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January 2, 2019 2:00 am
Hello my friends Michael use of here. I just wanted to thank you for connecting with leading the way.
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Thank you and may God richly bless you as you seek to serve Roman god Janus, for which we get the word January 1 month of the year and Janice was considered to be the ancient Roman god of new beginnings. Janice is depicted to faces one face looks back at the year that passed and that side of that face bears the traces of sorrow dress may and perplexity the other face looks forward to the new year and that forward-looking phase is personified with hope and confidence. This is of course superstition and worship of false gods is no wonder that each year you find in the secular media.
They are obsessed or even possessed almost with that spirit of the theme of wanting to look back and look forward and will look back and look forward at the fact that many people make New Year's resolutions, but the best statistics that I have read is that 90% of people who make resolutions a forgotten in two weeks time.
I'm not against New Year's resolutions.
I really am not especially if those are made of the guidance and the leadership and of the Holy Spirit of God. If they met in confidence in the Lord's power in the Lord's strength to do some greater new things for God. I am not against lateral God has set times and seasons, he said, festivals, and in all for the purpose of renewal because God is a God of renewing God in the New Testament. However, tells us that we are to renew our minds on a daily basis not even moment by moment basis.
It is a continuous renewal essay how you do this by allowing the Holy Spirit of God to help us to let go of the past. The past season in the past, guilt by genuine confession of that sin by genuine repentance of that sin by allowing the Holy Spirit of God, which is the wind of God and of the word rock in Hebrew activities, spirit, wind and breath same word and I do pray daily, as the Lord let the wind of the Holy Spirit. Today pull the sales of my life guide me this day. Let that wind of the Holy Spirit be the power that pulls me through this day of this week or this month of this year is a problem that most of you will understand because it happens even among God's people is that they keep on looking back at the past not to let them alone to let go of the past but then over to dwell in the past. Many people keep looking back and they get caught in the quicksand of the past. The quicksand of sorrow, the quicksand of failure, the quicksand of pain, hurt and anger, whatever it may be. And yes they can get caught into the quicksand of past successes and women talk about this in a minute because just as important not to dwell in past successes is not to dwell on past failures have you heard people say or talk about the good old days. I was going to say no not that good. I don't know what glasses you wearing others get caught in dwelling in the past and literally. By doing so they create fear and anxiety of the present and the future others. Still, they look back and they get caught. What I called in the paralysis of analysis may never move forward. So was the answer will the weather God gives a sense of thank God the Word of God gives us answers not.
I don't have the answer everything the way to God. If you turn with me to Philippians chapter 3 and I want to look at verses 13 and 14, but I'm going to translate it like a homespun translation. It's a hours notice the use of translations or a promise you it is accurate is what the apostle Paul is saying I'm going to put it in context. In a minute. Brethren, I count not myself have made it animated yet. I haven't reached it yet but one thing that I do is obviously the one thing that occupies his mind.
The one thing that are constantly impacting every aspect of his life. The one thing I do is forget those things about in my past and I strained forward Army strenuously hard.
I strained forward to the future. I pressed hard toward the goal of the finishing line, the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Listen carefully is what he saying, rather than dwelling in the past, whether it is failure or success makes no difference. By all means learn from the past and don't live in it. By all means, let the past propel you forward not pull you back by all means clean lessons from the past but don't pass Kenneth. In fact, the apostle Paul's lesson to all of us and your pastor is included for getting or letting go of the past and striving forward with every energy with every ounce of energy that I have toward the future, should not be one of many things that we do, but should be the one thing that impacts everything that we do an all-time preacher used to say. The apostle Paul said one thing I do, the average Christian today says there are 20 things I Dublin I couldn't agree more. Why is that the one thing for the apostle Paul that he focuses on that he allows it to be the driving force for all his decisions, for all his life stop. Why is that the one thing that he pushes for not think with Mayor Gramlich explained to you why because I know you agree that the apostle Paul single-handedly accomplish more for the work of God for the gospel of Jesus Christ than anybody else, including the 12 disciples who walked and lived with Jesus for three years right deep thinking with me okay I'm getting somewhere if all was like many of us who tends to live in the past if he allowed his past sins and him if he allowed his past blaspheming of the name of Jesus to weigh him down if he constantly lived with the past guilt of persecuting Christians to be heavy on his heart. If you continuously allow that vision in his mind, which was very visual to him of standing there holding the claws of Stephen the very first Christian martyr and he was there literally participating. He was there watching his long-lost stone that came and hit him in the end of his life just think about this if he allowed that vision to continue in his life he would be living in nightmares. Diane and day out, he would have been hardly paralyzed from doing anything that's worthwhile he would have been prevented from doing what he did in the power of God and that is impacted the whole world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, not only in his day, but even to this day, but he also knew that the forgetfulness of the past or letting go of the past moving forward from the past or letting the sin of the past go by or being cleansed from the horrors of the past, whatever they may be.
