Saturday, October 17, 2015

THE GOOD OLD DAYS!

We often advise each other to "forget the past" and "live in the moment." We do have a way of distorting the past so that it somehow seems euphoric. But it was not! We have problems now - but we had problems then as well! Many conclude that "These are the good old days" and we should simply choose to enjoy the moment.


THE PURPOSE OF MEMORY!
There is much wisdom in that line of thinking - but is it always true? What if we commit a sin such as adultery? Is looking back with deep regret on what we had before we sinned and where we are now always a bad thing?

God gave us the ability to remember for His good purposes!

It seems, as is the case with many things that God gives us, we can choose whether we use it for good or harmful purposes! We can bring up distorted memories of the past which result in missing the opportunities of the present. But memory also helps us to master skills or learn from our mistakes!

Moses told the children of Israel to remember:

Remember! Do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day that you departed from the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord."
Deuteronomy 9:7


HARMFUL AND HELPFUL!
Remembering our sins can be harmful!

If we dwell on them, they can make us feel worthless and feel hopeless to change. The gospel gives us great ho[e to change because God Spirit lives in the hearts of the redeemed to effect that change as we yield to Him!

On the other hand, remembering our sins can be helpful!

We are not to constantly focus on our past sins because we cannot change them. Yet it is spiritually unhealthy to completely block them, pretending that they never happened!

We used to have a definition of insanity that went something like this:

INSANITY: Doing the same things over and over but expecting a different result!

We also called that being "stuck on stupid!"

Living in the past can keep us from enjoying, or living in, the moment! This is true whether the memories are good or bad ones. Bad memories may cause us to fear and shrink from the present and future! Good memories may keep us in a comfort zone that we never want to grow out of!

But pretending the past never existed is a form of denial - and will stunt our growth! We can and should examine our past as objectively and unemotionally as possible. More importantly, we should present the past to God for His perfect examination - allowing Him to make corrections as He sees fit!

"The unexamined life is not with living." Socrates

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart.
     Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me;
     And lead me in the way everlasting

     King David (Psalms 139:23-24)



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Saturday, October 3, 2015

TAKING POSSESSION!


As His divine power HAS GIVEN TO US ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.
2 Peter 1:3 9 (caps added for emphasis)

God HAS GIVEN (past tense) to us...

There are many things that are stated by the Bible as being accomplished before they actually happen. One  example is that, although salvation has been given to all men - yet not all men are actually or practically saved! Why? Is God being dishonest?

First, we must establish that God never lies! He does not deceive us; nor does He insert "fine print" into his contracts (covenants) with us - that He can later cite to deny us what He promised. It is more a matter of the clearly stated terms of the contract!

For example, I may give my son my car. I tell him he may have it, use it and keep it. He may argue that he cannot accept such a gift and wants to make his own way in life. I may sign the car over to my son, leave the keys on his table, and leave the car in his garage.

Taking Possession!
From my perspective, I fully gave him that car. From his point of view, he must "take possession" by licensing the car and actually driving it. It may sit in his garage indefinitely. He may never "take possession" of that car even though it is legally his! I have not lied by saying I "gave" him that car!

In the same way, God sets spiritual gifts like salvation in motion by doing His part. He makes them available to us and often goes much farther by placing them on our path. Yet we do not automatically take possession of them until we exercise our faith to "take" them!

Jesus is "Passing By!"
One day, Jesus was coming near Jericho with a great number of people. A blind man was sitting by the side of the road begging. He asked what all the commotion was about...

So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.
Luke 18:37

He cried out and was told to be quiet - but he cried out even more!

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him,
41 Saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?"
Luke 18:40-41 

Jesus sets many great blessing into motion. He will even "pass by" in close proximity to us to give us every opportunity to "take possession" of them!

All the blessings and promises of God are available to us through Jesus Christ! However, they will not come to us automatically! God has "signed, sealed and delivered" them to us - but we must "take possession" of them through faith - if they are to be ours in reality! 

God does the big part - but we must choose whether we will do our small part to accept and receive them!

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
2 Corinthians 1:20

What a great and profound tragedy if we lose out on the eternal blessings that God has provided for us through Jesus Christ - simply because we neglect them or refuse to take possession of them!

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him?
Hebrews 2:3

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