“NO LOOKING BACK”

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Yesterday was hard and; while I wanted to play back my day and reflect I heard the Holy Spirit whisper audibly “Do not look back” over my brooding soul. God is truly concerned about the tiniest details of our lives. I recently listened to a sermon by A.W. Towzer which simply turned out to be the right prescription I needed to apply today.

I love familiar places; hopefully I’m not the only culprit who does. Wait. You do too. Our past is familiar. It is heartbreaking to see so many people live their lives camping out in the past that cannot be changed and turning their backs on a grand future. We all know it is impossible to be effective in two places simultaneously and the only person who could accomplish that is God. We can never give one hundred percent of ourselves in the present if we keep dwelling on the past.

There is a lot at stake to remain, and truthfully your life will be unhappy. There is an art of forgetting, and every Christian should become skilled in it. Forgetting the things which are behind is a positive necessity if we are to become more than mere babes in Christ. If we cannot trust God to have dealt effectually with our past we may as well throw in the sponge now and have it over with.

The children of Israel found themselves in extreme bondage, they cried to God to deliver them, and God sent a deliverer. They experienced firsthand the goodness, kindness, protection, and provision of God. He split the Red Sea, he destroyed their enemies, he made bitter water sweet, he rained manna from heaven and fed them, their shoes never wore out, and their clothes were kept. He covered them, moved with them, and most of all loved them even when they complained. But they could not let go of the past and that blinded them to the glorious future God had for them.

They were eyewitnesses to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey but because they did not rid themselves of the “Look back mentality” they saw the giants in the land rather than the big, big God with them. The past kept them in fear, and they doubted God’s plans. Because of their evil report of the goodness of God; they never made it to the promise land. (Deuteronomy 28)

Today the stories told in this plan is of greater value than silver and gold. It may have been too late for the Israelites in the wilderness, but it’s not too late for you. Fifty years of grieving over our sins cannot blot out their guilt. But if God has indeed pardoned and cleansed us, then we should count it done and waste no more time in sterile lamentations. And thank God this sudden obliteration of our familiar past does not leave us with a vacuum. Far from it.

Into the empty world vacated by our sins and failures rushes the blessed Spirit of God, bringing with Him everything new. New life, new hope, new enjoyments, new interests, new purposeful toil, and best of all a new and satisfying object toward which to direct our soul’s enraptured gaze. God now fills the recovered garden, and we may without fear walk and commune with Him in the cool of the day. Right here is where the weakness of much current Christianity lies. We have not learned where to lay our emphasis. Particularly we have not understood that we are saved to know God, to enter His wonder-filled Presence through the new and living way and remain in that Presence forever. We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.

The Triune God with all of His mystery and majesty is ours and we are His, and eternity will not be long enough to experience all that He is of goodness, holiness and truth. In heaven they rest not day or night in their ecstatic worship of the Godhead. We profess to be headed for that place; shall we not begin now to worship on earth as we shall do in heaven?

Living in the past is of great detriment to your future. I want to ask you today to leave the past behind, clear your heart of the clutter and take hold of the glorious future God has planned out for you. The past is over; God is about moving forward!

Looking Back Only Limits The Future

Prayer

Holy Spirit, I thank you for the revelation I received, and I genuinely want to make it into the future God has for me. I am sorry I’ve wasted so much time on the things I cannot change, I am sorry for taking for granted what you so freely provide for me every day. I am sorry for robbing the people in my life because of the “look back mentality.” Holy Spirit, help me to forget the pain associated with the past and as I visit my past from now on let it be for only moments of its lessons and remembering how you brought me out of bondage. I am extremely grateful for my future which is found in you and I believe you keep moulding, shaping, directing and leading me to that promised future. Thank you. Amen

Stay blessed always!

“I DON’T OWN THE RIGHT TO THE IMAGE ATTACHED”

When There’s No Rescue In Sight…

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Some days (weeks, months, seasons, years) I feel hard-pressed. Like life has me between a mortar and pestle and is pounding me into fine dust. I know you can relate. You sweat and groan and weep and rage and cannot find relief. The intense pressure doesn’t stop. You plead for rescue, yet the vise of life’s challenges squeezes tighter and tighter until you think you might scream, and sometimes you do.

For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” (2 Corinthians 7:5).

The New King James translation of this verse uses the painfully descriptive phrase “hard pressed” to describe Paul’s trials. “We were hard pressed on every side.” The origin of this phrase comes from the practice of squeezing a fruit or vegetable (grapes, olives) to extract its juice.