He knew that this only can take place because of God's forgiveness, love it, please listen to me when sin or sins are confessed, when sin or sins are repented of when sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.
It must be forgot is a hacky riser for my member. I want to show you our show you how it works every time you're reminded of your past sins of which you are confessed and repented of you immediately remind yourself that you are forgiven that those sins are forgotten by God. I was thinking about letting go of the past and I thought many years ago. The Italians have invented a very special way of letting go of the past and they had a custom is that midnight stroke approaches.
The streets are cleared of people are cleared of cars and even policemen run for shelter. Why, because at the stroke of midnight the winters are opened and every member of the family tosses out all that the tested ornaments or crockery is even the furniture just come flying out the midnight anything in their possession that reminded him of something negative in the past. They tested out directed out of their mind and tossed it out in the streets. Now some of you are saying where's Michael going with this profound piece of trivia more of a spiritual and biblical level. It is not enough to let go of the past. I remember the words of Jesus when he said talks about the man who repented of his sins are turned away from them that he never allowed the Holy Spirit to come in and fill that empty place in his life and the Bible said that devil when he leaves and he comes back in the looks of the heart, and he sees the heart still not occupied by the Holy Spirit.
What does he do we bring seven others with and therefore is worse and so it is not enough to just let go of the past because there could be a very dangerous place, but your mind, your heart you member your spirit must be refilled in those empty places that have been forgotten and forgiven. How by continuously filling your mouth with praise and the promises of God by continuously feeding your mind on the promises of God of forgiveness and renewal by continuously allowing your thoughts to dwell on the love of God by continuously allowing your fostered wealth on the grace of God and the mercy of God. Let me repeat it is not enough to just try to forget the past, but you strained forward and you see that in the formula.
He says that's what he was doing is not only let go of the past, but I strained forward with every ounce of energy I strained forward toward the future and I believe the image here that the apostle Paul gives us is the image of a marathon runner believe that all the Greek culture and there were everywhere in Corinth and Athens. Everywhere he went.
Marathon running was a big deal and I think that's the image that he has in his mind. Here, because a serious marathon runner cannot afford one second delay because a one second delay can mean the difference between winning and losing. And so the runner does not waste one second of time looking for the right or looking to the left leg, glancing to see how far he is from his opponent. He cannot afford as second of delay. Looking at the sky admiring the blue sky he can afford. He cannot afford looking down to the ground and see what's going on. However, counsel taking care of these potholes, he has to keep his eyewear on the finishing line to keep his thoughts on that coming trophy. He keeps his attention squarely on the finishing line now. I believe the apostle Paul has a very clear objective. You list all of us, including your pastor how to face an uncertain future agreement was only that's the intention of the verse here and I think most people in there almost a moment when I really, come clean with God.
Most people are apprehensive about the future. Different things play different people.
In fact, that is why they look back on this day back because apprehensive about the future of the truth is this.
Listen carefully. Most people anxious about something in the future with OB about their children and children's future with OB about the economy of house, going to fair next year or other jobs whether there still have a job held for the financial security and list goes on and on and on and on and ride because uncertain about the future. Plagues a lot of people. It really does.
