Archive for March, 2015

Yesterday

010The hardest thing to do in life is look forward, focus on the path that is ever before us. The easiest thing to do in life is look behind us, to dwell on the “what if’s” or languish in the golden moments. Isn’t it funny how God put our eyes in the front of head rather in the rear? Perhaps what is even harder is to let go of the past, rather it was good or bad. The good times are like a bad addictive drug that makes your soul crave for that high. Your fear is that you may never achieve such moments, or will never find an adequate substitute. A great example of this is the former star athelete who longs for those glory days.  He tries to relieve it  through his children, but it is hollow and empty and leaves him even the more unhappy and discontent. The bad times are equally gripping. They bubble up like bad dreams and haunt our memories, locking us in a eddy that consumes our every thought and action. This psychosis is manifested by crippling us both mentally and physically. It brings about added stress and anxiety which in turn can cause all kind of physical ailments such as heart disease, kidney and liver failure, indigestion, etc.  Perhaps we can better understand the Great Physicians diagnosis of the problem Mark 2:17  And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Letting go of my past, good or bad, is a difficult task, but the Good Doctor has said, “straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”Lk.21:28

Paul had the same difficulties and articulated them best in his Philippians letter.  If anybody should have a right to long for the past, someone persecuted and thrown into prison as was Paul’s case, should. I can’t even began to understand the stress and trauma of one being incarcerated.  The gloom of each day in a dark and damp cell.  The humility and loneliness that must accompany such times would all but beg to go back and live in a happier or gratifying moment.  Paul even ponders his former life Php 3:5-6  circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;   as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Paul had a great thing going and in some way his voice in this verse seems to boast of his former self, but looking back is in the past and what lies ahead is worth his suffering now. It may have been glorious and satisfying to his mind, but Paul understood that it was in his past, and that for the sake of Christ he now regarded his glorious past as dung. The past, good or bad keeps us from the true focus of life and that is to follow Christ. Water in a stream does not fulfill it’s purpose if it gets caught in pool to stagnate. Water must move down the stream, and down the river into the sea to be recycled  Like water moving down the stream, so should our lives be in the service of our Master, to do His good will and pleasure and serve Him by forever moving forward. Paul states a little further along Php 3:13-14  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,   I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

You see! It wasn’t easy for Paul to do it either, but he did. He had to work on it daily, straining, pressing, a steady climb upwards. All these verbs express how hard it is, but with Christ it can be done. (Phil.4:13)

                Paul didn’t just have a glorious past to forget about, he also had a terrible and frightful past that clung to him. When you hurt other humans, that hurt you inflicted stays with you. I believe in some way the thorn in Paul’s flesh was his guilt of committing such heinous crimes against Christians. In 2 Cor.12:7-9, Paul pleaded with God to remove the thorn, but God denied him. God’s answer: The gift of my Son is sufficient. That’s God’s response to us as well; forget you past by relying on My gift to you, the forgiveness of your past through my Son. It turns out the healing power of Jesus didn’t end with His death on the cross, it’s still happening today. By looking forward to Him and focusing on Him each day, I too can receive this healing power, the power over the crippling and degenerative guilt of my past.  I only have the promise of this day so make it count and quit trying to put yesterdays torn out calendar page back into the book.

Darryl Fuller

I can do all things

A woman who uses a wheelchair said she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands and shovel her own path on sidewalks in Braintree, Mass.  Now her actions are inspiring others to get out and do thesame.

Crystal Evans, 33, suffers from a neuromuscular disease, and is regulated to a wheelchair. This has not stopped her from digging in and helping herself and others overcome the problems of life.

She has spent more than 100 hours since January making the sidewalks in her neighborhood passable, which, in turn, is inspiring others to help out.WomanShovelsSidewalks022315

Crystal is just one example of many who choose to act instead of being the victim. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned by the Romans when he wrote the Philippian letter.  Even though Paul was a prisoner, he was full of joy. In fact, joy is a key word in Philippians. This word, and other forms of it such as “rejoice,” is found at least fifteen times in the four chapters of this epistle. Philippians teaches us that Christians can be happy even in the midst of hardship and suffering. We are joyful because of the hope we have in Christ.  Phip. 4:11-13   Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  (12)  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  (13)  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Having the will and courage to face the challenges that await us each day is a clear demonstration of our faith in Christ.  I know nothing of Ms. Evans’religious beliefs, but her attitude of taking action for the good of others, instead of sitting in her wheelchair at home, feeling sorry for herself, teaches us the kind of faith and tenacity we should all aspire to demonstrate.

Often we are overcome with a sense of gloom because of the apparent darkness that has descended over our times.  We have withdrawn to our homes, afraid to engage the world around us for fear of some evil befalling us.  We sneer at the ungodly, secretly hoping like Jonah that God will quickly rain down His wrath upon the wicked and whisk us away to Heaven.  We of course look forward to Heaven, but in the present world we must proclaim to those around us, the joy that is within us, the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.   We cannot be afraid of the potential for harm. We must act for the good of our souls and the good of others around us.  Pro 22:13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!”

Ms. Evans wasn’t plowing snow as a way of grandstanding, either.  Her motivation was to clear a path in order for her to get to the post office.  Instead of relying on others to do a rather simple task, she took action and discovered the power to not only help herself but a way to help others.  When we decide to go forth and overcome the obstacles, we too may discover that we can do a lot more than we thought. We can help others in ways we never imagined.   Isa 41:10  fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

                Thank you for the inspiration Ms, Evans! Your snow plowing has cleared sidewalks a lot further than Braintree, Mass.

 

Darryl Fuller