Spiritual Training

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November 21 - Evening

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But 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 3:12-14

Pressing On

While Paul sat in Rome under house arrest in 61 AD, he had time to think about lost opportunities and mistakes he had made. As he considers his loses Paul writes to the Philippians that there is one thing he must do:
"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead."

Paul considered himself called by Jesus for a purpose, and Paul considers his role is to pursue the fulfillment of the purpose Jesus called him to:
"I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."

Paul had done incredible things by 61 AD which would include his ministry in Antioch, the Jerusalem Council, his work and letter for Galatia, three years at the Ephesian church, starting churches in Macedonia and Achaia, Greece and much more. But, even with that record of successes Paul is still considering his life and ministry far short of what Jesus could expect and what Jesus had planned for Paul. Paul writes:
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me."

Paul saw his Christian life as a race with a reward at the end. In a race a person can get tired, distracted, injured or, even, quit. Paul plans to continue disciplining himself for the prize that Jesus has prepared for him as a reward for having fulfilled the purpose for which Paul was called. In fact, Paul says he is "straining" and "pressing" for opportunities that are yet ahead of him:
"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."

For sure, Paul says he has made mistakes, but he can only learn from them and then forget what is behind, because the only opportunities he has to finish his race, fulfill his call and achieve the reward is in the future. So, Paul forgets about the past and presses on into the future determined to make the most of each opportunity God will yet give him in order to complete the purpose that Paul was called to for.
Hupomone (Gr) - Patience (Eng) - hupomone is a compound word from meno meaning "to remain in one place" and hupo a preposition meaning "under." In Classical Greek it appears often in a military context to communicate theidea of "holding ground" or "digging in to hold ground." New Testament uses of hupomone are translated with the word "patience." The concept behind the New Testament usage of hupomone absolutely does not involve passiveness or lack of passion; instead it is very active passion that will be manifest. 
  • The New Testament usage includes these meanings:
  • to stay behind after others have left
  • to remain under a burden longer than ability to endure
  • to stand one's ground in the face of insurmountable odds
  • to remain faithful when hope is gone
  • to survive until the victory is secure
Do I spend too much time looking back? I can learn from the past, but I must realize my only opportunities are before me in the future. I will press on into my future to seek the calling God has for me there.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Success in what you do


Commitment to the truth of scripture

One of the twelve original clay storage jars, or pithoi, found on the floor of the royal building next to the gate house built by Solomon on the Ophel south of the Temple Mount. They were used to hold oil or wine. This one had the inscription that indicated it belonged to the royal supply.
From the days of the Maccabees: Syrian General Lysias meets Judas Macabeus outside Beth-zur.

Someone to Quote

"Even a child can understand basic Bible truths as did Timothy: 'from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures' (2 Tim. 3:15). So, the average believer is able to understand Scripture's basic meaning and message. And the more difficult passages must be interpreted in light of the clearer ones – Scripture interprets Scripture."
-John Thompson

Something to Ponder

According to the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey in 2000 the most accurate predictor of a person giving to charity is if they participate in a worship service. The Gallup Organization found that the 38% of Americans (these are also the religious ones) donate 67% ($184 billion) of the total $280 billion given to charities. Foundations gave $25 billion and corporations $9 billion. (support articles: 1, 2, 3)

Here’s a Fact

The Babylonian Talmud says that Jesus was "hanged" on Passover eve for being a sorcerer and that the Jewish officials waited 40 days for someone to come to his defense. (b.Sanhedrin 43a)

Josephus mentions Jesus by 93 AD (Antiquities 18:63-64) and his brother James.
In 120 AD Suetonius describes Jewish riots in Rome in 49 AD that were caused by "Chrestus" (Christ) or Jewish conflicts concerning Christ. (Claudius 25.4, The Lives of the Caesars)

Many people and episodes from ancient history are brought to us by one single historical testimony in the form of a document or an inscription. Evidence from the ancient world is so limited that there are many, many gaps. Yet the existence and life of Jesus and the events that followed are attested historically by both Jewish and Roman scholars and historians from 50-150 AD. Then, of course, there is the whole issue of the support from New Testament documents that agree with the secular testimonies.


"A wise man attacks the city of the mighty and pulls down the stronghold in which they trust."
Proverbs 21:22

Coach’s Corner

It is easy to mistake waiting and lack of action for faith when in reality faith produces work.

Acts 27
New International Version (NIV)
Paul Sails for Rome
27 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.
The Storm
13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
The Shipwreck
27 On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.
33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.
39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.
Acts 14
New International Version (NIV)
In Iconium
14 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the gospel.
In Lystra and Derbe
In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
The Return to Antioch in Syria
21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

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