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MATTHEW 6:34 "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

PHILIPPIANS 3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,"

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Are you living each day for the next? Perhaps you tell yourself at the end of each year that things will be different next year - better, more prosperous. Or, maybe you are stuck in the past. Bitter about unfullfilled dreams and regretful about all the things you did wrong. Do you constantly blame yourself for mistakes you have made; going over and over them in your mind? Do you tell yourself how different your life could have been "if only...?"

I once had an adult student who was molested and abused as a child. I was teaching her to read and write; she could barely write her own name. Her family moved often and her father would not let her attend school. He was afraid she would tell someone of his sexual and physical abuse. He was not arrested until she was a teenager. She was forty years old when I was working with her. She told me he was out of prison and she kept a loaded gun by her bedside; the plan was, if he ever tried to find her she would kill him! The anger, resentment and hatred she has carried inside all these years has ruined her present life and any future she may have hoped for.

It is also hard to trust God with our future. We worry about things that, most of the time, never come to pass. Matt 6:26 says: "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" A perfect life would be to live and enjoy each day as if it were our last but to plan ahead as if we were going to live forever and never regret the past, but learn from it. None of us have a promise of tomorrow being better than today, so enjoy today while it is here. Likewise, bitter feelings about a less than perfect past cannot change that past but CAN ruin your future. Paul realized the importance of letting go of the past. Paul's past had been spent persecuting the followers of Christ and, if allowed, thinking about it could have driven him mad. If only we could take Paul's advise in Philippians 3:13 and forget those things which are behind us and reach forth to those things which are before; pressing toward the mark for the prize!

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When I was a young man, I lived for the future
I couldn't wait 'till each new day came.
I lived for tomorrow and longed for excitement,
But day followed day much the same.

As I became older, I began to look back;
I spent many a sleepless night,
Worrying about all the things I'd done wrong.
I didn't see anything I had done right.

Now I'm too old to live for the future,
For I've nearly run out of time.
I wish I had tried to live in the present,
Left the future ahead and the past behind!

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Sometimes we tell God we're going to give Him our problems and let Him guide our future and then we start worrying about what's going to happen next and go take it back and try to carry it ourselves again! And even if we've given Him our future, we want to hold on the the past. If you're trusting Him with the future, that's a step in the right direction but why not trust Him with your past, too? Once you've done that you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to live in the present!


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