“To dwell on the past simply causes failure in the present. While you are sitting down and bemoaning the past and regretting all the things you have not done, you are crippling yourself and preventing yourself from working in the present. Is that Christianity? Of course it is not.”—Martyn Lloyd-Jones
One day years ago, a teenager left home to attend college. His mother, worried about him, gave him a Bible and printed a verse of Scripture on the flyleaf. The young man soon discovered college life to be an endless series of parties, in which he spent all the money he could acquire on fleeting pleasures. On one occasion, he needed money for whiskey, and he pawned his Bible for it. Nevertheless, he eventually made it through college and became a doctor in a large hospital.
One day, Dr. Mackay treated a dying patient who knew that he was dying and asked for his “book.” After the man passed away, Dr. Mackay noticed the man’s “book” among his effects. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It was the very Bible his mother had given to him years before, with his name and the verse of Scripture still on the flyleaf.
He retreated to his office and began poring over the book. Several hours later he knelt and asked Jesus Christ to be his Savior and Lord. Dr. W. P. Mackay later became a minister and the writer of the old Gospel hymn “Revive Us, Again.”
Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes, Page 56
In his book Caring Enough To Forgive / Caring Enough To Not Forgive, David Augsburger suggests that forgiveness is a “journey of many steps” taken carefully and thoughtfully, the steps including:
1. To see the other as having worth again, regardless of wrongdoing;
2. To see the other as equally precious again, in spite of the pain felt;
3. To cancel demands on the past, recognizing that changing the unchangeable is impossible;
4. To work through the anger and pain felt by both in reciprocal trusting and risking until genuineness in intention is perceived and repentance is seen by both to be authentic;
5. To drop the demands for an ironclad guarantee of future behavior;
6. To touch each other deeply, to feel moved by warmth, love, compassion, to celebrate it in mutual recognition that right relationships have been achieved.
The God of Impossibilities
Read | 1 Kings 17:24
All over this world, around us every day, are people who are looking for the truth to be lived out in the lives of those who claim it. Just as the widow watched Elijah, there are people watching you. They hear what you say you believe, but they are watching to see what you do.
Remember, you are here by God’s appointment, you are in His keeping, you are under His training, for His time. Give Him the corpse of your life, and ask Him to revive those lifeless areas that need to be revived. If the situation calls for it, trust Him for a miracle, in His time, if it be His will, for your life.
On the bed of your life place the remains of your broken and scarred past; the emptiness of your poor character traits; the habits, even the addictions that have so long controlled you; the limited vision that continues to characterize you; the slight irritation that nags or the large one that looms; the anger or violence or lust or greed or discontentment or selfishness or the ugliness of pride. Lay all these before the Father, and stretch yourself out under His shadow as you ask Him to bring about remarkable, even miraculous changes in your life.
Is He able? Get serious! I’m referring to “the God of impossibilities,” the One who has limitless power, who has never—and will never—meet an intimidating obstacle He cannot overcome, an aggressive enemy He cannot overwhelm, a final decision He cannot override, or a powerful person He cannot overshadow.
Because Elijah believed in “the God of impossibilities,” not even death caused him to doubt. He learned his theology of faith in the secret hiding place at Cherith. He was given the opportunity to develop it during his advance training at Zarephath. But it was not until he stared death in the face, literally, that he personified it. And he did it all standing in the shadow of God.
And so must I. And so must you.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Read | 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5
God’s desire is that our faith grow continuously as we walk with Him. He never intended belief to be a one-time event with a single purpose of ushering us into salvation. The older we get, the greater our trust should become. Yet I’ve met some Christians who have stayed at the same level of faith throughout life.
We need to realize that our willingness to trust the Lord affects every area of our lives—how we feel, what we do, the way He blesses us, and whether our prayers are answered. It all begins with our focus. When you face difficulties or heartbreak, do you notice only the impossibility of the circumstances, or do you see the greatness of our Father? To whose voice are you listening—the skeptical advice of others, the lies of Satan, or the Word of God?
Our focus in turn affects our emotions. Those who choose to believe what God says experience the peace and joy of knowing He has everything under His control. Because they trust Him, fewer situations bother them. But if our minds are filled with doubts, anxiety and fear rush in—then, we’re just not sure if the Lord is going to help us or not. Instead of resting in Christ, we fuss and fume, trying to anticipate all possible outcomes and solve every problem in our own strength.
I don’t think we realize how important faith is to God. He delights in us when we choose to believe Him; He will also move heaven and earth to act on our behalf and answer our prayers. By trusting Him, we’ll discover new excitement and adventure in life and find that He is always faithful.
Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.