Single-minded about this goal

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded. Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3.13-14

Paul wrote Philippians from prison. It was a letter of hope and encouragement. Paul wanted to encourage the Philippians to strive for maturity in their faith. In verse 10, he stated his goal was to know Christ, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his suffering, and to be like him in his death. Paul readily stated that he had not attained this goal of maturity. However, it was worth making the effort. It was something that he wanted so intensely that he was single-minded when it came to this goal. Paul did not dwell in the past. He looked forward and reached out to obtain his goal.

Do you live in the past? Do you let past experiences determine how you live your life today? We need to learn from Paul to let go of the past. What happened cannot be changed. Jesus said in Luke 9.62 that we should not look back. We need to repent of things in the past and then let go of it.

Is your goal to know Jesus? We need to imitate Paul in his single-mindedness. We should have an intense desire to grow in our faith daily. Just as Paul looked forward and reached out to obtain his goal, so should we. We cannot sit still and expect to reach our goal.

#risingjoy #Philippians #past

Don’t dwell on the past

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events. Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness. Isaiah 43.18,19

Don’t recall these former events. The NIV says do not dwell on the past. Jesus said something similar in Luke 9.62. We are to continue looking forward and not look back. A few verses before, Isaiah makes reference to the destruction of the Egyptian army that had pursued the Israelites as they were leaving Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Then he writes what the Lord has said. I am about to do something new. When we become a Christian, we should not dwell on the past, our past. God is about to change my life if I will only cooperate and receive what he wants to give. God can change my life in such a way that it is not even recognizable when compared to my past. He gives me a new direction! He puts me on the path that leads to eternal life and heaven! Don’t look back!

#risingjoy #Isaiah #past

Man in his 30s lives 1940s lifestyle. I know some saints like that.

Ben Sansum is 35 years old, but he lives in 1946. Ben’s clothing, his home, the music he listens to – all come from an era before he was even born. BBC News recently paid Ben a visit at his home in Cambridgeshire, England to learn more about his decision to live in the past.

via Meet The 35-Year-Old Man Who Lives In 1946

I’ve not been able to watch this video yet. But the text reminds me that I know of a few saints who are living in the 40s or 50s, as far as their faith goes. It seems like they’ve not learned to apply the primitive truth of the gospel to a 21st-century world.

It’s not a sign of faithfulness to live and speak like people of 70 or 80 years ago. Or even to live like first-century folk, in tunics and sandals and riding donkeys. (We once met some people like that, too.)

Is it a challenge? Sure. But it’s worse to remain stuck in the past that doesn’t represent, necessarily, the original pattern of the Way.

You take it from here.

#faith #pattern #past

Surprised to learn

People who have heard of my life are surprised to learn about the number of different jobs I’ve had. I’ve been a short-order cook, desk clerk in a motel, a soldier, a pest exterminator, a paramedic, a transporter of the dead, a wholesale flower deliverer, a nuclear plant inspector, a farm worker, a newspaper writer, a sportswriter, an editor, a mechanical inspector, a writer for a daily newspaper, a preacher and a husband and father of three.

That all probably makes me a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, but I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had. It has allowed me to understand people from almost all walks of life because I’ve been one of them.

But, please don’t ask me to fix your car. I’ve never been anywhere near auto repair. I’m the loose-nut behind the wheel.

#jobs, #past, #surprise


"Settling Old Scores"

On January 24, 1972, a Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, was discovered in Guam, hiding in the jungle for 28 years, thinking World War II had not ended! Somehow, he had not received word that the War was over, and was so out-of-touch with reality, that he knew nothing of the modernization of Guam.

If this sounds surreal, today’s world events are simply people “settling old scores” of history: Blacks (not all “Afros” are Americans!) hating whites because some of their ancestors were mistreated as slaves; Muslims resorting to violence against all Europeans because of the European Crusades centuries ago; Marxists destroying companies and countries for living on their earned profits; American Indians claiming reparations for white men’s conquest of the country; Mexicans invading “their territories” in Texas, Arizona, and California; and this hasn’t even touched the other hateful battles throughout the rest of the world!

First, anger and hatred held over to the next day is “malice,” and it is a worldly attitude that is condemned and only corrected by the Gospel of Christ (Ephesians 2:1-7; 4:26-27; Titus 3:2-7); Second, nothing done today can change what was done in the past. Past deeds can be lamented, God’s mercy can be appreciated, and now, people can learn what needs repentance (Nehemiah 9:1-38), but people living in the present cannot settle matters that were unjustly done in the past. People can continue the sins of the past (1 Kings 14:22-24; 22:51-53) or continue the good from the past (2 Kings 15:1-3, 32-34), but no one changes the past. Third, those demanding wealth today for what was done in the past show themselves to be motivated by covetousness rather than justice. Justice should not be “bought off” by bribery (Proverbs 29:4).