But listen to me for the child of God who has placed his or her complete trust in Jesus Christ need not be afraid of the future and one of the reasons is one of the keys to do that is to let go of the past. There is nothing that will happen to you, which is not already foreseen by your heavenly father, God sees the future as a present reality. And God said, I knew you before you were formed in the womb. He knows you know when your little baby. He knows you when you knows what happens before it happens. The question, how do you face uncertain future by trusting that the same God, the same heavenly father who protected you in the past with all of its grief and pain and joy. The one who took care of you in the past. He is going to take care of the present and the future and then and that is why pulsing press forward.
I strained my forward, eyes strenuously importing every energy in this doing what keeping his eyes on the end of the race. If you train yourself to keep your thoughts on the finishing line. Those of you hear me long enough to know is what I call the audience of one. Everyone of us don't have that audience of one. Keep your eyes on the finishing line. Keep your eyes on the audience of one.
And when you keep your eye on this finishing line on the keeper on the prize you not gonna waste your time as you running on the trash that you see along the road, but think Paul said all of the great honors that he had accomplished and achieved. He called them trash that you worsened with a focus on the trash. No matter how valuable in the eyes of the world with maybe you are not going to stop to entertain the spectators can't talk to them, how are you hey how my home doing yeah I get praise from the crowd. Nothing on her. Let them go. You will not gonna stop for a moment to try to fix the pothole in the streets. That's a problem of the municipal council and I got a good look up and become a stargazer or your focus total tension you be running looking at the guy on the left and the person on the right stumble and fall. No, when you are pressing strenuously toward the goal. You're not going to waste your time on trivia you're gonna waste your time on things that are passing in a gonna waste your time on losses of things. Things you're gonna waste your time on your critics.
There were always be there. You're not gonna waste your time on your detractors. There will always be there all those who hate you for whatever the reason might be. Paul said no, I refuse to do this but the one thing I do I keep pressing to the finishing line. I keep pressing the finishing line.
Someone said if you aim at nothing you emotionally hit it. I couldn't agree more. Beloved your finish line. My finish line is that audience of one am telling you about on the final day. Therefore, don't look at the past it's already been forgiven is under the blood of Jesus is Lakota Tim Bloom used to say Jesus have thrown your sins into the deepest sea and you better not go fishing for them. Don't look to the sideline put blinders on, refuse to look back because if you do, you gonna stumble most certainly don't stumble in the wonderful in Luke chapter 9 verse 61 the Lord Jesus tells something that is really very similar to what Paul is saying here news I will. Where did Paul get his idea got it from Jesus. Members spend years trying to learn what the Jesus I probably debriefed the writers of the Gospels before we figure out the stuff that he was anxious to know everything that Jesus settled it and he was listening to James. He was listening to the other apostle disciples. Paul learned this stuff from Jesus and son Luke said that Jesus told Freeman to follow him on the gonna focus on all of them just one followed by what this man said are you all will follow you.
But let me go first home and say goodbye to my family reasonable request, and to think you're great is a reasonable request by Jesus who knew all things. Jesus, who knew all the hearts Jesus who knew all motives that they know no one who puts his hand on the plat and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God is fit for the service of God is not bit harsh yeah political correct society. Jesus is very harsh really know see the plow is pulled by a strong and wild ox.
If you are not holding that thing with every ounce of your attention and energy you are you gonna really be dead meat you take your aisle.ox.
You could literally crush you controlling and managing of that ox that is pulling the plow should be a total forward looking and complete concentration.
Listen to me. Please our Lord knew that this particular man is prone to look back and stay back. Our Lord knew that this particular man if he had not moved swiftly. He will never succeed. Beloved, listen, I know and you know that many of us want to go back to the past, whatever the past may be an Jesus is saying what Paul is teaching us today, namely please, please, please, whatever you do, strained following. Can I get an amen. Please whatever you do don't look back. Don't go back.
Don't waste your time on the past whatever is in this regard to failed past failures of past successes or past wrong judgments of past wrong decisions that you have made a pass wrong choices or past wrong action straightforward. Strive forward in the Bible gives us many examples of those who have looked back and stayed back Dimas was a companion of the apostle Paul, but he went back and Paul says he loved the present age. John Martinville later on accomplish great things, but in the early days of his ministry he went with Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey but he got cold feet they got homesick and as I wanted all impulsive, you go home and be with me again. I wonder how many of us today is between you and got you caught and what I called the retrospective glance. Only you know, only you know, not long regarded a story about a man by the name of Pliny L.
