First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Living Forward in Faith

December 27, 2016

    I remember that time in our second pastoral appointment when I had to unlock a particular church door. I looked at the keyring and pondered which key might work. I had no clue, so I did what every clueless pastor does, I tried them all. I have noticed that rarely do I ever guess correctly the first or second attempt. As I neared the last two of about a dozen keys, I finally found the correct one to gain entrance into the locked space. Lesson learned.

    I set about to tag each key with its specific purpose and I rejoiced at the wonders of tags on keys. Hopefully those who followed behind me were appreciative of the markings. Future events can often look so distant and unattainable. Future events may hold mysteries we cannot see or comprehend. Future living carries so many unanswered questions. We look at the wad of keys in our hand and ponder which one will unlock the door to our best future life. How do we decide?

    Thankfully, for those who have laid their sins at the foot of the cross and trusted Jesus Christ, their future is somewhat clearer. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians. Quoting Isaiah 64, Paul made it clear that we alone cannot understand the future. We want to but fail miserably. Paul then offers us the correct key. The underlined text points us toward the correct keys to gain entrance into future events and mysteries.

    "However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (Isaiah 64) — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.... ...."But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:9-12, 16, NIV)

    Many days are filled with angst and unknowns and one could easily throw everything away in despair. That would be foolhardy. Looking and living forward requires our faith to trust that what God has prepared for us is better than anything we can imagine. I'm reminded of the beautiful words of the song, "The Best Is Yet to Come" by Scott Krippayne:

 

"The race is long, sometimes I stumble       He helps me up each time I fall    

When I lose hope he gives me courage        So I'll press on and give my all
'cause I know I never have to run alone       and I can hardly wait to make it home

The best is yet to come                                  The promise of heaven awaits
I'll finally see my Lord and Savior face to face            For he has set me free
For all eternity                                                When my life on earth is done
The best is yet to come"

 

    Are you struggling today? Does the future hold more question marks than distinct possibilities? Friends, if you and I have confessed our sin, repented of them, and set our faces on Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit of God within us. He is there to help us understand the future. He holds us closely in times of unrest and fear. He illuminates mysteries that otherwise would baffle us. He unlocks the beauty of God's promises found throughout scripture. He is the key to our living forward with vitality and purpose. No guesswork needed here. The correct key to unlock the glorious future with Christ is Christ. Mark it down for future reference.

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