I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… I am trying and even clicking my ruby red slippers together as I say it. Surely red represents the Blood of Jesus Christ who in His Great Love, Endless Mercy and Overwhelming Grace can catapult me far from those things that should be left behind. But when I open my eyes, there are things in my past that still come knocking at the most inconvenient times. As if the enemy comes to the front door knocking loudly, as I open it he sneers “look who’s coming to dinner.” My onward press to possess the perfect life that Jesus Christ purchased and secured for me is compromised in that moment as anger and frustration rise up. Why? Why now? Why this? I’ll tell you why! Jesus Christ is working diligently to separate you from your past while securing all the good things from your past in the future. He is the Beginning and the End. He is the Alpha and Omega. There are some good things in your past that made it to your future so naturally the enemy offers other things as well. It is up to us as Children of God to carefully discern what the Lord is ushering into the future and the things that the enemy is trying to get us to allow back in. This can be a difficult process. I have three children that were born into my first marriage when turned out to be a total disaster apart from those little miracles who have all grown and developed into fine adults. I welcomed our sons eighteenth birthday and our daughter’s adoption as milestones because it allowed me to finally completely sever the ties to this person and fully step into our future without him. If only it were that easy, when our son was diagnosed with cancer it forced me to face my past once again while I tried to secure hope from the Lord for the future. For more than two years, he has been a thorn in my flesh for many reasons. I will not share them here because the enemy will think he pulled one over on me but he didn’t. How does one completely separate their past from their future? That’s a great question but you probably will not like the answer. You cannot and will not ever fully separate your past from your future in the Lord. It is just not possible.
Romans 8:24-28 (NLT)
We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
The day that a person invites Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, they are given the Gift of God which is Eternal Life. It is a gift to be opened and used called Hope. Maybe you have heard of it although do not fully understand how to use it. Hope is for the future. It is the new and perfect life that is in our future so far that it is not able to be seen yet we live knowing that it is there. We look forward to it. The Lord has given us His Spirit to develop our faith so our hope will become secure as we learn to trust Him more. I know that we would all like God to be like “I Dream of Genie” sometimes with a nod of the head every detail and circumstance in our life changing in an instant. Or perhaps like “Bewitched” with just a wiggle of the nose, the chaos of life is immediately changed and called to order. Sadly these television shows are long gone with only occasional reruns and the magic moments gone just as quickly. We all hope that when we open our eyes from prayer that God like a Giant Easter Bunny has left us with what we desired most, trinkets and treats but that is not the God we serve. He is not some magical or mysterious being who lives to constant change our situation to provide greater comfort and complacency. No, it clearly states that we know that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love God are called according to His Purpose. Hang on…if the Lord is working in us and through us to cause EVERYTHING to work together for good than this must not only be for today and tomorrow but most certainly includes our past. But what if there nothing good in my past. Oh I assure that there is!
Romans 8:29-30 (NLT)
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
God knew His People in advance. He chose us to become His Sons and Daughters. Being chosen and called, He provided right standing so we can live in close proximity with God. Sin separated us from the Lord but grace ushered us right back in to His Presence. God’s Glory is the Light of His Amazing Love which allows us to look back over the details of our past and see the many times that God intervened and got His Goodness to us despite our rebellious state. But that is not enough for the Lord, He now strives to make EVERY detail of our life work together to expose His Great Love that has belonged to us from the very beginning.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
You were born with a plan and purpose. The Plan of God concerning you is good containing a future and hope. Every moment of your life was recorded before you were born. Every single second and each breath was prerecorded by the Lord. (Psalm 139:16) It is a good plan. It has a future and hope which includes even your past before you turned back to Jesus Christ. This is the past and it is part of our future. Our part in this process is not returning to the past but allowing God to perfect our past allowing what is good and hopeful into the future. It is impossible to pretend your past does not exist and walk in the Glory of God because your past is part of the plan for your future. It is up to you what you do with it. Bury it and forget the hidden treasures you might find there. Return to it and give up your future hope. Or you can allow the Lord to perfect all that concerns you. (Psalm 138:8) God’s Mercy was available in our past although we chose not to accept it at that time. Now it goes back uniting our plan and purpose in the Lord no matter where we came from to benefit us where we are going.