Stop fighting old wars which history has ended! Never forget that there is accountability for what is done (Ecclesiastes 5:8), and the Highest holds everyone accountable (2 Corinthians 5:10). Life should not be for “settling old scores,” because that is going for a “tie game.” Rather, we should strive to win our “crown of life” (2 Timothy 4:6-8) by obedience to Christ (Mark 16:15-16), and “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21). Change the present and affect the future.

#justice, #malice, #past, #wwii

Never look back

Regardless of the conditions I might be able to improve, even if I had the best situation possible, I’m the person who forgets what’s just happened, so forward looking am I. Nope, I’d never do it again. Let me trek toward the goal, no repeats, no redos, no second chances, just let me get on with the journey toward Christ.

Sure, I’ve made lots of mistakes, dumb stuff, things I’m not proud of, but who’s to say other, more serious errors wouldn’t creep in the second time around? I’m not much of a “what-if” type of guy. I prefer dealing with what is and what can be, not what could have been.

To say, “Never look back,” doesn’t exclude learning from the past, but never letting the past limit the future.

So, no, I’ll keep my past, without living it over, thanks very much.


We filter out the pain from the past and…

We filter out the pain from the past and imagine the good old days that never were, while we exclude the joys from our view of the future, to feel anxiety about what lies ahead.

#future, #past, #worry

Something About Philippians?

The apostle Paul didn’t think he “had it made” as a Christian. He was always “pressing toward the mark” (Philippians 3:14), forgetting the past and looking forward to the future (Philippians 3:13). If we are to be successful as followers of Christ, we must do the exact same thing, remembering that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul’s attitude of heart was “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

#apostle, #christian, #forget, #future, #mark, #past, #pressing, #strengthen, #successful

Is it truly in the past?

           Emily Dickinson is famous for the poem, “Because I could not stop for death,” but she is also famous for numerous quotes.

            One of Dickinson’s quotes is, “The past is not a package one can lay away.” Such is a striking saying in view of the popular misconception that “It’s all in the past and over and done.” Those things done in the past are to be forgotten forever, some think.

            That, however, is not the Bible’s teaching. Paul wrote the Galatians, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” (Galatians 6:7).

            A practical lesson of this can be found in 1 Kings in the example of Joab. The general of David’s army had served the king faithfully for many years. But Joab had done some intemperate things in his youth. He had killed two good men for nothing more than revenge and jealousy.

            Joab was guilty of killing Abner, Saul’s general, although Abner changed his mind about King David and determined to serve him (2 Samuel 3:21). Since Abner had reconciled with David, and since it might have been possible for Abner to continue as general of Israel’s army, Joab might have decided to eliminate Abner. Joab was also angry with Abner over the death of his brother (2 Samuel 3:27).

            After Absalom’s failed attempt to take the throne, a man named Sheba mounted his own drive to become king. David told Amasa, a commander of the army of Judah, to deal with the insurrection and present himself before the king in three days. Amasa failed to discharge his duty in the time allotted, but really had done nothing wrong. Joab found Amasa and killed him (2 Samuel 20:4ff).

            Both deeds were unwarranted, done in peacetime and also done surreptitiously. Therefore, the murders were punishable by death for violation of God’s command, “Thou shalt not kill,” (Exodus 20:13).

            The consequences of Joab’s actions came visiting at the time of David’s illness and impending death. The general decided to back Adonijah, the half-brother of Solomon, as the new king. In explaining why Joab was to be executed, King David told Solomon it was because of the murders Joab committed (1 Kings 2:5).

            God had worked out the recompense for Joab’s cruel killings. Even though these deaths had happened years before, God had not forgotten. We can’t treat our sin as if it has an expiration date. If we fail to repent, we can be assured sin’s wages will be paid.

            God is not mocked. If we think we can use time as a means of covering sin, we are sadly mistaken, just as Joab was. If we sow to the flesh, we shall of the flesh reap corruption, the apostle wrote (Galatians 6:7-9). We can’t sow sin and hope for a crop failure.

#past, #quote

What lies behind us and what lies before…

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher and poet (1803-1882)

#future, #heart, #past