But I focus on this one thing:
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
(Today's words of encouragement are written by
a dear friend of Teen Mother Choices, Kevin Dyer.
Kevin is 80 years old and has helped people all over the world.)
When I was eighteen, I had one goal in life and that was to hitchhike around the world. I worked, planned, struggled, and sacrificed in order to accomplish my goal, and I reached it by the time I was twenty. I was so excited to see how the Lord helped me fulfill my dream.
Anything significant you do in life costs a lot. There are no cheap, easy ways to achieve goals. Goals are usually hard, often very hard, to accomplish. Paul spells it out clearly in this verse.
First, you forget the past. You made some bad decisions and you didn’t do things right, but now it’s time to forget your failures. You ask God for forgiveness, seek to mend broken relationships, and you move on. You must forget the past because if you don’t, it will only drag you down and keep you from reaching your goals.
Second, Paul says you must look to what is ahead. It will take hard work, spiritual fortitude, and plain grit to move forward positively. Although it is often difficult, it is tremendously rewarding to reach your goal. There is great exhilaration about accomplishing what you set out to do. I can remember the joy of finishing my
When you graduate from high school, get your first job, save your first $500, give your first gift back to the Lord, complete your first semester of college, or rebuild your relationship with your parents, you will have a real sense of joy as you start on your vision of a better future.
And the Lord will be your friend, helper, guide, and encourager as you make this journey. You have a great future if you forget what is past and look expectantly to what is ahead.
Both day and night belong to you;
you made the starlight and the sun.
You set the boundaries of the earth,
and you made both summer and winter.
Today is Friday, May 25, 2018 and its the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer.
I live in northern Illinois where winters can seem like they last forever! So when Memorial Day weekend comes around ... even if the weather is dreary and rainy over the weekend ... I'm sure that sunshine and warm weather will get here eventually.
While the calendar may tell me that summer is here, I know the One who makes the weather; God. If He decides my Memorial Day weekend should be rainy or sunny, cold or hot I can trust that He's in control of it all!
Here's to the start of Summer!
This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Good morning ... or maybe I should say "Good day" because I'm not sure what time of the day you're reading this. No matter what time of the day or evening it may be, I hope you're "glad in it!"
What does being "glad in it" mean? It means, that no matter what you're going through today, you can be sure that God knows exactly where you are and exactly what's happening in your life.
If your day is going well, "be glad in it" by taking a moment to thank God for the ways He's blessed you. One big way that He's blessed you is by giving you your precious child (or children)! The Bible says that children are a gift from God. Besides your child, thank God for other ways He's blessed you today.
If your day isn't going so well, be glad in it anyway. Be glad that the God of the universe sees you and knows you perfectly. He knows what you need and how He can best help you, all He needs you to do is ask Him. Jesus made it possible for you to talk with God about anything and everything. Why not reach out to Jesus right now?
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
In the animated movie Happy Feet, each penguin has a unique heart song, a beautiful tune that it sings to attract a soul mate. You too have a heart song that is being composed every day. The harmony of your heart song, which goes straight to God’s ears, is based on the thoughts of your mind.
Your thoughts control your life, your words, and your actions. The Bible reminds us to think about things that are beautiful--anything that will make your Father in heaven smile and that will be like harmonious music to His ears.
Make a list of the beautiful things in your life, the things that can inform your thoughts and make your heart song harmonious. You might think about the things you are thankful to God for, such as the new life of your baby, clean air to breathe, a bed to sleep in, or food to eat. You may also think about one or two Bible verses that bring you happiness, comfort, and peace.
Every time ugly thoughts arise that don’t bring a smile to your own face or to God’s, remember the things on your list. Consider writing the list and putting it in your coat pocket or handbag or posting it on your bathroom mirror to remind you each day.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously,
and He will give you everything you need.
One of my favorite things to do when I get a new computer is to find out what new programs it has in it. New programs that say that they will help me better organize my time and priorities are some of my favorites. Unfortunately, what usually happens with me and organizing tools is that I will be faithful to them for a while but pretty soon I get bored with them and I go back to my unorganized, un-prioritized self.
Recently, I read this verse in Matthew 6:33. The words jumped off the pages of my Bible! This verse clearly tells me the two most important priorities I should have in my life. As a Christian, a self-professing follower of Jesus Christ, the first two priorities in my life should be:
That’s it! Everything else that might be happening in my life should take a lesser priority. Because not only does Jesus tell me that seeking to know God better and living my life righteously should be my two highest priorities, He promised that when I make them my highest priorities He will take care of every other need that I have!
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Imagine receiving a death sentence for a crime you didn’t commit. Now imagine being strapped to the electric chair, looking over at the person who is about to throw the switch that will end your life, and praying, “God, forgive him. He doesn’t realize that I am innocent.”
That is exactly what Jesus did as he hung on the cross. Being God, He could have called ten thousand angels to come wipe out those who nailed Him to that cross. But He didn’t. Instead, He asked His Heavenly Father to forgive them because He knew that they didn’t know who He was.
Jesus was willing to be put to death to pay the penalty for sins that He never committed! Even the things that you have done wrong were nailed to that cross. All you have to do is admit that you have sinned against God and recognize that Jesus’s death on the cross pays for your sins.
Jesus died for you and once you’ve asked for His forgiveness, He pronounces you innocent of all sin because of His death.
We may throw the dice,
but the Lord determines how they fall.
On January 27, 2011, a young single mother of three boys won $21.5 million in the New York lottery. Here was the story of a hard-working single mom and some good luck finally falling her way; it warms the heart.
Now don’t take the fact that I mention a lottery story in today’s devotional as encouragement to go out and buy a lottery ticket or two. On the contrary, I believe spending money on lottery tickets is like flushing money down the toilet. So why do I mention the story? It is because this passage from Proverbs tells us that God already knows the outcome, no matter what choice we have before us. All God asks of us is to be wise in our decision-making. Whether it’s what classes to take next school year, what pediatrician to choose for our child, or what career path we should follow, we need to wisely think and faithfully pray through each decision that we make.
Whatever decisions you need to make today, think through the options carefully and ask God for His wisdom.
Only simpletons believe everything they are told!
The prudent carefully consider their steps.
Whether it’s a new get-rich-quick scheme or a lose-ten-pounds-a-day weight reduction product, some people will believe anything.
The brain that God gave you is an amazing computer: It allows you to taste, hear, see, smell, and touch the world around you. It has the capacity to remember things and to think through difficult problems. This head-sized computer also has the ability to help you research what you hear to find out if it is true or not.
This verse from Proverbs tells us that those who are prudent (practical, sensible, wise) will carefully think about what they are told. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But you won’t know for sure unless you use your brain to do some research. Anything that is true can stand the scrutiny of being questioned.
People who conceal their sins will not prosper,
but if they confess and turn from them,
they will receive mercy.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had done something wrong, got caught, but you still kept denying the wrong? If you have ever been in a situation like this then you know that no matter how hard you try to convince yourself and those who caught you, you can’t seem to do anything to make yourself feel better.
That’s exactly what this verse is talking about, “People who conceal [hide] their sins will not prosper.” Concealed sins, or sins for which we are unwilling to ask for forgiveness, are certain to hold us back. But the great part of this verse is that it doesn’t stop there! The second part is what brings me hope in my own life: “But if they confess and turn away from them [the sins], they will find mercy.” If I am willing to ask God for His forgiveness of my sins and I turn away from those sins, He shows me mercy and truly forgives me!
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
Have you ever lost your cell phone and in the middle of your panic told a friend? Remember that look of “I know exactly how you’re feeling” written all over your friend’s face? And when you ran back to your friend to let her know that you found your phone, remember the look of absolute joy on her face?
In Luke 15, Jesus explains to the people of His time the absolute joy that the residents of heaven feel when one person is reunited with God. Heaven throws a party when someone who was lost is found.
Did you know that on the day you became a follower of Jesus, there was a party in heaven in your honor? There was; Jesus said so.
Christa is the founder of Teen Mother Choices and Teen Mother Choices International.