"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!'"
October 23, 2013
I would like to share the lyrics to the chorus of a song written by Howard Goodman entitled 'I Don't Regret A Mile':
"I don't regret a mile I travel for the Lord. I don't regret the times I trusted in His Word. I've seen the years go by, many days without a song. But I don't regret a mile I travel for the Lord."
Most of us have regrets in our life. There may be regrets about things we tried and did when we were teenagers; regrets regarding decisions made when raising children; regrets of career choices; regret of passing up a good investment; regret of speaking when we should have kept quiet and hurt a relationship; regret of making bad decisions, etc. The thing about regrets in our past is that we can't go back and redo.
We can learn from past mistakes and hope to make wiser choices in our future. Or we can allow the guilt and regret of our past shackle us and prevent us from ever moving forward. When we constantly rehash negative events over and over again, it causes self-condemnation. On the other hand, we can move forward with expectation when we can accept God's forgiveness, and then forgive ourself.
One thing that we can be assured of not regretting is our relationship with God. We may not always understand His ways and He may not always answer our prayers the way we would want, but we can still have hope and peace in knowing Him.
I doubt that you would ever hear someone on their deathbed say, "I wish I hadn't lived my life for God. I regret becoming a christian and serving the Lord. I wish I had lived as wild and carefree as possible and tried ever bad habit imaginable." On the other hand, there have been many who have said, "I wish I had lived my life differently and accepted Jesus into my heart a long time ago. It would have saved me a lot of heartache and changed how I lived life."
There are many in the Bible we regard as heroes that sinned and failed. I'm sure their lives were filled with regret. Yet they didn't allow their past to hinder the plan that God had for their future.
God promised Abraham a son, but as he grew older and that promise wasn't fulfilled, he tried to figure out how to do it by himself without the help of God. He had a son by his wife's servant, yet that wasn't the son that God had promised. Abraham paid for his sin and I'm sure he was filled with regret for not waiting on God's divine plan. Yet in spite of Abraham's sin and trying to do God's work for him, there came that time when God gave him and Sarah their son, Isaac. And through Isaac, God's promise was revealed and fulfilled.
David was a mighty man of valor who had overcome numerous obstacles to become king. God had protected David over and over again when Saul was trying to kill him. David was said to be a man "after God's own heart". He had given David a great kingdom to oversee, and he was a much respected and beloved leader. Yet David got his focus off God and allowed his flesh to dictate his actions. David committed adultery with a married woman, then had her husband killed in battle. The son that Bathsheba conceived died and David mourned greatly. Yet in spite of David's sin, God forgave and continued to bless his kingship.
Paul had christians persecuted and killed before his conversion. He said that he was "the chief of sinners". Paul could have used his past as an excuse to not preach the Word of God after he was saved. "Nobody will listen to me! They all know my reputation and will be fearful anytime I enter their towns." Yet he overcame his regret of his past and allowed God to give him a future filled with hope. Paul was imprisoned many times and didn't have an easy life as a minister, but he persevered and even in prison, wrote letters to encourage various churches and individuals. He refused to allow his past to dictate his future.
Our past regrets don't have to enslave us to a future filled with guilt and remorse. When we repent, our past is covered by the blood of Jesus and "old things are passed away and all things become new". Whatever it is behind us that keeps us tied to our past regrets and prevents us from accepting the hope-filled future that God has planned for us, needs to be dealt with. God is not the one who keeps bringing it up and filling us with guilt, anger, bitterness, hurt, etc. We do that to ourselves. Letting go of negativity is sometimes the hardest thing to do. It's not about what we do or don't deserve. It's not about how bad we were. It's not about who hurt us or why; or even about who we may have hurt or why. It's about accepting the forgiveness of God and forgiving ourselves; and it may even require us to forgive someone who we feel doesn't deserve it.
God wants to fill us with hope and expectation for what lies ahead. If we're constantly looking behind us, we will eventually crash. When I'm driving down the road, if I stayed focused only on my rearview mirror and what's behind me, at some point I'm going to miss what's ahead of me and have a wreck. It's the same way with our lives. If we only focus on the rearview mirror of our lives, then we can't see the beauty and glory and even the bumps and ruts that lie ahead.
In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul says it like this: "I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Chirst Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but 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."
We write something on the topic of forgiveness fairly often, so sometimes feels hard to come up with something new. But it is such a big topic that Loretta always seems to add something new. The Bible is also filled with things to say about forgiveness and mercy.
Not only is it a big topic, it's one of the most important one. 2 Peter 3:9 says it well. God wants us all to come to Him and ask His forgiveness, and accept his mercy. The English Standard Version has, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
Easy Angel Food Pineapple Cake
1 Angel Food cake mix
1 can crushed pineapple
Mix dry cake mix and can of crushed pineapple together. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.
Other variations: Mix a dry chocolate cake mix and 1 can of Coke together. Mix a dry white cake mix and 1 can of Sprite together.
My great-niece calls me Aunt Boretta. Her parents and grandmother (my sister) have argued and tried to convince her that my name is Loretta, but she doesn't believe them. She thinks they are the ones saying it wrong. A while back my sister was playing a game with her making various alphabet sounds and words that began with those sounds. My sister said, "La...La...Loretta." Her granddaughter repeated, "Ba...Ba...Boretta!!
"I can forgive, but I cannot forget," is only another way of saying, "I will not forgive." - Henry Ward Beecher
We love you!
Loretta & Jon