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June 2013

STEPPING OUT OF THE PAST

By Beverley Carter

 
I love the words of Isaiah 2:5, “Come, let us walk in the light which the LORD gives.”  As I look back over my past, I remember well the time in my mid-teens when God led me to ‘step out of the past and to walk in the light.’ 
 
When I was a young woman, a drunk driver killed my boyfriend, and God used this tragedy to bring about my conversion. As in all conversions, the Holy Spirit led in many wonderful ways.  For example, He led me to study the Bible for myself, which caused me to discover the truth about the Sabbath.  A year later, I arrived at Avondale College in Australia where I studied to become a missionary, but God had another plan for my life.  Avondale was where I met my husband, John Carter, and we have now been married and in Evangelism for 51 years.
 
During my lifetime, God has taught me many things.  Although I still have lots to learn, I would like to share some of these lessons with you.  If you are struggling with the past or the present, or you know someone who is, then I pray the next few words and verses will help you.
 
The most important lesson I have learned is that the primary purpose for Prayer is to know God as my Heavenly Father.  It took me a long time to realize that the best part of prayer is not making requests of God, but sitting quietly and listening to Him speak to me through His Word.  In an upcoming article, I will speak more about Prayer.
 
Below are a number of my favorite passages of Scripture, which can help us to ‘step out of the past,’ and instead, ‘follow the light.’
 
Isaiah 43:18,19 – “But the Lord says, ‘Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do…’”   
We need to learn from the past, but then go forward in the light.
 
2 Corinthians 4:17 – “When anyone is joined to Christ, he is a new being; the past is gone, the new has come.”
Don’t allow the devil to keep you looking back; and don’t go beating yourself up for all the mistakes you have made.
 
1 John 1:9 – “But if we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Once I take God at His word, I can look ahead with confidence.
 
Proverbs 4:25-27 – “Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame.  Plan carefully what you do, and whatever you do will turn out right.  Avoid evil and walk straight ahead.  Don’t go one step off the right way.”
How do I avoid evil and walk straight?  There is only one answer: read God’s Word, believe it, and, by His grace, obey it.
 
Acts 5:32 – “And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.”
This is a very important text.  We need the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Bible, and to lead and guide us through life’s journey.  This verse in Acts tells us that God will only give the Holy Spirit to those who read, believe and obey His word. This is very simple as long as we are willing to do God’s will.
 
James 1:21,22 – “Submit to God and accept the word that He plants in your hearts, which is able to save you. Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to His word; instead, put it into practice.”
These few verses tell us we have nothing to fear as long as we ‘live’ in the Word and follow its instructions.
 
Philippians 3:13,14 – “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not yet achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
 
May His grace and peace be yours today and always.

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