Devotional for Friday December 11th

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Celebrating is good for us”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today; “Celebrate the change”
 
I have a childhood friend I still keep in touch with. We grew up together and did a lot of crazy stuff. Once, when we were sixteen, we each lied to our parents by saying we were going to spend the weekend with the other one’s family at the beach. Then we hitchhiked down the Jersey Turnpike all the way to Washington D.C. to participate in some big hippie demonstration going on there. When we got there, we discovered that the National Guard had locked down the city and the demonstrators had been forced off the streets. We ended up spending the weekend in the basement of a church with other demonstrators, and then we hitchhiked back to New Jersey.
 
Unfortunately, shortly after that, my friend became addicted to alcohol and he spent the next twenty years of his life as a barely functional drunk. Finally, he somehow found his way to Alcoholics Anonymous, got sober, and put his life back together. He got married, started a business, joined a church, and became active in the community. He also became a mentor for other alcoholics. Now, every year, on the anniversary of the day he became sober, he celebrates another year of sobriety. That’s been more than twenty-five years now and my friend has stayed sober. He will tell you that he is still a work in progress, and every day he tries to be a little better than he was the day before.
 
That’s what the Apostle Paul was writing about in Philippians 3:13-14. He had been a notorious sinner – a mean and cruel man who presided over the persecution, arrest, torture, and execution of Christians. Once he came to faith in Jesus Christ he was transformed and began to change, but for the rest of his life he considered himself to be a work in progress. He never “arrived”. He was always in need of continued growth and constant improvement.
 
The same is true of you and me. Your background might not be as dark as Paul’s, or my friend’s, but like the rest of us, you have your own skeletons hiding in the closets. And like the rest of us, you too should be in a constant state of growth and improvement. If you are, that’s something to celebrate.
 
There’s an old saying that goes, “I’m not yet who I should be, but thank God I’m not who I used to be!” Can I get an “Amen!”?
 
If you’re a little better today than you were yesterday, that’s something to celebrate. If you’re a lot better today than you were say, twenty years ago, that might deserve a party, or maybe an annual celebration.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim   
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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