Summary: New Year's message.
Behind and Before
Philippians 3:13 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.
I. The Deficit – “…Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended…”
Clarke observes that: In spite of any gifts or graces or honors that he has received, he still is incomplete until that day when he finishes his course and receives his crown from the Lord. Paul was keenly aware of his deficiencies. Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
DEAD OR ALIVE?
ILL -When elderly Adele Gaboury turned up missing four years ago, concerned neighbors in Worcester, Massachusetts, informed the police. A brother told police she had gone into a nursing home. Satisfied with that information, Gaboury’s neighbors began watching her property. Michael Crowley noticed her mail, delivered through a slot in the door, piling high. When he opened the door, hundreds of pieces of mail drifted out. He notified police, and the deliveries were stopped. Gaboury’s next-door neighbor, Eileen Dugan, started paying her grandson $10 twice a month to mow Gaboury’s lawn. Later Dugan’s son noticed Gaboury’s pipes had frozen, spilling water out the door. The utility company was called to shut off the water. What no one guessed was that while they’d been trying to help, Gaboury had been inside her home. When police finally investigated the house as a health hazard, they were shocked to find her body. The Washington Post (10/27/93) reported that police believe Gaboury died of natural causes four years ago. The respectable, external appearance of Gaboury’s house had hidden the reality of what was on the inside. Something similar can happen to people: We may appear outwardly proper while spiritually dead. All sorts of religious activity may be happening outside, while the real problem is missed: spiritual death on the inside.
SOURCE: Vialo Weis, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 3.) Contributed by Gerald Flurry
II. The Determination – “…but this one thing I do…”
The sole business and concern of my life, the thing that I am devoted to, the thing that occupies my thoughts, hope, dreams, plans and aspirations is this journey that I am on. Nothing else takes precedence over it.
PRAY TILL YOU GET COOKIES
ILL - We should be like the 3-year-old boy (that Paul Harvey told about) who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies and so don’t even ask." She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down. They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items they ended up back in the cookie aisle. “Mom, can I please have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down & be quiet.”