“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands” (Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG).
How often do you play the “If only” game?
If only I could do it over again.
If only I had listened sooner.
If only I could erase the past.
If only I could forgive myself.
The thing to remember is that no one is perfect. We all have regrets. We’ve all made bad choices and said foolish things. We’ve all wasted time and hurt ourselves and others.
How do you release your regrets? In my experience as a pastor, I’ve seen several strategies we tend to use that simply do not work:
You try to bury your past. Burying the past will never help you get past your regrets. You can try to minimize (“It wasn’t a big deal”), rationalize (“Everyone does it”), and compromise (lower your standards), but your regrets are still there, and if unresolved, they’ll keep coming back to haunt you over and over again like a creature in a horror movie.
We blame others. This tactic is as old as Adam and Eve. When Adam sinned, he took it like a man: He blamed his wife! We use blame to balance out our guilt.
We beat ourselves up. We try to pay for our guilt unconsciously through illness, depression, setting ourselves up for failure, and other forms of self-punishment. The problem with beating up on yourself is this: Your conscience never knows when to stop! Some people spend their entire lives in self-condemnation.
What does God want you to do with your regrets instead?
Admit your guilt. Own up to it. Don’t make excuses. “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance” (Proverbs 28:13 TLB).
Accept Christ’s forgiveness. He’s waiting to clean your slate. Ask him to clear your conscience. Romans 8:1 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Forgive yourself, and focus on the future. “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands” (Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG).
You’ve heard this phrase over and over: “Forgive and forget.” There’s only one problem with it: You can’t do it. It’s impossible! You really can’t forget a hurt in your life. In fact, you can’t even try to forget it. Because when you’re trying to forget, you are actually focusing on the very thing you want to forget.
Forgetting is not what God wants you to do. Instead, he wants you to trust him and see how he can bring good out of it. That’s more important than forgetting, because then you can thank God for the good that he brought out of it. You can’t thank God for things you forget.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).
It doesn’t say that all things are good, because all things are not good. Cancer is not good. Disease is not good. Death is not good. Divorce is not good. War is not good. Rape and abuse are not good. There are a lot of things in life that are evil. Not everything that happens in this world is God’s will.
But God says he will work good out of the bad things in life if you will trust him. When you come to him and say, “God, I give you all the pieces of my life,” he will return peace for your pieces. He gives you peace in your heart that comes from knowing that even if you don’t understand the hurt in your life, you can still forgive, knowing that God will use that pain for good.
You don’t have to forget the wrong thing that someone did to you. You can’t do it even if you tried! But God says you don’t have to forget it. You just have to forgive and then see how he will bring good out of it.
There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV).
When you have conflict in your life, focus on reconciliation, not resolution. There’s a big difference in those two words. Reconciliation means re-establishing the relationship. Resolution means resolving every issue.
Resolution probably isn’t going to happen, because you’re never going to agree on some things. Nobody on this planet agrees with you about everything, so you’re never going to have resolution on all your issues.
Can you have a loving relationship without agreeing on everything? Of course you can. If you learn to disagree without being disagreeable, that’s called wisdom. If you learn to walk hand in hand without having to see eye to eye, that’s called wisdom.
One of the greatest things you can do with your life is be a bridge builder, not a wall builder. You are most like Jesus Christ when you are reconciling people. You are most like Jesus when you’re building bridges, not walls. That’s exactly what Jesus came to do! He’s the great reconciler. God sent Jesus to Earth to reconcile us because we are in conflict with God.
But you cannot make peace with other people until you make peace with God. And maybe that’s part of the problem — you’re not at peace with yourself because you’re not at peace with God. First you’ve got to make peace with God. Then you get the peace of God.
That’s the starting point: You need to get peace in your heart by letting the Prince of Peace inside.
