Sunday, 27 December 2009

The sermon at church this evening was immensely encouraging as we look to the start of 2010:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead
Philippians 3 v 12-13

By God's grace we can look back on 2009 and recognize, with humble thanks, the way that we have made some measure of progress albeit painfully slow! It is right to note changes and growth recognizing that maturing and growing up in Christ is glorifying to him.

However, we can also look back with regret at:
  • The sinful attitudes and habits which still entangle us.
  • The errors of judgement we have made.
  • The ways we have so badly let the Lord down, sometimes willfully choosing our own path.
  • The way there are some areas of our lives where we feel like we continually mess up.
  • Can we honestly say we always learn from our mistakes?
  • The way we have gone to the wrong places to deal with difficulties rather than first going to the Lord in prayer and trusting him to provide all that we need.
Have I painted a depressing picture or what?!

But in this piece of scripture we are exorted to leave the past behind and press forward. Our daily walk with the Lord should be one of repentance and confession. We keep short account with him. We seek to behave and think differently as scripture illuminates the better way the Lord would have us to live. And if we sin again? We go back again to our wonderfully patient and kind God and confess our sin and he forgives us and lets us start again. Even if for the 100th time? Isn't he amazing! Our sins are cast behind his back and sit at the bottom of a pond with a "no fishing" sign above them. Wow!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1 v 9

As was pointed out tonight that also enables us to move forward without being crippled by the past. We don't need the record of past failures to be carried into the future. We can learn from our mistakes but then we are free to serve the Lord and take on challenges for him with our faith and confidence rooted in him. Maybe that's different from before because we weren't trusting him as we should?

We forget sometimes that the Lord truly wants everything for our happiness and well being. Yes, most of our treasure is in heaven but he wants us to live for him here in the freedom of knowing that we are forgiven and redeemed people and serve him with full and thankful hearts.

And our ultimate goal?

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3 v 14

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A meditation for the start of a new year.
CH Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (excuse the old English!) Evening, 27th of December
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually.”
Isaiah 58:11
“The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but Jehovah shall guide thee. He said he would not go through the wilderness before his people, an angel should go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you in your earthly pilgrimage to an angel’s guidance: he himself leads the van. You may not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice the word shall—“The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it! How sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills” are better than men’s oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Then observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes, but we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at his heels, we shall not err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in. If you have to change your position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should happen that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among strangers, or cast among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee continually.” There are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if you live near to God, and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not amiss who goes in the company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you cannot mistake your road. You have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable love to comfort you, and eternal power to defend you. “Jehovah”—mark the word—“Jehovah shall guide thee continually.”

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