Ecclesiastes 1:10-11 (NLT)
Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
Your brand new life in Jesus Christ is nothing new but a complete transformation that takes your existing life and aligns it with His Plan and Purpose for your life. We are changed in the way we think as we fully accept the Word, Will and Way of God for our life and then pursue the Lord more and more each day. This is how we live to be transformed to the Perfect Will of God for our life rather than accepting the sloppy seconds that this world is offering. Every day of our life is significant to God and every person in it even those we do not care for or do not like anymore. We are called to love our enemies. (Ouch) I struggle with this even today. It is so hard to love the unlovable but it is exactly what we are called to do in this pursuit of righteousness as God transforms our past into something useful and beneficial in our life. Your new life is actually produced as the Holy Spirit renews us from the inside out. It is not a physical change but an emotional, mental and spiritual transformation as we allow the Lord full access to our heart to break us and remake us into who He created us to be in the first place.
Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 (NLT)
And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
It is a good thing to receive wealth from God. God does not see wealth the same way that human beings identify it. Wealth has nothing to do with money. Wealth to the Lord is wisdom. When we take what we know about God’s Character and Love and apply it to the way we live and think, then we produce wisdom and God thinks it more precious than rubies and gold. The more that we know about God and His Great Unfailing Love for us the greater the parameters of our whole than we can incorporate and use to live in His Glory. God’s Glory is not like a flashlight pointed only in one direction but covers the whole earth like the sun. Only the part of the earth that is turned away from the sun doesn’t get the light. The Light of His Amazing Love is overwhelming and all encompassing – past, present and future. It is evident in all things and everywhere including our past. This is true wealth to know the Love of God! Good health allows us to enjoy it as the Lord renews, restores and redeems our life. Good health is prosperity. As our soul prospers – so will we. The seeds planted in the past predict the harvest of our future but before you begin cursing everything that you did in the past, ask the Lord to bless the seeds of faith that are hidden there. It only takes a mustard seed of faith to produce a harvest in God’s Kingdom. So all those times you cried out to the Lord but failed to make a successful connection still pushed a tiny mustard-seed of faith in the ground. Now that you have discovered His Grace, Mercy and Love – God will grow that seed into a harvest. Even though it was planted in the past, God will allow you to harvest it today if you will simply acknowledge it. Those who discover the Love of God and its vast parameters are able to embrace the entirety of their life and see God in it. Rather than brooding over the past, such people wait on the Lord to perfect that which concerns them and work every detail for their good according to His Great Love.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
As I look at the details of my life today and stare into the future, it brings me great peace despite the constant battle that we have been engaged in. I know that the enemy is stirring up every single thing that he can think of to distract me from what the Lord is doing in our life. I get that. Jesus Christ died for me. He rose again with my future and hope in His Hand. He sits at the right side of God pleading for us. When the past comes knocking on your door, let faith open it. Allow the good things that God preordained to come into your life but slam the door in the face of guilt and regret. Your sins are forgiven. Covered by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and driven as far as the east is from the west. You have no regrets only unfulfilled purpose and potential waiting to be discovered and prospered in every area of your life. The people in your past are not your enemies – the devil is. He will use every unyielded heart to cause you distress, worry and harm…if you allow him to. Jesus Christ is the same – yesterday, today and forever which means He will not change His Mind about you even when bad things come up. It is all covered by the Blood. Leave it there, embrace the abundance of your life past, present and future. Guard your heart when the enemy comes knocking. Hold tight to God’s Promises that His Unfailing Love is making good on each one. Wait on the Lord holding tight to the Shield of Faith you have been given to deflect all the enemy’s fiery darts. I used to be embarrassed to run into people who knew me before I fell in love with Jesus so I would avoid them. Until I ran into someone one day who said there is something so different about you and I was able to share the Love of Jesus Christ with them. Now I don’t try to hide but just wait for it to happen. As God reveals things in our past that we are uncomfortable with, it is an opportunity to deal with that thing or even person head on. Prayer plays a huge part in softening anger, removing bitterness and learning to love the unlovable. Sometimes the only way we can love those people in our past is to let the Love of God grow deeper in our own heart, change our mind and transform us. There is no guarantee that they will ever change, but God promises to transform us and renew our mind. Now we can enjoy life and stop brooding in the past! Praise God!
Romans 8:35-39 (NLT)
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wouldn’t you know that all along God was leading us into His Love? That is what the life that we live is all about discovering the Love of Jesus and learning to love like Him. Nothing can ever separate you from the Love of Jesus – not the past, the present or the future. This comprises the Plan of God for your life and no detail has been left out or ignored – it just takes a little time to get it all worked out. Your job is to stand firm in faith and learn to love and trust Him more. Overwhelming victory belongs to those who are convinced that God loves them enough to accept their new life in Christ allowing Him to use our past even in the future.
Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.