Moving Forward In Spite of the Past

Scripture Study:  HEBREWS 4:14-16

ILLUSRATION:

One man said to his friend:  “Say, you look depressed.  What are you thinking about?”  “My future,” was the quick answer.  “What makes it look so hopeless?”  “My past!”

Our past does tend to put a cloud around our future.  Good, bad, or otherwise.  Our past sometimes determines the path we take in the future.

When we look back over our lives, we all have things we’ve tucked away in our hearts and minds that we would like to delete, the Bad, the SORROWFUL, and remember and even increase the joy-filled times.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (MSG-The Message Bible)

[14-16]  Now that we know what we have–Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God–let’s not let it slip through our fingers.  We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.  He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin.  So let’s walk right up to *Him and get where *He is so ready to give.  Take the mercy, accept the help.  [* Capitalized because of what He is, the spotless Son of God]

MERCY and GRACE, two great things we all need!

When it comes to the pain of the past, we must ask God for MERCY in order to get over it.  These are the same things that we find that are hard to handle,  and hard to overcome, such as:  losing a loved one in death, divorce, abuse, financial loss, etc..

We must ask God with confidence and boldness for MERCY, to put an end to our suffering over these things that are holding us back.

Sometimes we’re tormented in our spirit for years over such things.  But our God is merciful.  We must ask for Him to be merciful in that boldness and He will demonstrate it.

And next, we must ask for GRACE to keep us moving forward.

Every day when I wake up in bed, as sleepy as I may be, I know that I am here by the Grace of God.  We exist by His Grace.  Good things come our way–His FAVOR, by the GRACE of God.  We are only able to forgive by the Grace of God.  And of course, we are only FORGIVEN by God’s GRACE.

We’ll never move forward in life without the GRACE of God!

Our country is in the process of always looking back and well, it should.  We are looking back on that horrendous day of September 11, 2001.

Everything points to the Lord. 

By Him, we live and survive.  And with Him, we die.  

Without Him, we cannot live or live abundantly as He planned in our lives.

John 10:10 (Amplified Bible)

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy…”

CATCH THIS…

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”

And we certainly don’t want to die without Him!

In light of September 11, 2001, we must remember, honor and trust.

DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM REMEMBERING THINGS?

Who doesn’t?

And personally, the problem seems to increase with age.

The other side of the coin is this:  We are pretty good about remembering certain things.  Things that deal with our own experiences; our own likes and dislikes.

For example, my wife has expected over the years, that I should take care of servicing her car.  Several years back, I would tell her when she filled up the car with gas, that the station’s attendant would ask if he could check under the hood [ I did mention “several years back”].

“if it needed oil, remember to tell them your husband would add the oil.”

One day she mentioned her car’s oil was down by a quart and she decided that she could add the oil.  After all, how hard could that be?

I asked her if she had any problems and she answered with confidence, “No problems.  But it took a long time to add the oil.”  Scratching my head and asking, “Why did it take so long?”

She explained that after she took the dip-stick out and putting a funnel in the little hole, it took forever to drain the oil can.

After showing her why she had experienced the ‘slow draining’, with both laughing, and thanking God she hadn’t put the oil in the radiator.  Obviously, I had not been taking care of her car.  Would I do that to MY car?  Probably not.

We could apply this though in many areas of our lives.  And we’d all be guilty.

We are quick to take care of ourselves, watch out for ourselves, feed ourselves whether anyone else gets fed or not.

One of the worst things in the world is SELFISHNESS, and one of the saddest things in the world is to forget people.  And it’s extremely sad to forget them in their suffering.

Luke 10, “The Good Samaritan” story.

There was only one good Samaritan.

The priest passed by on the other side, avoiding the injured man he saw in pain.  The Levite also passes by on the other side.  The stranger, the foreigner, the Samaritan took pity on the man and had a strong compassion.  He tried to take care of the man’s wounds…actually took the man to a place where he could be cared for.

If we could be really honest, most of us are like the priest and Levite.  We’re too self-centered, too self-absorbed, or too busy with our own lives to REMEMBER others.

Hebrews 13:3

REMEMBER THOSE WHO SUFFER.  AS IF YOU YOURSELF WERE SUFFERING.

It could be US instead of THEM!

If it weren’t for the GRACE and GRACIOUSNESS of God we all could be in prison!  We all could be some of those families in New York who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center.

Romans 12:15 (NIV Bible)

[15]  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

We must REMEMBER the suffering of others.

We must not be without SYMPATHY and COMPASSION for those who hurt.

May God help us to remember others.  May God help us to have the compassion of Jesus.

The Importance of HONORING –

Romans 12:10 (AMP)  “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.”

