Posts Tagged ‘Philippians 3:13-14’

Pressing toward the mark in the homestretch

July 29, 2019

Although the Verse of the Day for yesterday,  July 28, 2019, comes from Philippians 3:14, to understand the context, we need to look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14

13 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,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Our understanding is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery in the passage. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay. Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race. If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I took the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line. To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except the object you are seeking to find.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded” and focus all my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left, certainly, I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

Philippians 3:13-14 is used as the introduction to a poem that expresses where we as believers find ourselves as we finish the race that is set before us:

In the Homestretch

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

We rest in the homestretch, as we press toward the mark,
Secure in the Savior, as all things become new.
Constantly seeking, we know we shall someday find
Our heart’s desire fulfilled, for God’s Word is still true,
Even as these perilous times have never been more dark.
Though at times we faint and grow weary in our mind,
We rest in the homestretch, as we press toward the mark.

Each day we grow in grace, empowered by the Word.
We fix our hearts and set our affections above.
Like David, we encourage ourselves in the Lord.
Nothing can separate us from His boundless love.
We rest in hope, assured that all those who endure
Shall lay hold of the prize that they have sought to win.
We purify our hearts, as the Lord himself is pure.
Strengthened by the presence of Christ who dwells within,
We rest in the homestretch, as we press toward the mark.

We live to give, and we love to serve above all:
Waiting for the Lord, we still say “Yes” to our call.
We rest in the homestretch, as we press toward the mark.

Mac Lynch encourages us to “Press toward the Mark”

As I recall my track and field experiences, I also remember that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events, with the last two races being relays. Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for individual believers to finish the race, having achieved their P.B. (personal best). Similarly, the Scriptures encourage believers to

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,
Forget the past, press toward the mark,
Look straight ahead with no regrets.

Pressing toward the finish

July 28, 2018

The Verse of the Day for July 28, 2018 comes from Philippians 3:14, but we need to take a look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14 (Revised Standard Version):00

Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

To understand the passage more fully, we can explore some of the athletic imagery Paul uses in Philippians and elsewhere, particularly his references to “the race.” In this case, “to press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” the finish line. The runner blocks everything out except the thin white line which is only visible when the competitors are right upon it. The athletes are “single-minded,” focusing all energy and efforts on finishing the race. Not looking to the right nor to the left, certainly not looking behind, but pressing toward the mark, athletes strive to cross the finish line in first place.

A recent blog post spoke of the Church, the Body of Christ, as God’s crowning achievement and made reference to the crown or the prize in a similar athletic context. Part of the discussion centered on the ending of the race or athletic contest that believers find themselves in today. “The Finish,” a poem written for that particular entry opens this way:

In this present season God is placing a great demand
On those who excel, those seeking to run and win the race.
Though the way seems grueling, we are still guided by His hand.
God exhorts us to run as He sustains us by His grace.
First we cross the finish line, then we mount the victor’s stand.

Philippians 3:13-14 reminds believers that we must finish the race that is set before us. We recognized that we have to cross the finish line before we can receive the prize.

Here are words of encouragement:

As We Finish the Work

Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment)
is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me
and to accomplish and completely finish His work.

John 4:34 (Amplified Bible)

As we finish the work God has sent us to do,
We seek to fulfill all His will and leave our mark.
The Lord will bless and refresh and make all things new.
The fire on the altar enflamed from a small spark
Beckons as we press to reach the top of the mount.
As servants of the living God, we have been blessed
To reap the good of this life’s bountiful harvest.
We reflect upon God’s favor as we recount
All the days of our lives in multiples of five,
Having received the fullness of grace upon grace,
As we persevere not just to survive but thrive
And triumph with renewed strength to finish our race.
Along the way will be many whom we will inspire
To serve the Lord, for this has been our heart’s desire.

A related passage in I Corinthians 9:24–27 offers a similar athletic analogy:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.

Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

As spiritual athletes, we continue to learn firsthand the fight we are in is real, and we are not just “shadow-boxing.” We recognize, however, we must “endure a great fight of afflictions” as mentioned in Hebrews, and “run with patience the race that is set before us.” We have already won, but we simply need to finish the course. Then we will be able to say along with Paul:

2 Timothy 4:7–8:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith: Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day: and not to me only but also all who have loved His appearing.

As I reflect upon my track and field experiences back in the day in high school, I now recognize many times we knew the outcome of the entire track meet beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events, with the last two races being relays. Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for each individual believer to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best).

In a similar way, we encourage all believers in their individual races to

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,
Forget the past, press toward the mark,
Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close with a beautiful song by the Wilds based on Philippians 3:13-14: “Press toward the Mark”:

Finish strong

June 20, 2018

Finish strong

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, consider the Quote of the Day for June 20, 2018, words of wisdom from Billy Sunday, a former professional baseball player who rose to become one of the most popular evangelists of the early 20th Century:

“Stopping at third adds no more to the score than striking out. It doesn’t matter how well you start if you fail to finish.”

As spiritual athletes, we push ourselves not only to finish, but to “finish strong.” Many times as athletes come to the end of their event, they may become totally exhausted, physically and emotionally drained with seemingly with no more to give. At that point, they are in desperate need of a word of encouragement, a word fitly spoken to those who are weary and about to give up.

A passage where Paul uses athletic imagery comes to mind:

Philippians 3:13-14

13 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,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at. As we approach the finish line we must “single-minded,” focusing all of our energy and efforts on finishing our race. We must not look to the right nor to the left, certainly we must not look behind, but I press toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. We recognized that we have to cross the finish line before we can receive the prize.

At this point, we have been running our race well, but we must not get weary in well-doing, knowing that we shall reap in due season if we simply do not faint, so says Galatians 6:9,  a verse added to the passage from Philippians 3 to introduce this exhortation:

We Press toward the Mark                             

 And let us not grow weary while doing good,

 for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9

 

I press toward the mark for the prize

of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

 

 

We know we must not be weary in all we do;

In due season we will reap if we do not faint,

As we press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

 

God has thus spoken, and His word is ever true.

According to their labor God rewards each saint.

We know we must not be weary in all we do.

 

Though our new season may appear long overdue,

Despite how bright or bleak the picture life may paint,

We must press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

 

Christ alone will restore and give life and renew.

Though pressures of life overwhelm, we must not faint.

We know we must not be weary in all we do.

 

To obey, giving honor where honor is due,

To move freely in the spirit with no constraint,

We must press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

 

Each day God extends mercy, making all things new.

Gladly we learn to serve the Lord without restraint.

We know we must not be weary in all we do.

We must press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

Final words of encouragement:

In thinking about my track and field experiences, I recall  that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events,  with the last two races being relays.  Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for each individual believer to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best).

In a similar way, believers are encouraged in their individual races to

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,

We are right at the end of the race; it won’t be long.

Forget the past, look straight ahead with no regrets.

Press on toward the finish and finish strong!

We close as Jonathan Nelson encourages us to “Finish Strong”

From here to there: You can get there

September 25, 2017

getting-from-here-to-there-Today, September 25, 2017, while reflecting upon yesterday’s morning’s teaching “From Here to There“ by Pastor Donna Taylor at Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC, my thoughts turned to one of the early blog posts on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe. This particular entry focused on Psalm 133 and included original poetry and an excerpt from a prophetic word by Al Thomas along with music videos related to striving to “get there”, to scale Mount Zion to arrive at the place of everlasting blessing.

Here is an excerpt from an excellent word of exhortation and encouragement from Al Thomas regarding God’s desire that we also reach that place of sublime communion with one another and with Him. Indeed, God always desires to take us from “here to there.”

