I just finished reading through one of my favorite books of the New Testament – Philippians.  It is a favorite not because it contains the motto of The Hill School from which I graduated in ’49 (see Chapter 4:8), but because it is a book of “JOY.”  Paul was in jail, and yet the book contains sixteen references to the words “joy” or “rejoice” in its short four chapters!

Philippians 2:13-14 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

In preparing these Prayer Lists for over a year now, we have seen many hardships that our friends, families, and even ourselves have gone through.  We’ve all had health issues, we’ve prayed for jobs, world affairs, and political issues as well as our leaders.  Believe me, it can be hard to forget the problems in our past that we’ve gone through and may be still dealing with.  And Paul agrees!  He said in verse 13 that it requires “straining forward” to forget the past troubles that lie behind!  
 

However, I would like to suggest three ways I’ve found helpful:

 

 (1) Get you mind off the past.  We can’t go forward if we are holding on to the past.  We can’t have the speed we need in life’s race that we’re running if we’re always looking back.  I heard long ago that FEAR looks back – FAITH looks forward!  Jesus is always up ahead and our most rewarding job is still ahead for you and me!
 
2)  Don’t dwell on yesterday’s miracles.  Thank God for them, but keep looking ahead for an even greater outpouring of God’s glory.  I remember that we had a place at the rear of the church that I grew up in called the “Amen Corner.”  There was always a good group of older men (I guess I would fit in that group now) who  always let out an “Amen” when they heard something that may have happened in their past.  However, even as a teenager, I did not see any “new” things happening in their lives for the glory of God’s Kingdom!  If we take hold of God’s Word in faith, prayer and love – then we will see what the Spirit can bring to pass – – – just up ahead!
 
3) Now this may sound like a play on words, but forget those things which are behind.  In other words, forget the time you were behind on some of your bills, or those tough times you had with your health.  Perhaps you are behind in your prayer life or have sinned and fallen short in other areas of your life.  God knows that!  Repent and go forward.  God isn’t holding anything against you.  He has made provision for your shortcomings and failures and we celebrate that provision during Good Friday and Easter!
 
So begin to pray each day “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done.” In the Greek the verbs are placed at the beginning of these two phrases for emphasis.  The best way to translate and speak these words is to put your foot down and say in the Spirit: “Come, Kingdom of God!  Be done, will of God!”  Then relax!  Stop looking back at the past. Look ahead in faith and joy as Paul did – – – even while he was in prison.
 
Till we can meet again, many Blessings of His Shalom and Joy – Lee