Tag Archives: press on

Hold on!


A constant theme in any endeavor is that of persisting and holding on to your goal. Whether you’re seeking a college degree, a job promotion, expanded business goals, raising children, or keeping your faith in a chaotic and increasingly faithless world, persistence is a key element in that process. We think of Winston Churchill’s famous quote, “Never, never give up!”  We’re reminded of Thomas Edison who made 1,000 attempts before succeeding in developing a working electric light bulb.  When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”  Babe Ruth became famous for his 714 home runs despite the 1,330 times he struck out at the plate. He remarked that each strike out led him closer to his next home run. Vince Lombardi wrote, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”


That’s good advice for each of us too. Someone wrote, “I can’t brag about my love for God because I fail him daily. But I can brag about God’s love for me because it never fails!” We fail often in demonstrating perfect love, but we keep on loving. Our faith is too often betrayed by our thoughts and actions, but we keep on believing!


In God’s love letter to us (the bible) we are continually reminded to “Be Strong.” Knowing that we humans have a tendency toward fear, he reminds us 365 times, “Be not afraid!” Repeatedly, we’re told to “encourage one another.” I’m convinced this is one of the primary reasons God left us on earth after we were saved….to encourage one another.


These are the messages of 2 Thessalonians 2. Paul warns believers against falling for the false teachings that strayed from biblical truth. “Stand firm and hold on to the teachings we passed on to you. Encourage one another.”


It’s such a vital message to each of us and others on our path. But may I ask you, “What are you doing to hold on to your faith?” What habits are becoming increasingly ingrained into the fabric of your daily life?

– My mom starts with an affirmation prayer to God: “THIS is the day you have made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!” Even if it’s a terrible, no good, horrible Monday, I will rejoice in my faithful God who never ever abandons me.

– We could start by humbly confessing our weakness and ask for an increased sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives. Have you ever invited God to purposefully interrupt your scheduled plans for the day? This hard step makes us available to the opportunities he wants us to seize.

– Devote your daily transition times to remembering God’s goodness. Those are the moments between one activity and another: between getting up and going to work, between chores or appointments, or the travel time between one place and another. Using the multiple transition times in your day keeps your relationship with God alive and practical.

– A dear friend of mine keeps a Thankfulness Journal, recording every day the things for which she is grateful, despite the pain and suffering that also come her way.

– Taking time to bow your head before each meal and acknowledge God’s goodness is a way of holding onto your faith.  My friend Willy Neudahl taught me to invite our waitress when they bring the food: “We’re going to give thanks for our meal. Is there anything we can pray specifically for you?” Whether or not they accept, you can pause and give thanks for their service and ask God’s leading and blessing in their life.


Hold on. Press on. Never give  up. It’s not the number of times we fall but the number of times we get back up and turn again to Jesus that keeps us on the right path.


“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14


Put on and press on



Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11


I Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14


Many images are conveyed concerning our life journey. One is the image of standing firm, protected by God’s equipping armor. Another is one of throwing off everything that hinders us and running a race with perseverance, of pressing on to win the prize. Yet another is being still, laying down in green pastures.  Which is it? Stand firm, run the race, or lie down in peace?


The answer is all of the above. God always has our very best interest at heart, protecting us from evil and providing us with His grace. Because we so easily come to think of this life as our only life, He reminds us that we are strangers in a foreign land, and that we are in a daily battle against evil which wars against us in the spiritual realms and sometimes in the physical realm too.


And so we are commanded to put on His protective armor that equips us for the battle. His belt of truth secures us. His breastplate of righteousness guards our heart.  His gospel of peace fits our feet with readiness and help us to stand firm. Our faith in Him shields us from fiery arrows that seek to wound and kill us. His helmet of salvation protect us from being taken by the evil one. The Sword of His Spirit is double-edged. It is the Word of God that protects us and attacks falsehood with the truth of God. With our spiritual armor on, our job is to stand firm, unwavering in faith, fully persuaded that God is able to fight the battle and win the war.


