#MovingForward and Changing My Perspective
This is week 3 of our on-line Bible Study of “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope, and what a week of learning how to turn away shadows of self-doubt,moving forward toward the light, and changing our perspectives.
I think all of us have had “stuff” in our past that has caused us to have self-doubt and not believe God’s promises. We need to let go of our past, let go of our self-doubts, our disappointments, our baggage and anything else that is causing us not to believe God’s promises, move forward and stop questioning Why! It’s not where we have been, where we started, but rather how we finish that matters. It is changing our perspective and running the race with Him, letting go of our ugly pasts and basking in His Word today moving forward!
This week a friend shared a sermon from Joel Osteen One of the things he said was that in our cars we have a large windshield and a small rear view mirror. What has happened in our past is like that rear view mirror (small) and what lies ahead is like that windshield (big). Our best days are ahead.
Sometimes we let our past allow us to get stuck. We cannot go back and change the past, but we can go back and process the pain with Jesus. Our past is never as important as our future with God. We have to stop self-doubting ourselves, invite God into our broken places, and savor the promises He has given us. He wants us to have a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. He wants us to use our messes for His glory.
Just as Renee talked about Gideon in the book wanting to look back, God wanted Him to look forward. What is holding me back, what is holding you back? It is time for us to look forward through that windshield and forget the past in that rear-view mirror. It is time, like Gideon, we stop and focus our thoughts on what God says about us, instead of what we think about ourselves. God wants us to depend on His strength.
This picture by one of my OBS sisters, Kristy Aiken was shared as we read about this week:
We have three oak trees in our front yard and they have been there for over twenty years. Through all types of storms we have not lost one of the oaks, but one year when we had one hundred mile per hour winds we lost many fruit trees and also several others. The oak trees stood strong. God wants us to be planted strong like an oak tree – planted strong in His Word so that when the storms come, we are ready and we can grab hold of His promises.
Oak trees are beautiful, deeply rooted, not easily swayed resilient to diseases and pests and as we have seen with the Texas drought the last few years they are resilient to heat. They are not only beautiful but valuable . I have noticed they grow slowly as their roots grow deep.
This year in February my Mom died. We went out and bought fruit trees in her memory. She always enjoyed the fruit and the jams, jellies, cobblers and breads I would make. But also in memory of our Dads we bought an oak tree to remind us of their strength.
We planted the oak, watered the oak, fertilized it and watched it as grew a lot taller. Oaks do not come strong trees overnight. It takes lots of water, fertilizer, sun and pruning. Alot like us don’t you think. We need nourishment from God to grow. We need that nourishment to fill our holes when we hit rock bottom, when the shame, guilt, fear, doubts and all those other things come to mind. We need to replace those thoughts and re-seed with the Word of God and move on as we change our perspective. Changing perspective is letting go of the shame of the past and present and moving forward so we can be comforted.
In the verse above God promised to bless his people and raise them up so that they would be called “Oaks of Righteousness”. That should be our prayer for ourselves and our children and generations to come. He likens us to the oak trees and says we will be called oaks of righteousness. What a beautiful message to us and expression of love from God! He wants us to be strong and He has given us the Word to show us how to grow deep roots in Him. Those deep roots come slowly and need time to develop.
That verse also says, “for the display of His splendor.” Did you know we were planted or born to display His splendor? What a verse! It does not matter if I am having a bad day, it does not matter how I am feeling, it does not matter if life is hurting, that verse says we should be displaying His splendor through it all. We are not to give up and wither when we are in a drought, but rather let our roots of our knowledge in Him draw us closer to Him.
Here are two pictures of oaks in Llano, Texas. One is a mighty oak still growing with my husband and son standing under it. I love looking at this one and thinking of the day we took it and how my heart leapt as I think of them being mighty oaks of our Father and as we drove on down that country road we took another picture of a dead oak.
TODAY is a timely reminder to us all that we are here “for the display of His splendor.” We are to turn gracefully towards the light just as trees bend toward the light and learn that no matter what our circumstances we are to move forward and display His splendor. Are you an oak, are you displaying His splendor or are you a dead oak?
… they will be called
Natalie Grant and Wayonna Judd – He can bring it all together for good. Bring it All.