized he could do all things through the Lord who strengthened him (4:13), and so can we as we press on with the help of One who gives us strength.

This is a day that You have made, Father. Thank You that You’ll be near me in whatever I face today.

As I gathered my thoughts and paused for some time to post the daily devotion, despite the fact that it’s already so late in the day and some are already in bed, I wrestled with even posting anything but when I came across this devotion I felt I needed to share it, even at this time in the day. I pray it reaches hearts that need reaching and it uplifts and encourages someone today who maybe had a long exhausting day and paused to read this, to then be uplifted despite what the day had to offer them because although it is reaching the end of the day for some we must always rest our heads on our pillow with confidence that no matter how the day transpired, this is the day that The Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. He is your strength! Press on! 

I pray you’ve had a beautiful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Philippians 3:7-14