“…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:14, (NIV)
Several years ago, I was on a bicycle ride with a group of people and we were traveling on the open road. We were riding single file on the side of the road - with cars and trucks passing, road debris, pot holes, intersections and more. On this one particular stretch of road, I was leading about 17 other cyclists through an intersection and across railroad tracks. After I went through the intersection, I looked back to make sure everyone made it through safely. When I took my eyes off of the road in front of me - I completely missed our next turn. The moment I took my focus off of what was in front, I took us off course!
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul stated, “… one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14, NIV).
When we look back, we may be fixating on the past rather than forgetting what is behind. Sometimes we keep reliving the thoughtless mistakes or intentional poor choices that we have made. Perhaps there were minor insults or serious offenses that have been done to us and we are consumed by them and are allowing them to define us, causing us to remain in an attitude of bitterness or shame. Rather than struggle in silence, we may need to process this with a Christian counselor or Godly friend who can help us press on toward the goal and walk in victory.
Maybe when we are looking back we remember a time when our walk with the Lord was more intimate, and we heard His voice more clearly; a time when we read His word and it seemed more alive and active. If we are looking back at those times, we may be missing the fresh word that the Lord wants to speak to us now. We certainly do not want to miss the “prize for which God has called” us!
We all have scars from injuries in the past AND we may have markers of spiritual victories in the past. God wants to use ALL of these past events as opportunities to show us more about Himself today - to show us more of His glory, grace, comfort, forgiveness, strength, kindness, hope and most of all His healing, love and acceptance. We can claim Romans 8:28, “God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” If we cling to Him, we will experience this verse!
This new year of 2021 is a year that we have never experienced. Everything in the future is new and somewhat unpredictable! May the Lord help us to forget and learn from what is behind, to strain toward what is ahead, to press on toward the goal and to win the prize for which He has call us heavenward in Christ! May we believe and know - that in Him, the best is yet to come-and each day remember that this is the day that the Lord has made, we can rejoice in it!
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.