2016 on the mind

Inspired by the sermon “A Spiritual Vantage Point” by Pastor Dan Graham

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Hello friends,

First things first, the verses that inspired this long letter to you:

Philippians 3:13-14: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead; I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Our focus will be the part in verse 13 that says, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” I hope that in this new year you are inspired to keep pressing forward knowing that, as C.S. Lewis says, what lies ahead is better than what is behind us.

I think that what Paul is saying in Philippians as his death drew near was that it’s important to see how God has led us in the past, but we should leave the past exactly where it belongs as we move forward. The minister I heard speaking about these verses pointed out that this means our past “failures” and mistakes but also our past successes. There are many ways that we can remain stuck on what was or what we think should be or what we think should have been. We always have an idea of how things should work and unfold.

God wants us to see the present as the best moment, regardless of where we find ourselves, knowing that He has placed us and allowed us to reach the point where we find ourselves. That no matter what, when we let Him take control, He can make something out of what seems like nothing.

Failure, to me, is only when I stop trying. Hope is the most important thing of all. Life has a way of surprising us and being magical.

Recently, I heard about how Michael Jordan didn’t make varsity; Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he wasn’t “creative” enough; Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had their ups and downs before hitting it big, and Spielberg eventually got an honorary degree from a university that rejected him three times. Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein were called hopelessly unintelligent, and Fred Astaire was told he couldn’t sing or dance.

I am sure you know all of this, and I hope you continue striving in this new year for all of those dreams and hopes you have glowing in your heart. Your dreams coming true, that doesn’t depend on anyone but God. God knows all things, and He withholds nothing good from those who love Him.

Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” While this has a context in reference to eternal life, I firmly believe God has a purpose for each one of us, and He delights in showing His glory and power through the fulfillment of our purpose and the fulfillment of the dreams He has placed in our hearts. I don’t think there is a defining moment where everything is fulfilled, but that life is an incredible journey, where our purpose is fulfilled moment by moment and day by day. You are living your purpose right now.

Through this building of a life, He wants us to expect more of Him so He can reveal more of Himself to us. He is constantly giving us His best as soon as we are able and ready to receive it.

And as always, in this new year, may you keep your eyes on the prize. Always looking to Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. He who can do more than you ask or think– He who holds the worlds in His hand. Nothing is too hard for Him.

You can do anything. You know that. But just a reminder–in case you ever forget.

I am looking forward to 2016! The best is yet to come. There is healing, hope, joy and miracles waiting. Of that, I am sure.

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