Romans 13:7 (NIV)  “Give everyone what you owe him:  If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

Philippians 2:25, 27, 29 (NASB) 

[25] “But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need;  [27] For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.  [29] Therefore receive him in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;”  [HONOR]

Some people deserve to be honored.  Not the high and mighty, the rich and the famous, but those who SERVE, those who do, those who care, those who give, those who love, those who die for others without bringing attention to themselves.

It is always right to give HONOR to who HONOR is due!

Think about those around you who deserve your HONOR, your PRAISE, your THANKS, and your BLESSING.

AND THEN GIVE IT

  • TRUSTING 

There’s an old story of a father who took his young son out and stood him on the railing on the back porch.  He then went down, stood on the lawn, and encouraged the little guy to jump into his arms.  “I’ll catch you,” the father said confidently.  After much convincing, the little boy finally made the big leap.  When he did, the father stepped back and let the child fall to the ground.  He then picked his son up, dusted him off, and dried his tears.  “Let that be a lesson,” he said sternly.  “Don’t ever trust anyone!”

That’s a heartbreaking illustration of the world’s attitude on not trusting others in our lives.  The world says, “Watch out for number one, yourself.  Don’t trust anybody, not even family members.”

Without seeming too negative, I wanted to bring awareness to a strong and powerful truth.

HERE IT IS:  Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

None of us like to think that we are “evil”, but in a real sense, we have an evil side, a dark side to us, and it’s called the FLESH.  If we ‘dark-sided’ people are good to our children, how much greater is God, our Father, to us!  If we can be trusted in some form, how much more He can be trusted!

2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV)  “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”

At our very worst times of unfaithfulness, God is still FAITHFUL!

He is for us!  He loves us in spite of who we are or in what we think or do!

I realize that concept is hard to comprehend because all we know basically is human love.  And “human love” often fails.

Hebrews 13:5

God is saying to each one of us:

“Why get so engrossed in making money!  I’m here for you.  I will provide for you and your family.  There’s more to life than money!  I’ll take care of you, feed you, put a roof over your head.  Quit wanting more.  No matter how bad your situation gets, no matter how deep in debt you find yourself, I’ll take care of you!  You’re My kid.  Please let me be your Father!  Please trust Me!”

Proverbs 3:5-6

TRUSTING is a hard lesson to learn.

There’s probably not a person in my life who hasn’t failed me in some form or another:  parents, siblings, mate, children, Christian friends.  And I’ve failed them as well.  I didn’t want to fail them, but I did.  I have and I probably will again.

All I’m saying is, that we FAIL one another.

BUT WE HAVE ONE WHO NEVER FAILS US NOR FORSAKES US!

Romans 8:28 (AMP)

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”

Romans 8:31-33

The famous preacher Dwight L. Moody once said,

“Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment.  Trust in your friends and they will die and leave you.  Trust in money and you may have it taken from you.  Trust in your reputation and some slanderous tongue may blast it.  But trust in God and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity.”

The only way to live is by faith, by trusting God as our living, heavenly Father.  And by trusting in Christ as our Savior.

If we want to live as successfully as possible, as joyously as possible, we must live by FAITH.

WE MUST TRUST GOD.

Remembering, honoring, trusting and loving God.

Making these your commitments will keep you moving forward!

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CREDITS

Photo Images:  Google Image Search – Settings, advanced.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP); The Message Bible (MSG); New International Version (NIV); New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Dwight L. Moody Quote:  201 Dwight L. Moody Quotes by ChristianQuotes.info

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Too Big For Your Britches

The origin of my title, ‘Too big for your breeches’ or ‘too big for your britches’, is an American phrase, and one I heard growing up during the “instructional” moments as a young boy.

If you are unfamiliar with the metaphor, here is one meaning of the phrase:

“Conceited; having too high opinion of oneself.”  [The New Roget’s Thesaurus]

It is first found in print in An Account of Col. Crockett’s Tour to the North and Down East, 1835, written by Davy Crockett:

davy_crockett_by_william_henry_huddle_1889

“I myself was one of the first to fire a gun under Andrew Jackson.  I helped to give him all his glory.  But I liked him well once; but when a man gets too big for his breeches, I say goodbye.”

THIS BLOG’S SCRIPTURE VERSES:  Jeremiah 45:4-5  New Living Translation (NLT)

[4]  “Baruch, this is what the LORD says:  ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted.

[5]  ‘ Are you seeking great things for yourself?  Don’t do it!  I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go.  I, the LORD, have spoken.”

This message from God was given by Jeremiah to Baruch in a time of great personal discouragement in the scribe’s life.

WHO WAS BARUCH?

baruch-serving-jeremiah-320x400According to Josephus, Baruch was a Jewish aristocrat, a son of Neriah, brother of Seraiah ben Neriah, and chamberlain of king Zedekiah of Judah.