“God Said, “YOU’VE BEEN HERE WAY TOO LONG, I WANT TO TAKE YOU
THERE–GET READY”

“There ahead of you is your destiny,” says the Lord. “The hope, the
dream and the fulfillment of My promise–it’s simply staring you in
the face! Here, is where you are now, but how you conduct yourself
today has everything to do with where I will take you tomorrow–My
there. Extend My grace to others when you least feel like doing
so–it will prepare you to go from here to there. Determine that you
are serious to get to My there for you (Luke 9:62). You will get
there by serving Me in the here and now (1 Corinthians 10:21, James
1:8).

“Are you serious about the vision you are following? If so, then
build in the now (here) for what I have shown you in the future
(there). If you are faithful in little, here, I will give you much
there (Luke 19:17). Use the compass of praise, private prayer and
undaunted searching in My word to guide you and keep you on course
(Mark 4:14-20).

“Be faithful today–tomorrow is almost upon you, and it is nearly
time to take you from here to there. Look up, it’s approaching and
you are about to leave here and arrive there–right where I’ve been
waiting for you. Pack up, say goodbye, and prepare to leave here for
there. My command is coming for many to move out–out there.”

“Faithful is He that called you, who also will do it” (1
Thessalonians 5:24).

As Pastor Taylor noted, to get from “here to there” on the surface, seems such a simple process: you simply go! On the journey, however, one encounters obstacles, pitfalls, diversions, distractions and all kinds of set-backs. At times it seems as though “you can’t get there from here.” In respond to that idea, these two poems offer encouragement along this tedious journey called life:

When at Last We Get There

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;

but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind

and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

14I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call

of God in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 3:13-14

 

Despite constant reminders to the contrary,

We know in our soul that we can get there from here.

Someday we shall see the place of our destiny

And worship before the throne of God and serve there

When at last death is swallowed up in victory

And war and strife, poverty and disease have ceased.

In this place true believers dwell in unity.

Redeemed from sin, restored and made righteous; released,

Set free from bondage to savor sweet liberty,

To bask in the fullness of God’s glory and grace.

His favor and everlasting goodness increased

Beyond measure, as the champions finish the race

To stand under the banner of Judah’s lion

When at last we get there, when we reach Mount Zion.

God ever sets before us pictures of possibilities. The glorious portrait of harmony and communion of the highest degree is set before us in Psalm 133 which inspired another poem with a similar theme:

From Here to There

1    Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together I in unity!

2   It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron,

running down on the edge of his garments.

3   It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion;

For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forevermore.

 Psalm 133:1-3

 

The final phase of life’s journey from here to there,

Yearning to return to Eden, beyond the place

Of the first promise spoken to all who would hear

And receive the fullness of the measure of grace

And know the never-ending flow of perfect peace:

Where perfect love has triumphed to cast out all fear;

Where all shall dwell in harmony and wars shall cease;

Where there shall be no night for the Lamb of God is near;

Where our joy shall never wane but only increase;

Where we know intimacy far beyond Hebron;

Where our raptured souls shall find rest and sweet release

In endless afterglow of sublime communion;

Where we know the everlasting blessings of unity

As we dwell in Zion for all eternity.

Just as these two poems capture the essence of the message of this post, we conclude with two musical selections to seal the prophetic word and the teaching from Pastor Taylor:

The first song is a love song that can be heard as a benediction of sorts, a message from the Father to His beloved, by way of Oleta Adams, relating this reminder: “I don’t care how you get there. Get there, if you can,” and you can get there from here.

The second selection is a musical rendering of Psalm 133 by Esther Mui:

Forgetting the past and pressing toward the goal

July 28, 2017

Although the Verse of the Day for July 28, 2017 is taken from Philippians 3:14, to fully understand that particular verse, we need to take a look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14 (AMP):

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The following Scripture Video expands the context of the passage which has particular application to my life and ministry
Philippians 3:7-14 Scripture Video:

Our understanding of the passage is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery located there. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay, the equivalent to the 4 x 400 meter relay today. Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race. If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line. To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded,” focusing all of my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left, certainly I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

Philippians 3:13-14 is used as the introduction to a poem that expresses where we as believers find ourselves as we finish the race that is set before us:

