“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but 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 3:13-14.
For more than five decades these New Year’s verses have encouraged me to keep plugging along as I attempt to run with patience the course the Lord has set for me.
I was blessed by a brief article from my friend, Dale Byers, quoting Chuck Swindoll, who always seems to have the right words:
“Regardless of what you have done, no one is beyond hope. That's the great hope of the Christian message. No amount or depth of sin in your past can trump the grace of God. If you question that, remember Saul, the brash Pharisee of Tarsus. When the Lord saved him, He didn't put him on probation. The other disciples did that. No, God gave Saul a new name and, in the process, made him a new creation. That's what makes grace so amazing!
Even though your past is soiled, anyone can find a new beginning with God. I've made the same statement throughout my ministry: It's never too late to start doing what is right. When Saul knelt before the living God, he finally faced the reality of his sin. Deep within the man, Christ transformed his life, and he started doing what was right. Grace provides that sort of new beginning.
Don't get stuck on where you were. Don't waste your time focusing on what you used to be. Remember, the hope we have in Christ means there's a brighter tomorrow. Sins are forgiven. Shame is canceled out. We're no longer chained to a deep, dark pit of the past. Grace gives us wings to soar beyond it.
Could it be that you are stuck because of something from your past? Perhaps it has pinned you to the ground with embarrassment, shame, and fear. You're crippled by it. The best you can do is to limp through each day, hoping for a painless end. That way of thinking is from the enemy, Satan. He loves to push your nose in the dirt, hoping to make you miss the marvelous claims of grace. Don't allow him that power in your life today. Around you are people who have no greater claim on grace than you do, and the Lord mercifully brought them out of their pit of sin. If He could turn a Saul of Tarsus, who was engaged in a murderous rampage, into a Paul the apostle, who preached and lived the message of grace, He can change your life too.”
The hope in this verse is far beyond politics, church affiliation, even the entire realm of humanity. As Christians, our hope is in Jesus Christ and we are assured that Jesus Christ trumps all the challenges of life.
Copyright © 2017 Larry Lilly
2017 IT work! Oral Deckard