Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV) Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
“Several years ago, I began a new job thousands of miles from family and friends. Not long after settling in, the peculiar rhythms and challenges of the position left me lonely, regretful, and in despair. After a particularly hard day I confessed to a friend that I had no idea how I would make it through the remainder of my contract. She listened, prayed with me, and promised to keep believing and trusting in God’s goodness toward me even if I struggled to do so. A week later, she sent me a few words of encouragement she had scribbled on the back of a napkin. She continued sending similar notes every week for the next several months until I found myself on stronger ground. Her messages rarely said much beyond a few words of scripture or a reminder of some event in the past in which God’s presence had been palpable in my life. Over time, I found myself more attuned to the presence of God around me. Above all, the notes reminded me of the ways in which God has always made a way out of seemingly no way – from the dawn of creation until now.” [Maria Kane, The Upper Room: Daily Devotions, p.320]
Are you surrounded by wilderness and wasteland? Take time to ask the Lord for his way and the new thing he has planned for your life as you worship to “My All in All” by Phil Wickham. (Click Here)
Pray also for those in your church, missional group, or campus ministry. Ask God to fill you with visions, dreams and the new thing that he desires for people around you.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
“Sometimes our greatest threat is not from what others do to us but what we do to ourselves… I was eager to quiet comments about my age and fitness by leading in whatever way I could. If people expected me to serve for forty hours a week, I’d serve fifty… It didn’t take long for a case of burnout to reveal that much of what I thought was proof of my dedication and leadership was actually a case of pride and fear – fear of letting people down, of not being who I thought others expected me to be, of not being enough. In short, I was afraid to acknowledge the limitation of being human.” [Maria Kane, The Upper Room: Daily Devotions, p.321]
How can our own work sometimes get in the way of God’s grace?
Have you ever tried to make up for or worked harder to cover up past regrets or limitations?
Today, let go of being driven by the past but let God’s grace fill you as you worship to “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman. (Click Here)
Prayer: Lord, I am your handiwork, ‘created in Christ Jesus to do good works.’ Continue to open my heart, ears and eyes to your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT)22 The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
“As famed NBA rebounder Larry Bird has said, “Most rebounds are taken below the rim. That’s where I get mine.” Knowing this, Bird intentionally positions himself near the rim because the key to a successful rebound is to be where you can move forward once you grab the ball. Likewise, the key to a successful rebound in the Christian life is to position yourself underneath the comprehensive rule of God. When you align yourself with God’s rule – what I refer to as God’s kingdom agenda – you are in the best position for your rebound.” [Tony Evans, It’s Not Too Late, p.172-173]
What are some parallels in the above passage (i.e., repeated words/thoughts in vv.22-23)?
What does the writer speak to himself (v.24) and why (hint: think about what a lament is)?
God’s comprehensive rule includes his faithful love and mercies that never cease. For that reason, it’s never too late for us to position ourselves to receive and come under God’s mercies that begin afresh each morning. The best rebound moves you forward with the Lord as your inheritance and hope.
Take time to pray and declare Lamentations 3:22-24, especially over any past regrets.
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
“I know that growing up brings challenges, but you never need to doubt that God will give you the help and strength you need to face them. Quietly trust that God is still in charge and working out things according to His own good plan. Believe me, God’s grace is more than enough for this time of your life. Even as I grow older, I am learning, day by day, to keep my mind focused on Jesus. When I do, worries and anxieties and concerns of the world pass away, and nothing but “perfect peace” is left in my heart.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day, p.272]
According to the Ephesians’ passage, what were we before without Christ?
What are we now with Christ and what was the reason according to the passage? How can this apply to your past and any regrets you might have?
Moving forward from your regrets is a lot easier when you see his ‘grace is more than enough for this time of your life.’ God is rich in mercy and has made/makes us alive with Christ. Ask and receive mercy from our Lord as you worship to “Thank You Jesus” by Hillsong. (Click Here)
Prayer: Father, you are rich in mercy and great in love. I need your mercy, Lord, to wash away any wrongs in my heart. Thank you that I’m alive in Christ and help me to move forward by keeping ‘my mind focused on Jesus.’
2Corinthians 7:10 (NIV) Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
“What is the difference between God’s way of sadness and the world’s way of sadness? The two types can be seen sharply set out in two of the central characters of the gospel story. On the night of the Last Supper, Peter followed Jesus to the high priest’s house, where he proceeded to deny three times that he’d ever known Jesus. On realizing what he’d done, Peter went out and cried like a baby. That was the first step towards the restoration that came with Jesus’ appearance to him (Luke 24.34; 1 Corinthians 15.5) and the remarkable conversation with Jesus by the lakeshore (John 21.15–19). His sadness led him to repentance, and that was a cause, ultimately, for rejoicing. On the other hand, Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, showing the high priest’s servants where to find him in the dark, was plunged into the darker depths of the world’s way of sadness. In Matthew’s account, he flings down the money he’d been paid at the feet of the chief priests, and goes off and hangs himself (Matthew 27.5). Two types of sadness; two end results.” [Wright, NT For Everyone: 2Corinthians, p.78-79]
Why does worldly sorrow bring death?
What’s the difference between repentance and regret?
Past regrets can burden and bury us, but that’s not to be our outcome as Christians. God offers another opportunity to turn and seek his help. Offer your past regrets to God and let the Lord lift you up.
Prayer: Lord, you are good. Help me to repent of any past regrets. Lead me in your salvation that leaves no regret. In Jesus’ name. Amen.