MEMO: Getting Past Your Past

Have you ever felt really stuck? I don’t mean you’re simply at a loss for words when writing a business proposal or a school assignment. I mean something big has its claws in your brain and you feel like you just can’t move. No matter how hard you try you can’t get rid of the baggage that is weighing you down and holding you back.

That “something big” could be any number of things. It might be:

  • a troubled or abusive childhood
  • domestic violence
  • a history of mental illness
  • an addiction to alcohol, drugs, pornography, or gambling
  • a series of failed relationships
  • sexual indiscretions
  • a divorce
  • a business failure
  • an abortion
  • the death of a loved one

As Patrick Dempsey says to Reece Witherspoon in the movie Sweet Home Alabama, “So you have a past. Who doesn’t?”

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Where Do You Fit In The Big Drama?

Christian LifeFor many people the Christian life seems difficult. You’re trying. Really, you are! But much of the time it feels so stressful. There are some things you know you should be doing that you just aren’t very good at. And the other things you’d like to do you’re really not supposed to be doing. You try to knuckle down and push yourself to make it work. But that’s just it: it’s work!

Perhaps you feel like our grandson. He was about three and a half years old, and his daddy was trying to teach him to be respectful and obedient even when he didn’t feel like it. After struggling for several minutes he sighed and in a somewhat teary voice said, “It’s so tough!” If you feel like the Christian life is just so tough, who can blame you for getting tired, frustrated, and weary of the whole thing?

That perspective sees the Christian life as work. There’s a list of things to do and not do. And just like with any job, there are performance evaluations. Some people perform better than others, and there are sometimes arguments over what should be on those “to do and not to do” lists.

Seeing the Christian life as work will always make it seem difficult. It may help keep you out of jail, but it certainly won’t be much fun.

Let me suggest a much more engaging way to look at things. Rather than work, consider the Christian life as part of a very great drama. Think of what you know of the Bible. God creates a world full of beauty. But the people He creates soon turn on Him and align with His enemy. Violence, tragedy, and almost unbelievable sub-plots fill the pages of the Old Testament.

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10 Things To Look For In Your Friends

Girls In Circle On GrassThe people you align yourself with will determine your future, good or bad.

Right now the United States leaders are debating whether to use military force in the war-torn country of Syria. One of the most concerning issues is the fact that there are no “good guys” in this conflict. If we become “friends” with one side, and help them, we may find that the future looks even worse than it does now. Is there any good option? Possibly not.

Whether in politics or in your personal life, it’s important who your friends are. You become increasingly like the people you hang out with. Your attitudes, behaviors, and values naturally move closer to those of the people around you. It’s possible to know much about your future by looking at your friends.

Here are some things to look for in the people you choose to be close to:

  1. Honesty and integrity. Our culture as a whole does not value honesty. Having people around you who choose to live with basic integrity will help you do the same.
  2. Care about excellence. Doing a job well, however small or difficult the job may be, takes some character.
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Searching For The Fountain Of Youth

Fountain of YouthEven before Ponce de Leon spent his years searching Florida for the illusive fountain of youth, men and women have searched for ways to look and feel younger, and to keep from getting old. Promises of a return of vital strength, of younger looking brighter skin, or of reversing the aging process are almost guaranteed to sell nutritional supplements, beauty products, or health services.

Some would say our media-saturated culture glorifies youth at the expense of maturity. But might not those media messages be the result a deep-seated value system that we all share? We grasp at the raw strength, physical beauty, mental agility, and passion of youth. Most of us recognize that with maturity often comes wisdom, but we long for the freshness of youth.

Something in our soul understands that getting old, weak, and dependent is not our original destiny. Deep inside we sense that 70, 80, or even 90 years is not long enough.

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Why Miracles Don’t Happen In a Day

Hour GlassOK, it MAY happen in a day. God can do amazing things. He just might step in and part the Red Sea for you. I’ve seen God do it. And it can be exhilarating! Hallelujah!

But what if it doesn’t? What if you wait – and wait, and wait? Are you not asking in faith? Are you doing something wrong? Is God not really up to the task? Does He not care as much as you thought He did?  Are you not using the right prayer formula?

It may well have taken a long time to get where you are now.  And it may well take time to make things different. Just because nothing seems to change overnight does not mean you’re doing something wrong. Or that God is not involved every moment.

Think of the possibilities:

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