offers a challenge none of us can afford to ignore:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 
For many of us, though, past hurts, hang-ups and habits are holding usback and
tripping us up. We may be stuck in a mode of bitterness over what someone else
has done to us, continuing to hold on to the pain and refusing to forgive those
who are responsible. In all fairness, some of us have been hurt very deeply. Per-
haps we were abused as a child, or maybe our spouse has committed adultery.
But it's important for us to understand that holding on to that hurt and being
unwilling to forgive the person who has injured us in the past only allows them
to continue hurting us today. By starting to work our recovery program, we can,
with God's power, begin to find the courage and strength. to forgive the guilty

Others of us are bound by guilt. We keep beating ourselves up over some past
failure .. We're trapped, stuck fast in self-reproach and shame. We reason that no
one else anywhere could be as bad as ~e are, that no one could love the real us
or forgive us for the terrible things we've done. But we're wrong: For starters,
God can. Jesus went to the cross for all our sins. He knows everything we've
ever done or experienced. The apostle Paul harbored a lot of .regret abouthis
past. He'd even participated in Stephen's murder. Yet in Philippians 3:13 -14 he
inspires us with these words: "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet
to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and strain-
ing toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

If we want to be free from our hurts, hang-ups and habits, we need to deal with
our past bitterness and guilt once and for all. In the words of Isaiah 43:18, "Forget 
the former things; do not dwell on the past." That doesn't mean we're to ignore 
the past. Instead, we need to learn from our past, offer forgiveness and make 
amends; in doing so, we break its hold on us. 
Some of us, on the other hand, are trapped in fear of the future. We may worry 
about what's coming next and be afraid to change. We're naturally apprehensive 
about things over which we have no control. The truth is, though, that we can 
"say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere 
mortals do to me?''' (Hebrews 13:6). 

Some of us have been entangled in our hurts, hang-ups or habits for so long that 
they've become intertwined with our identity. We're so accustomed to them 
and comfortable with them that we confuse what we've done with who we are. 
We may be thinking, "What will happen if I really give recovery a chance? Willi 
change? If I give up myoid hurts, hang-ups and habits, what willi become? Who 
will I be? What will be left of me?" 

We may have been abusing alcohol, prescription drugs or food. We're afraid 
of what we'll do without our substance of choice. We may have been enabling 
someone else in a dysfunctional relationship for years. We wonder, "What if I 
change and my alcoholic husband gets mad at me?" But God doesn't want us to 
stay frozen in an unhealthy relationship or a bad habit. He wants us to do our part 
in helping the relationship or habit become healthy .

Even if our past has been extremely painful, we may still resist change and the
freedom that can be found in really working our program. Because of our fear of
the unknown or our feelings of despair, we choose to close our. minds, reasoning
that we don't deserve any better than what we have right now.

Principle One states: "Realize I'm not God; I admit that I am powerless to control
my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable." As we
begin working this principle, we need to remember 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear
in love. But perfect love drives out fear." .

Because of Christ's unconditional love, power, grace and complete forgiveness,
we don't have to let our past failures or future fears stop us from completing
Principle One. Remember that we've all stumbled over a hurt, hang-up or habit.
But the race isn't over yet. God isn't nearly as interested in how we start the race
as he· is in how we finish it.

Take a Look:
·    What past hurts are you holding on to?
·    What past or present actions make you feel guilty?
·    What are you afraid to change in your life? Why?

·    What are your fears about the future? Why?

 Are You Ready To Step Out In Faith?
We Meet Every Friday Night @ Calvary Nexus
380 Mobile Avenue, Camarillo, California 93010
Upstairs in Room 205
Call (805) 384-1182....... and all are WELCOME :)


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