Friday, January 20, 2012

Walk In Obedience

Walking and Obeying. Bing

“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you heard from the beginning, his command is that we walk in love.” 2 John 5-6 (NIV)

John returns to the command given by the Lord Himself. We are to love one another. He explains when we are to accomplish this we obey God and His commands.

As we go through 2012, we need to remember that we are commanded to love one another as God loves us. What does this mean to us? God loves us as we are, He loves us not because we will do great things but because of we belong to Him.

I saw her when she was in the hospital. She was a relative but we had different lives. She told me she didn’t approve of the way either of her children lived their lives but they were her kids. As she said it I felt scolded but later I realized she wasn’t defending them but loved them because they were hers. She made no pretense about trying to justify the behavior of her children, she loved them anyway. That day, I saw how unconditional love worked.

Recently, I saw unconditional love displayed by an older couple. They had had been victimized by a younger member of their family. My friend spoke of their concern about this young relative being placed with hardened criminals while being retained by the authorities. I took the time to tell my friend that she had reminded me what unconditional love looks like.

Sometimes we follow God’s guidance and others treat us shabbily. When this happens, we still have to follow His direction and obey His words.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do Not Dwell On The Past

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing.”
Isaiah 43: 18-19a (NIV)

We hear people say, “Live in the moment.” Usually, the person behind this phrase is advising us to focus on issues that affect our lives today, not something that happened 20, 30, or 40 years ago.

God tells the people to not relive in their minds the past of their nation. He had just told them to forget what happened to them in their past. Warren Wiersbe, a Christian writer gave me a very good usage of the word forget. The passage was Philippians 3:12-14. In this passage Paul tells us “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on. . . .” Mr. Wiersbe wrote that the meaning here of ‘forgetting’ is not to remove from our minds. Rather it is that we no longer allow the things of the past control us.

I believe we can apply the same usage to this passage as well.

One time, back in the early 1980’s, I witnessed a situation that caused a church to fire a choir director. The church was within its rights. This circumstance should not have happened among Christians. Eight years later, I saw this person at a church league athletic event, acting as a referee. I found myself remembering what had happened earlier. I shared this at a Wednesday night Prayer Meeting at the church I belonged to. One of the Lay Ministers reminded me, “God doesn’t remember eight years ago, why should we?”

I learned a lesson that night. I had to accept that that person may have sought God’s forgiveness. I had to forgive that person as well.

God tells people in exile He is doing a new thing. He makes a way for the Israelites where there wasn’t one before.

When we find ourselves under a burden, we need to ask God to make a new way out of the circumstance or, to put it another way, to allow good to come out of the bad situation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A New Way

Look forward to the future, "Veil of Forgetfulness"
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you
not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams
in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

The Lord God speaks to His prophet Isaiah. He also speaks to us. We have times when people’s actions and words tend to get us down. During this time of a new year, we should practice forgetting all the hurts we have endured in our pasts.

“Forget? I can’t forget what they did to me.” How many times have we said that in our lives? I once read a thought about the word ‘forget’ as used in scripture. Warren Wiersbe wrote in a Bible study on Philippians words that I still have in my heart. The passage was Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to take hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Mr. Wiersbe wrote that the word ‘forget’ did not mean to banish from our minds. Rather, the meaning was that we no longer allowed things to control us. I found this perspective to free me from some harsh things that happened to me in my past.

When we dwell on events that happened a long time ago, we permit those feelings and those difficult words to color our outlook on life. I have read where a woman who goes through the horror of violation develops wariness about men. A friend of mine was a victim of her stepfather’s misguided passion. She still has protective habits that date back to her adolescent years, even though she has had a good adult life.

Our dwelling on things in our pasts tends to make us sick. We develop ulcers and nerve problems because we can’t lay things to rest. An extreme example of this is the PTSD condition of some soldiers or of someone who has witnesses a horrific crime.

God makes things new and easier for us. Each day is new, we can begin again.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)


Dear God,

As we go through this time of making changes for this another year, let us remember to give the hurts and heartaches of our pasts over to You. We will do this willingly and wait for You to act on them in our behalf. In the name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...