In the Home-stretch:

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

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,
Secure in the Savior, as all things become new.
Constantly seeking, we know we shall someday find
Our heart’s desire fulfilled, for God’s Word is still true,
Even as these perilous times have never been more dark.
Though at times we faint and grow weary in our mind,
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

Each day we grow in grace, empowered by the Word.
We fix our heart and set our affections above.
Like David, we encourage ourselves in the Lord.
Nothing can separate us from His boundless love.
We rest in hope, assured that all those who endure
Shall lay hold of the prize that they have sought to win.
We purify our hearts, as the Lord himself is pure.
Strengthened by the presence of Christ who dwells within,
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

We live to give, and we love to serve above all:
Waiting for the Lord, we still say “Yes” to our call.
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I also remember that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known long beforehand, based on the total accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events, with the last two races being relays. Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose. Even though we might not come in first in our individual event, our victory as a team has already been determined, however. We are all on the winning team.

Jesus Christ, our team captain, the all-time, undisputed, undefeated champion, has already secured the final victory, as 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJ) assures:

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

Even though we are on the winning team, the challenge for each individual believer is to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best). In a similar way, believers are encouraged in their individual races to

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,
Forget the past, press toward the mark,
Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close with a beautiful new music video “Set my eyes on what lies ahead, forgetting all behind” by Tess Celia

Facts say failure; faith says success

March 6, 2017

Philippians 3--13-14

“The Quote of the Day” for March 6, 2017 is another word of encouragement related to “faith”:

“Facts say I am a failure. Faith says I am a success and an overcomer.”

The verse associated with this statement comes from Revelation 12: 10-11 (AMP):

“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom (dominion, reign) of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come; for the accuser of our [believing] brothers and sisters has been thrown down [at last], he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges [of sinful behavior] against them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death.

One of the first blog entries posted on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe came to mind, in that it dealt with “failure and success.” The following excerpt examines these two polar opposites in light of the Word of God:

According to the facts, in the minds of many, as believers, we have been designated as total failures due the circumstances of our lives at this time. In response, we ask does it really matter what “the facts say.”  Facts change constantly, but our faith is grounded in the truth of God’s Word which never changes. The following document raises a question and offers an encouraging response:

What is failure?

Failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure;
it does mean you haven’t yet succeeded.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have accomplished nothing;
it does mean you have learned something.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been a fool;
it does mean you have a lot of faith.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been disgraced;
it does mean you were willing to try.

Failure doesn’t mean you don’t have it;
it does mean you have to do something in a different way.

Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior;
it does mean you are not perfect.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your life;
it does mean you have a reason to start afresh.

Failure doesn’t mean you should give up;
it does mean you must try harder.

Failure doesn’t mean you will never make it;
it does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you;
it does mean God has a better way.

Author unknown


  The Living Word Library © 1996 – 2008
editor@wordlibrary.co.uk

http://www.biblelife.co.uk/printarticle.php?id=523

Many believers view their lives as a failure or success. After some serious consideration, I have changed my thinking from accepting the duality of “either/or” to embracing concept of “both/and.” In the process I have gone from the designation of being a “total failure” to “not being as successful” as I would like to have been in certain categories.

Failure and its antonym, success, are connected in this definition which introduces the last stanza of a familiar poem of great inspiration that was recently posted entitled “Don’t Quit.”

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

Many will readily embrace the title of failure and simply give up when they are actually so close to the successfully finishing their race. The Scriptures encourage us with these words:

Philippians 3:13-14:

13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We Press toward the Mark

And let us not grow weary while doing good,

for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9

I press toward the mark for the prize

of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

We know we must not be weary in all we do;

In due season we will reap if we do not faint,

As we press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

God has thus spoken, and His word is ever true.

According to their labor God rewards each saint.

We know we must not be weary in all we do.

Though our new season may appear long overdue,

Despite how bright or bleak the picture life may paint,

We must press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

Christ alone will restore and give life and renew.

