On the first Sunday of the new year, Rev. Lois Blakey-Paige preached at New Canaan Worship Center in Richmond, Virginia.
Pastor Paige gave a brief introduction about the book of Philippians that was written by Paul while he was in chains. Philippians is known as the "joy book" where Paul encouraged people while he himself was in prison.
Paul encourages us even today to "press on."
Paul was encouraging himself like David did. The pastor told the people in the congregation to touch themselves and say:
"Self, be encouraged. You have to press on even though you might not feel like going on."
Pastor Paige gave three important points from Philippians 3:12-14.
Press through your past.
Commit yourself to forget your failures of the past. You have to press through your past. You are straining because things are attached to you. You can press through your past because you have made it through what you have been through, and you can make it through what you have to go through.
Press in the present.
God is in the present. Don't stay in your past. Stop focusing on what happened in your past, but focus on what is happening right now in your present. Take one day at a time. God is in the minute that you are in right now. Be awake to God. Thank God for where you are right now. You are with God in the present.
Press for the future.
Don't focus on what you won't have in the future. Don't focus on the bills you will have in the future. Faith is now. Faith is not in who you are but in God and in His promises. God sees our future from the end. Trust that God will be in the future when you get there.
After Pastor Paige explained what Paul said in the text, she said she was reminded of another who pressed. Jesus who died on Golgotha hill pressed his way as He carried his cross, pressed as He wore a crown of thorns, pressed as He was mocked; pressed as He was beaten; yet He pressed.
Jesus died, was buried and was resurrected from the dead. Paul said he wanted to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection. That same power that raised Jesus from the dead can also help us to press.