Sunday, December 14, 2008

Next Time vs. If Only...

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
I hope the HOLY Days are finding you counting your blessings and looking to the Gift our Heavenly Father sent so many years ago!
Our Kansas City pastor blogged the following last month. It was so encouraging and convicting to me, I wanted to share it; so I asked Pastor Jeff if I could re-post it here. He graciously agreed, so....

"Pastor’s Blog – November 25, 2008

Rev. Dr. John Claypool, in a sermon entitled, “Next Time,” relays a story about a man going to an old counselor that is very insightful.

“Think about it,” said the old counselor. “If only points to that segment of human experience that cannot be altered. Whatever else you may say about the past, it is frozen. You may feel very deeply about it, but you do not have the power to go back and undo it or redo it. Therefore, energy spent lamenting the past is energy that is largely wasted. Next time, however, points to that sector of experience that is still open, still fluid. It is out there yet to be shaped. If we can apply the lessons that we have learned from the past, to the service of the future, then what is to be can become genuinely different. There is a tremendous difference between processing your memories with an if only kind of lament and handling them with a next time kind of hopefulness.”

Many of us have met bitter people. Perhaps we even struggle a bit with some on our own. All of the reasons for the anger, bitterness, hurt and wounds are most likely justified in some fashion or another. Since time travel is only for books and movies, we can not change the bad things that have happened to us. Nor can we relive the good times that have transpired. What we can do is learn from them. As the wise counselor stated, “If only” is a waste of time and energy. “Next time” certainly is wiser and more productive.

Another couple of sentences from this sermon deserve our reading – “God is more interested in your future than your past. He is more concerned for what you can yet become that what you used to be.”

God takes us as we are and changes us gradually into what He desires. The process is total and complete. This transformation takes a lifetime and will be finished when we step into eternity, but the goal is nice to know! Part of the process of changing us is to help us learn from our past failures, sins, and sufferings, so we can avoid them in the future. And, we are to help others who have suffered as we did to receive the comfort we have been given. The past has a purpose – to train us for the future. May we not be bound by what we have experienced, but may we become wiser because of it.

Pastor Jeff "

Hope this spoke to you, as it did to me.
Gotta run...another nose to wipe...
Y'all keep your wool dry,
The Ewe


Alipurr said...

hi, striving to think about next time too...that's a great way live, a good outlook to practice

Lisa-Anne said...

Nice post! :)
Looking forward is really important, because we have so much to look forward to! I'm so glad that He works all things to the *good* of those who love Him, especially for the future. It's so true that trying to change the past is a large waste of time. :)
Love you!!!