PASTOR'S PEN: Looking back and reflecting on the events of 2011

By Dr. Duane Costello

Faith Fellowship Church

Well, 2011 is over! We are already in the new year of 2012. Where did the year go? Lots of things went on last year; good and bad. There were stories that hit the national scene and stories that were at the local level and stories that affected us at the personal level. One thing is for sure; 2011 is over! You can’t go back and change a thing. Those mistakes we made; those failures; those things that we never got done; over! You can’t change them. This causes a lot of people to go into depression and worry about the coming year. For some people, their past seems to haunt them and they never seem to be able to go forward or look ahead in a positive way. Maybe this is you; or maybe it is someone you know. What can we do? I have an idea. Let’s look into God’s word and find out what He says about looking ahead.

The Apostle Paul knew a little something about having a past that he regretted because of mistakes in his life. He was part of the murder of one of the first deacons of the early church. At the time Paul thought he was doing God’s work because he thought these early Christians were trouble makers and Paul believed they needed to be stopped. In fact, it was while Paul was heading to the town of Damascus, to capture more of these Christians that Paul came to know who Jesus Christ was. Paul became a Christian and Paul changed. You can read this story in Acts 9. Paul realized his old way was the wrong way and now that he was a believer in Jesus Christ he knew he had to make a change. Paul traded in his old way for a new way and it was all because of Jesus Christ. Paul now became a person who proclaimed the word of the Lord instead of persecuting the followers of Jesus. From that point on the Apostle Paul became one of the greatest people in the Bible as he brought thousands to Jesus Christ and he has taught us how to live for Jesus Christ.

In Philippians chapter 3, the Apostle Paul teaches us that there is joy in serving Jesus. This gives us self worth and a purpose in life and it also gives us focus for our life. Then in verses 12-14 Paul tells us that we need to “forget the past and reach to the goal” for our lives. Paul says in verse 13, “. . . forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Did you catch what he said? He said, “forgetting those things which are behind.” We cannot change the past can we? We need to forget the past and move forward. How do we do this you may ask? We need to put our faith in Jesus Christ and learn to live like He taught us and then our lives will have purpose and meaning. We will begin to have a purpose in life that will motivate us to live for Him by learning to serve others. The Apostle Paul stated that he was the worst sinner of all in I Timothy 1:15. Paul knew that only by living for Jesus Christ could he have value and purpose and be able to set goals that would be worthy to try to attain in life.

What about you today dear person? Do you have value and purpose in your life? If not then please take a look at Jesus Christ and I pray that you will come to know Him personally just like the Apostle Paul. If God can take a murderer like Paul and save his lost soul and change him; I believe He can do the same for you. If you already know Jesus as your Savior, then continue to live for Him and serve others in 2012 because this is how our lives will have purpose and meaning and how we find value in our life on earth.

Let’s “look ahead” this year and not be plagued with the past shall we? Let’s turn to Jesus, who is the only one able to give us the direction we need in our life. Have a Happy New Year everyone!