Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Forget the former things

by John Berry

25 January 2011

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Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV

As one gets a bit older, it becomes more difficult to remember things. Familiar names and events seem to slip out of one’s grasp, often in most embarrassing ways. Unfortunately the things which we might like to forget – the hurts and pains of life are often the things we can’t seem to let go of and that of course affects our ability to function well. We remember what we shouldn’t and forget what we should remember!

Another problem for many older folk is accepting change. We like the status to remain a bit ‘quo’, because the familiar is comfortable. Moving out of the familiar is both frightening and challenging – will we be able to cope, to adjust, to adapt? Actually I think the two issues are linked. Because of the difficulty of letting go of the past wrongs and the need to remain in the familiar (and thus in control), we find it hard to move on into the freedom of what God wants to do with us now. I remember a lady who walked with the aid of crutches who didn’t want to be prayed for because the crutches were too familiar, part of who she was, and letting go of them was too scary a thought for her.

God spoke to His people in exile who were looking back at their past life in Jerusalem with longing (albeit with some unreality) and told them to forget it! Instead of hankering after their past life, centred on the temple and its religious ritual, God was telling the Israelites that a new day was dawning. He was pointing them towards the new relationship which would be established with the coming of the Messiah, no longer a relationship of law but one of love. It really was a new thing!

I wonder if there are things in our lives which we are holding on to which are preventing us from walking more closely with the Lord. Maybe some of the ‘old ways’ still attract us? Even some of the Church experiences and practices that we have grown so familiar with may be blocking us deepening our relationship with Jesus. Perhaps in this New Year of 2011 we should be asking God to show us any former things we need to forget so we don’t miss out on the new thing He will do in our lives if we clear the way for Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please show me anything I’m holding on to which is stopping me from encountering You afresh. Give me the grace to let go of things of the past which may have become too comfortable. I pray for the faith to step out with You into whatever new thing You have for me this year. Amen.

John Berry entered the Baptist Ministry more than 40 years ago, and joined the Team at Ellel Glyndley Manor in 2007 with his wife Jennie. They have both now retired from the team but remain as part of the Teaching and Associate Ministry Teams at Glyndley. John and Jennie have seven Grandchildren.


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