Pressing Onward

1st Sunday of Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 43:18, Philippians 3:13-1
The Upper Room for last Tuesday really spoke to me: Paul is saying that the church and its leadership must forget all that has transpired and press on to the goal that the Lord has set before them. We should not, and shall not, rest on what has happened, but look forward to the blessings the Lord has in store for us.

Each new experience is to strengthen our service and love for the Lord. He knows what He would like us to accomplish for Him. He is in control for each and everything that transpires in our lives. And He promises to be with us 100% of the time!

I like a sign that was hanging in my father’s doctors office on Maple Ave. It read, "everyone that enters in brings joy, some when they enter and some when they leave." That reminds me of my years as your pastor, the joys we have shared over the years as well as the times of discourse. That includes the joy that lies ahead in our future. The leadership that will come after me will lead in a slightly different manner, but they will still be a disciple for the kingdom of our Lord.

In each new encounter within our lives, there are joys and sadness. Your doctor may announce you need to have surgery. I recall my feelings when I asked my doctor if I could go home from the hospital. His response was absolutely not, as I needed my gallbladder removed!

Lamentations 3:22-23 speaks about the stressful happenings in our lives. Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassion never fails! It is a new day every morning. Great is the faithfulness of our Lord!

May we each step backwards for a moment, recalling a painful and stressful time in our lives. I cannot imagine Paul’s feelings when the voice of the Lord spoke to him on a Damascus road. He was on his way to take Christians to Jerusalem to be tried and executed. He fell to the ground when he hears the voice calling him. He cried out, “Is that you Lord?” The Lord stated, “I have chosen you.” What a transforming life experience fell on Paul and often falls on us. From being the chief enemy of the Lord to one of His people, Paul was transformed into one of the greatest missionary of Christ in the Christian movement!

Lord, You are calling all of us to new and exciting labors in building your earthly kingdom. Each one of us is only a drop of ointment to salve the hurts and pains of this earthly life and we pray that each new morning your blessings will fall fresh upon us.

I praise You, Lord, for calling each one of us and continually helping us to envision each change in our lives as a new and exciting challenge for your eternal love. Help us not to dwell on yesterday or today, but the future that lies ahead for us. Give us only a glimpse that our futures will bring this church and our lives to new and exciting ministries.

In Jesus' name we pray, amen!