Wingo, two-story Mr. Winger was born in Abilene, Texas, in 1895. Mr. Winger pulled one of the strangest world records. Anybody ever held on the one of the strangest. He was the greatest exponent of reverse pedestrian reason.
Pedestrian reason is that what is that simply means walking backward that shortly. Mr. Wingo made an 8000 miles transcontinental walk walking backward. The entire 8000 miles between April 15, 1931 and October 24, 1932. Mr. Wingo walked backward from Santa Monica, California all the way to Istanbul Turkey might not in 75. Mr. Wingo celebrated the 45th anniversary of that walk, and he covered 552 miles, walking backward from Santa Monica to San Francisco. By that time he was 81 years old and so it took him 85 days.
He did it all with a special set of glasses when what happened with crosses that helped him to see as he walked backward again when I reflected on this profound piece of trivia. I really decided that there is a spiritual lesson here. There are some who cannot focus on the future nuclear there are some who are not able to strained forward toward the goal why because they are committed to looking backward. Are the two are connected just to examine what I'm saying and reflect on today when the great apostle Paul said forgetting what lies behind it means forgetting everything everything then pass that is evil. Everything that is questionable. Everything that is improper. Everything that is sinful.
Everything that is hurtful. Everything that is ever done in his hall of life that is displeasing to the Lord. Everything. But not only that, he also talks about every achievements in the past. Are you with Ms. amen consistently listen look what I did back then and they stay there this day.
There and on straightforward.
Sometimes, my beloved friends. Past successes can hamper us just as much of past failures resulted to him regarding this one. Whatever your past, you must deliberately and definitively bring it and throw it in the deepest sea for that's exactly what God did with them. But there's more. There's more effect to the whole of moral dissent on the subject, but I've got a limited time, you need to be willing to burn past bridges. These bridges that constantly beckoning you to come back to the old territories that you have walked away from long time ago. Or maybe just short time ago burn the bridge is safe with me. One of the most encouraging stories of ministers to me from the Scripture is what the prophet Elisha did Elisha is different from a larger and a lot of people confuse the two. Elisha, can you say that with me. Elisha Elisha was called by his predecessor, the prophet Elijah. The called of God to come and succeed him in the prophetic call Elisha was a farmer who was forming a small piece of land.
When the prophet Elijah called him to follow him and then Eliza, if you remember he was propelled into heaven, he did not die 1919 first Kings when Elisha heeded the call of God in his life. He did something amazing, something amazing in order to burn all of his bridges to the past in order to avoid being pulled back to the old life he held a big barbecue big party big barbecue invited his neighbors and his friends and anybody will come at this barbecue and he barbecued the ox that he was using it as far as the fire come from the fire came from the wooden implements that hung on the ox and pulled the plow. He put back into the fire. I got a barbecue grill everything that held into the past gone burn consumed the bridges all pages of the past were gone. I believe with all my heart. This is what the Lord Jesus had in mind here when he said to this man. No, one who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is fit for the service of God own ask you some questions and I want to transfer me allowed. Do you want to do great things for the Lord in the coming year. You want to be used of God mightily in a mighty way somehow in the coming year.
Do you want to live in victory.
Do you want to be set free from whatever the past might be begin by burning your past bridges.
All the bridges that keep taking you back to the old territories that are unpleasing to the Lord, burn them today literally literally. Elisha not only was willing to accept the call of God, but he burned the bridges that connected him to the past life and you know what God performed almost us twice as many miracles through Elisha that he did so. Elijah, my beloved, if it is goal that is keeping you from straining forward toward God's goal for your life caught the golden chain. If it's a sense of reputation that is holding you back, nobody, for Christ's sake.
If it is pride of your own wisdom you must be willing to become a fool for Jesus.
If it is a devotion to pleasure, then you must be willing to sacrifice it and keep on sacrificing the Christ. If it is an unwholesome relationship that does not belong in your life then you must firmly decisively walk away from that relationship. Whatever bridges that are holding you back and constantly beckoning you to come back burner that