Monday, November 7, 2016
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Two roller coasters. Only one seemed like a real option to me. I should point out that I really don't do roller coasters much. "Because you're chicken," you say. No, because I'm too short. I just don't measure up to that little height chart that they have at the entrance to the coaster. Actually, I have a friend who declines roller coaster invitations by saying, "I can't. I have an inner ear problem." I like that. I may have to remember that one. For whatever reason, my rides on roller coasters are few and far between. But at this particular amusement park that I visited a few years ago, they had two roller coasters side by side and two lines to get to them. Over one line was a sign that said, "Forward." Over the other line, a sign that said – yeah, you guessed it – "Backward." You can ride looking forward or looking backward. Like this is a choice?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Looking Backward, Missing What's Ahead."
There are two lines in life, and two cars you can ride in. One says, "Forward" and the other says, "Backward." You choose. Frankly, I don't want to ride looking back at where I've already been. I want to ride looking ahead to where I'm going. I hope you do, too.
And that's what God wants for you. In our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 43:18-19 – some of my anchor verses. Here's what He says, "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." God wants today to be the first day of the rest of your life, not just another day of what your life has been up until now. This can be page one of a whole new volume or just another page of the same old story.
Maybe you've been riding too long looking backward. You keep rehearsing and reliving the hurt of your past, your failures, the painful losses you've experienced, and the regrets over what you've done or what you should have done. But that's the past, and none of it can be changed. But if you don't move beyond the pain, the anger, the bitterness, the self-pity, the grief, and the self-condemnation – if you keep dwelling on that, you'll miss the part of your life that can be changed – the future.
One of God's great representatives, Paul, said, "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" (Philippians 3:13-14). Jesus is the Lord of new beginnings, of fresh starts, of clean slates. You need to come to Him and let Him release you from being tied to the people who've hurt you, by getting His grace to forgive them. You need to ask His help to begin to define your life, not by what has happened, but by what's going to happen; what can happen because of Jesus in your life.
Just a few verses after God's call to forget the past and go for His new thing, He tells us how that's possible. He says, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions...and remembers your sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25). That's what Jesus wants to do for you. It's why He died on that cross and why He rose again from His grave. He paid the death penalty for every wrong thing you've ever done so He could erase your sin from God's book forever, because otherwise, your sin will cost you heaven.
A new beginning. A fresh start. A clean slate. If you're at the point in your life where that's what you want, then it's time to open up your life to Jesus Christ. He's the Lord of new beginnings. You can reach out to Him right where you are and tell Him something like this, "Jesus, I've run my own life long enough and, as a result, there's a lot in my past I want to be rid of. So right now I'm grabbing you with both hands, and I'm pinning all my hopes on you because you died for me. I want today to be the first day of a new life; of a new me."
There's a lot more great information about how to begin this relationship and be sure you belong to Jesus if you go to our website, appropriately named ANewStory.com. Your new story could begin today.
You've been looking back long enough. There's no reason your life has to be just more of what it's been before, because Jesus has come to you today. And with Jesus, your life will never be the same again.'