Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Leaving the past behind and looking forward

Exeter Temple Bible Message notes: 25th January 2015
Bible Reading: Psalm 103
At this time of year people make new year resolutions and plan ahead for the months ahead. 
Why do we do this?
It can be because there are areas in our lives that we are unhappy with, areas in our lives where we want to be better and to achieve things.
Everybody believers and non-believers experience the leaving of one year and entry into another. As we do this we need to learn to leave some things behind us leave some things where they belong.
We need to leave behind anything in our lives that keeps us from focussing on the Lord.
Being a Christian means always trying to go forward. We talk about our walk in life, our walk in faith and our walk with the Lord. By it's very nature walking means moving forward. As we move forward we leave one place and go to another.
We need to leave behind the following things that do us no good.
 1. Resentment
It might be something we have said or done, or something someone else has said or done. Along with resentment comes un-forgiveness.  Jesus said that if we forgive others God will forgive us but if we don't forgive he will not forgive us.
Forgive does not mean the same as forget. We cannot take things from our memory but we can forgive.  We often choose to like or dislike people on the basis of our preferences and on what we think. Remember we are not perfect and we are not always right.
There is a saying that goes, "Look lovingly upon your enemies for it is you that have made them." 

2. Worry
We all tend to worry over something at times. Someone said that "Worries are like rocking chairs; they give you something to do but do not take you anywhere while you are doing it."
Worrying takes over every thought of our lives and it causes stress, mental illness and many other things that destroy our lives. Worry is the cause of fear.
Why should we be afraid?  Did not Jesus say, "I will be with you day after day right up to the end of time." Matthew 28:20
And by worrying we do not make any difference to the thing we are worrying about.  So leave your worries behind you as you come into the New Year.

3. Failures
We try so hard to be the best that we can be but we do not always succeed. We get discouraged when we think that we have failed.  We might not have achieved what we originally set out to do but the real failure is when we do not try to do anything. God called us to have faith long before he ever called us to achieve. We are called to be in Christ and as long as we are in him we are successful.
When we as individual have strayed from our Lord and we find failure in our lives we are not completely happy or content but when we turn back to him again he will hear us and restore us. He is the God of restoration.

Bible Reading:  Jeremiah 18:1-12 (The Message)
If we could go back to last year and live it again what if anything would we change?  If we could change something would we actually do it?  It takes some hard thinking and searching to answer that question truthfully.
All people are searching for new beginnings, for changes but how many people understand that there is a process to change?
Change doesn't happen instantly. How many people lose heart and get tired of trying to begin again?
It can be like a person trying a new knitting pattern having to go back an unpick their knitting because may they got the stitches right but the wool was wrong or they got the wool right but as the knitting progresses the picture being formed is the wrong way around. The only answer each time is to start again
In our spiritual lives we can sometimes go our own way, making decisions and planning and we wonder why things go wrong. We mess up but like the knitting we can go back to God, time and time again and ask for his forgiveness and to show us his plan.
There are times in all our lives when we are actually called to a new beginning. It may be a new job, a house move, maybe retirement.
In the story of the potter the clay he was using did not turn our the way he wanted so he re-moulded it. God our heavenly father has created us and moulded us to what he wants us to be but how many times must he be disappointed that the vessel he created becomes out of shape?
Our lives are in the hands of the divine potter, not a fortune teller or start predictor. The divine potter cares about us, the choices we make, the things we do and the things that happen to us.
"Yet O Lord, your are our Father. We are the clay and you the potter. We are all the work of your hands." (Isaiah 64:8)
As the potter, God has the power over the clay; clay cannot mould itself, it needs the potter to turn the wheel.  God has the power to turn the wheel of our lives.
God, who is the potter moulds us through:
a) inner conviction. The sense that God is pointing our something in our lives that needs to be changed.
b) though many different circumstances. We sometimes question God when we go through difficulties but they often after these times we become close to God.  Do not forget that God does not give us problems or circumstances larger than we can carry. Birds sing after a storm, so why shouldn't we?

The kind of vessel we become is up to us. We can be a vessel of honour or dishonour. Is there anything in your life that is hindering the process of God?
God takes us just as we are and we do not have to pretend with him.
We can come with all our broken pieces and shameful scars.
God is not mad at you or disappointed.
His grace is greater that all our wrong choices and he is full of mercy and is ever kind.
He sees what we can become and knows what plans he has for each of our lives.
Let him be the potter so he can mould you into the person he wants you to become.
Let the start of the year become a new beginning by putting all the things of the past behind us and ,moving forward as new vessels.

God bless you
Margaret Pope

No comments: