Passage for Study: Acts 16: 16 - 40 … Acts 16 linked for study …
2nd Scripture Reference: Philippians 2: 1-18 & 3: 13-14 … Phil. 2 - 3 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: If you have read through the passages listed for today from Paul’s letter to Philippi in Chapters 2 and 3, I doubt that you’d argue with me if I claimed that the Apostle modeled an attitude of strong determination. So, I won’t take the writing space here to develop that argument. In fact, all I really need to do is point you toward the last passage referenced in Phil. 3: 13-14 where Paul gives a self proclamation of determination, writing ”one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Yes, ... strong determination ... for sure!
It’s the picture of a runner, not looking aback, only forward, straining for the tape at the end of the race, deternined to win the prize. And in today’s devotional lesson, Chuck Swindoll uses a couple of historical examples to illustrate such strong determination. He points to the case of Leonardo DaVinci, who painted over thousand human hands so that he could get the hand exactly right for the hand of God painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And more recently in history there was the true case of Thomas Edison supervising the choosing of the filament for the modern incandescent light bulb, where he and his lab partners went through - some say - over ten thousand different fibers before he finally got one that burned brightly enough for long enough to be usable, practical, and marketable. Both of those certainly are examples who refused to look at the failures. They only looked at the mission, the prize, or the goal ahead with strong determination.
Well, I can’t speak for you; but this time in God’s word, looking at the life of Paul again, speaks to my heart, saying that I need to not look back at the so-called “failures” in my past. And it would be easy to do so. I’ve had many. Oh, like all of us, I do need to consider and learn from my past; but I must not dwell there. No, we Christians need to strain to run for “the prize” ahead, which is to become like Christ and to ultimately be crowned by Him in glory.
So I ... and so you ... run that race; and we need to be straining forward, not looking back, going for it with the goal being deeper, more abiding relationship with Christ and the desire only to follow Him to the tape, where prayerfully He will say, "Well done, My good and faithful servant. You ran a good race and fought a good fight. Now join Me in glory with this crown of your achievement.” That was Paul’s declaration in 2nd Tim. 4: 6-8; and I pray it will be so for you and me.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, lead me to the finish so that I may finish strongly and receive the crown of righteousness from You, my Savior. Amen