I am not good with directions, hence the reason I love my GPS. Even so, I had to learn some shortcuts for my recent driving. I did this all without the GPS. I stepped out and left the old, familiar traveled roads. It was all about time management. Remember Psalm 90:12. If I spent too much time driving, other things would get neglected, plus my kids would not be happy if I was late.
Taking an adventure on these new paths has been a blessing. I did not feel rushed and I had extra time for much needed things. I was so glad that I did not settle for the old way. This reminded me of the direction of God. Often we like to return to the same old paths, but God doesn’t want us to return to the past. We aren’t meant to return to the old paths. He is doing a new thing. We need to continue along with Him forward, not turning back to where we once were.
Remember, God is pruning you and growing you. The place you were at, you needed to get through. But that doesn’t mean you are to return. Things are different. You have changed. God has a new path for you to travel. After you travel that path, there will be another season, followed by another. God will continue to do a new thing in your life so you can be made into the image of Jesus Christ. Staying on the same old roads will never get you there. Being comfortable does not happen in a life with Jesus. We do not stay in the familiar; we walk into the unknown. Continue to press forward where God leads, moving forward in faith.
Read Ephesians 4:17-24.
Look Back – Remember what God has done
Joshua 3-4 – REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE
Remember personal experience
Remember to share faith – John 21:25
NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY YOUR TESTIMONY- IT IS YOURS ALONE
Look Back – Remember past events and old life
Dwell on past sins – missing old life – longing for what was
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Leave your old self behind – put on new self (Ephesians 4:17-24)
Old self – “the flesh” is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so (Romans 8:6-7) – old self is all about us
Lot’s Wife – Genesis 19, Luke 17:32-33 – Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it
Harboring unforgiveness towards others / holding grudges
FORGIVE means to NOT TALK ABOUT IT and to NOT THINK ABOUT IT
Forgive just as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)
FORGIVE LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED
Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12)
Guard your heart – Proverbs 4:23
Pray for them – But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
Look Back – Remember Past Mistakes
Romans 3:23 – All fall short of the glory of God
Everyone makes mistakes:
- Abraham fled to Egypt because of drought (Genesis 12-13)
- Moses killed Egyptian (Exodus 2) & struck rock in anger (Numbers 20)
- Peter denied Jesus THREE times (Mark 14:66-72)
Today’s Passage: Conception and Birth of Jesus – Matthew 1:18-25
“Verse 21 – “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Nathan Rebukes David – 2 Samuel 12:1-14
- David – man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
- David commits adultery & plans murder to cover up sin (2 Samuel 11).
- David’s repents – TRUE REPENTANCE – David’s prayer – Psalm 51
Knowing if it is a sin
- Sin is going against God and His Word. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. (1 John 3:4). Know God’s Word. Know His Commands. READ BIBLE & PRAY – REQUIRES AN ACTIVE, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP
- Believers have His Spirit (the Spirit of God) to teach (Ephesians 1:17) and convict (John 16:8)
You must admit sins
- To be healed (James 5:16)
- To get another chance (Proverbs 28:13)
- To be changed (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5)
- To share with others
Your sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ
- Declare with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9)
- While you were dead in sin He forgave ALL our sins (Colossians 2:13)
- The debt was cancelled – Jesus nailed it to the Cross – paid in full (Colossians 2:14)
- He blots out our transgressions (Isaiah 43:25)
- He will not even remember our sins – acts as if they never happened – forgives as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12)
Confession isn’t necessary for forgiveness – Jesus finished that once for all – but it is important
There is NO ONE between you and God.
- Jesus encourages us to confess to the Lord (Matthew 6:12, Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4)
- We were given an Advocate with the Father – Mediator – Holy Spirit (1 John 2:1)
- We should reach out to Him daily for a spiritual washing (1 John 1:9)
- We should confess to each other because it’s beneficial to the body (James 5:16)
- Not only do others realize we all struggle, but there is ACCOUNTABILITY. We all need an accountability partner who will SPEAK TRUTH.
Philippians 1:6 – He will complete the work He began in you – TRUST
I have a problem with clothing. It seems no matter how hard I try, I am always staining my shirts. As a result, I typically do not purchase clothing that is white. Who wants to have a shirt that so easily shows every mistake? Nonetheless, I wanted this one shirt and it only came in the color white.
It only took a few wears and the incident occurred. I was out in the rain and my red hooded sweatshirt bled into the collar of my white shirt. I did not even realize it was happening until it was too late. Now though I was not wanting to purchase a white shirt in the first place, I was now trying my hardest to make this shirt white again. I scrubbed it with bleach. I got out my stain removal stick. I used peroxide. I tried every trick I could think of and I even resorted to searching online for other options.
In the end, I could not repair the damage done to my shirt. The only thing I could do was to change the color of the shirt to adapt to this new color that was found on the collar. There was no other option for me, and so I made the change and my shirt is as good as new.
This incident reminded me of sin and how it invades our life, even at times when we don’t realize it. It reminded me of how only through Christ and His blood are we able to be clean. We can try every stain remover, but nothing will remove the damage of our sins but Christ who cleanses us so that we are as white as snow.
This episode also got me thinking about how we are so stubborn to change. There are times when God is moving us in one direction, but we dig our feet into the ground and stand firm in our position. We think we know best. As I worked so hard to have my shirt stay white (which I never wanted in the first place), the shirt ended up being pink. Perhaps pink is the better color.
It took so long for me to fight the color change. I thought I knew best. God knows best. God’s plan for my life and for your life is the best plan. We can avoid the white shirt because we don’t wish to go down that path, but He can make that the only option. We can try to work for our salvation or sidestep through each and every sin, but only Christ can cleanse us and bring us true salvation. We can fight every twist and turn, but in the end, if God wants the shirt to be pink, it’s going to be pink.
When we accept God and His grace into our lives, and when we stop fighting and reach out our hands and say, “Here I am,” it is then that we can achieve true peace. Today I rejoice that I have a pink shirt– a shirt made new– because I know that God is making me new.
“Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” – Ephesians 4:24 [NASB]