Good morning. It is Thursday, July 23, 2015. Pre-Friday.
Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is omniferous. This is an adjective, meaning, ” Bearing, carrying, or consisting of all things, or many kinds or sorts of things.” An example sentence is given, from a social work book in 1940: “Gradually..the omniferous services of the family agency began to clarify and integrate.”
Today is Gorgeous Grandma Day. Celebrate the Grandma in your life, today! We celebrate Bonnie Bickley!! (Okay, she’s my mother, but she’s Grandma to Rachel and Stephanie!) Today is also Hot Dog Day, and you can get $1 premium hot dogs all day at Sonic! They should give me a free one for that free advertising!
As usual, there isn’t much to write about on Thursday morning. We got home and watered the lawn (only for about two hours, this time), worked on the pool a little bit (we have the Pastoral Assist Team coming over for a pool party Saturday after church), made chili, and watched Major Crimes, along with a little more than half of So You Think You Can Dance.
Tonight is Christi’s Huddle night. I will check the pool again, and hopefully get in a little practice. Rehearsals start up a week from this coming Monday.
Today, I’m reading Genesis 11-13, and Ephesians 6. Genesis 11 tells the story of Babel, along with the lineage leading up to Abram. Terah, Abraham’s father, had already begun taking them to Canaan, but they only got as far as Haran, where they settled. In chapter 12, God calls Abram to leave Haran (at the age of 75), to go to “the land that I will show you.” Abram makes his first mistake by taking Lot, his nephew, with him. Later, Abram goes down to Egypt, because there is a famine in Canaan. There, he pretends that Sarai, his wife, is his sister, because he is afraid the Egyptians will kill him and take her, because she is so beautiful. In chapter 13, Abram and Lot separate, because they have grown too much to stay together. Abram gives Lot first choice, and Lot chooses the lush Jordan valley, which happens to include Sodom and Gomorrah.
Ephesians 6 begins with instructions for children and fathers, and then for slaves and masters. Paul continues with the passage on the armor of God and prayer. Then he gives final greetings.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.
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 . . .
Today’s reading from Daily Guideposts hit me right between the proverbial eyes. Melody Bonnette Swang writes of a lunch outing with her friend Anne. Her friend told her about struggles to let go of “past failures and actions,” saying that they still haunt her.
Melody could relate to that, wondering if remorse for past mistakes and blunders would ever go away.
Anne shared a story that her pastor shared the week before. At Culver Military Academy in Indiana, they have a tradition at graduation. After each graduate shakes hands with the headmaster, they walk through an iron, arched gate. This signifies their departure from Culver into their future. At then end, the gate is closed behind them, symbolizing that it is impossible for them to go backward into their past life. They are “encouraged to close the gate on mistakes and start fresh.” This is a very “tangible way to begin again.”
As the two friends finished their lunch, they promised to work on letting go of past mistakes. As they left the restaurant through a gate, they noticed a sign that said, “Don’t forget to close the gate.”
I can relate to the conversation that these two friends had. As all of us do, I’m sure, I have plenty of regrets in my life. They haunt me, from time to time, mistakes I have made, opportunities missed, and so on. However, I have to remind myself that those mistakes and missed opportunities are also part of the process of my life that has brought me to where I am today. I have a beautiful wife, two marvelous daughters, and a great son-in-law. If I had made one different decision along the way, how would those things be changed today? The thing is, we can’t afford to waste time worrying about, fretting about, what has gone behind us. Look at the verse from Philippians at the top of this reading. “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead . . .” Yes, straining! Because, sometimes, it is very hard work to move forward!
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
As for the regrets, 1 John 3:20 says, . . . for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
Let us have faith in the power of our God, and do everything we can to forget those regrets and strain toward what lies ahead!
Father, I have had many regrets in my life. What if I had made this decision instead of that decision? What if I had obeyed you at that particular time? What if, what if, what if? I cannot afford to live my life in the “what-ifs.” I pray, by the power of your Spirit, that you help me put those behind me and strain, whatever it takes, toward what lies ahead. This, I believe, falls into the realm of trusting in your “future grace,” that phrase that John Piper coined. I don’t know what you have planned for me, but I can rest assured that it will be good, because you are good. Therefore, remind me, daily, wherein my faith lies. Remind me daily that the past is passed and cannot be changed in any way. Yes, there were lessons to be learned, but not for the purpose of rehashing old mistakes over and over again.
Help me to let them go, Lord! Help me to find Sally Forth’s “Let Things Be” tree! 🙂
I pray for this day. May we have safe passage to work and home again. I pray for Christi’s day, that it might be another great day of productivity (thank you for the answered prayer of yesterday)! I pray that Stephanie will have a good day today, and that she will be drawn to think of you and your great love. Rain your grace and mercy down on Rachel and Justin, as they do whatever needs to be done, today. And shower my mother with your grace and protection, in whatever she finds herself doing today.
I pray for the ladies’ Huddle that meets tonight, that they might discover more about you and your work in our lives.
Your grace is sufficient.
When the regrets come flowing in, remember that they are often a tool of our enemy, to distract us from the blessings our Father has for us. Leave those things behind and strain forward to what lies ahead. Let it be.
Grace and peace, friends.