"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 28, 2016
One night, last week, I had a hard time going to sleep. Perhaps it was the two glasses of caffeinated tea I had for dinner. Anyway, until around 1:15 AM, I would kind of doze off and on a little, but it felt like I laid there, wide awake, not sleeping. During that time, God showed me something really powerful. Here it is:
Philippians 4:13,14 says, "..... I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
God never intended on us living life, while looking behind us and regularly revisiting or remembering old sins, transgressions, and offenses. He never intended for us to keep going back, thinking of those things that people said or did to hurt us, whether it was done intentionally or was something that we had no control over. His plan has always been for us to always be facing forward, moving ahead.
Proverbs 26:11 says, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness." Then 2 Peter 2:22 says, "They prove the truth of this proverb: 'A dog returns to its vomit.' And another says, 'A washed pig returns to the mud.'"
When we go back and revisit those things in our past, it's like a dog returning to its vomit... we're returning back to sniff at our old stink - the old thing that was purged from us. Just as it's disgusting for us to watch a dog go sniff at, and possibly even try to eat, it's own vomit - that's how God feels when we return to our old sins, transgressions, offenses, and hurts; sniffing around and maybe even try to "taste" it again. Pretty disgusting picture, isn't it?
When we repent, it's all under the blood of Jesus. Psalm 103:12 says, "He has removed our sins [some versions say our transgressions] as far from us as the east is from the west." Hebrews 8:12 says, "I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins." Isaiah 43:25 says, "I -- yes, I alone -- will blot out your sins for My own sake and will never think of them again." When we confess our sins and ask God for forgiveness, He does so, and then as far as He is concerned, He chooses to forget about it and never remember it again. That is what His plan is for us to do, also. It is in our past, and we need to leave it there; never to return.
God showed me a wall that is always behind us, blocking off those sins that are in our past. There was a door that had been sealed, by God, and it didn't have a knob on our side; representing no turning back. God seals that off from us, because we've repented and asked forgiveness, and His plan is for us to not revisit that anymore, but to go forward. We are to never be going backward, but to always be moving ahead; focusing on the future, not the past.
The door however does have a handle, on the backside, that is accessible by Satan. When that door to our past opens, it is never reopened by God, but by darkness... by Satan. He is the one who beckons us to turn around and go back and revisit those things; rehashing them over and over again. He's the one who tempts us to go back and stick our nose in our old stink again. When we do so, then we feel guilt, condemnation, and a lack of self-worth. Nothing good ever comes from revisiting sins and failures and mistakes of our past. We repent -- again - and turn back around, moving forward for a while.... then will be tempted to go back through that door and revisit.... and do that same cycle over and over again... We find ourselves repenting of the same old sins, over and over again, because Satan keeps reminding us of them and we feel like failures and despise ourselves for what we did and feel unworthy of God's forgiveness. When we do this, we're not really moving forward - we're making a rut, traveling the same path over and over again.
When that happens, we become a slave to those things that are on the back side of that sealed door. We become like the Israelites, who were given a God-given promise of freedom and a land flowing with milk and honey, but kept wishing that they were back in Egypt, because the journey got hard or other problems kept cropping up. They seemed to desire slavery over freedom, because it's what they were more comfortable with and used to. They never totally lost their slave mentality. We often have that same slave mentality regarding our past. We know that God has offered us forgiveness and freedom, but we have a hard time letting go of the past and moving consistently forward. We want to be free, but keep looking back and what we left behind; even though it caused us hardship and kept us bound.
Satan wants to make us feel unworthy and keep us in bondage to our past. As long as we wallow in guilt and condemnation, going back to revisit past sins and mistakes, he keeps us in bondage and we never truly move forward. When someone offends or hurts us, and we keep revisiting that situation over and over again, whether it be in our own mind or in the repeating of that situation to others, it keeps us chained to that situation in our past. We may even justify it by saying, "Oh, I've forgiven that person; I'm just using it as an example to others of how we can be offended and hurt by others." But can we truly forgive and move forward in love and forgiveness, if we keep revisiting that situation?
John 8:38 says, "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." Freedom means not turning around and allowing Satan to reopen that door to your past; walking through that door, and revisiting the same thing over and over again. It means to always be moving forward, keeping your eyes on the prize at the end of life's race. It means breaking free from situations in our past that prevent us from becoming the men and women that God has called us to be. It means allowing God to remove those chains and manacles that keep us chained to the past; because we can't truly move forward if we're dragging those weights around behind us. We can't achieve true freedom ourselves, but it will only come through Jesus Christ. Only He can truly set us completely free!
When Satan tempts us to revisit our past, we need to start taking a stand and firmly say no. We need to remind him of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says, "...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" We can firmly stand and say, "I don't know what you are talking about, Satan! That's the old person, and not who I am anymore! I am a new man/woman in Christ and that old life is gone!" We need to truly believe that all of our past sins are truly forgiven by God, therefore, they have been removed and forgotten by Him. Any feelings of remorse, guilt, condemnation, or worthlessness that we may have has never been given to us by God, but are a product of Satan. If Satan can keep us going back revisiting our old life, our old sins, our past transgressions, then he can hinder us from moving forward to the place to which God has called us to go.
God is calling us to let the past be the past! He's calling us to forget those things, to stop revisiting them and rehashing them and remembering the sin and guilt and condemnation and hurt and offense, to let them go and leave that door sealed -- forever.
To reiterate, we need to always remember and practice Philippians 4:13,14: "..... I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
It's hard enough to stay on the right path when you are looking closely. It's nearly impossible to stay on the right path when you're looking backward. And even if you are able to stay on the path, there are quite a few things you can step in, walking backward, especially if there are horses on the path.
Oven Fried Chicken
Boneless chicken breast or chicken tenders
1 stick butter, melted
3 cups crushed cornflakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Crush cornflakes and add garlic salt and pepper. Dip chicken pieces in melted butter; then roll in the seasoned cornflake mixture. Place in greased baking pan. Sprinkle with any remaining butter and cornflake crumbs. Bake uncovered at 375 for about 1 hour. Do not turn while cooking.
Jovie, age 2, is going through a stage of continually asking, "Why!" Oh my!! Sometimes it feels as if she asks 100 times a day, "Why? Why, Aunt Retta?" "Why you do that?" "But why?" So one day recently I thought that I would turn the tables on her and see how she responded. So after she said something, I asked her, "Why?" She asked, "Why you say why, Retta? I say why, not you say why!" I asked her, "Why do you say why so much, Jovie?" She responded, "Because I want to!!" Well, there I have it! Thankfully, this is only a stage that all kids tend to go through and she will outgrow it.
The door of our past has no knob on it. No turning back! - Loretta Gray
We love you!
Loretta & Jon