March 9, 2005

Encouragement for Today

"What Is Your Tomorrow Dream?"

Mary Nash, Certified Speaker. Proverbs 31 Ministries

Key Verse:

"You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For your life is like the morning fog-it's here a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14 (New Believer's Bible)

Devotion:

Have you ever been encouraged to dream a dream - to look around the corner at what might be out there for you? Have you asked yourself what kind of person you will be in the future? Will you make good decisions that you will be proud of or bad decisions that you will look back on with regret?

I know I have made many decisions in my life that I would change if I could - things I did that were hurtful to those around me or things I should have done and didn't. Well, we have a new chance - a new year - a new beginning. Another chance to get it right. We all want to get it right but sometimes we just don't know how. We don't have the assurance that we should have. Maybe we feel lonely, shy, unwanted, unloved or like we are hanging around on the fringe of life. Now is the time for a change.

Beginning a new year is always a critical time. No one can tell us what to do, but we can find clear directions about how to live by reading the Bible. We can listen to people who know what God says. They will encourage us to give serious thought to who we really are in God's eyes.

God gives His love freely with the condition that we live by his principles and commit our lives to His service. He wants us to seek him out and get to know Him well. Then we can begin to feel at home with Him. He is always waiting on us to come home, to begin again. He is a God of many chances and new beginnings.

James 1:5-7 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind." (NIV)

If we ask for wisdom, we can make decisions about what mistakes we can actively avoid. If you could close your eyes and look a few years into the future, what would you see? Of course, "tomorrow" has a way of becoming "yesterday" very quickly. What good things will you be pleased about or what things will you be ashamed of? You are the only one who can decide now, what your life will be like in the future. Will you be an encourager? Will you show kindness to others? Will you be a loving and caring person and friendly to those without friends?

In Jude 24 we are told that the Savior will present us to the Father spotless and without blemish. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy..." Not too many years ago, I was depressed and lonely because I had not given every part of my heart to Jesus. I was saving the part of me that had been hurt so badly by my mother. I was nursing that part and protecting the memory of those early years. I was never going to let that go. But God had a different plan. He wanted me to clean out my heart and be free of all the chains and bad memories of the past. He brought me to the place where I could no longer function and harbor those terrible memories. I finally fell on my knees, begging God for forgiveness - needing desperately to give up those unforgiving feelings I had toward my mother and get on with being the woman God had planned for me to be. That very night was a new beginning for me. I was finally free to love God the way He wanted me to. Because of that decision, I was able to begin the journey of becoming God's woman and true servant.

We are constantly changing, constantly learning, and constantly beginning again. I urge you to look ahead to tomorrow and think about the dream you have for your life. Will it be covered with the saving grace of Jesus Christ or will you still be nursing old hurts and feelings? Make that tomorrow dream of a new beginning a reality of today. Take it one day at a time. It may be slow, but you will begin to see a difference in your attitude about the past. Just give it all to the God of the Universe. You will see your dream come true. You will be free. He is waiting. He is calling. He is pleading for you to come closer and live under His sheltering wings.

We can live God's dream or we can go our own way, do our own thing and miss out on the glorious things God wants to give us. The decision I made so many years ago has changed my life completely. It has molded my life and given me a mission and a passion. What decision will you make right now? Oh, you will make a decision - you will either ignore God's pleading for your entire heart or you will pay attention and your life will change forever. The choice is up to you.

My prayer for today:

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your constant pleading for us to come closer to You and Your willingness to show us the dream You have for each of Your children. I pray that I will always remember how bound I was by old memories and how free I feel since I have given my whole heart to You. Thank You for new beginnings and for Your forgiving mercy. Amen

Application steps:

Take a few minutes and inventory your hurt feelings of the past. Be willing to give them up. Then pray and give them all to the Father of mercy and grace. Write them down, tear them up or burn them. Let them go. Dare to dream. It can happen.

Reflection points:

Ask yourself what your future looks like? Will you still be embracing feelings of anger and bitterness? Will you embrace the forgiving and loving warmth of freedom from anger? Can you make tomorrow's dream real now? Of all the people who have harmed you, consider the person who is hardest for you to forgive. Give that person and situation completely to the Lord.

Power verses:

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave Himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins." Ephesians 4:31-5:2 (NLT)

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 (NIV)

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13b (NIV)

"Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. Psalm 37:37 (NIV)

"There is hope for your future, declares the Lord." Jeremiah 31:17 (NIV)

Additional resources:

P31 Woman's Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries

http://www.gospeocom.net/p31/resources/newsletter.html

 

Get Over It and Get On With It by Michelle McKinney Hammond

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resourcesgetoverit.html