Though pressures of life overwhelm, we must not faint.

We know we must not be weary in all we do.

To obey, giving honor where honor is due,

To move freely in the spirit with no constraint,

We must press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

Each day God extends mercy, making all things new.

Gladly we learn to serve the Lord without restraint.

We know we must not be weary in all we do.

We must press toward the mark of the prize and pursue.

In closing, let me make this final statement about what appears to be failure. I’m sure that if we scrutinized our lives closely we could easily be overcome by a sense of failure in light of the circumstances that surround us. We can take courage and be strengthened, however, by the example of someone whose life ended most tragically without apparently accomplishing his mission. He died a shameful death, and those who believed in him, deserted him. Yes, Jesus Christ, in the eyes of the world was a disastrous failure at the end of his life. However, we know “the rest of the story,” and I am writing these words of exhortation to you because of his triumph over the worst possible circumstances—even death itself. Because he was a super-conqueror, in all these things we are more than conquerors.

So take heart, my brothers and sisters, and be encouraged. The best is always yet to come. So we must encourage one another and remember that when we experience what seems to be failure, that “a set-back is just a set-up for a comeback.”

We also take comfort in the timeless universal truth, a quotation for all season that “This too shall pass.” This expression is set to music and rendered in a most inspiring manner as Yolanda Adams reminds us: “This Too Shall Pass”

 

Press toward the mark as we finish the work

October 30, 2016

 

Philippians 3--13-14

Recently I have been receiving a number of quotes along with scriptural references on a variety of topics, and from time to time, I will touch upon “The Quote of the Day.” Today, October 30, 2016, is such an occasion

“Every moment wasted looking back keeps you from going forward in life.”

Accompanying the quote is a reference to Philippians 3:13-14. Earlier this year, I posted comments on this passage from which the following excerpt is taken:

Philippians 3:13-14

13 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,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Our understanding is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery in the passage. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay.  Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race.  If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line.  To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded,” focusing all of my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left, certainly I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

The reference to the “finish line” brings to mind this celebratory poem written when I turned 65 and revised for today’s blog entry:

As We Finish the Work

Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment)

is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me

and to accomplish and completely finish His work.

John 4:34 (Amplified Bible)


As we finish the work that God sent us to do

And seek to fulfill all His will and leave our mark,

The Lord blesses, refreshes and makes all things new.

The fire on the altar enflamed from a small spark

Beckons as we press to reach the top of the mount.

We are called, destined to be abundantly blessed,

Reaping the good of this life’s bountiful harvest.

We reflect upon God’s favor as we recount

The days of our years have been multiplied by five

All along the way to express grace upon grace,

As we persevere, not just to survive but thrive

And triumph with renewed strength to finish our race.

Though some may look toward this time and seek to retire,

To serve God evermore is still our heart’s desire.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I recall  that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events,  with the last two races being relays.  Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for each individual believer to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best).

In a similar way, believers are encouraged in their individual races to

 Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,

Forget the past, press toward the mark,

Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close, as Wayne Pascall offers an original rendition of “Press for the Prize” from Philippians 3:13-21:

 

 

 

In the home-stretch: Pressing toward the mark

July 28, 2016

Philippians 3--13-14

Revised and re-posted below is the Verse of the Day for July 28, 2016 taken from Philippians 3:14, but to understand more fully that particular verse, we need to take a look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14:

13 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,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Our understanding is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery in the passage. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay.  Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race.  If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line.  To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded,” focusing all of my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left, certainly I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

Philippians 3:13-14 is used as the introduction to a poem that expresses where we as believers find ourselves as we finish the race that is set before us:

In the Home-stretch

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

 

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

Secure in the Savior, as all things become new.

Constantly seeking, we know we shall someday find

Our heart’s desire fulfilled, for God’s Word is still true,

Even as these perilous times have never been more dark.

Though at times we faint and grow weary in our mind,

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

Each day we grow in grace, empowered by the Word.