Baruch became the scribe of the prophet Jeremiah and wrote down the first and second editions of his prophecies as they were dictated to him.  [ See Jeremiah 36:2, 32 ] – [See footnote [i] ]

Because of his background and current position to God’s prophet, it seems that his own personal aspirations had not been fulfilled.

Boy, I’ve been there before!

His DESIRE to seek great things for himself had met without success, leaving him dejected; passed over for promotion:

Jeremiah 45:3 (AMP):

“Woe is me now! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and sighing and I find no rest.”

It’s at this point that, through Jeremiah, God asks Baruch a soul-searching question:

V. 5:  “And you should seek great things for yourself?”  Seek them not!”

God’s WORD to Baruch is a strong message and play’s a role familiar in normal human life today, and yes, even in our churches–that, of having to take second place, having to play second fiddle to an already established assembly.

Considering all that Baruch was doing to make Jeremiah’s prophecies permanent by recording them for posterity, it’s not surprising that he seems to have expected to share at least some of the prophet’s rewards.

When realization set in, Baruch couldn’t hide his frustration, slipping into despair, “groaning and sighing”–whining all along, as he wrote down Jeremiah’s words from God.

Have you ever found yourself muttering while in service for God?  “GUILTY!”

Many people today, who profess FAITH in Jesus Christ, have been caught up in the COVETOUS spirit of the world in the “more for ME” or “great things for ME” philosophy.

The Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:10):

“Oh, that You would bless ME and enlarge MY border, and that Your hand might be with ME, and You would keep ME from evil so it might not hurt ME!”

Though God granted Jabez his request, his prayer was not a petition in behalf of anyone but himself.  No thought for anyone but himself!

Oh, how it would be good today for Christians to consider God’s admonition to Baruch “…seek not”.

Somehow, some way, we’ve lost sight of the motto “God first…Others second…Self last!”

Living in the last days…

This just might be my opinion, but in these last days, we should all strive, as children of God, to live on a plane much higher than our own selfish ambition.  In this materialistic generation, the tendency is to put both the youth and adults into slavery.

The Apostle Paul’s reproach in Romans 15:1-3 tells us…

[1]  WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak;  [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others]  and not to please ourselves.  [2] Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].  [3] For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written,  The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on Me.  [Ps. 69:9.]

Lets look at Scripture and do some COMPARISONS of the “great things” the world can offer WITH… the “greater things” God provides for His children.

FIRST, let me share some “GREAT THINGS” we shouldn’t seek:

  • Great Worldly Honor – 1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV):

[25]  “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”

rewarded-saint

Great Worldly Riches – Acts 12:21-23 (NIV):

[21]  On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 

[22]  They shouted,  “This is the voice of a god, not a man.”

[23]  Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Christians should NOT SEEK Worldly HONOR, RICHES and POWER to the neglect of one’s soul.

The things that the WORLD offers are but temporary in nature whereas the things of God endure forever!

“Yeah, BUT…I have needs as much as any non-believer,” you might be saying to yourself.

Even when thinking about the temporal things, the child of God is promised in being supplied with every need.

God really promises His children ALL of their needs?

Matthew 6:33 (AMP):

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then ALL these things taken together will be given you besides.”

Now, let me share the “GREATER THINGS” God has in store for us.

  • Far greater HONOR – 1 John 3:2 (AMP) and James 4:10 (NLT): 

1 John 3:2:  “Beloved, we are [even here ans] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He (Jesus) comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.”

James 4:10:  “HUMBLE yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

“True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us” ~ Tryon Edwards.

  • Far greater RICHES – Romans 8:16-17 (NIV) and [See Proverbs 22:4]:

[16]  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

[17]  Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Far greater POSITION & POWER – Revelation 3:21 (AMP):

[21]  He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down besides My Father on His throne.”

Feeling “too big for your britches” lately?

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING–Get over yourself–get into God so that you can start living a LIFE bigger than you are and experience the BLESSING of God, so that you too can find your REAL value in the eyes of the LORD as Baruch did.

jeremiah45_5
GOD’S BLESSING FOR YOUR LIFE

 


Footnotes & Credits —

Footnote [i] :  Wikipedia – Baruch 

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Commentary:  Enduring Word Bible Commentary Jeremiah Chapter 45.

Bible Translations:  New Living Translation (NLT);  Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV); English Standard Version (ESV).

The “Inward Beauty” of the HEART

Finding Your Inner Beauty

 FOR “WIVES ONLY”

“In a like manner, you married women. be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if ant do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by [godly] lives of their wives”  (1 Peter 3:1 AMP).

“THE INWARD BEAUTY OF THE HEART”

“But let it be the inward adoring and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God”  (1 Peter 3:4 AMP).

Definitions: Outer beauty is the first impression someone gets of you.  Inner beauty is the second and lasting impression.