Would you pray this to God in your heart? “God, you know the conflict in my life. I’m tired of it, and I want to make peace. I want to have your peace in my life so I can offer peace to others. So I accept your peace today. I open my life to you as best as I know how. Fill my life with love, not anger, and with patience, joy, and peace. Come in and fill every area of my life with your peace, and help me to be a bridge builder and not a wall builder. Help me to take the initiative and not wait on that other person. Help me to find the right time and place, and then help me to have the courage to confess my part of the conflict and to be humble. Instead of attacking the person, help me attack the problem. Help me to consider the other person’s perspective. Help me to speak the truth, fix the problem and not the blame, and to focus on reconciliation instead of resolving all the disagreements. I ask this in your name. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer today, write me at rick@PastorRick.com. And to learn more about finding your destiny by following Jesus, go to http://www.PastorRick.com and click on the “Know God” tab. There is a video and a guide explaining what it means to trust your life to Jesus.
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a NIV).
Forgiveness is not resuming a relationship without change. In fact, forgiveness and resuming a relationship are two different things. One of them is what you do as the offended person. Resuming the relationship is what the other person does in order to get back into your good graces. Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough. In fact, the Bible teaches three things that are essential to resume a relationship that’s been broken. These are all what the offender has to do.
Restoring a relationship requires repentance. In other words, you’re truly saddened about what you did. That’s not just saying, “I’m sorry.” It means saying, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” You can be sorry that the weather was bad or something like that, but repentance is admitting wrong and being truly sorry.
Restoring a relationship requires restitution. Sometimes you have to do some kind of physical or material restitution. Even when you’re forgiven, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You still have to pay a debt to society or to someone for what was damaged or destroyed by your actions.
Restoring a relationship requires rebuilding trust. That, friends, takes a long, long time. When somebody hurts you, you have to forgive him or her immediately. But you don’t have to trust that person immediately. Forgiveness is built on grace and is unconditional. Trust has to be rebuilt over a period of time.
Most people in our culture don’t get the difference between forgiveness and rebuilding trust in a relationship. Whenever a political or religious leader gets caught in a scandal, there will always be people who say, “We’re all imperfect. We’re all human. We need to just forgive him and keep on going.”
No! You must forgive him immediately, but you don’t have to trust him. The Bible says trust is built with time. Credibility is what a leader leads with. All leaders must have trust; it’s the currency they live in. If you lose trust, you have lost your right to lead at that moment. You may have the title, but you’re not the leader until you rebuild trust. And that isn’t going to happen instantly.
I want to lay out a small foundation of where your abiding place is with God. It’s a place that’s the hardest to achieve because we have an enemy that uses situations, circumstances and people. This is something that I’ve been studying for about a month and I have only gotten a very small fraction of what it is that I’m supposed to learn. One day I am in hopes of really building this into a Bible study in the future. There is still so much more that I need to learn before I can share it with you, but at least I wanted to share a brief amount of wisdom that I’ve gotten from God thus far.
The abiding place for us in the Lord is a place called rest.
I am believing for something very specific and it’s not relevant for me to share with you what it is because I know that you’re just like me, that you’re believing for something and I don’t want you to get into a place of comparison. I just want you to focus on what you are believing for and what you need.
The Lord came to me earlier this year and challenged me to believe for something. And I’ve been on a journey since January that has been faith building, strengthening and renewing me. It’s been a place where I’ve literally received a resurrection of the woman that I used to be and the good news is that I’m going to accomplish more now than I did back then. You see what I’m believing for is something that I prayed very specifically for soon after I was called into ministry. I was a bold crazy woman of faith and I prayed for the miraculous to happen in my ministry and I dared God to show me things that were impossible! They were things that only I have ever heard of, not seen. You see I prayed such a daring prayer and I thought that the manifestation of that prayer would be through someone that I did not know, perhaps someone in one of my meetings. I had no idea that my prayer will be answered so close to me. My journey is difficult, but I believe not only am I getting a renewing in my faith, but I’m getting new territory of authority to actually walk out and be the living words of Jesus, that we would do greater things than him!!! Those were Jesus’s words to his children that greater works would we do, oh but let me tell you to see the miraculous, it will completely take you out of your comfort zone. You see if I’m believing for a miracle that means that things are definitely out of sort or I would not need A miracle. I had no idea the cup that I would drink praying this prayer but let me tell you the journey is difficult, it is and gut wrenching, but the reward is so great!!!