We fix our heart and set our affections above.

Like David, we encourage ourselves in the Lord.

Nothing can separate us from His boundless love.

We rest in hope, assured that all those who endure

Shall lay hold of the prize that they have sought to win.

We purify our hearts, as the Lord himself is pure.

Strengthened by the presence of Christ who dwells within,

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

We live to give, and we love to serve above all:

Waiting for the Lord, we still say “Yes” to our call.

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I recognize that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events,  with the last two races being relays.  Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for each individual believer to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best).

In a similar way, believers are encouraged in their individual races to

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,

Forget the past, press toward the mark,

Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close, as Wayne Pascall offers an original rendition of “Press for the Prize” from Philippians 3:13-21:

 

Press toward the mark for the prize

February 16, 2016

Philippians 3--13-14Revised and re-posted below is a blog entry that was entered more than 6 months ago, but the essence of the message resonates strongly with me, as I move the end of another term at Carolina College of Biblical Studies where I teach.

The scripture selected for study is taken from Philippians 3:14, but to fully understand that particular verse, we need to take a look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14

13 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,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Our understanding is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery in the passage. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay.  Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race.  If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line.  To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded,” focusing all of my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left; certainly I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

Philippians 3:13-14 is used as the introduction to a poem that expresses where we as believers find ourselves as we finish the race that is set before us:

In the Home-stretch

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

 

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

Secure in the Savior, as all things become new.

Constantly seeking, we know we shall someday find

Our heart’s desire fulfilled, for God’s Word is still true,

Even as these perilous times have never been more dark.

Though at times we faint and grow weary in our mind,

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

Each day we grow in grace, empowered by the Word.

We fix our heart and set our affections above.

Like David, we encourage ourselves in the Lord.

Nothing can separate us from His boundless love.

We rest in hope, assured that all those who endure

Shall lay hold of the prize that they have sought to win.

We purify our hearts, as the Lord himself is pure.

Strengthened by the presence of Christ who dwells within,

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

We live to give, and we love to serve above all:

Waiting for the Lord, we still say “Yes” to our call.

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I recognize that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events,  with the last two races being relays.  Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for each individual believer to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best).

In a similar way, as believers we are encouraged in our individual races to “kick it on in!”:

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,

Forget the past, press toward the mark,

Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close with a beautiful song by the Wilds based on Philippians 3:13-14: Press toward the Mark:

 

Kick it in: Press toward the mark

July 28, 2015

Philippians 3--12-14

Revised and re-posted below is the blog entry from a year ago which is especially applicable today:

Although the Verse of the Day for July 28, 2015 is taken from Philippians 3:14, to fully understand that particular verse, we need to take a look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14

13 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,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Our understanding is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery in the passage. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay.  Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race.  If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line.  To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded,” focusing all of my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left, certainly I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

Philippians 3:13-14 is used as the introduction to a poem that expresses where we as believers find ourselves as we finish the race that is set before us:

In the Home-stretch

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

 

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

Secure in the Savior, as all things become new.

Constantly seeking, we know we shall someday find

Our heart’s desire fulfilled, for God’s Word is still true,

Even as these perilous times have never been more dark.

Though at times we faint and grow weary in our mind,

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

Each day we grow in grace, empowered by the Word.

We fix our heart and set our affections above.

Like David, we encourage ourselves in the Lord.

Nothing can separate us from His boundless love.

We rest in hope, assured that all those who endure

Shall lay hold of the prize that they have sought to win.

We purify our hearts, as the Lord himself is pure.

Strengthened by the presence of Christ who dwells within,

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

We live to give, and we love to serve above all:

Waiting for the Lord, we still say “Yes” to our call.

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I recognize that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known beforehand, based on the accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events,  with the last two races being relays.  Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose; however, the challenge is for each individual believer to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best).

In a similar way, believers are encouraged in their individual races to

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,

Forget the past, press toward the mark,

Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close with a scripture memory song based on Philippians 3:13-14: