June 7, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Getting Past Your Past, Part I
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, firstname.lastname@example.org
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103: 8, 11 (NIV)
Every woman has a past.
Someone has hurt you, maybe emotionally, physically or sexually.
You've hurt others, with your words or deeds
You've walked where you should not have walked
You've touched things you should not have touched
You've thought things you should not have thought.
Even though our past is past, it still brings pain to our present.
Our past can bring:
- Shame, which steals our self-worth
- Despair of no future
- Discontent over what could have been
- Sadness over the loss of innocence
- Doubt of God's love and our purpose
- Bitterness towards others or our circumstances
The secrets of our past have the power to rob us of the joy of today and the potential of our future.
Lysa TerKeurst writes in her book, "Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?"
"The truth is God knows the secrets of your heart and He wants them. The maker of this vast and wonderful universe is waiting for the key to the heart of His greatest creation - you. He wants the key to your heart, your whole heart, especially the hidden parts. When you hold this key, Satan will wrestle it from you, unlock your shame and use it to accuse and condemn you."
Satan takes great pleasure in whispering reminders of our sin into our minds. But the truth is that Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for those sins. They do not have the power to hurt you anymore, unless you refuse to accept God's forgiveness. Unfortunately, many women believe they aren't worth forgiving. They believe that God could never use someone like them. Oh, sweet sister, what a whopper of a lie that is.
There's a great story in the Bible about a woman who got past her past and was used in a mighty way by God. Shame could have rendered Rahab unusable, because Rahab was a woman living a sinful life. She was a prostitute living in the city of Jericho and her story is found in Joshua 2. (For those of you familiar with the Bible according to Veggie Tales, this is the same city in Josh and the Big Wall.)
But God saw potential in Rahab and called her out of her past, and into a great adventure and a life filled with promise. God sees the same potential in you.
Please read tomorrow's devotion for more on how Rahab got past her past and how God can use you too.
My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me in spite of the sins of my past. I know these sins and selfishness have separated me from you. Please forgive me for choosing my way instead of your way. Help me to trust you and your plan for my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Identify past sin or hurt that is still affecting you today. If you have never asked the Lord to forgive you for your sin, then do so now. If you have received forgiveness, but still feel shame, choose to believe God's word that He has removed your transgressions from you, as far as the east is from the west.
Do any of your past sins still affect your life today? How?
Read Joshua 2: 1-24. Why do you think the two spies stayed at Rahab's house?
Why do you think Rahab risked her life to save the spies?
What are you willing to do to get past your past?
Can you see how your past has kept you from fulfilling God's plans for you? Identify some of the ways.
Psalm 86:5 "You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You." (NIV)
Matthew 26:28 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (NIV)
John 8:31 "If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV)
John 8:44 "He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (NIV)
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
Coming out the Dark by Mary Southerland