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Three, but two

Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future. William Wordsworth
Life is indeed past, present, and future - what have you been doing with each of these parts, my friends? Some of us hold on so very tightly to the past, not willing to let it go, thinking we may somehow be able to change what has been. Others live so fully in the present, all the while forgetting the future will have demands of us we need to prepare for somehow. Very rarely do we get this past, present, and future thing down well in our lives, but when we do, what an amazing thing it is!

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. (Ephesians 1:11-12 MSG)

Who are we really? Many times we feel as though our past has left indelible evidence of some things we find it impossible to believe we could be free of in the present. It is as though those mistakes of the past have been woven into the fibers of who or what we are today. Did you ever stop to think through a few miracles recorded for us in the pages of the Bible? There is much to be said of the way it was and the way it is now. For example, think of the woman with the issue of blood. She was the woman with the issue - unclean by the standards set out by the Law of Moses, plagued with some form of debilitation from the unceasing flow of blood. She became the woman healed and whole! No longer defined as the unclean, but as the clean and whole. 

Why do we let our past define our present? The blind man saw again - no longer blind, he wasn't defined by his 'previous condition', but by his present one! He was a man with sight! Lazarus wasn't the corpse any longer - he was the brother of Mary and Martha, head of the household, and dear friend of Jesus. Paul was not longer the prosecutor of the Christian believers - his past was gone and his present differed by leaps and bounds. Our present doesn't have to be our defining influence. It doesn't have to be how we view ourselves, nor how others view us. It can be left where it belongs because there is something quite different in the present by which God defines us - it is called grace.

The past may leave tell-tale reminders in our lives, like those scars created when we skinned our knees, bunged our noggins, or biffed it royally. The scars don't define us - the healing does! The scar is a reminder of a former way of living - of choices made - not of choices we continue to make! The fact is that Christ in us changes our present and sets up for the future. His eye isn't on our past, it is on what he is doing in us right now, in order that we will be prepared for what he has created for us well into our future. God is a past, present, and future God - but it isn't the past he focuses on as much as it is the present and future! Why should we be any different? Just askin!

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