PAST - PRESENT - FUTURE

Phillipians 3:7-14

INTRODUCTION

[a] On Remembrance Day, our minds turn in a special way to past events, and indeed the realisation comes to us, that our country is truly the product of past events, and we consider with horror, the type of existance we would have, if Nazi Germany had triumphed in the last world war.
[b] We feel such a debt of gratitude to those who gave their lives for our freedom.
[c] But of course, in much more recent times, the same kind of sacrifice has been made, in the Falklands, the Irak conflict, in Northern Ireland, just to mention a couple.
[d] Even though we may feel war to be an obscenity on the face of this planet, we honour those brave men and women who gave their lives for their country - standing against tyranny, oppression and terrorism.
[e] But individually, we too, like our country, are the product of past events - our NATURES, our CONCERNS, our ATTITUDES, our
PREJUDICES, our RELATIONSHIPS!

THE PAST

[a] There is the danger that all of us can allow the PAST to RULE, DICTATE, and even DESTROY the PRESENT and the FUTURE - especially if that past carries much hurt and pain.
[b] Time and time again, I have come across those who have allowed a hurt done by someone, to destroy their spiritual lives.
[*] In a little daily reading book, which I have, I was drawn to a reading so applicable for this very day: -

Forget the past. Remember only it's glad days.

Wipe the slate of your remembrance with Love, which will erase all thatis not confirmed in Love. You must forget your failures, YOUR failures and those of others. Wipe them out of the book of your remembrance.

[c] Like each of you, I can look back to times in the past, when I have been sorely hurt; but I realise that God often permits such things, so that we can be REFINED and PURIFIED, a PERFECTING FIRE for us to pass through.
[d] Often we find that such experiences teach us important lessons only learnt by experience, which fit us for a specific form of service,
which otherwise we would not be capable of undertaking!
[e] The realisation that every piece of the jigsaw, fits into the plan of God - somewhere - is not always easy to understand or accept.
In fact, sometimes it is IMPOSSIBLE to accept, unless it is in faith!

THE PRESENT

[a] As Christians, we are not immune in any way, from the normal events and ills which befall the human race - but of this we can be assured, that through it all, God seeks to work out His will in us, and through His great LOVE, seeks what is ULTIMATELY the best for us.
[b] Sometimes that ultimate good is delayed, because we find difficulty in accepting some of the distasteful events, and would perhaps become angry with GOD, which accomplishes nothing, and cannot gain us anything!
[c] Rather, it means WE loose out! Because it blocks up the channels of blessing and supply, that God would let flow to us!
[d] Of this we can be certain - God is at this very moment working circumstances and situations for our ultimate good.
He is working out HIS GREAT ETERNAL PLAN in our lives, even amidst the seeming disarray.

THE FUTURE

[a] The commitment of the present determines the whole of our future!
i. Our relationship with God at this present moment, will determine whether or not He can continue to work out His plan in our lives!
ii. We can so very often look into Scripture and find parallels in the life of Jesus to our own experience.
iii. The example, which we use so often, is when Jesus had to choose at the CALVARY CROSSROADS there in Gethsemane.
His humanity was so reluctant to take the way of pain and deep sacrifice, BUT HE ACCEPTED WHAT HE KNEW WAS GOD'S LOVING WILL, EVEN THOUGH IT CONTRASTED WITH HIS OWN!!
[b] We cannot see the future, but God has lovingly planned it, and as we trust Him, He gives us the courage and strength to go forward, a step at a time, with the confidence that He is near to bring support!
[c] Let us thank God for all the cherished memories of the PAST! Let us seek the knowledge of his hand upon the PRESENT!
Let us trust the FUTURE into his care and keeping!
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
    SONG           [TUNE]
     13            [127]
     44            [668]
    732            [687]
    158            [408]