January 2019

Happy New Year! At least I hope that is how you approach it! Some says, “Humpf! Happy new year… smew year!” You know what happens too much in the beginning of a new year? Too much looking back and not enough looking forward! Looking back is “cautious” expedition. A little looking back and of the right variety can be good, helpful… maybe even important. But too much looking back can be to handicap your forward movement. It was Satchel Paige, some say the greatest pitcher in baseball history, who said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” And author, poet, journalist, Rudyard Kipling said, “Never look backwards or you’ll fall down the stairs.” There is more wisdom in that than you might think at first glance. Looking back, as I said, is a “cautious” expedition… a journey in the wrong direction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it, “My ship will never come it!” “The right one will never come along!” “Things will never work out… they never do for me!” Ever felt like that? Many do, and it’s from too much looking back. Because in the past it’s never happened for me, it never will, the future won’t change it. The truth is the future can’t change the past, but it does offer hope for new possibilities, for a fresh vision of not what has been but what can be. The future is like a new, fresh, unstained and unwritten page that is yet to be filled with dreams and visions come true… of what can be… that is unless you start filling that page with past failures and disappointments, and mistakes, with mess ups and let downs. It doesn’t have to be that way! It really doesn’t! The Apostle Paul said, “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'). I don’t think he at all means forgetting completely the past, learning from past failures, rejoicing in past successes and blessings. I think he means not allowing the past to define us, not allowing the past to discourage us, not living in the past or even basking in past successes to the detriment of our future advancements for the cause of Christ. I think he has in mind a “past” that may hold us down, tie us up, bind our hope and dreams, a past that may dampen spirits, discourage souls, dishearten joys. The past can do that you know! Past failures and disappointments don’t have to define you. Past failures can be building blocks for future opportunities of growth and worlds of new possibilities. Paul tells us how… “Press on!” Press toward the goal! “Press” as in bear down with strong resolve and heart. Give it your all! Give it a good go! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Don’t throw in the towel! Press on! You were made for this kind of “pressing” on! But it’s much more than that! It’s not just a “pressing on” of human willingness, and grit. Paul said, “I press toward the goal of the prize of the upward call on God in Christ Jesus.” It’s a pressing on by faith, leaving the past in His hands and trusting His good will and good timing as you press forward. I press on toward Him! I press on to be all that He would have me to be. I press on trusting and waiting on Him! Stop looking back and look forward with excitement and anticipation of all that God has for you. I love the oft quoted passage in Jeremiah 29:11closeJeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (ESV) closeJeremiah 29:11closeJeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (ESV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (ESV) … God is speaking and says (to us), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I know! I know! Such an overused and maybe even misapplied verse, but don’t let that dissuade you from leaning into what it is saying. If you are His, as a believer He really does have your very best interest at heart, and He really does have a plan for your life… a good one… a plan to prosper, flourish, thrive you, bless you beyond your wildest dreams. Believe it! That is something to look forward to in the new year! And besides that, as Kipling said, “Never look backwards or you’ll fall down the stairs.” Climb those stairs, don’t fall down them! That’s bad and hurts! Happy New Year! I Love You, Bro. Buddy