Rev. Jeffrey O. Thames, Sr.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
With everything that’s going on in the world today, one might feel as though what they are able to contribute is so small that there’s really no use to contribute at all.
It seems as though the entire world is on the verge of collapse, with a tension so thick that you could not cut it with a chainsaw.
People are losing faith in God…
Church has become a seemingly non-factor…
Elected officials are only concerned with winning the next election and not with really representing the people of their communities.
You wonder will things ever resemble a world that God envisioned when He created the heavens and earth.
Every time we turn on the news, it seems as if another family is begging for the community to turn in the killer of their loved one.
Every time we hear the latest economic report, we are being informed of another round of layoffs or more companies going out of business.
We have a country that’s in turmoil, and people with hatred in their heart is using this as a time to intimidate people that don’t look like them…
People that don’t think like them…
People that they think are afraid of them.
There’s a whole lot of talking going on.
The airwaves are full of conversations trying to analyze, and make sense of it all; but it seems like nothing will ever come to be, as a result of the endless conversations.
Christians fighting Christians…
Jews fighting Jews…
Muslims fighting Muslims…
Everywhere we look there’s turmoil all around.
Everywhere we look there’s yet another distraction.
It seems, that everywhere we look God is nowhere to be found.
Your home life doesn’t seem to be working.
Your job is driving you crazy.
Your children aren’t listening to a word you have to say.
Your husband ain’t talking to you.
Your wife no longer believes in you.
You’re just about to lose your mind.
But just before you lose it all, you begin to remember that God has chosen you for such a time as this.
You… believe it or not… are in the exact place, at the exact time, that God has already predestined for your life.
It’s no mistake that you can’t help but see injustice when a person that has paid their debt to society can’t get a job to support their family.
It’s no mistake that you can’t look away from a couple entrenched in domestic violence.
It’s no mistake that you are always seeking to make peace in the midst of various storms.
It’s no mistake that God has personally shown you your assignment, and given you the tools to carry out your tasks.
But what do you do when you seem to have had enough?
What do you do when people begin to criticize you for encouraging everyone?
What do you do when people are hating on you just because you chose to be happy?
Yes… it’s discouraging to be misunderstood.
Yes… it hurts to be lied on.
Yes… it hurts to be excommunicated by people you thought were your friends.
BUT… At the end of the day… what can you really do about the way someone has chosen to see you?
What can you do about the way someone has twisted your words?
What can you do about the things you have no control over?
But those things can do something to you.
Those things can make you doubt yourself.
Those things can make you lose your faith…
Those things can make you turn your back on God.
I’m sure there’s somebody here that can relate to being lied on by someone close to you, simply because they didn’t understand your intentions.
However, they may have understood your intentions, but because of their need for self-preservation, couldn’t allow you to “bring peace” to a situation that they were personally keeping in chaos.
There are people who thrive on keeping people in chaotic situations…
There are people who cause drama just so they could seem to be the ones to fix it, thereby making them seem irreplaceable.
But I’ve come to let you know that God has chosen you for such a time as this… but you have to “KEEP GOING!”
“Keep Going,” through your doubt…
“Keep Going,” through your hell…
“Keep Going,” through your loneliness…
“Keep Going,” through your pain…
There IS a prize set up for you, but you must… keep… going!!!
I’m sure that when you began to walk with God you had visions of things you would be able to obtain as a result of this new relationship.
Those things are still obtainable!!!
The peace you seek… It’s obtainable.
The joy you seek… It’s obtainable.
The love you seek… It’s obtainable.
The goal you seek… It’s obtainable.
BUT… YOU HAVE TO PRESS!!!
You have to press through the doubt.
You have to press through every “No you can’t” that you hear.
You have to press through one defeat after another… because your victory is in your press!
When I think of pressure… I think of pressing.
It takes a lot of pressure to create something.
Each and every one of us can imagine something we can create to make the world a better place, but in making whatever it is; you’re going to have to press.
You’re going to have to press toward your goal.
If your goal is a closer relationship with God, you’re going to have to press.
The devil will send distractions, and temptations, but if you press your way through; you’ll apprehend the relationship with God that you seek.
If God is calling you to witness to the lost, you’re going to have to forget those things which are behind you, and reach forth into those things which are before you.
What, you ask, are things that’s behind you…
All the times they walked away when you began to talk about God… That’s behind you.
Every person you could think of to not engage… out of fear, is behind you.
Those are some of the things that you’re going to have to forget in order to reach the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
To be called by God is nothing a person should take lightly, because that call opens you up to a lot of demonic spirits seeking to throw you off your path.
You have to know though… that God has promised to NEVER leave you nor abandon you.
So you have to “Keep going…”
If your “keep going…” leads you to knock down doors…
Keep going… because those are doors of oppression.
If your “Keep Going…” causes you to deliver groceries to a family in need…
Keep Going… because those groceries are feeding the next civil rights leader.
If your “Keep Going…” has you speaking out against racial injustices… SPEAK LOUDER…
Because together the world must see that we aren’t different from one another.
In the times we’re living in, we have to determine in our hearts that even though the way forward may be uncertain… we have an obligation to keep going.
No matter what comes your way, if you keep going it can’t stop you.
Addicted to drugs… keep going.
Out of work… keep going.
You’ve been lied on… keep going.
When Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi, he was in jail for preaching the gospel to people that the religious racist felt was unworthy to be equal to them in the knowledge they had.
It was those religious racists that locked Paul up in that time, but he still found the ability to press.
He still found the ability to stay positive, even though he was uncertain about his own future.
HE STILL FOUND THE ABILITY TO TRUST IN GOD!!!
Which ultimately gave him the ability to KEEP GOING!
Do you know how easy it could have been for Paul to give up?
He came from a very privileged background… not wanting for much of anything.
He was truly a man that didn’t have to live in the conditions he repeatedly found himself in, as he proclaimed the gospel.
All he had to do was turn his back on God, and not endanger the authority of the religious right.
But when you meet Jesus for yourself…
Your life will never be the same.
One day while on his way to persecute Christians, the bible says that Saul encountered Christ for himself.
That encounter was so transformational that it changed his name from Saul to Paul.
There may be somebody here that’s finding it hard, these days, to keep going…
The world may be throwing so much at you right now that you’re just about to quit at any moment.
If that’s you will you stand right where you are.
You may be one of the biggest supporters of Christ the world has ever known, but because people constantly reject your witness… you’ve said what’s the use… I just won’t say anything anymore…
If that’s you will you stand.
You may be saying to yourself… I’m willing to “keep going…,” but I’ve forgotten where I’m going…
If you need God to remind you of your goal… stand, I’d like to pray with you.
No matter where you find yourself today, I want you know that if you keep your goal clear in your mind… God close to your heart… And a determination to “Keep going…,” you WILL reach the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.