People need a reason to live, and resources for living:

It is not uncommon to find people without a reason for living.

They simply exist until they can bear it no longer, or they

fill their emptiness with meaningless pursuits. Other people

have reasons for living, but no resources for living. Once

they attain to their reason for living they are left disappointed

or strangely empty. Many astronauts in America's space

program experienced this. One of them said his whole life

revolved around the mission to land on the moon. Once

the mission was completed, he experienced a severe depression.

He concluded that the only lasting reason for living had to

be found in God, and so he became a Christian. Two other

astronauts who went on the moon also became believers and

are involved in Christian ministries.

I. Past (7-8a)

A. Former priorities have changed

B. Former gains as loss

C. Former Accomplishments counted as dung

II. Present (8b-10)

A. Focus on gaining Christ

1. In Him

2. Righteousness

a. Not by works

b. By faith

B. Focus on identifying with Christ

1. Person of Jesus

2. Power of Jesus

3. Persecution of Jesus

III. Future (11)

A. Fixed hope

B. Fixed goal

The famed poet William Cowper wrote:

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour:

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan His works in vain:

God is His own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.

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