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Life has been a crazy whirlwind as the last few days of 2014 expired. We left southeast Texas and have arrived at the farm! Not everything went according to plan but suffice to say we are all safe and sound, albeit a bit tired. I wanted to share a bit of insight as a reminder to us all as we walk into the new year.

The start of a new year brings an opportunity to learn from past mistakes but a reminder to stay focused on today with an eye towards tomorrow. So many times we miss out on what God has for today because we’re dwelling on what could or should have been. This is a ploy of the enemy to get us to focus on things we can’t change rather than receiving God’s gifts for today.

This is a new season – don’t try to keep the old one going but focus on building, nurturing, and raising the new one. In Genesis 21:12 Abraham is having difficulty letting go of Ishmael. Ishmael represents a past mistake Abraham (and Sarah) made. God reassures Abraham that He will still bless Ishmael (v.13) much as He promises in Romans to work all things to the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. God reassures Abraham by reminding him it is through Isaac the promise is fulfilled.

So often we waste valuable time in the past, regretting our mistakes, wishing for do-overs or bowing to the voice of condemnation. When we dwell on the past we miss out on today! We need to live in the now – what does God have for me today? How can I glorify Him today?

Look back on the past – but only briefly to learn from your mistakes – then move forward into the new season. If Abraham had not sent Hagar and Ishmael away he would have been distracted from his purpose (raising Isaac, the promised one) and divided between Isaac and Ishmael in a place of strife. Better to entrust the Lord with the care of Ismael rather then trying to do it himself. Was this difficult for Abraham? Absolutely! He had to let go!

Abraham did not know what the future held. I believe letting go of Ishmael strengthened Abe to let go of Isaac in Genesis 22. He had to trust God. He had to walk in obedience. God was preparing him for something down the road. Let God prepare you.

Spend a few moments in reflection – ask God to show you what you need to let go of. How many of us keep holding on to stuff we need to let go of (um, almost everyone…) Resolve to release the weight of the past and embrace today!

In your reflection time:
Use paper and pen to make a list of the old junk, be specific
Speak out loud and say, “Lord I release ______to You. I repent for the mistake and I forgive myself/others and trust You to make all things new. Thank You that Your mercies are new (and available to me) every day. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and what You have for me today!”

When you are finished, stand up and shout Hallelujah!!

Welcome to 2015