But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. Job 23:10

Many of my runs end under this street sign and there is this ever faithful little swallow perched atop just waiting to cheer me on as I strain to the finish (at least that’s what I like to think).

It also got me thinking of Philippians 3:13, Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead – That word, straining, in the NIV does not paint a picture of ease in my mind. Actually it brings me to the scene in Mark 6:48, Jesus – saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.  Shortly before the dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake –  Jesus is there in the straining moments even if it requires a little walking on water to save us!

Sometimes the forgetting what is behind is a strain as we long to move forward! Since the enemy can’t take our salvation he sure would settle for keeping us living in the shadow of shame and under the rock of regret because that is just the position that will render us ineffective on our journey to the Kingdom isn’t it!

Looking at Luke 5:1-11 I see Jesus ask Peter to go fish for Him yet Peter had tried all night and came up with nothing… Peter had a boat full of empty failure. Yet Jesus still chose that guy, the one with the empty boat, the failed catch, to fish for Him!

The key is Peter’s response in verse 5. I tried, I failed, but because You say so…I’ll try again.

If anyone can redeem a situation or life it is Jesus. Because Peter chose to trust Jesus, everyone around, Peter included, were awestruck, just astonished at what Jesus had done with what appeared to be such colossal failure, with such an impossible situation!

Jesus doesn’t stop there, He goes on to flip Peter’s perspective… He tells Peter now he will fish for people. Peter could have said, but Lord I always fish for people! People eat fish, I fish for the people. But Jesus was saying you will fish for PEOPLE – FOR Me.

God has great purpose for all He has redeemed, don’t let the enemy trick you into staying under that rock of regret or walking in the shadow of shame. Strain forward forgetting what is behind for 1 Peter 3:21 states, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ – Clear conscience! What a wildly wonderful God we serve!!

One last thing. Did you notice the word under which that little sparrow is perched?! Golden! Zechariah 13:9 I will bring that group through the fire and make them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ 

Don’t give up in the straining forward – it’s the fire that purifies gold and often it’s in the fiery trials that purify and refine us to be more like Christ.

In Jesus you have GREAT purpose so run in such a way as to get the prize! (1 Cor. 9:24) He is cheering you on! (Romans 8:34)

Independent Read: Psalm 107:20, Jeremiah 15:16, John 8:36

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