Moving Forward in 2019 Part 1
As we launch into a new year, many take it as an opportunity to make better decisions, eating right, more exercise, less wasted time, more time with family and friends, starting a new hobby or schooling. Out of the 48 sermons I taught here last year, 38 of them directly tied in with “Love.” Understanding God’s love for others and us is always critical to moving forward….I know it at times can seem overwhelming to make changes but allow me to share a story with you. A woman tells the story of her daughter wanting to show her a daffodil field (this is a true story)
(Place daffodil field photo on the screen) Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over.” I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.
“I will come next Tuesday, ” I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!”
My daughter smiled calmly and said, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.”
“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then I’m heading for home!” I assured her.
“I was hoping you’d take me over to the garage to pick up my car.”
“How far will we have to drive?”
“Just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”
After several minutes, I had to ask, “Where are we going? This isn’t the way to the garage!”
“We’re going to my garage the long way,” Carolyn smiled, “by way of the daffodils.”
“Carolyn,” I said sternly, “please turn around.”
“It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign that said, “Daffodil Garden.”
We got out of the car and each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns-great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.
“But who has done this?” I asked Carolyn.
“It’s just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.”
Carolyn pointed to a well kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking” was the headline.
The first answer was a simple one.”50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1978.”
There it was, The Daffodil Principle. For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun ~ one bulb at a time ~ to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of indescribable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.
The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time ~ often just one baby-step at a time ~ and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.
“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. “Start tomorrow,” she said.
I want us to be free, so we can bring freedom to otherstoday we begin with one day, one step at a time, let’s start today!
Forgiveness– I am not focusing or forgiving others, I have taught on that many times but I want to visit forgiving ourselves.
Many of us live in a dark place, a place that many in our lives may not know about, but it controls us….what we think, what we do, how we respond to others….there are hidden things in our lives, some that no one knows about and we fear if anyone finds out they will reject us, walk away from us, treat us differently or look at us differently
It can be wrapped up in one word…
- to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.):He no sooner spoke than he regretted it.
- to think of with a sense of loss:to regret one’s vanished youth.
- to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
- to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
- to grant pardon to (a person).
- to cease to feel resentment against:to forgive one’s enemies.
- to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood….”
When we recognize, our sin, our blowing it is part of the human condition, it is a result of the fall of man….we are not perfect. We are not good enough It is the very reason Jesus came to die on the cross
We can’t be good enough, none of us are perfect enough…let me say something that may seem harsh but is very true
When we don’t forgive ourselves and receive the Lord’s forgiveness for us we are saying to God Jesus death on the cross was not good enough for me
So why would we do such a thing
- we believe we need to suffer for the consequences of our sin
– we all will feel the effects of our sin in one way or another depending on the sin…for some it is merely and internal angst for other there are external repercussions
a lie – if not found out will eat away at us inside but if found out will hurt others and we will feel the pain of their hurt
It is bred into a lot of doctrines out there that we must suffer for our sins…the problem with that is that Jesus already did all the suffering for us and paid the price so that we might understand real love
1 Corinthians 13:3
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
When we understand real love then we understand forgiving ourselves is about truly knowing God’s love for us which allows us to walk in the freedom that forgiveness gives us
2) A struggle with forgiveness may be a struggle with self-righteous standards.
“I can’t forgive myself” is equivalent to saying, “I haven’t lived up to my own perfect standards,” or, “I haven’t lived up to other people’s expectations.”
We have created our own standard of righteousness. Perhaps we over-estimated ourselves. Or, we so worshiped the approval of others, that we lived life perpetually attempting to solicit that applause.
If this is the case we will fail every time the battle with self-forgiveness arises from failure to measure up to our own standards of performance; our own image of how good we hoped that we were. And now, we are deceived into thinking that we cannot forgive ourselves. In reality, we need to confess our sin of creating a self-righteous standard or worshipping the god of people-applause.
We need to remember the verse from earlier
Romans 3:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
We all fail but we are to all rely on God’s grace which according to Paul is sufficient for us….if this battle is ours it is as if we are saying we are God and we determine our own value rather than God determining it
We can easily find ourselves never being happy always striving to please others always being afraid that if we are wrong that we are somehow less than others…we must forgive and live in forgiveness of ourselves seeing our failures
To be honest it is only by recognizing our weakness that we can become truly strong
2 Corinthians 12:9
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
When we recognize our need to forgive ourselves then Christ can be made more alive in us and we reflect him better.
3) The person who says, “I just can’t forgive myself,” may have ascended to the throne of judgment and declared himself to be his own judge.
When we sit in judgment of ourselves this way we are the harshest of judges. We lack the love for ourselves that God commands when He says…
“Love your neighbor as yourself” Leviticus 19:18 (God the Father) Matthew 22:39 (Jesus)
we are declaring as judge we can choose to give forgiveness of ourselves or hold it against ourselves the problem is because of Jesus death on the cross, God has already forgiven you so why hold it against yourself
It is selfishness and arrogance to not forgive ourselveswhen Jesus paid the price in full…
He desires freedom for you…He knows everything you have done. He saw it before you did it and still went to the cross for it.
God has the right to judge you, but as a Christian he chooses not to, but instead sent his son to the cross for each and every sin you have ever committed…He chooses love and forgiveness instead he is the judge, to a sinful world, and to us he is the one who loves you the most!
Guilt and regret is not something that we can actually do away with. We can only suppress it. But doing so is soul-suicide.
Guilt can only be removed by something outside of ourselves. Believing and receiving God’s forgiveness for ourselves doesn’t suppress guilt it makes us free of it so we can live in freedom if we can live in freedom than we can bring freedom to others
Psalm 33:5 He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.
This is what He has for you even in your lack of forgiveness toward yourself but you could experience it so much deeper if you would but choose to trust Him and forgive yourself!
Forgiveness is a choice…it often takes time and many times of our recognizing our own forgiveness until we feel it. With God, the moment we ask for forgiveness we receive it so choose to believe God rather than your feelingstoday as you move forward, take one step to accept the forgiveness for yourself that Christ paid for!
Today, I want you to choose to forgive yourself…it doesn’t mean you feel it right away but making the choice begins the process and the Lord who began the good work will complete it
Unforgiveness toward yourself means death to your joy, your peace, your contentment…so forgiveness to yourself means life to joy, peace and contentment….ask the Lord today do I have any bitterness because of things I have done, any resentment, any regrets…it doesn’t matter what you did or how long you have held them…God can help you forgive yourself and let it go today
You can never live up to God’s standard by your work, your righteousness, your goodness…but you can by his love, mercy and grace that you often pour out to others but don’t give yourself
How about giving it to yourself today?