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Inglesia del Nazareno Communidad de la Esperanza
December 28, 2013 : Turn the Page
Dr. Burnie R. Burnside
Many of us miss Christmas. We don’t miss the day - but we miss the real meaning of the day - the fact that God came to this earth as a baby and his name was Jesus. On Wednesday we start 2014, and as with any new year, we have new opportunities. One thing I really like about the New Year is that it’s an opportunity to start fresh on things.
The new year is a great time to turn the page on stuff you’d like to get going on and accomplish in the next year. It’s also a great time to turn the page on some things you should put behind you.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).
We all have an imperfect past.
None of us can look at our past and see nothing we aren’t ashamed of.
Paul was a religious guy even before he met Christ. But all of his religion didn’t keep him from having a past that he didn’t treasure as time went by.
You might have grown up in church, you might have been involved in church, you might have been a church leader of some sort. But just the same, you have an imperfect past.
We don’t have to be a slave to that past.
Paul could look back on the fact that Christ redeemed him from his past, and was continually working in him.
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what’s ahead.”
He recognized his past, but he refused to be a slave to it.
Here’s a guy who had an imperfect past, and then had decades of fruitful ministry.
No matter our current circumstances, we can move on to better and greater things.
Paul could have just sat back and “retired” from living for Christ and from ministry, but he was of the opinion that he still needed to know Christ better.
Moving on only happens by intentional, determined effort.
There’s a word that doesn’t fit real well with learning to live for Christ and serve Him: convenience.
Paul did what it took within his current circumstance, without making excuses.
The goal is worth the effort.
When you focus on Christ and living for Him, you win.
Paul says that everything he’s done or had isn’t worth what he can gain through knowing Christ and serving Him.
Let me suggest five things to turn the page this next year.
First … Turn the page on a lukewarm relationship with Christ. Spend time in the Word and prayer.
Second ... Give up on half-hearted obedience to Jesus. Get past lip-service to life-service.
Third ... Turn the page on unforgiveness. You don’t have the right to withhold forgiveness of others any more than you have the right to demand forgiveness for yourself.
Fourth ... Turn the page on THAT sin. For many there is something they’ve struggled with, and maybe even given up on conquering. Turn the page on that destructive behavior.
Fifth ... Turn the page on handling God’s money your way.
I believe that if you’ll put into practice biblical principles of handling God’s money, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how God provides for His people.
Make this year the best year yet in your walk with Christ and your service for Him.
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