Updated: Aug 6
Encounter: Slowly read through chapter 3 of Philippians and meditate on verses 12-16 asking God to show you the connection to your own life. Be prepared to journal what thoughts may come up for you as you read through this passage. I encourage you to read from The Passion Translation and one other translation that helps you to understand and give you a more full picture.
One of the best times of the year is the day the lake is warm enough to launch our pontoon in the water. There is nothing like the smell of spring, the sun warming the earth and everything coming to life after a long cold winter. I had been waiting all year for our maiden voyage and as we were just about to clear our cove for the open water we heard a loud thump as the boat came to a halt. Things were murky which made it difficult to see what had caused the problem, but it was evident we had hit something hidden beneath the depths of the water.
When Jack lifted the motor out of the water a large part of the propeller was gone, which now made it almost impossible to move forward or for that matter to go back. Now with summer nearing an end, the pontoon sits immobilized as we wait for a new propeller. Facing what we cannot change is a challenge.
Being human means we are bound by time stuck between two worlds of time. The past is behind us but effects our today and the future is not here but troubles us today. And in this in between time there are obstacles lurking in the depths of our lives that like a broken propeller can hinder living in the freedom of God’s will for our lives. Like a hidden obstruction that disables a motor, regrets and bitterness can hinder God redeeming our past and making something beautiful of our future. Jerry Sittser writes, “God will redeem our past, if we allow him. But he will require our cooperation. We must be willing to receive his forgiveness, to forgive others, and to wait for God to affect the redemption we long for.”
This Sunday we will talk about how we live the will of God with the freedom, confidence and security even when we are stuck in a present we rather not be in and forced to do the will of God that has little appeal to us. We are invited to look into the depths of our heart and ask God how regrets and bitterness may be keeping us from living fully into His will for our lives.
Reflect: How does the past exercise power over you? One author tells us “You choose one little thing, and everything that follows – maybe for the rest of your life – chooses you” What is the difference between regret and bitterness and why are they so immobilizing?
Encourage: God so desires to redeem your past. This is good news. Are there places in your life where you need to receive forgiveness from God or from others? You must also be willing to forgive others, why is this so difficult. Forgiveness is a process but can encourage your relationship with God and with others. How are these two obstacles hindering both of these in your life?
Gather: Share in your small group or with a friend about what you have discovered as you have reflected on regrets and bitterness in your life. Pray for one another that you may be healed and live into God’s will going forward.