Why do I have to study rest? Because not only is rest the abiding place with God, but it’s also the place of manifestation. This is the place that you need to remain to see the miraculous and I believe that I have been put through this journey to help you see and to receive your manifestation. I’m going to remind you we are only scratching the surface, but I believe what I’m sharing with you today is going to be a kick starter to help you.
Our foundation scripture is found in Hebrews 4:3
For those having believed enter into the rest. As he has said, “so I swore on my wrath they shall not enter into my rest” and yet the works have been finished from the foundation of the world.
So we see here in the book of Hebrews, that we have a part as it relates to the scripture. It is up to us to enter into rest. In fact you can see God saying here that he swore on his wrath that people did not enter into his rest because they did not believe. Believe in what? The finished work of Christ that has been laid since the very foundation of the world. So if we are going to enter into rest we have to believe. We have to believe in the finished work of Christ, in other words when he died and he took sin upon himself, and when he says it was finished that meant all of his works were done. That means that your healing is finished, that means that your deliverance is finished, it’s already done, that means that your prosperity is finished, etc. and you have to do your part and enter into that place of rest which is believing that what you need or what you’re expecting has already been done for you. And if you don’t believe as the writer says here in Hebrews, you will not enter in to that place of rest.
So if you’re going to enter into that place of rest I need to warn you that the enemy will put up a great fight for you to be in rest. Because he knows that if you get into that place of rest that means that you will see the manifestations of the finished work of Christ. He cannot take those things that were promised to you away from you. What he can do is he can keep you from getting there by using situations, circumstances. trials and people to get you into a place of doubt, so that you will not enter into that place of rest.
Moving along we see in Hebrews 10:35:
So do not throw away your confidence, because it has a great reward.
cast not away therefore your confidence, which has a great recompense of reward.
Again we have a part as it relates to this scripture. We see that it’s our responsibility to enter into rest, which is our belief and having confidence in the finished work of Christ. We can also see here in Hebrews 10 that we can cast away OR that we can throw away our confidence. That Hebrew word for confidence means security, so we can throw away our security by unbelief. And the writer is saying don’t throw it away, don’t castaway your security which is the confidence in God’s promise of the finished work of Christ because it has a great reward. And for you to get that great reward which is the manifestation that you’re believing for you have to be in the place of rest.
I’m still trying to lay a foundation here we go down a little bit further in Hebrews chapter 4:11
Therefore let us labor to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience of those who died in the wilderness.
So we see here that the writer in Hebrews is telling us to labor to enter that rest, in other words that’s a work or that’s a due diligence on our part that we need to enter into that place of rest so that we don’t fall from grace and lose the reward that we are expecting. Here we see the Lord is even calling it disobedience. And is our example of the Israelites that wandered in the wilderness for over 40 years because they would not believe God at his word and therefore; they could not enter into the promised land. We want to inherit all the promises that God has for us so we see what not to do and that’s just take him at his word and believe him have security and what he says and labor to get into rest. When fear or doubt or unbelief knocks on the door because they will, you have got to immediately get back into that place of rest. You have to become mindful when the enemy is using his ways to distract you to use people to hurt you to get you out of that place of rest. He cannot take the manifestation away from you but he can distract you along the way to get you in a place of upset and care and hurt and anger and worry so you will lose that place of rest.
What does recompense or reward mean? It simply means that payday is coming,that compensation is coming, it means that what hasn’t happened that was supposed to happen will happen. I need pay day to show up and I’m in a great fight because the enemy wants to take the reward and he cannot take this new territory from me he may distract me he may scare me he may try to get me upset but I will labor to get back into rest.