The thing about spiritual armor is that is not like traditional battle armor that we’ve come to know. It is light and agile. It doesn’t entangle us when we need to move. And so pressing on while running the race is another image of our journey with God. Running requires effort and perseverance. If you are running to win a race and the prize it offers, you can’t be encumbered by things that entangle you. You need to be free to run and keep on running. A successful runner doesn’t look behind. The spiritual runner keeps her eyes focused ahead, fixed on Jesus, unwavering in her faith that she will attain the prize and that it will indeed be worth the effort and pain endured in the race.


As a sheep depends on the good shepherd for green pastures, press on in your dependence on God and in your humility. You can’t fight and run in your own power. Press on by resting in the strength of God, not your own. Press on while resting in the green pastures, listening to and obeying the shepherd’s voice.



Moving toward maturity


Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity…”


Parents delight in newborn babies in all their innocence and fresh opportunities before them.  We celebrate a young person’s graduation milestone, recognizing their transition toward adulthood. We plant gardens and trees in the expectation and hope for what they will produce. While we sometimes wish we could pause time and remain in that special beginning moment, who would really want things to remain that way forever? A child who never moves on to forge his or her own life, a garden that doesn’t grow and produce food, flowers that never mature to bloom, a tree that produces no shade or fruit?


So it is in our lives, that we should continue to mature in the ways of life, the caring for others, and our mission which reaches way beyond ourselves. Paul encourages us to ‘move beyond the elementary teachings of Christ and be taken to maturity.’ Have you ever noticed that it is often easier to learn an elementary principle than how to consistently apply that toward a worthwhile outcome? Have you observed this in your own spiritual life, that you have learned the basics about Jesus but fail to find victory over life’s struggles? So it was also in Paul’s day. His students had learned facts about the Christian life but not how to apply the gospel toward living a mature life. (Hebrews 5:12).


Isn’t that true in our lives too? Just as rain falls on the land and produces both weeds and fruit (and veggies!) so God’s truth and grace falls freely on us so that we can mature in faith, experience victory over life’s trials, and bear fruit for His kingdom. Mature believers press on toward producing beneficial fruit while those who feel trapped by life’s circumstances produce weeds that choke out life.


But wait; there is hope! Paul says (Heb. 6:9), “Beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you.” Yes, we may have lived a careless, undisciplined, unfocused life up until now. We may have let circumstances govern too many of our responses. But it is not too late! Keep the hope (v11) that by God’s daily outpouring of compassion we will not be consumed by this world, but will find our way to move on toward a mature, purposeful life that counts for all time. This hope anchors us and holds our lives firm and secure in the midst of life’s most terrifying storms (v19).


Let us press on toward maturity. It is indeed granted by God’s provident grace (v3) but it does not occur at all without our intentional efforts to draw close to Him throughout each day.



Let it go


 Someone said, “you will find that it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy.”

“Let It Go,” from the hit cartoon movie Frozen: you either love it or hate it (because you’ve heard it so many times)! Regardless of how you feel about the song, the title carries a powerful message for life.

Have you ever carried a burden a very long time? So long that it has weighed on your ability to cope and get on with life? Some burdens we have to bear – and ask others to help carry our load. But some burdens can be set down at our choosing. It might be a hurt caused by someone else. Or it could be a hurt you caused yourself. It might be a grudge you’ve kept against someone…or against God. It might be a concern that has weighed you down but you’re afraid that confronting someone will make matters worse. There is a time for biblical confrontation and with a biblical motive of love. God wants us to be reconcilers and peacemakers. But there are other times when it is best to simply, “let it go.” Write it on a piece of paper, burn it and resolve to move on. Get over it. Why?


Carrying grudges or the burden of bad memories about someone is like a cancer that eats away at your soul; it creates bitterness, wrath and anger and impedes the path to healthier relationships.  (See Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger be put away from you.”)

