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Summary: AS THE YEAR COMES TO A CLOSE WE OFTEN TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON IT. LET US NOT FORGET TO USE OUR REFLECTIONS AS STEPPING STONES INTO THE FUTURE.

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THE YEAR IN REVIEW

THE YEAR 2014 IS RAPIDLY DRAWING TO A CLOSE. I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I FOUND THIS YEAR TO GO BY EXTREMELY FAST. I THINK I NOTICE THE YEARS PASSING QUICKER AS I GROW OLDER. MANY GROUPS AND PEOPLE USE THIS TIME TO LOOK AT THE YEAR IN REVIEW, AND ALSO TO ANTICIPATE WHAT 2015 HAS IN STORE FOR THEM.

I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THE TOP FORTY SOUTHERN GOSPEL SELECTIONS FROM THE PAST YEAR. OTHER RADIO STATIONS COUNT DOWN THE TOP 100. TELEVISION SPECIALS WILL LOOK AT THE TOP 10 NEWS STORIES FROM 2014 OR THE TOP 10 PERSONALITITES.

THIS IS THE LAST SUNDAY WE WILL BE TOGETHER IN 2014 AND AS SUCH IT OFFERS US THE OPPORTUNITY TO REFLECT ON THE PAST, AS WELL AS TO LOOK TO THE FUTURE. FOR SOME OF US THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN CHALLENGING, AND FOR OTHERS EXCITING, AND FOR SOME THERE ARE NO SIGINIFICANT CHANGES.

CHRISTIANS THOUGH REFLECT ON THE PAST YEAR WITH AN ATTITUDE OF THANKFULLNESS AND GRATEFULLNESS TO GOD FOR HIS MERCY AND KINDNESS TO US. WE LOOK FORWARD IN ANTICIPATION OF THE WAY THAT GOD WILL ACT IN THE YEAR 2014. THE ONE THING WE CAN BE ASSURED OF WHETHER REFLECTING ON THE PAST, OR VISIONING FOR THE FUTURE, IS THE CONSTANT PRESENCE OF GOD WITH US. IT PROVIDED ME WITH A SENSE OF COMFORT AND PEACE REALIZING THAT WE DO NOT FACE THE FUTURE ALONE, BUT WE FACE IT IN THE QUIET CONFIDENCE OF HE WHO CREATED THE FUTURE.

BOTH MATTHEW AND PETER GIVE US VERY VALUABLE LESSONS ON REFLECTING ON THE PAST AND VISIONING FOR THE FUTURE, AND WE SHALL TAKE SOME TIME NOW TO LOOK AT THESE LESSONS.

POINT ONE: RETROSPECTIVE: LOOKING BACK AT THE YEAR COMING TO A CLOSE

A RETROSPECTIVE LOOK AT OUR LIVES INVOLVES LOOKING AT OUR IMMEDIATE PAST YEAR, AND AS WELL THE WAY THAT GOD HAS BLENED INTO OUR LIVES HIS BLESSINGS, FROM OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

NOW AS WE LOOK RETROSPECTIVELY ON OUR LIVES, THERE ARE TWO VERY IMPORTANT WORDS THAT WE MUST KEEP IN MIND:

1. REMEMBER

2. FORGET

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14:

“13 BROTHERS, I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF YET TO HAVE TAKEN HOLD OF IT. BUT ONE THING I DO: FORGETTING WHAT IS BEHIND AND STRAINING TOWARD WHAT IS AHEAD, 14 I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL TO WIN THE PRIZE FOR WHICH GOD HAS CALLED ME HEAVENWARD IN CHRIST JESUS.”

PAUL IS TEACHING US A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF REFLECTION IN THESE VERSES. HE IS REMINDING US FIRST, THAT WHILE IS IT ALLRIGHT TO REFLECT ON THE PAST, THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL, AND TO USE ONLY THOSE THINGS FROM THE PAST THAT WILL HELP US TO ACHIEVE THE GOAL, WHICH IS OUR HEAVENLY HOME.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR US TO REALIZE THAT OUR PAST IS THE PAST, AND MANY OF THE THINGS WE REFLECT ON, NEED TO BE LEFT RIGHT THERE. FAR TOO MANY PEOPLE BRING THE UNPLEASANT AND UNHAPPY EXPERIENCES OF THE PAST WITH THEM, AND THEY EFFECT HOW WE LIVE NOW.

THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY HAVE TAKEN THEIR NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES OF THE PAST TO THE CROSS, CLAIMING TO HAVE LEFT THEM THERE, ONLY TO BE ABLE TO PICK THEM UP AGAIN WHEN THE OCCASION PERMITS.

THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF LIFE THAT GOD WANTS FOR HIS PEOPLE. WHY SHOULD YOU BE BEARING THE EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE OF DEFEAT, DISAPPOINTMENT, AND GUILT, WHEN IN MOST CASES THE PERSON OR PERSONS WHO SHOULD BE CARRYING THIS WEIGHT ARE NOT BOTHERED BY IT AT ALL.


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