7 Jan 2014 by Jason Law CM –
The year has just begun, and while many of us are already making plans in our lives and our walk with God, there may be many who fear for the future, especially in increasingly challenging times while many others may still be living in regret over things that they have done or have happened in the past. During the Watchnight service in Kajang Assembly of God, the Senior Pastor of the church, Pr Calvin Lee, gave a hopeful and reassuring message on how to approach the New Year. Pr Calvin shared that there are certain ways to look at our past that actually help to enable us to move on into the future.
One of the ways we can learn from our past is by looking at it and learning from what should have been. Pr Calvin gave the example of Lot’s wife from Genesis 19 as a point of illustration. God had already spared Lot and his family, and this included his wife. There was only one caveat; they were not to look back at Sodom and Gomorrah under any circumstances. Lot’s wife failed in this one condition, and what should have become salvation from destruction for her instead became a tragedy. As I reflect on this, there are also many examples of this subject matter of regret over past mistakes, including from non-Christian sources like the archetypal story of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Pr Calvin shared that Christians are not meant to live this way. God has purposed Christians to live more meaningful lives. The reason we look back to our past mistakes is so that we can learn from them. All the wrong decisions and wrong directions we make are signposts for future direction, and what to avoid in the future. The past brings us into our present but it doesn’t have to determine our future. We need to learn from our missed chances and mistakes, and having learned from our mistakes, put our trust and seek in God’s direction instead of our own.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
A second way we can look to our past and learn from it is by renewing our faith from what has been. Remember the Goodness of God, and thank Him with a grateful heart for every turn-around and step of direction He has guided us with. All of us have experienced our own victories and joy in our relationship with Him, and every one of these significant moments has the power to renew our faith in the future. Our omniscient Father knows our future and He is there to guide us. He has done so faithfully in the past, He will continue to do so in our future.
Reflect back on the healing He has blessed us with when we fall sick, for every joyful and strengthening relationship we have with people He has brought into our lives, for every instance of His providence, for peace and good families, and for every time that He has been there when we go through huge challenges that seemed insurmountable. Recall the promise that He’ll be there with us for all time, in good times as well as challenging ones (Lamentations 3:21-24). There is power in our testimonies; our testimonies are personal to us and no one can refute them.
New International Version (NIV)
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
There is also another way of looking back to the past that enable us to move on into the future, and that is the fact that we have been saved by hope close to 2000 years ago. This is the central refuge that every Christian should hold on to. Look back to Calvary for hope. Pr Calvin shared that many of us Christians are aware that times are going to be challenging in 2014 due to various reasons, but our Messiah had overcome both sin and the world itself a long time ago.
We may not be bigger than all these things we are fearful of but God is. We can get knock down but we don’t stay down. Pr Calvin shared the story of the ‘Donkey in the Well’ (http://www.wonderfulinfo.com/stories_motivational/donkey_in_the_well.php) Life is going to shovel dirt on us but each shovel of dirt is a stepping stone. Every day the devil is going to throw challenges at Christians, but the key is to never stop stepping forward and upward. God’ll continue to work new things in our lives, and we just need to continue holding on to our faith and hope.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Besides Pr Calvin’s message, there were presentations of songs of thanksgiving and many testimonies, some of which were miraculous in nature. One sister, Anita Lee, shared about the palpitation health crisis she went through. At one point, her (resting pulse) rate rose to 172 beats per minute. Even the doctor worried for her as by the time the doctor met her, it was hours after the first palpitation occurred, and the hospital made her sign an agreement of disavowal of responsibility. Sis Anita was already prepared to return to God if she had to, but God had promised her that her time on Earth would be extended as long as God has not finished with His work and plans for her life. Today, she is still strong enough to walk without any help.
Another sister shared a testimony of how God delivered her from a hip fracture incident, complicated by an injury in a marathon. Brother Shaun Tan shared about the faithfulness and patience of God despite him being somewhat wandering in the past, and yet another sister shared about how God transformed her life and gave her confidence and courage for ministry.
The Watchnight service ended with a celebration of the upcoming Jubilee Year, prayer for God’s guidance in a closer walk and direction from Him, and prayers of faith in restored relationship, health, righteousness and various healings for the land and nation of Malaysia.
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
References for pictures
Picture of Rainbow:
Picture of Crosses and Empty Tomb Copyright of Colette Scharf at fineartamerica.com:
Picture of Crowd Silhoutte Taken At Sunrise by Eunice Khong at Travelerfolio.com:
* Pictures of Kajang Assembly of God Taken With the Kind Help of KAOG PA Team