Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Looking past the past

Have you ever longed for "the good old days?" Do you look back and blame your present situation on an event or a person? Is the past holding you hostage to the point where you can't even enjoy the present? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then here's a verse you need to focus on today.

Isaiah 65:17, For behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth, and the formered shall not be remembered or come to mind.

You can’t drive life’s road without sometimes hitting bumps like regrets, disappointments, and tragedies. When you do, it’s easy to get stuck there, looking back into your rearview mirror at the past.

But God wants you to move on toward the future He's planned for you. It’s a future filled with hope. But to get there, you’ve got to turn your focus forward and look through the windshield at the road ahead.

Here’s how you can let go of the past to move into the future:

* Realize that you have a choice. Understand that you’re not a victim of your circumstances and that no one but yourself can tie you to the past; you can decide whether or not to move on. Ask God for the courage to choose to break free of whatever is chaining you to the past.

* Know Who travels with you. Remember that God is right beside your side all the time. Trust in His power, wisdom, and love when He encourages you to keep going into the future. Don’t stay in any place God is calling you to leave. Be willing to put your own agenda aside to follow wherever God leads you.

* Recognize the difference between learning from the past and letting it control you. Understand that it’s healthy to look back as long as you’re learning from your past and remembering how God has worked in your life. But don't become so preoccupied with your past that it starts to dictate your present and future. Don’t let your past define you; that’s God’s job.

* Pray to be freed from parts of your past you’re struggling to let go. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you mentally take those past experiences and lay them in trust at the foot of the cross for Jesus to handle. Remember that holding onto the past is sin because it keeps you from obeying God’s call to move on. Make whatever changes you need to make in your life to strengthen your decision, such as dthrowing away past possessions. Look for God with all your heart and be excited about His plans for you. Read and focus on Scripture as a new perspective starts taking root in your life.

* Stay away from nostalgia. Don’t be tricked into thinking that your best days are behind you. Expect God to continue to bless you in new ways. Remember that your success is not dependent on any special time or place that can never be lived again. Know that the same God who was with you back in the past is with you now and will continue to be. Don’t rest on your laurels or become intimidated by your past successes; keep active and contributing to the world as He leads you. Trust God to bring you encore success and joy.

* Overcome failure. Ask God to help you move past two obstacles that stand in your way after you’ve gone through failure: the events of your actions, guilt, regret, and self-inflicted punishment. Take your failure to God and allow Him to give your back your strength, hope and confidence. Honestly pour out all your thoughts and feelings about the failure to God. Ask Him to teach you what He wants you to learn from your failure. Accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive yourself.

* Break free of trauma’s bondage. In prayer, freely express the anger, fear, disillusionment, mistakes, and regrets that have resulted from a past trauma in your life. Ask God to direct you to Scripture passages that relate to that trauma, and to use those passages as a surgeon would a scalpel to bring about the healing you need. Don’t blame God for your trauma; realize that it was the result of living in a sinful, fallen world. Invite Jesus into your pain, realizing that He's the ultimate answer to your problem. Ask Jesus to give you new hope and restore your sense of purpose.

* Get rid of the poison of bitterness. Realize that holding onto bitterness after someone has hurt you will only continue to hurt you more by poisoning your soul. Know that there is only one antidote to that poison – forgiveness. Decide not to allow people who have wronged you to keep controlling your life and distancing you from God. Remember all that God has forgiven you for, and let your gratitude and love for Him motivate you to obey His command to forgive others. Always be willing to forgive, even when people repeatedly offend you, don’t ask for your forgiveness, refuse to reconcile, or are deceased. Understand that forgiveness doesn’t depend on what you consider fair, reasonable, or just, it’s a matter of being faithful to God. Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving someone; you probably never will. Instead, decide to do so and trust God to help you. Expect God to clear bitterness out of your life as you forgive.

* Rely on God’s strength to get you through stormy crossings. Expect a struggle every time you try to move beyond your past and cross over into your future. Don’t let challenges take you by surprise; instead, use them as tools to grow closer to God. Don’t give up; ask God for the courage and strength you need to keep going. Ask Him to teach you whatever He’d like you to learn from your crossings. Invite God to strengthen your character and renew your mind so you can become the person He wants you to become. Ask God to show you a side of Himself you’ve never seen when you make each crossing.

* Encourage others. Realize that your experiences in life aren’t just for your own benefit, they’re also designed to help other people. Use what you’ve learned about moving on to help others to do the same.

* Fulfill your potential. Remember that your past doesn’t determine your future. Invite God to help you understand His purposes for your life and give you a vision for the new adventures He has in store for you. Realize that your greatest potential can only be realized in and through Jesus. Ask Him to help you fulfill His highest potential for you. Step boldly into your future!

The past can be a pleasant experience, but it can also be a trap. Let go of the past that keeps you chained up in fear, anger, and regret, and learn to live for what God has in store for you, not on what didn't happen. Live for the eternity that comes to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Praying that we learn to live for the day we see Jesus
Pastor Mike

Political Kitty - Cats

A little boy was walking down the street pulling a wagon with a new litter of kittens in it. Al Gore approached him and said "What cute little kittens you have there, young man. What kind are they?" The little boy said, "They're Democrats." Al Gore said, Oh, how nice and moved on.

A week are so later, the little boy is again pulling the kittens down the street. Al Gore and George Bush are walking together and approach the little boy. George Bush said, "Those are some cute kittens. What
kind are they?"

The little boy said, "They're Republicans."

Al Gore said, "Now, wait just a minute! Last time I saw you with those same kittens, you told me they were Democrats." The little boy smiled and replied, "Yes Sir, but they have their eyes open now."


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