Everything that you need is in the finished work of Christ and just like sitting in a chair you have got to have confidence that that chair you have to have confidence that that word is going to sustain you it’s going to hold you up it’s going to strengthen you and it’s going to produce what you have inherited.
I don’t know what you’re believing for, but first begin to ask yourself, ‘do I have confidence or do I have security and what I’m believing for? If you don’t that’s OK because I didn’t either. And here’s a progression of a faith walk that may help you. Begin to start praying for God to help you believe for what’s already been promised to you. You may even go on a fast and pray for God to download his wisdom and to help you with your belief. Find scriptures that line up with what you’re believing for. Meditate on those scriptures, which means to rehearse them or repeat them over and over again in your mind and even write them down and when you get into doubt pull that out and read those scriptures. You may even be like me where you had to go to bed most nights and meditate on scripture over and over and over again until I fell asleep. Lastly, find somebody who agrees with you who will pray with you and believe for you because there is power in agreement. The word says that were two or more are gathered in his name but he is in our midst, it also says that one person puts 1000 angels to flight and two put 10,000 to flight. And when doubt and fear knock at the door, you say no and you labor to get back into that rest. The enemy is going to fight you because he doesn’t want you to see the finished work of Christ manifested in your life. So as you are in a fight don’t ever forget that you have more for you than against you.
The word says in
2 Kings 6
Do not be afraid the profit answered, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.
That means that the enemy is against you but we have more angels we have more power you have more available to you through God then the enemy has against you. Don’t ever forget that.
I also need to help you understand that your manifestation could happen overnight or your manifestation can take some time do not get discouraged based on timing because just because it takes a while doesn’t mean that you will not see the promises that God has already laid out for you. So if you find yourself getting discouraged or getting weary, just labor to get back into that place of rest and declare that you will see the finished works of Christ in your life, you will see that manifestation and you will see your reward. And your reward will be your testimony and that testimony will help somebody else get the promises of God in their life. BTW, I am being attacked as I am writing this by the enemy…..but I keep moving forward because the enemy is trying to stop me from sharing God’s wisdom because he comes to steal, kill and destroy, but greater is HE who is in me than he who is in the world! AMEN!
Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath” (1 Kings 17:8-10a NCV).
When you’re scared to death and vulnerable, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know how long it’s going to take, and you don’t know what’s going to happen when you get there, what do you do?
You remember that the path to a miracle often goes through uncomfortable territory.
The Bible gives an illustration in 1 Kings 17:8-10: “Then the Lord spoke his word to Elijah, ‘Go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I have commanded a widow there to take care of you.’ So Elijah went to Zarephath”.
God told Elijah to walk more than 100 miles during a drought through dangerous territory, where everyone knew who he was and that King Ahab had a price on his head. When Elijah finally made it to Zarephath, he met a poor widow who was going to feed him. But how could she help defend or protect him from a pagan town full of people who wouldn’t hesitate to kill him?
Miracles don’t happen when things are comfortable. Miracles happen when things are uncomfortable. Elijah didn’t say, “God, there are three things wrong with this plan. One, you’re sending me in the wrong direction. Two, you’re sending me to the wrong location. And three, you’re sending me to the wrong protection.”
Elijah just obeyed.
God’s path to a miracle often takes us through uncomfortable territory because it forces us to depend on him.
When Moses led the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land, they had to go through the Red Sea first.
Before David could slay Goliath, he had to walk onto the battlefield.
God told Jehoshaphat to put the choir before the army, and he’d win the victory. How much faith do you think that took?
Miracles never happen in your comfort zone, when everything’s great and convenient. You don’t need a miracle when everything is settled in your life. You only need a miracle when you’re on the edge, when you’re scared to death, when you’re insecure, when you can get hit at any angle.
Are you at a place right now in your life where things are a little uncomfortable — financially, emotionally, relationally, or physically? You’re a little nervous, a little on the edge, a little insecure.
Just like Elijah, God wants you to obey so you can see his miracle at the end of the road.