Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017 ... Focusing Forward

Berry Patch Devotions in 2017 - Day 54 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a YouTube video of images from the group Selah singing … Press On … powerfully declaring the reality and truth of God’s wondrous saving grace.

Highlight Verse[s]: Philippians 3:14 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … 
14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 
… God’s prize for us is way up ahead, … not in the past.
Highlight Passage [context]: Philippians 3:12-21 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK
… Paul showed fellow Christians that our focus for God’s kingdom must be forward and not on the past.

Reference Passage #1 [NLT] : … 1st Corinthians 9:24-25 [NLT] … 
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 
… All Christians are in the race of life to win God’s eternal prize.

Reference Passage #2 [NLT] : … 2nd Timothy 4:6-8 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … At the end of his life, Paul could say to fellow Christians that he had run a good race and God’s prize awaited him in Heaven.

Reference Passage #3 [NLT] : … Hebrews 12:1-2 [NLT] … USE THIS LINK … The Author of Hebrews shows how Christ ran his race for His Father, showing how we must run ours.

My Devotional Journal: Today's ODB author, Marvin Williams, used the word picture of a TV show to illustrate our running a strong race for God in life. The ODB author wrote: One of my favorite television programs is The Amazing Race. In this reality show, ten couples are sent to a foreign country where they must race, via trains, buses, cabs, bikes, and feet, from one point to another to get their instructions for the next challenge. The goal is for one couple to get to a designated finishing point before everyone else, and the prize is a million dollars. 

I love to watch that reality show with my wife. It’s one of her favorites on TV these days; and we both love to watch the paired contestants struggling forward through the struggles contrived by the show as they attempt to move all over the world to win the big monetary prize. It’s a good word picture of life, … as the Apostle Paul pictured himself (and fellow Christians), running the race of life, struggling to win the wonderful prize set before us by God.

So, … after any reader here with me takes in the glorious song linked above by Selah; and we’ve meditated on the highlight and reference scriptures, perhaps we all can answer the questions posed by ODB author, Marvin Williams, in today’s devotional, as he wrote: How are we able to press on toward our future hope? … Read Hebrews 12:1–2 … What are some practical things we must do to continue to press on and persevere?  

Challenging, huh?! … Well, years ago I was given a word picture by a mentor which has helped me when I get side-tracked by the world or circumstances in life. He told me, “You can’t drive your car down the road by using only the rear-view mirror.” And I think that admonition is clear enough for any of us as we Christians move on down the road of life, don’t you?

My Prayer Today: Heavenly Father, … Lord, give me Your enlightening grace to stay focused on Your prize ahead. … Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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