Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 40
     Proverbs 16
     John 19
     Philippians 3
''Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)
            Many believers love to have their own personal pity parties. They enjoy wallowing in the disappointments, failures, and missed opportunities of the past. The enemy uses our focus on past failures to discourage us and defeat us. He even uses our thoughts about past success to distract us from the opportunity of the present. Whether it is the discouragement of past failures, or the pride from past success, it can distract us from the goals of the future. The past is important only as it serves us to instruct us to greater discipline or faithful ministry in the future.
            In Philippians 3:12 Paul declares his intention to “lay hold of that for which Jesus has also laid hold of me.” We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because “God has laid hold of us,” and once He has done so, we should never think, “Well, I am not really suited for this work.” Whether it is the ministry of preaching, or another task your willingness to serve must not be determined by your own natural feelings, desires, or goals. You must sense the agonizing grip of God's hand on you to fulfill His purpose. Your life is in the grip of God for that very purpose.
            Never step back from your task! Never water down the Word of God! Never flinch from the standard He has set for you, but always remember you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner made a saint by the grace of God.
            When the accuser brings up your past, whether it is a failure or a success, rebuke him and renew your commitment to press toward the goal and the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Your past is under the blood and now you can move forward in the authority of the inspired Word of God.
            Satan will have you muttering to yourself saying, ''I could have, I would have, and I should have."  It is time to leave the past behind, to get a life, to move on, to press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
            Pray today for the Hellenic Republic of Greece. This very fascinating and interesting country has more than ten million people. Its population is on the decline. Even though this country is in Europe, the gross national product is not doing well.  The income per person annually is $11,600, which is 37% of what we enjoy in the USA.
            The saddest thing of all is that this country is one of the cradles of Christianity. The great Apostle Paul preached here. Greece was the first European country to be evangelized (Acts 16:10), but Christianity is now more cultural than spiritual with only two percent of the population in church on an average Sunday.  Evangelical church members number only about 15,000.
            Now don't pass over what I am about to share with you.  Paul went to Greece when he heard the Macedonian call. God blessed it and used it. The Macedonian call is just as valid today. Will you respond?  It would be a difficult to find a country more beautiful, more biblically oriented than Greece. Then just think of this: when Greece is reached for Christ and is on fire for God, she will influence an entire region of the world. We do not often ask you to do this, but consider God's personal Macedonian call for you today.
''My eyesight may be getting weaker, but my vision is increasing."
J. C. Penny at 95 years of age