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Past, Present and Future

We all imagine, dream, and think about the past, present, and the future. It is something we all do and there are probably some who do so more than others. They might think about things more in one instance than the other, but we all think about things that are on our minds at any given time.

I don't spend much time in the past. I think about it and I remember I had hair, well it was a receding hairline line but it was hair nonetheless. Memories as the song says are "pressed between the pages of my mind". That is a very descriptive way and reminds us of a photo album where someone might place a flower and that memory is pressed between the two pages. Memories are like that and they are things we remember.

There is a phenomenon that occurs in our brain. The sense of smell is very powerful. A scent can call to memory something from years ago. My grandmother, who we lovingly called Mema, would carry Juicy Fruit chewing gum in her purse. When I was a child, she would open her purse to give me a piece and the smell from her purse was that of Juicy Fruit gum. Even as I write about this memory now I can sense the hint of Juicy Fruit gum.

Going back to a childhood memory can be comforting but it can also bring back memories we would otherwise want to forget. Memory works that way and we can suppress memory to some degree. As you consider that thought ,we can also live in the past. This is something that can and does occur with people. Living in the past although is not necessarily healthy because in doing so a person often suppresses what was going on around them. Yet in certain situations, the ability to have that memory of the past can be a coping method for what is happening now.

Is there then a balanced way to approach life concerning the past, present, and future? Yes, there is and it is something that we all must work toward each day. Just as much as memories play an important part in reminding us of the past. It is the other extreme of imagining what the future might be like. We cannot know what will occur in the future as that is only God who knows. Although we can dream and even think about what might occur in our future. There is nothing overly good or bad about this because we all do it every day.

In Romans 11:33 in the New Living Translation, it says-

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

When we consider His Word it is clear that we very often do not know or even understand what He is doing and allowing in our life. I just finished recently in my daily Bible reading the Book of Job. There is an interesting question you might ask about Job. What did he do to make God allow satan to attack him? The answer might surprise you and that is because we conclude and we shouldn't that because things go wrong we are being punished. Job kind of went there as he spoke about what occurred in his life. Now when you begin the story in the Book of Job here is what you will see in Job 1:1-3 using the NLT-

1 There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.

2 He had seven sons and three daughters.

He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.

What he owned was not important but who he was is the center point of the story.

...He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.

Now I am not going to tell you the story of Job, I hope you are intrigued enough to read the Book Job for yourself. All that happened in Job's life was because God allowed him to be subjected to satan's attacks. Satan initially could not attack him physically as we see in Job 1:12

12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.

Later we see that the Lord says in Job 2:

“All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.”

Have you ever heard the old saying that ...what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.? Well, that quote is attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche in his book Twilight of the Idols. That was back in 1888 but my father would often use that phrase and I believe he did so because he knew that unless God allowed something that didn't kill him it would make him stronger. I know that is what I got out of it and that is what the story of Job teaches.

Now don't leave here today thinking you can do what you want without any ramifications. Know this for certain there are consequences to our actions. That we cannot sin or won't sin is impossible because we will sin. God's Word addresses it in 1 John1:8 NLT-

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

Then John continues to tell us that-

9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

For some today they think and even act like it is ok to sin because of verses 8-9. Yet here is a very sobering reminder in verse 10-

10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

I don't know about you but that is not somewhere that I want to be found by my God. Will I sin, well of course I will and so will you. Sin is part of what we do and forgiving sin is what God is all about. That is why He sent His Son and the writer in Hebrews 2:17 said-

17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Paul noted in Romans 3:2

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

In both of these, the word propitiation is used to describe what God did through His Son Jesus for you and me. The word carries the understanding that appeasement or satisfaction, specifically toward God is made. Propitiation has two parts that involve appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to him. In both of these cases, it is God who is appeased and to whom we are reconciled. It is through Jesus Christ, that the wrath is due us as sinners who have offended God and thus we are reconciled to Him.

As we enter into the weekend we can be prepared to worship Him and thank Him for all He has done for us. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Have a wonderful weekend and be sure to worship with others on Sunday.

In God's Grace,

Elbert Nasworthy

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