“Why doesn’t God rescue me?” you cry, and the question echoes back. “Why?”

I’d like to share some reasons why God sometimes chooses not to rescue us. 

  • We don’t believe He can.

God  works  in response to faithHebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please him. For God to answer our prayers, we must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him(Hebrews 11:6). Our lack of faith can be a huge hindrance, not because God can’t overrule our faithlessness, but because he won’t. He never forces faith on anyone. Thankfully, all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed to invite God to work in our lives. It’s not how much faith we have, but in whom our faith rests that matters.

  • We have sin in our lives.

We cannot willfully choose to disobey God and simultaneously expect him to bless us. As human parents, we withhold blessings from our children when they rebel against us. God often does the same. More important than health, wealth, and happiness is whether we have a right relationship with God. He’ll often use difficult circumstances to help us realize how much we need him.

  • We need to learn to trust Him. 

Our faith begins small and increases with every challenge. Like a muscle, our confidence in God’s power grows stronger the more we exercise it. Trials, heartbreaks, and circumstances beyond our control force us to turn to our all-powerful God. Every time we acknowledge our weakness and see Him act on our behalves, our faith grows. Before long, we have a long list of answered prayers that makes it easier and easier to trust Him.

  • He knows that a rescue wouldn’t be best.

So often we just want OUT of a difficult situation. We’re not interested in what’s best in the long term, we want relief now. I remember when my nephew went through circumcision. Every now and then an ointment is applied to ensure the healing of the wound. He’d be in such excruciating pain even for a little baby. I’m sure if you asked him during this painful time if he wanted no application of the ointment, he would have said, “YES!”

My mum knew, however, that while not applying any ointment would have ended his temporary suffering, it would have interfered with his long-term health. The same is true of many of our trials. The apostle Paul knew this when he wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

  • There’s a lesson we need to learn or a character quality we need to develop through this situation. 

When I lost my dad, I learnt that God is my father. When I lost my job I learnt that God is my provider. When I cared for my niece and nephew in the absence of my mum and sister, I learned patience, kindness, and unselfishness. When I worked with difficult coworkers, I learned to see them through Jesus’ eyes, not my own. Instead of asking Why? when we encounter difficulty, what if we asked What?, as in, What can I learn from this situation?

  • God is building our faith story so we can one day share what we’ve learned with others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reveals this purpose: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 

Because of the faith valleys I’ve walked, I can truly identify with and minister to those who have lost a loved one especially a parent, going through a hardship or brokenness, experienced unemployment, lack and rejection. Experiencing God’s faithfulness during these difficult times has enabled me to say with certainty to others, “God will help you.” It is well, this too shall pass

  • God is doing something amazing.
 You can’t see it right now, but He is working out his purpose in your situation. Nothing can thwart God’s good purposes for His children.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • God is developing His mind and heart in you.
 When circumstances press us hard into God’s Word and force us to seek him for wisdom, faith, grace, and strength, he begins to conform us to His image. We can’t spend large amounts of time in His presence without starting to think, act, and love like He does. One can certainly link the behavioral traits you exhibit to that of your earthly parents. How much more your father in Heaven?“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son… (Romans 8:28-29).

God is teaching you that a close, personal, spiritual relationship with him is sweeter and more precious than a happy, healthy, trouble-free, physical life.

I experienced a trial years ago greater than anything I’d ever walked through before. With one phone call, I felt like everything precious to me had been stripped away. I awakened the next morning feeling like I had nothing left but God.

As I cried, and prayed, and cried some more, Jesus met me there. He wrapped his big tender arms of love around me and spoke words of hope into my troubled soul. He spoke words of truth into my reeling mind. He spoke words of love into my broken heart. And He spoke words of courage into my trampled faith.

My encounter with Him was so powerful and real that I will never again doubt His love, care, and purpose. “It was good for me to be afflicted,” King David wrote, “so that I might learn your ways,” and I agree. While I would never voluntarily choose to repeat those dark days, I know God used them to grow my love for Him in ways He never could have otherwise.

“… I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

God is Still Powerful, Just, and Good

There are many reasons God chooses not to rescue us from our trials. I’ve listed a few here to get you thinking. What comforts me in the darkness of suffering is the knowledge that God is just, God is powerful, and God is good.

I can rest in this, you can, too.

Stay blessed, always!

“I DON’T OWN THE RIGHTS TO THE ATTACHED IMAGE”