Lessons Of A Lifetime

PRESSING FORWARD TOWARD THE PRIZE
OR
HIDDEN UNWANTED SKELETONS
SUNDAY JAN. 28, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.”

“David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.” Matthew 1.1-11

Something To Consider:
There are two genealogies of Jesus in the New Testament. Mary’s can be found in Luke’s gospel which traces Jesus’ birth to Nathan, a son of David, and back to Adam. Our focus will be on Matthew’s genealogy of Joseph, who was also in the blood line of David through Solomon. We have chosen Matthew’s genealogy for the encouragement to be gleaned from a closer inspection of who’s who in this list of family relatives or rascal-like skeleton creators. We cannot change our lineage that lies behind us, but for all those with hidden unwanted skeletons in their family tree, we can become partakers of God’s grace, love, mercy, and His forgiveness made available through Jesus.

In Philippians 3.12-14, Paul writing regarding pressing forward in our walk with Christ, declared; “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 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.” What is our goal here on planet earth? What is it that we are pressing forward toward?

The apostle Paul accomplished much in his life from our human perspective. He established churches on several continents. He organized and led many very fruitful missionary endeavors. The apostle turned scribe wrote at least eleven epistles that found their way into the canon of Scripture. And yet, he claims he had not yet attained his goal, but that he was pressing forward toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

What goals have we set for ourselves this year? What goals have we set for ourselves for the remainder of our lives? Paul, of all people, possessed unwanted hidden skeletons which if allowed could have haunted Paul his entire life. But, he wisely chose to forget those things which were behind, and pressed forward toward the prize of the upward call of knowing Christ Jesus.

Something Else To Consider:
Judah had two twin sons, Perez and Zerah by a woman named Tamar. Tamar had been the wife of Er and Onan, two older sons of Judah. In Genesis chapter 38 we are told that these two sons of Judah were wicked in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD killed them. In that day a living brother of a deceased brother who did not have children, was to marry his dead brother’s wife to keep his brother’s name alive in the earth. Judah, having two sons die while married to Tamar, decided to withhold his remaining younger son. After the death of Judah’s wife, Tamar disguised herself and acted as a harlot and was made pregnant with Perez by Judah, which continued the blood line to Joseph.

If we were to look closer at our own family trees some of us most likely would find closets full of unwanted hidden skeletons that many would not be very proud of or pleased with if the truth were to be told. In my family it has been recorded that there are horse thieves among our ancestral clan. I am also not proud that a member of our long line of family relatives became one of the first inmates in the first Virginia prison for killing a man out of jealousy over a woman who was not even his wife! Yes, we all have hidden unwanted skeletons in our family closets, whether we are willing to acknowledge the truth concerning them.

With that said, I love the stark honesty of the Word of God. The Word of God does not attempt to hide or keep secret the rascal-like deeds of men, even men very much used of God. The Word of God is truth and it is truthful! The Word of God cannot help but be very precise and upfront about bible characters and events. The same is true in the predicting and forewarning of end time events. But it is a shame that certain religious leaders have crept into the church unaware and have inserted into the organized church doctrines of demons declaring a false narrative as it is related to the timing of end time events. Therefore, this is one of the reasons this website has been created!

Something More To Consider:
Though Tamar played the part of a harlot, Rahab was a harlot who was spared in the destruction of Jericho, along with her household when Jericho was conquered by Joshua. Solomon was born to King David and Bathsheba, the wife of another man named Uriah, a soldier of unusual integrity who served in David’s army. David, hearing the news of Bathsheba being pregnant with David’s own child through a sinful relationship, put Uriah her husband in the heat of the battle and pulled the army back, and Uriah was killed.

And yet, as David, who later repented when confronted by the prophet Nathan, our many or few hidden unwanted skeletons can be forever put to rest in and through our repentance due to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and our beginning or continuing to believe in Jesus Christ! Our fears, frustrations, and anxieties concerning the truth of end time events can also be put to rest in and through our believing in Jesus Christ and the truth of the living Word of God.

What was Paul talking about when he wrote concerning pressing forward toward the prize of the upward call of Christ? In Romans 13.11-14 the apostle Paul admonished; “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

A Few Final Words:
In other words, let us allow the Word of God which is alive and powerful revive us from a life of complacency if need be. Let us allow the Word of God in us to cast off any and all works of darkness. Let us allow the Word of God to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and to help in our cleaning our houses and clearing out all of the hidden unwanted skeletons in the closets of our sinful pasts, therefore allowing us to press forward toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us allow the light of the Word of God to direct our lives unto paths of righteousness for Christ’s sake. Let us allow the light of the Word of God to become and remain a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Let us cast off any thoughts or imaginations of drunkenness, lewdness, lust, strife, and or envy, and in doing so let us rather link forces with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and make no provision for the flesh, nor allow our flesh to dictate terms of surrender any longer in the spiritual battle of life.

These things we must do as leaders and leaders in training! Therefore, leaders and leaders in training who have become part of the family of God are no longer frightened or powerless by the hidden and unwanted skeletons found in family trees, because they realize that each new branch is called to bear its own spiritual fruit and for that fruit to remain. Are we pressing forward toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in our lives? Or are we more focused on the hidden and unwanted skeletons in the closet of our past? Jesus announced, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, thank You for Your merciful grace, and help us to press forward in total forgiveness through Jesus Christ. In Him Always, Amen!

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