Rebecca St. James says, “SHEism: A truly beautiful SHE is a girl who sees her value as the whole package–through her inward as well as her outward beauty.”  She goes on to say that is a “holistic beauty“; it’s real, honest and it reveals the contents on the inside of the package that enhances the outer.  You can’t fake it.  It’s the way women look, feel, think, and act.  It’s the “whole shebang.”

IT’S A “HEART” THING!

I looked up the word HEART in Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary this morning to get a better understanding of the terms in         1 Peter 3:4:

The HEART– Greek is kardia; the chief organ of physical life. “For the life is in the blood” (Lev.17:11).

 By an easy transition, the word came to stand for “man’s entire mental and moral activity both rational and emotional elements.”  In other words, the heart is figuratively the “hidden springs of the personal life.”  The HEART represents the true character but conceals it.

Deep inside of her she is at peace.  So much so that even a fragile person is safe with her.  Do you think men, you are the only one who notices how lovely she is? NO!  God Himself sees her beauty and puts great value on it.

Now don’t get me wrong, NOT taking care of yourself on the outside doesn’t give you an excuse!  There isn’t a husband reading this that doesn’t want his wife to be attractive on the outside too!

GETTING PERSONAL LADIES

Yesterday, approximately how many minutes did you spend on your appearance (outer beauty)?  Now, the next question is, Yesterday, approximately how many minutes did you spend on your relationship with God and with your husband (inner beauty)?  Now men, don’t be thinking while reading this [even though this section is for “Women Only”], that you are off the hook.  Your part in all of this is coming.

Monitoring Your HEART Rate—

One of the goals of aerobic workouts I’m told, is to improve cardiovascular fitness.  Your heart rate becomes a motivating friend when you monitor it properly.  It allows you to objectively detect beneficial changes that you can’t otherwise see.

This exercise can also be applied to your hidden person“; improving your spiritual conditioning.  Spiritual laziness can happen to all of us without our regular aerobic exercising; spending time in the Word of God, increasing your HEART RATE, developing your inner beauty.  If you don’t check your pulse rate daily, the spiritual life source can affect your beauty; inwardly and outwardly.  No one wants to be considered ugly inwardly or outwardly.

FOR “MEN ONLY”!

“In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively]”  (1 Peter 3:7 AMP).

I want to wish my wife Happy Anniversary once more (our Wedding Anniversary was in September).  47 years. WOW!  How did I manage to make such a good choice?  Clearly, this was a work of God and every year you become more beautiful to me, daughter of God.

1 Peter 3:4 explains to us what makes a godly woman so attractive.  How is it that her beauty shines through, even when she’s wearing an old sweatshirt or her hair is a mess?

Let me tell you her secret.  Her beauty comes from deep within; “the hidden person of the heart.”  Now ladies, don’t being saying to yourselves, “I wish my husband would get that message!”  Remember, this section of the BLOG is for “Men Only”.  God isn’t talking to you here.

“HONORING” the “WEAKER VESSEL”

Men are responsible to how marriage is supposed to work.  Your prayers’ effectiveness depends on it.  It’s a HEART THING!  Honoring your wife must come from your heart.  It’s giving something from yourself (the “hidden person of the heart”); purposely[aerobic exercise] showing attention and awareness, not accidentally but on purpose.  It is treating or honoring your wife as the “weaker vessel” as a valuable priceless treasure!  Are you ready for some exercise?

Ten Steps in Practical Expressions of Honoring Your Wife:

1.  Always open doors.

2.  Offer your hand to assist her.

3.  Give her extra money in the budget to spend on herself.

4.  Tell your wife how beautiful she is often (her “inward beauty” and her “outward beauty”).

5.  HONOR her openly in front of your children.

6.  Take her out to eat and let her talk.

7.  Call her during the work day.

8.  Schedule time to be alone.  PRIORITY means value.

9.  Leave her handwritten notes.

10.  Always remember the special dates.

The ten practical expressions of the heart are part of the daily exercise.  Are you checking your pulse rate men?

THINGS THAT “DISHONOR” YOUR WIFE–Take your “pulse rate” afterwords:

1.  NEVER put her down, especially in front of people.

2.  NEVER point out her weaknesses around people.

3.  NEVER tell your wife there isn’t enough money in the budget for her to buy something for herself, then buy yourself something.

4.  NEVER tell her you don’t have enough time for her.

5.  NEVER walk in front of your wife, no matter how slow she is.

6.  NEVER, ever, compare her to another woman.

7.  NEVER make sexual innuendos in front of other people.

8.  NEVER tell her half-truths to cover your tracks.  Be honest with her.

It is time men to check on your spiritual cardiovascular inner being; the spiritual condition of your heart.  Whatever you’re not getting from the relationship is because you aren’t sowing seed.  Word seed takes root in the heart and grows.  1 Peter 3:1-8 is telling both the wife and the husband, you must make an investment in the heart.  It’s okay to look good on the outside but the inside is more important.