Yesterday No Longer Matters

True, it is important to learn the lessons of the past but, it is not good to get hung up on past mistakes. ImageForgive yourself and others and then move on. Strive to make better choices in the future. That’s really a key thing for living life in general right? Simply, do your best to make the right choices most of the time. One of the chief mistakes that we, as Christians make all too often is that we consistently beat ourselves up, condemn ourselves for non-Christ-like behavior. So many of us try to be too perfect and then become discouraged when we make mistakes or fail in some way.

God’s word tells us that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.” (NKJV) What does that really mean? It means simply that Jesus finished everything on the cross so live in peace. He forgives you so you should forgive yourself.

It is not right to simply use this fact as the “safety net” or rather as an excuse to willfully sin. Making continual choices to sin and know that God will forgive you anyway. That is not how it should be. There is a balance in everything. Walk in grace but, do not abuse it.

Romans 6:1-4 says, “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life.”  (NKJV) Meaning that once you accept Jesus Christ as your LORD and savior, your old self dies and you are a new creation! Isn’t that amazing?!

My pastor loves to teach simple truths and I love that about him. One Sunday he taught on this very subject.

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My pastor used the example that when a caterpillar goes through metamorphosis and becomes a butterfly, people do not say, “Oh look, there goes a converted worm” – they call it by its new name, because it is a wholly and completely new creation. No longer is it a caterpillar but, now a butterfly, just as we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

That is the best example I think I have ever heard to explain how we are made new once we become believers in Christ.

Once we have become a new believer in Christ, and begin our walk with the LORD, it is almost like when you get new clothes, you’re so excited to have the new clothes and you tend to be more careful with them as to not “mess them up”.  Reading the instruction label on how to care for them in the wash etc… You are careful for a while but, then “forget” or the new thing becomes not so new and we stop being so excited or careful – just like our walk with the LORD.

When we are first saved, some of us go bonkers, completely on fire for God not knowing an epistle from an apostle but, still wanting to share Jesus with everything that breathes! Then over time, that fire diminishes and becomes more like a low glow instead of a roaring flame. Some Christians condemn themselves for that diminished flame and do not recover well – they may feel like they are lacking in their spiritual life or not truly walking with the LORD because they cannot seem to recapture that “first saved euphoria”.

We cannot help but “mellow out” over time and I think that mellowing is just a natural part of maturing as a Christian. I am not referring to mellowing to the point of needing to take your pulse, but rather a calm and gentle sort of mellow, a quiet confidence, which one can only develop by years of walking with and trusting God.

Even the most mature Christians do not always walk perfectly with the LORD. Paul the apostle writes to us about this in Romans 7:14-15 “14 For we know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” (NKJV)

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So you see, even the apostle Paul who walked with Jesus literally, still sinned, still made mistakes and in the scripture above, is writing about his own struggles in his life. So be encouraged beloved! It’s OK to make mistakes but, do not stay there! Don’t condemn yourself, forgive and move on. Seek to walk closer with the LORD daily and you will stumble less and less over time.

So my dear brothers and sisters, yesterday doesn’t matter. I encourage you to forgive yourself and others, learn from your mistakes, live, love and move forward leaving the mistakes of yesterday behind. Walk with God’s word as the lamp unto your feet illuminating each step. Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (NKJV)

I hope that you have been blessed and encouraged by this article today.

Blessings in Christ Jesus,

Patti Cianflone

The Lord’s Lead Line

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Weeds

Weeds; as a new gardener these plants are one of my worst enemies. Oh sure, some of them look pretty, we make wishes on the fluffy white ones, and children give the colorful ones to their parents for a nice present of “flowers”.

But as every gardener knows, these sometimes pretty looking plants are pretty nasty. Their roots go down deep and choke the roots of real flowers. So, instead of getting what you planted, you get a disorganized mess of things that don’t exactly look like the picture on your seed packets.

Sin works the same way. As believers in God we do our best to plant the seeds in ourselves by reading God’s Word and practicing it. However, every garden needs to weeded on a regular basis; especially spiritual gardens. In each of our lives there is at least one thing that we allow into our lifestyle that doesn’t match up with God’s Word. Something we’re addicted to, little “white lies” to soften the truth, looking at things we shouldn’t or gossiping. These things seem harmless on a small scale.

What can they really hurt? The answer is, a lot. 

Two things recently happened in my life that fit this description.

We are making various small improvements at the barn little by little as we are able. One such project was to excavate weeds from the front of the barn. The root of one weed was the size of a small tree stump!

It grew so thick because it was allowed to grow completely out of control. It was like a small tree by the time we tried to take it down. We chopped off the branches without too much trouble, but then we were left with this stump that would make it easier for the weed to come back. The clippers weren’t working on it, so I picked up the shovel and started using it to chop it down.

Long story short, it was quite a while before it finally came down. The vibration of hitting the weed repeatedly and the jarring impact the shovel handle made with each shovel swing, left my hand numb, shaking, and in pain. Though I went through a great deal of pain and effort, the result was satisfying, we’ve yet to see the return of the giant weed after spraying the root with RoundUp. But I digress.

The second thing that happened was something sinful. I’m a writer by nature, and appreciate a good story (especially if I’m the one writing it). I do a bit of written roleplaying with a friend to keep my writing skills and character development sharp. It proved to be so much fun that I decided to try my hand at an actual online roleplaying game. I played it rather often and thought of little else. I forgot to appreciate each day and to renew my mind daily with God’s Word, to keep planting those good seeds and letting God grow me. I felt convicted of it but I enjoyed the game too much to give it up; that’s when I started making the excuses.
“It’s just a game, it can’t hurt anything.” “I’m supposed to get enjoyment out of life as well as work, right?”

Well it did hurt something, and I made it an object of obsession rather than just enjoyment, I also wasn’t living anymore.

I stopped letting God weed my spiritual garden and I began to feel the distance I had put between me and Him.

My attitude towards my family got worse than just the occasional disagreement. I was pushing them away too. That game had turned into a giant weed in my heart and was choking all the good things God was planting in me. That’s when my loving parents came and talked to me. They helped me to realize what I already knew deep down; I had to give it up. The separation was painful to an extent, but gaining back what I was losing was so much more rewarding. God is once more the gardener doing all the planting and weeding in my life.
So I encourage you, if you have these spiritual weeds in your life, get rid of them!

Sometimes we’re not strong enough to give it up without help, that’s why God gave us friends, family, and prayer.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog for my family’s ministry. Please feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time, God Bless!

Aubrey-Shea Cianflone