Constantly focusing on past hurts robs us of seeing new life right now. Dwelling on past hurts creates a wilderness barrier that keeps us from seeing  a clear path out. (See Isaiah 43:18-19, “Remember not the former things. I am doing a new thing. I will make a way in the wilderness.”)

Letting past hurts control us keeps us from enjoying the good future God has planned for us. You can’t set off on a new journey with one foot in the boat and the other on the dock. Holding back keeps us from God’s intended best for us. (See Philippians 3: 12-14, ” I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”)


Ask God about the burdens you’re carrying today. Is it a relationship He wants you to try to reconcile? Or is it something you need to let go so you can move on?  Maybe it is time to put that heavy burden down and rest.


“Come to me all of you who are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus, in Matthew 11:28




An overcomer has hope




Got hope?


Say it with me:


I am an overcomer and more than a conqueror.


I have nothing to fear.


God is with me so who can be against me?


I am a child of the one and only true King who loves me with an everlasting love.


I can press on and have hope because my God is always faithful.






How determined are you to win your race?

Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) It is our calling too, you and me.  I don’t know about you but a lot of the time that race seems like a marathon or a triathlon. Ironically, those human challenges, while impossible for me in my condition, are minor endeavors compared to the race of life that you can and must run; it is much longer and sometimes more grueling. It’s a race where I’ve fallen down numerous times. You too? It can be easy to get discouraged in those times. The feeling of giving up is strong. But we can’t give up. We have to press on. We have to get up and keep on running.


Why? First, we are commanded. The only thing we are told to do once we put on the armor of God is to stand and stay standing, praying at all times in all things. You might not be the strongest warrior, the fastest runner, the most talented at anything, but you can stand. The promise of God attests to it.


Second, it’s worth it. There is a reward at the end of the race. Matthew writes, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 


Never give up. Keep running your race. Jesus gave you His Spirit to make sure you can endure! Trust Him.




Encourage One Another

There are a number of “one another” passages in the bible that we are encouraged to carry out. One of them is “encourage one another.” I have come to realize over the years and especially this last year with cancer/Leukemia, that everyone needs encouragement. How important it is that we treat others with kindness because everyone is facing a tough battle of some kind. Even if you are a person of great faith, encouragement spurs you to press on in your pursuit of the object of that faith.

I remember when a young friend of mine was dying of cancer at Mercy Hospital 20 years ago, we took up 24 hour prayer vigils to stay in the room with him. When he was awake he said he really valued us reminding him of scripture and hymns. It was a real battle for the mind for him, between the medications and the pain, to stay sane and to remember God’s promises. I have likewise really appreciated the scriptures others have brought to my mind during this journey.

We are so thankful for those who have and continue to encourage us through our journey with Leukemia. Some came at some expense to others; others just required a caring heart. Here is just a sampling of encouraging acts:
Personal visits!
Handwritten notes of encouragement
Reminders that people are praying and people praying (being remembered is big!)
Phone calls and texts and emails to “check in”
Relaxing music CD
A preloaded iPod shuffle
Someone called and asked if they could visit…with milkshakes! Another with ice cream.
A desert, snack assortment, meal, or fresh made bread…even a potluck dinner that was fun!
iTunes gift card (music can have healing properties)
A gas/grocery card and other donations
A handmade shawl for warmth
Pet care while we were in the hospital
People helping out without us having to think of something. They just stepped forward. Someone raked our front yard; another fixed a door; another mowed our lawn all summer, another completed an electrical project for us. I want to remember when I get stronger, if leaves are falling or there is snow on my drive, it is falling on someone elses too!

How many ways can YOU think of to encourage others around you? I’d love it if you’d add a comment/reply to this blog with your ideas!

It is all part of seeing others through God’s eyes and living a life of passion and meaning! Be encouraged… YOU make a difference in others’ lives!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11